Friday, August 3, 2012

World Class Experience

I'm always inspired watching the Olympic athletes exhibit the incredible degree of peak performance they've worked so hard to achieve.  As many of you know, I teach Judo, and when I was younger, was fortunate enough to train with many of our nation's top Judo players at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Ever since my teen years, peak performance of all kinds has held a deep fascination for me.  It's much akin to magic, in that those who go far beyond the norm achieve seemingly impossible results.

How is this possible?  As I discuss in my book, peak performance, as well as self actualization, both come quite often from surprising sources.  Yes, hard work and determination most definitely play a huge part.  But paradoxically, true achievement often comes in those moments where we simply allow ourselves to become completely immersed in the moment.

Rather than trying harder to be more, to do more, a certain surrender also comes into play.  Surrender to the experience of the moment:  body and mind merge into a single, highly focused field of experience, a one-pointed, yet relaxed level of heightened awareness.  This, the 'Magical Moment' experience, is often where we transcend our limitations and go beyond mere 'trying'.

The 'in the zone' experience that many athletes describe is one form of what Abraham Maslow described as a "peak experience", and they are common to those who are peak performers in all fields of human endeavor.  In the words of that great philosopher Jedi, "Do.  Or do not.  There is no 'try'."

And that's the real magic of achievement.