When I was competing as a Rally Driver, my co-driver and I would finish a stage and drive back to the service area to get the car checked and ready for the next stage. There we’d be shoved a results sheet through the window.

I remember how I would sit and stare at the stage results – scanning for clues. I needed to know – How did they get that time – what did they do – how can I do what they do? I wanted – needed – to find the edge and beat them all.

My obsession with finding ‘the edge’ has lasted – so far – 30 years. My relentless curiosity to understand what makes some people succeed and some people not, has never left me…..and I have discovered a lot.

So what does set the top performers apart from the rest?

One thing I am certain about is that what makes the difference is not talent – research shows that talent accounts for 30% of achievement,

It is attitude, approach and mindset that make the most difference this plays the most important role. Thats good news, because we can all change and improve our attitude, approach and mindset!

It’s the mentally tough that prosper in this world.

Mental Toughness is not about being macho. It is not a masculine aggressive notion. Some of quietest and mildest people have incredible mental strength.

Mental Toughness is all about the ability to deal with challenge, setback, demanding opportunities and life’s “grotty” bits.

It is all about taking life, and all it chucks at you – in your stride- not being derailed by stress pressure and problems. And it is especially about being positive about dealing with the challenges that life chucks at us all on a daily basis.

Mental Toughness is not about winning at all costs. It’s more about being the ‘best you can be’  or achieving your own Personal Best. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin. What a shame it would be, if you went through life never knowing what you were capable of!

The more resilience, grit, emotional control, confidence and courage we have, the more likely we are to succeed and live the happiest life.

SO…Building experience, skill and knowledge are all important . Doing stuff ‘when the challenge exceeds your skill’ improves performance-  when your deliberate, purposeful practice stretches you a little more every day.

Just take a look behind the scenes of any elite sports person and its a bit dull to be honest. Swimmers, tennis players, ice skaters, ballet dancers, footballers… they achieve ‘mastery’ through the aggregation of a series of mundane acts. Those mundane acts stretch their skill every time, and after a while the repetition has created a new way skill, it becomes part of their life – a habit –    

It’s quite simple really!

They continually repeat actions for thousands of hours. And when they fail or fall, they pick themselves up and go again. Most people aren’t up for that kind of relentless deliberate practice – they give up.

Add into the hours of repetition and you’ll see that they experiment, take risks, innovate and try any new idea to achieve any marginal gain. Some things work, some things don’t. But they are not deterred by things that don’t go their way – they look elsewhere for new ideas and keep going. They are relentless in the pursuit of their goal.

Top performers in business and sport have a mindset and attitude that sets them apart form the rest. They have a level of passion and resilience that is astounding; they simply won’t be beaten.

When ability and attitude meet and life gets very exciting!

When you know what you are trying achieve – your goal is clear -you have a really clear understanding of where you are heading, and why, then

  • Decisions get simpler
  • Answers become clearer
  • Tough things get easier to deal with
  • Easier to stick at stuff

Sounds good doesn’t it!