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Charles Garfield, associate professor at the University of California’s medical school in San Francisco, has studied 1,500 outstanding achievers in nearly every walk of life. He finds they all have certain traits in common – traits that are not innate but which can be learned by anyone. Here, based on Garfield’s research are seven steps that can lead to speak performance.
1. Lead a well – rounded life:
High performers are willing to work
hard – but within strict limits. For them work is not everything. They knew how
to relax, could leave their work at office, prized close friends and family
life, and spend a healthy amount of time with their children and intimate
2. Select a career you care about:
Garfield’s data show that high
performers choose work they really prefer, and spend over two – thirds, of
their working hours doing it and only one – third on disliked chores. They want
internal satisfaction, not just external rewards like raises, promotions and
power. Because they enjoy what they are doing, their work is better and their
3. Rehearse each challenging task mentally:
Nearly all of us daydream about
important coming events. But idle daydreaming isn’t the same as a deliberate
mental workout that hones the skills actually used in the activity. A pianist
in China, imprisoned for seven years during the Revolution, played as well as
ever soon after his release. His explanation: “I practiced every day in my
4. Seek results, not perfection:
Many ambitious and hard – working
people are so obsessed with perfection that they turn out little work. High
performers are almost free of the compulsion to
be perfect. They don’t consider their
mistakes as failures. Instead they learn from them, so that they can do
better the next time.
5. Be willing to take risks:
Most people settle for security, even
if it means mediocrity and boredom, rather than take chances. High performers,
by contrast are ready to take risks because they carefully consider exactly how
they would adjust if in fact, they did fail.
6. Don’t underestimate your potential:
Most of us think we know out limits.
But much of what we “know” isn’t knowledge at all but belief – erroneous, self – limiting beliefs.
They are the “biggest obstacle to high” – Level performance”. For many years
everyone “knew” that running a mile in less than four minutes was “impossible”
. In 1954 Roger Bannister broke the four minute barrier. Within two years ten
other athletes followed suit. High performers are better able to ignore
7. Compete with yourself, not with others:
High performers focus more intently
on bettering their own previous efforts than on beating their competitors. In
fact, worrying about a competitor’s abilities – and possible superiority – can
often be self – defeating.
You have the power to change your
habits of mind and acquire new skills. You can improve your productivity and
the quality of your whole life.