The Confident Mind

4 Keys To Peak Performance

Peak Performance Is Meditation In Motion

The Confident Mind is the title of a book written by Dr Nate Zinsser the director of West Point’s Performance Psychology Program and published in Jan 2022.

It is described as:

"A complete guide to confidence: how to understand it, how to build it, how to protect it, and how to rely upon it when your performance matters most."

Zinsser believes that confidence is a skill that can be taught, improved, and applied by anyone in any area of life.

This is how he defines it:

    You have a confident mind when you have a sense of certainty about your ability, which allows you to bypass conscious thought and execute unconsciously. [Dr Nate Zinsser]

How To Build The Confident Mind

Zinsser believes that the confident mind is the result of the deliberate practice of certain thinking skills that will enable you to perform to the peak of your ability and to do so on demand.

The essence of his teaching can be summarised as:

  1. Consciously build up a memory bank of past successes and keep reviewing and updating it based on daily incremental improvements.
  2. Develop a routine that enables you to trigger the feeling of peak performance on demand and that gives your conscious mind something to keep it occupied and to stop it impeding your performance.  
You can download a free one page summary of the book courtesy of Nathan Lozeron of Productivity Game.

Fortunately for readers of this site, we have already covered this subject comprehensively in a number of articles on this site and provided extensive free resources.

The foundation of the confident mind

Peak performance is grounded in the Tao practise of Wu Wei which means "doing without doing". This is all about how you take action by being so immersed in profound concentration on what you are doing that you are "in the zone".

The foundation for achieving this state is a high level of unconscious competence in exercising the necessary skills to undertake the required tasks and activities. i.e. to function on auto-pilot.

As a primer and foundation I recommend that you read the following two articles:

The 4 keys to building the confident mind:

[1] Utilising the power of positive expectation  - by creating affirmations that will - over time - become a self-fulfilling prophecy i.e. learn how to manage your self talk.

[2] Managing your energetic state - by paying attention to your dominant emotional or energetic state, and uncovering and releasing your resistance.

[3] Building up your mental bank - by associating past successes with the achievement of your goal.

[4] Creating an activation trigger  - to kick-start peak performance on demand.

The Confident Mind In Practice

A personal illustration

Some years ago I had to do something that every grown up child dreads. I had to deliver the eulogy at my father's funeral on behalf of my mother and sisters and myself..

The idea of facing a hall full of people with my father's coffin right in front of me was overwhelming.

But I knew that I had to fulfill this task to the absolute best of ability and deliver a peak performance.

I have written in an earlier article about my experiences at the time of my father's death and noted that my father went through the whole of his life with a deep sense of not being good enough and of never making the grade.

With this in mind, I was determined to ensure that the eulogy honoured his memory and paid full tribute to his life so I framed my approach to ensure that I did exactly that.

Fortunately, I have extensive experience in speaking to small and medium size groups so the mechanics of the task were not a problem, the challenge was how to make it special and memorable for all those extended family members and friends who would be present.

I prepared that speech thoroughly and I rehearsed the finalised script  around twenty or thirty times. I recorded my rehearsals in sound and on video over and over again until I had mastered every word, every nuance and inflection of that speech.

I would not usually rehearse a speech or talk to this extent, but this time I wanted to build maximum confidence in my delivery.

I also did extensive visualisations of myself delivering that speech and feeling confident as I did so.

The final piece of my preparation was to utilise an NLP technique, referred to above, as an activation trigger to a peak performance.

So how did it go?

Well I can humbly say that it was one of the best speeches of my life  - maybe the best! I held the audience's attention, I made them sad, I had them roaring with laughter and ended on a reflective and upbeat assessment of my father's positive qualities.

And the best thing was that for the whole of the 10 minutes that I was speaking I had the strongest and profoundest sense of my father standing in the wings, to the side of the stage, cheering me on  and shouting encouragement!

Final thoughts...

This whole business of knowing how to achieve peak performance matters enormously.

In this short article I have referenced extensive materials and resources that will ensure that you are able to do just that.

I want to leave you with one final resource from the late, great John Harricharan.

It is simple, easy to use and, over time,  very powerful:

The Power Pause - Regain Your Balance And Manifest Your Intentions

    Peak performance is meditation in motion.      [Greg Louganis]

Next Article: 8 Principles For Success

Return from "The Confident Mind" to: Walking The Talk

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