The Return

It’s been a while since I have written, but I’m back! And I’m excited. This piece is the direction we’re headed in, so think of it as our overview. The previous series highlighted mindset in a nutshell, and how to leverage it to produce change. Our lens was pretty subjective. I am keeping with the subjective and pairing it with more research-backed tools for human performance. So we combine doing the reflective work with the science we know works. This is the overview. Keeping the intro short, let’s get it.

The previous blogs have covered quite a bit, and I want to keep this in mind as the framework: My Clarity Project is based in human performance and behavior change. How can we create clarity in a way that facilitates happiness, progress, and success first as a human, then as a performer? To do it we need self-awareness, self-reflection, and action. These foundational pieces guide us (this is also a plug to go back and read the first batch to refamiliarize yourself).

I define human performance as health, wellbeing, and performance. Health is the absence of dis-ease (yes, intentional spelling here). Wellbeing is making choices toward health and overall wellness. And performance is the accomplishment of a specific action, task, or function. When we talk about human performance, we recognize the continuum from health to performance. On the health end, that’s surviving. On the performance end, that’s thriving. We make choices that move us from surviving to thriving. Choices can also maintain or sustain us where we are. At the most basic level though, it’s checking-in with self. Are you healthy? Are you improving your habits of wellbeing? And lastly, are you accomplishing what you set out to or in other words performing? If any of these answers feel mehh or iffy, how can we improve it? If these answers are fuck yes, then how can we sustain efficiently and hit your next target effectively. MYCP is crafted to support that process. I want to support you. Let’s keep diving in.

Human performance is first about achieving what is important to us, as humans. And those are three things: happiness, progress, and success. Take a sheet of paper and write down one thing you would like to accomplish. Really consider what success would look like to you. Write the real thing, be sure that it is identifiable and measurable. It might be a position, amount of money, a relationship, whatever speaks to you.

However you cut it, what you plan to accomplish falls into one of three categories: happiness, progress, or success. We want to do it because we believe it will make us happier, create progress toward our end goal, or it actually is the end goal and ultimate version of success. How accurate is that based on your goal? Often these three tie in into one another. Happiness is subjective success (some people believe happiness can only be a by-product or side effect we will dig into this one soon). When we are happy, we are fulfilled in the moment. It could be fleeting joy, like winning a race, or enduring, content with the overall state of our lives. Happiness is tied to progress. Through learning, development, and exploration we are more likely to feel content with ourselves. This is part of our humanness. Success is reaching long-term or overarching goals. Of course, happiness comes with this and progress inches us closer to that overall success.

There are no guidelines to creating happiness, progress, or success. When you ask someone about these things, you often get generic advice like “find your passion”, “do your best”, and “work hard”. We’re usually looking for a tangible step and this isn’t it. I do believe there is some value in these, but more importantly this vague advice is a reminder to the internal work we have to do to identify what "your passion", "your best", and "working hard" mean to you. First, in identifying what matters to us, then sketching out what it means to truly pursue it.

After recognizing whatever “it” (happiness, progress, or success) is, then we move into how we get there. We’ve covered the foundational steps to working on self in full: ARA, principles and feelings, thoughts, and actions. Mashed into one this becomes our grounding mindset or core beliefs providing the framework for our assumptions, expectations, and motivation. That’s a mouthful, let’s break it down: As an example, a core belief could be ‘stress is bad’. Then we assume that experiencing stress is bad, we expect nothing good to come from experiencing stress, and our motivation may be to avoid it. The end conclusion isn’t just that stress is bad, instead it actually becomes avoiding any interaction that you perceive as stressful, consciously or unconsciously. So, we are uncomfortable in confrontation, unwilling to speak for ourselves, or shy away from novel experiences (even when they are not inherently bad).

One more example: “money is the root of evil”. First, this is actually “the love of money is the root of evil”. If we believe “money is the root of evil”, we assume people with money are evil, expect people without money to be less evil, and are not motivated to accumulate wealth. At first, this may seem like a stretch. But think about it. We do not become wealthy, because we do not trust individuals that have wealth and if that is what we associate with wealthy individuals we don’t want to be there. So, we’re unable to expand because of our distrust and disbelief. Ultimately, we become stuck in where we are in society from a social and economic perspective. Which is compounding other issues that hinder progress.

In summary, your mindset can create a tighter box within the one you are already living in. And in these examples we have already identified the core belief the issue comes from. In life, this takes work and time. Remember these are only examples and your mindset is something you have to sit with to bring previously unconsidered connections to a conscious level when given quiet time with your thoughts. That space for thinking can create shifts in our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Mindset shifts are top-down ways of changing behavior, the other is changing the environment.

So the return challenge:

Consider a change you want to make sooner than later to improve your health, wellbeing, or performance. We want change oriented toward creating happiness, progress, or success. Brainstorm on top-down (shift your mindset) and bottom-up (leverage your environment) ways you could potentially implement it.

Two other notes:

  1. I plan to keep the reads short, under 5 minutes long

  2. I'll offer one resource that ties into what the blog topic (starting next week)