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Get Calm and Focused for Peak Performance

Soaring EagleGetting and staying calm is foundational to achieving peak performance. Even if you have formidable experience and competencies, negative moods and distractions will hamper your performance. Fear and anxiety, arising from faulty beliefs/assumptions and perceived problems, create immense barriers and obstacles.

Peak experiences of self-actualization were elegantly described by Abraham Maslow, prominent American psychologist, best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Simple and easy practical neuroscience methods presented in this article are aligned and congruent with Abraham Maslow’s seminal work. These methods will help you get calm and focused for peak performance in anything you want to do; examples include public speaking, connecting with people you care about, solving vexing problems, and hobbies you are passionate about.

What is Peak Performance?
“Being the best you can be” is a relative phrase; it recognizes that we are all works in progress, forever taking in and processing information, and applying the best of what we know to improve our quality of life.  The power of neuroplasticity gifts us with the ability to learn, change, and improve. Continuous learning and improvement is available to anyone who believes in their brainpower and the connectivity of their mind and caring nature.

Shifting focus from “myself” to a dynamic balance of “me and others” is a tipping point, capable of elevating us to extraordinary heights. When you expand your thinking to include others, your internal mood state and expanded vista create high road behaviors and outcomes that benefit all parties. The shift is from “me, me, wonderful me” to “wonderful we.” When others are in your equation for peak performance, your internal mechanism affects external dynamics, creating the scenario for self-actualization outcomes that bring out the best in everyone involved. Peak performance becomes more fun, fulfilling, and self-perpetuating.

How to Get Calm and Focused for Peak Performance
1.Preflight check: Think of yourself as the pilot of your life. Before you engage with life activities, check your physical condition; if you are in pain or in a life or death situation, take immediate care of these foundational needs. If you are experiencing fear, anxiety, or depression, or you are worrying about something, it’s best to self-administer “emergency first aid” before engaging with life activities; otherwise you are likely to make mistakes and experience more stress/distress and sub-par performance.

2.Emergency First Aid: What you feel may not be as serious as you think, although it may seem so. You can gain mastery over your negative moods by first doing some deep breathing, movement, and exercise to oxygenate your brain; this helps clear the fog, so you can think more clearly. Music and art take you up into your brain’s penthouse, where negative emotions cannot reach you. Music is a magic elixir–consider listening to classical music that makes you feel calm and peaceful. Look at inspiring art or a nature scene that shifts your mood state to a neutral or higher place. The calm and resourceful parts of your brain are attracted to music, art, and nature.

3.Be Kind to Yourself and Others: This phrase augments the traditional Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember that you are not alone; everyone is trying to be the best they can be, although it may not seem that way to you. Everyone has myriad and unknown things going on, and it’s impossible to be aware of the particulars. Condemning, judging, attacking, and defending cause pain and fear; kindness to oneself and others is a universal remedy.

4.Focus on Your Passions: How can you possibly enjoy and excel at something you lack passion for? Your brain only engages with what provides value and pleasing outcomes. Remember to check in with your heart, that’s who your brain should be reporting to. The operative question is, “what gives you joy and energy?” Close your eyes and ask yourself this and related questions. Remain still and calm and you will get the insights and answers you are looking for.

In summary, peak performance is an “inside job” and a never-ending journey of exploration, discovery, and peak experiences. You can get calm and focused through oxygenation of your brain, appreciation of music, nature, and art, and focusing on what gives you joy, energy, and fulfillment. You cannot fail to achieve continuing peak experiences with what you are passionate about. Combining the power of your brain and heart guarantees performance excellence as a predictable daily experience.

Author Message:
You may not be aware that our organization is a trusted and respected source of reliable practical neuroscience solutions for personal and organizational development.  We have been creating and delivering brain-based human development solutions, since 1992. The message that follows directs you to a quick, easy, and low cost solution you may be searching for.

Did you find the 4-steps to get calm and focused for peak performance helpful? If so, the next step to elevate your performance to even higher levels, is discovering how your brain is wired for success and how to leverage your strengths in all areas of your life. Your personalized Brain PathWays report gives you practical neuroscience tools, based on your brain strengths to “be the best you can be.” The on-line process takes less than 15 minutes, the results last a life time. Click to purchase your Brain PathWays online self-assessment and download your report today.


3 comments on “Get Calm and Focused for Peak Performance

  1. student
    April 12, 2016

    I’ve studied self-actualization need by Maslow. It’s actually connected with the peak performance. Peak experiences go hand in hand with the self-performance. That’s true. I like the way you suggest that we should be kind to ourselves. Thanks.
    Linda R – student of Oklahoma University

  2. art marr
    June 8, 2019

    Why staying calm IS foundational to peak experiences

    Presented for your consideration is the first explanation of flow states, which are the hallmark of positive or ‘peak’ experiences, from the perspective of affective neuroscience. The explanation is simple, and its procedural proof is even simpler, and can be demonstrated in minutes. Both are derived from a little book on the neuro-psychology of resting states. The expanded explanation of flow is on pp. 82-86, and its procedural ‘proof’ is on pp. 51-52. My book is based on the research of the distinguished affective neuro-scientist Kent Berridge of the University of Michigan, who was kind to vet the book for accuracy and endorse the finished work.

    A summary of my hypothesis is below.

    In affective neuroscience, it is a truism that dopamine systems, which mediate attentive arousal, are activated by continuous positive act-outcome discrepancy, when from moment to moment behavior is adjusted to match the positive surprises or discrepancies from what has been expected. Discrepancy theories of motivation describe how disparate activities such as gambling, creativity, and meaningful behavior all elicit dopaminergic activity, which fixes attention, promotes learning, and motivates behavior, but is felt as arousal, not pleasure.

    Pleasure on the other hand is mediated by opioid systems that are activated not only by physical pleasures (eating, drinking, sex), but also by neuro-muscular inactivity. To wit, muscular relaxation induces opioid release (which is why it feels good to be relaxed) which is also suppressed by muscular tension.

    Because the nuclei or nerve cells for dopamine and opioid systems are located proximally in the brain, and can mutually activate each other, it follows logically that any informative contingencies which simultaneously elicit both relaxation and attentive arousal will accentuate both dopamine and opioid activity and will be felt as a state of heightened arousal and pleasure, or as an ecstatic state or peak experience.

    This is the logic behind so called ‘flow’ states, which are states of pleasurable arousal that demonstrably map to positive act-outcome discrepancy and covert muscular inactivity or relaxation. My hypothesis has the virtue of simplicity and is also easily refutable. No need for between group designs or brain scans, it simply works. But again, if it doesn’t than the hypothesis is false, and it pays not to quit your day job. (My day job is as a marketing manager for a New Orleans tech firm. I am academically trained in behavioral psychology, but academia I fear was never to my taste.)

    Delighted for your any criticisms of comments.


    Art Marr

    • brainpathways
      June 18, 2019

      Greetings Art,

      Thanks for reaching out with such robust, sage and great information and insights. I’m very impressed.

      If you would like to have a chat by phone, let me know how to contact you and some good times. Please use

      Best and kindest regards,

      Stephen Hager
      The Hadron Group
      Creators of brain based human development systems and solutions since 1992

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