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You’re Doing the Best You Can

Does the title seem a bit outrageous, particularly when you observe sub-par performance from someone you expect more from? That someone may be you or a person you work or live with. Rather than moving into judgment, let’s examine why everyone is doing the best they can. Perhaps you will be kinder to yourself and others after understanding the underlying neuroscience principles of performance excellence. These insights improve relationships by suspending judgment and raise the bar for other areas you want to improve.

Think about something you recently did poorly but with which you have a good track record. Were you calm or in a stressed state? Was the physical environment right? Were you thinking too much about the activity rather than trusting your instincts and training? Were you worried or experiencing pain? Your physical environment and brain-body state has significant impact on performance. This applies to doing something you are good at or learning something entirely new. “State” is the first part of understanding why people are doing the best they can. The other part is “resources.”

Resources are your skill sets, knowledge and physical equipment. People can be considered “resources” when they are an integral part of the activity in which you are engaged. Let’s take tennis as an example. Are the racquet, clothing and shoes comfortable and in good working order? Have you researched your opponent and developed your game plan? Do you have the skills and stamina to execute the shots and moves? Are your friends and coach present to support and cheer you on to victory? If not, your resources may be inadequate to get the outcomes you want.

State-of-mind and resources work hand-in-hand to achieve performance excellence. If one or both are lacking and not working together, performance will suffer. When you experience yourself or others performing poorly in relationships, work and life choices, think about the “state-resources connection” to suspend judgment and understand the dynamics of what’s going on.

You can increase your performance in any activity by utilizing the neuroscience principles of state and resources. Pilots use pre-flight checklists to gain awareness of their state and resources. This includes how they and their crew are feeling, as well as their equipment, aircraft environment, flight plan, weather conditions and other factors. Develop your own checklist for the activities you want to improve. Consider both “state” and “resources” as you create and use your lists for practice and performance. Integrating these two elements will get your brain and body connected and engaged to achieve performance excellence.

Self awareness and mastery of your sensory and cognitive thinking pathway strengths is essential to experience performance excellence. You must know how your brain is wired and what makes you tick to build knowledge, competencies and skills; then each and every time you do something you can say ” I am doing the best I can” and, “next time it will be even better.”

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2 comments on “You’re Doing the Best You Can

  1. 2zpoint
    November 1, 2010

    Some times I forget these thing and this is a great reminder. One of the hardest things to do for me is to work on something and not be frustrated by poor performance when my expectations are higher than my preparedness. I also am perhaps too short-sided when it comes to my expectations of others. Thank you for these reminders. Take care.

    • brainpathways
      November 1, 2010

      Hello 2zpoint. I write on these subjects because I too am learning these lessons of life. Its been said that teaching is the highest form of learning. Thank you for your comments and insights. Be easier on yourself; you are doing the best you can. Now you and I know it!


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