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You vs. You: The Secret to Better Performance in Everything

the secret to better performance in everythingIn the game of life, we are all seeking better performance. Whether that means better performance at our jobs, our relationships, our athletics, or in the bedroom, we want to be better – we need to be better. When it comes to actually achieving that better-ness, we often seek answers and solutions in the wrong direction. In our quest for better performance, we often discount ourselves for validation from someone else. This is no good.

The secret to better performance in everything is actually pretty simple: it’s a game of you vs. you.

Let’s explore what this all means.

Show Notes

In fitness and athletics, we seek out performance enhancing supplements to make us bigger, stronger, leaner, slimmer, faster, etc. What truly counts in increasing athletic performance, however, is the mental game behind it. Do you have the mental fortitude to workout and train when you don’t feel like it? Can you talk yourself into it when your inner voice is aggressively talking you out of it? This is the crux of being better at everything. Can you defeat your own definition of you?

Mental Game

The secret to performing better in everything isn’t about your physical strength or endurance at all. Your attitude around challenges, excuses, and criticism is what counts. It all starts with your definition of yourself and who you are as a man. Your inner voice (your saboteur) has been in your head, telling you who you are since you about nine years old. It’s the voice that told you not to cross the street without looking both ways, and it’s also the voice that told you not to go over there and talk to that beautiful woman across the bar. Your inner voice doesn’t like risk and doesn’t like change.

Performing better in everything is about challenging your own ideas and definitions of who you are. Ask yourself the following questions and be honest…

  • Who am I as a man? Lover? Fighter? Outgoing? Introverted? Adventurous? Homebody?
  • Am I confident? Do I struggle with confidence?
  • Can I achieve wild success? Do I deserve wild success?
  • How do I define wild success?
  • Who do I need to be more like (choose someone you admire) ?
  • Will I be able to reach the big goals before I die? Honestly?

secret to performing better in everythingThe answers to these questions help indicate what your inner voice is having you believe about yourself. Many men struggle with confidence, but only because they don’t know what they’re capable of when they choose not to listen to their inner voice. More importantly, many men believe that struggling makes them more a man, and more deserving of the riches life can deliver. They don’t feel they deserve more because they feel they haven’t struggled or worked hard enough.

The secret to performing better in everything starts with your mental game. What side are you on? Pro-You or Anti-You? Are you rooting for you to succeed or to fail? Chew on that for a minute. Don’t be surprised if you’re actually rooting for yourself to fail so you stay where you are. Many Joes accept criticism, skip challenges, and make excuses because they’re secretly on team Anti-Joe. Your mental game decides it all.

Forever Seeking & Expanding

You know the expression, “if a shark stops swimming, it dies”? This is how the mind works too. When you stop learning, you mentally begin deteriorating. Challenging yourself to learn new things is one of the best ways to increase your overall performance in everything else. Contrary to what the media would have you believe (according to commercials on television), dads are actually far less dense and haphazard than their non-dad counterparts. Having a child throws men into the “holy crap, what do I do with this tiny human?” category, and forces them to adapt quickly. This new, unforgivingly relentless type of thinking on the fly creates new neural pathways so they can connect A to B to C while keeping tabs on their new tiny human.

If you’re not a dad, don’t fret. Challenge yourself to learn some new skills. I’m not going to be a dad (I make a better uncle anyway), but I’m always challenging myself to learn new things and learn them quickly. I learned how to weld a few weeks ago now, and have amazed myself how calming and cool it is. I’m also learning to speak Italian pretty aggressively, and working my body down to single digit body fat levels. These goals are difficult, but they keep my on my toes and always moving forward.

When you’re constantly seeking and expanding your skill set, you set a precedence that you can change and become better. This is the name of the game (as in mental game) when it comes to performing better in everything. When you challenge yourself to learn something new, you exercise patience, uncertainty, and vulnerability (you might look or feel stupid in the beginning stages of learning that new thing). Those kinds of characteristics help you improve your performance in other areas automatically. You’ll be better in the bedroom by learning through patience, intimacy, vulnerability, and practice (the same things you’ll need to learn and improve your proficiency in a new language). See how that works?

Satisfaction is Internal

secret to performing better in everythingWhen you seek to improve yourself because you want to be like or be better than so-and-so, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Satisfaction is internal. You may enter a competition to be better than some other guy, but along the way, he may improve still. What if you never measure up? Should you just quit? Hell no!

You aren’t ever competing with people unless they are competing with you in return. Physical fitness, for example, is an internal competition (unless you’re actually in a bodybuilding or fitness competition). You’re not actually competing against that other guy at the gym, you just want his biceps and abs. He’s not competing with you though. You are actually in competition with yourself… which brings us to the grand secret: it’s always you vs. you.

You are in competition to improve your own time when you run, your max weight when lifting, your own personal records – it’s always a one man competition. You are working to be better than you man you were yesterday. It’s you vs. you in all definitions:

  • Better than the man you were yesterday
  • Better lover than you were last week (you’re welcome, ladies)
  • Better than the student you were in college
  • Faster than the runner you were last week
  • Leaner than you were last year
  • More affluent than you were last year
  • Better traveled than you were 5 years ago
  • Better father than you were yesterday
  • Better husband that you ever were

None of these ideals involve you being better than anyone else. It’s about making YOU a better version of you. Even when you beat someone else at something, you still feel the accomplishment inside as, “Hell yes, I did that. I accomplished this. I am awesome. Go me.” So let go of the lie that you need to be in competition with someone else to accomplish big things. It’s you vs. you. It always has been and always will be. When you work to be a better man than you were yesterday, you will perform better in everything else. That, I can promise you  for sure.

What are you doing to make yourself better today that you were yesterday?
What internal competition are you ready to kick into high-gear?
If you have a story of your own, please share it in the comments below.

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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.

  • MrPip

    I’m a complete gym rat.
    I work in IT and was overweight around 10 years ago.
    A health scare kicked me into wanting to get into shape.
    Ever since then I’ve felt like I’m always achieving at getting better but never where I want to be, and I hope that feeling always remains as that is my drive.

    My gym life has rolled into other areas like my career, I’ve moved up and continue to move up but my goals always seem to further grow so I’m never content.

    I know it’s all driven by my mind, that I wouldn’t be in the shape I am in now if i didn’t have such a drive.
    I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere: Where the mind is, the body will follow

  • EdmondC

    I used to keep myself in really good shape, and attend the gym religiously. Then with a change of job, city, and schedule, it all fell apart. It has been three months now that I have not been attending a gym regularly. I have been biking to and from work this summer, but it is no substitute. This article really motivated me to put my ass in gear and not wait another moment to start doing something about it and make up for some of the progress I have lost.