The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Friday, January 03, 2014

To Perform at the Highest Level

The famous author Steven Pressfield had an excellent post on his blog on what it takes to perform at the highest level. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here.

“He’s a Winner”

By Steven Pressfield | Published: January 1, 2014

At the gym where I work out, there’s a program called Pro Camp that specializes in training professional athletes. They train basketball players, football players, hockey players, track athletes. And they train high school and college athletes whose ambition is to make it to the pros.

I was standing with the chief of Pro Camp, T.R. Goodman, watching a 15-year-old high school football player go through his workout. “He’s a winner,” T.R. said.

I was immediately curious. I asked T.R. what he meant. What qualities did he see in this young boy that marked him as an athlete with a future? What is the difference between a pro and a non-pro?

What did T.R. mean by “winner?”

Of course I was thinking about writers. Athletes and writers face the same challenges.

Both—meaning the readers of this blog and the athletes at Pro Camp—are aspiring to be thoroughgoing pros.

1. Focus

2. Coachability

3. Confidence

4. Concentration

5. Self-evaluation

These are all qualities that you and I have control of in our writing and our artistic lives.

We can’t choose how smart or how pretty or how verbal we are. But we can choose what we want and how much we want it. We can choose how hard we’re willing to work to achieve our goals. We can elect to tune out distractions. We can decide how much we’re willing to sacrifice and over how long a period we’re willing to make that sacrifice. We can commit over the long haul and in the face of adversity.

Those capacities are all within our power.

Here are the points that T.R. called out:

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