How to Win
Rehearsals vs Performances
Know whether you're at a rehearsal or a performance.
Rehearsals are soccer practice. Math homework. Practice essays. Recording yourself, playing it back second by second to understand where you can improve. Playing the scales on the piano. Every iteration, you're analyzing, repeating, improving. You’re in Whiplash - the relentless, ruthless self-analysis in every moment to identify where you've gone wrong and what you can improve next. It's the breaking down of your muscles, your ego, your skills, to build better versions in their place. It's where you seek the threshold pain, that mental and physical soreness. It's the implementation of new and uncomfortable habits. The discipline to force yourself to do something you've never done. It's time to turn on your inner governor and relentlessly reflect until you know exactly what the next step is. You’re resting, too. It’s all building strength at the edge. It's grueling. It's a grind.
Because when you're on the stage, on the date, at the presentation, at the championship match, at the final exam, there's nothing you can improve on in the moment. No last-minute cramming can help you. The rational overseer must sit back, and the flow state unconscious must take over. You put down the textbooks to get the best sleep of your life the night before. You embody "It is what it is." You get out of the way so that you can let your training and preparation shine. You let your mojo do the talking.
Optimal performance mentality is completely different than optimal rehearsal mentality. Two different games. So how do you know what game you're playing? One thing's for sure: You know, deep in your gut. When you're about to perform, you get butterflies. Anxiety spikes. Worries. That feeling of unreality as you step on the stage.
Sometimes you know you're going to perform in advance, so you can prepare appropriately. Other times, opportunities for performance present themselves serendipitously. So if you really care about winning, you treat everything like a rehearsal until performance arrives.
So what happens when you fail your performance? You don't lie to yourself. Deep down, you know it was because you didn't rehearse enough. You use this failure as motivation to get better. And when you succeed? You know two things: you practiced like a madman, and you performed like you were having fun. In the moment, you weren't worrying about the outcome. Inside, you were sitting back. It almost felt like you weren't there. Because you were in the flow. That's how you did the unthinkable and performed beyond your wildest expectations. That's how you won.