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Kovar Systems
Point to Ponder Martial Arts

The Ideal Performance State

By Dave Kovar

Imagine if you were able to live your life at your best... all the time. How would your life be different if you could perform near full potential in all aspects of your life, be it at an athletic endeavor, a business meeting or time with your family? This near-perfect existence may not be possible, but there is a lot that you can do to stack the odds in your favor and at least allow you to be able to perform at a high level, most of the time. Let’s discuss.

If you look back on your life, chances are, you can think of plenty of times that you performed at a high-level, maybe even brilliantly. Perhaps it was while acting in a school play, teaching a class, playing in a soccer game, competing in a Martial Arts event or negotiating in a board room. Regardless of the event, you would probably agree that you were “in the zone,” as they say in western sports. This is also what we are going to refer to as the “ideal performance state.”

The ideal performance state happens when you have mental clarity, physical energy and emotional calm. At Kovar‘s, we refer to this as “Satori,” meaning  “in the moment at your best“.  In this blog, I will attempt to address some ways that you can maximize your time in the state.

I believe that a great starting point is to analyze your current habits. It has been said that the quality of your life is in direct relationship to the quality of the habits, routines, and rituals that you currently have in place. It always amazes to me to see intelligent, hard-working people that don’t seem to see a connection between their habits, the quality of their life, and their level of success.

I would challenge you to analyze your day from dawn to dusk and really dissect your current habits. This will give you great insight as to what habits you should guard and what habits you should replace. As my father once told me, “Take care of the days, and the years take care of themselves.” Chances are, none of us will ever be perfect every day, but we can always be better. As for me, I  have plenty of room for improvement. With that said, I believe that I’m better now than I was a year ago and l am certainly better now than I was five years ago. As Vincent Lombardi said “True perfection is unattainable. However, if you chase perfection, you will catch excellence.”

Here is a list of daily habits that might be helpful for those interested in maximizing their time within the ideal performance state. Feel free to adopt any of these habits that you think might help you.

  • A morning ritual. Everyone has a morning ritual. The problem for many people is that it wasn’t consciously put together.  I believe that positive morning rituals have the power to change your life for the better, and very quickly. For me, the morning ritual includes vigorous exercise, inspirational reading, journaling, and meditation followed by a healthy breakfast.
  • Decide in advance how you are going to face the day's challenges.  Virtually every day we are going to be faced with some unexpected challenge. It might be minor or it could be catastrophic. Deciding in advance how you are going to face these challenges will dramatically improve your ability to deal with them in a positive way when they arise, as they most certainly will.
  • Eat as clean as possible as often as possible.  For most of us, eating clean 100% the time isn’t realistic. However, we can make a conscious effort to eat in a fashion that will aid us in staying healthy.
  • Exercise daily.  It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but it should be consistent. As my father used to say, “ A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.”
  • Minimize negativity.  As Tony Robbins says, “Stand guard at the door of your mind.” Spending lots of time around negative people or watching the news four hours a day doesn’t help us be our best.
  • Practice service.  Very few things feel better than serving others. Serving others brings out our best and therefore allows us to be at our best more often.
  • Build up versus beat up.  No one is perfect. If you screw up, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, use it as a teachable moment. At the same time, keep track of your wins. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back. Also, do the same thing with the people in your circle. They will thank you for it.
  • Don’t take offense. You can’t control what other people do or say. You can only control how you respond to it. Get in the habit of not taking things personal and watch your productivity improve.
  • An evening ritual. As much as it is important to begin the day on purpose, I believe it is important to end the day on purpose as well. What lessons did you learn? What could you have done better? What successes did you have? What happened today that you were grateful for? These questions enable us to gain wisdom and also help us avoid repeating the same mistake over and over.

There is probably a lot more than I can add to this list, but hopefully this is a good start. I challenge you to stack the odds in favor of your success by doing as much as you can right every day. If you do so, chances are you will spend a lot of time in the ideal perform state.

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by Dave Kovar