Updated: Aug 23, 2021
As a professional in the sports industry for the best part of 20 years, I feel somewhat qualified to talk about performance. In a pure sporting contest, performance is quite easy to measure; we can keep stats, look at the score and consider all the inputs and outputs. Everything works within very clear parameters, rules and guidelines, so we understand and prepare to perform within a clear and very specific context.
The coaches and players more or less know what rules they are playing by, so they know what to expect going in and they prepare to perform in that environment, looking at making improvements to eventually achieve the results they set out to achieve. In essence, we are given all the rules and the boundaries and we accept them, or we don't play.
I once suggested that sport could be a metaphor for life and a colleague of mine at the time, a very successful international coach; pointed out that sport was not a metaphor for life, but it was life, a part of life and on reflection, I think he was right.
So what then do we make of human performance? What does it mean, how do we measure it, what rules do we play by, and how is success defined? This is where we allow the lines to get blurred and things become ambiguous. In the age of ‘anything goes’; there is no ‘right and wrong’ and ‘do whatever makes you happy’; its no wonder we feel a little lost or misguided. We don’t seem to belong anywhere, we don’t know who our team is and we don’t even know who the opponents are.
So then, how do you measure success? What is this field you are playing on; and by whose rules do you play by? What are you trying to achieve and why? Without taking the time to define your human context and understand what fundamentally drives you; then you'll just spend a lifetime going in circles aimlessly chasing the ball.
How do you think the game should be played?