Recently I read an article on Martina Navratilova, one of the greatest tennis players ever to have played the game, most fit individual every played, where she has said that everything that one does, is about what goes on in those 6 inches between the ears – MIND. Inferring, extrapolating and elaborating from what she said that performance is actually potential without the interferences, it is great to understand in depth her wisdom (in my own words now):
Performance = Potential – Distractions
Potential is usually the talents one is born with that is unique to that person, along with appropriate rigorous training and good lots of motivation, both internal and external. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and Usain Bolt definitely are champions in basketball and the field, and some of their on-field exploits are beyond reason – just pure raw talent that they were born with. I am sure the 11 players selected to any national cricket team are not the only best players there are in that nation, but rather talents who had been identified and given opportunity to play at higher levels. Your support staff, your friends and family and your entire team should be encouraging you always to give out the best performance day-in day-out.
So, Potential = Talent + Motivation(Internal +External) + Training
The missing part here is that Potential has to be identified. In corporate world, they get to see young leaders in action and constantly do succession planning. In sports or arts, getting opportunities to exhibit one’s potential is where the biggest problem is – some of it being at the right place at the right time. And definitely Lady Luck has to smile as well. If a BCCI committee member is observing some school tournament by chance and identifies a talent, he would be given more opportunities and focused training to hone his skills.
Distraction in this respect is an inverse of focus – or a lack of it. If you want to achieve higher things in life, it does not come to you in a plate – you have to work for it. Yes, you have regular distractions that can be controllable but still never lose the eventual plot of gaining greater heights. That resolve to strike big, that focus to excel, that zeal to success should drive you to less and unnecessary distraction. There have been many talents whose life and opportunities have been destroyed by excessive drinking, taking on to drugs or uncontrollable gambling, as they find it difficult to survive in the sudden limelight that they are thrown into, but who have taken care of it consciously have shone well. Distraction is any time taken away for unnecessary or useless activity that can be detrimental to one’s success.
Distractions = Vices + bad company + unwanted activities that one gets involved in + any unneeded interferences
Hence Martina got it dead right by stating that your performance peaks when your identified potential delivers consistently and continuously (for a span of time, before age has a say esp. in high activity sports) and you are able to clearly use the time judiciously and are seen as a role model for many others to emulate.