There is no one-fit-all way to become successful. There are skills and attributes that high performers in all fields share, but their individual journey on the fearless path are all as unique as them. What every individual has to do to become successful whether in sport, business, or life in general is being able to do his or her own research.

One of the pitfalls of so many seeking high performance is that when they perceive an effect, whether good or bad, they attribute it to the wrong cause. They find the easiest explanation, or the most apparent but they do not see the truth. They do not do what Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius once instructed:

“See facts as they really are, distinguishing their matter, cause, relation.”

More important than seeing the effects our performance has on our life, is to see the cause of those effects. This requires research, not in a lab or with statistical procedures, but rather a self-introspection on a daily basis.

How do we do research on our own lives? The Cognitive Structured Journal designed by Dr. Manning gives a perfect platform for doing daily self-research. In the journal we set an objective and three plans. Then we go through the day executing our plans in the hope that it will lead us closer to our objective. At the end of the day we list (at least) three personal strengths we noticed in ourselves over the day as we worked though our plan. Then we identify one area we can work on to improve. We word the area we want to improve as an action item (a plan) and then plug it into one of our three plans for the next day. In this procedure we are identifying what is helping us reach our goals (our strengths), and then in an approach-oriented way take something that isn’t up to par and commit to improve it. Over time we will be able to see patterns and finding what causes (either strengths or weaknesses) are leading to specific effects (objectives) in our lives.

There is a reason that we want to record three strengths to every one weakness. Research has shown that when we learn to focus and leverage our strengths development is much faster than if we place our energy into our weaknesses. This is not sugar-coating our situations. Remember, we want to see things as they really are, and that includes taking responsibility of what we do well. From childhood we are conditioned to think about negatives, about what we are doing wrong, instead of what we are doing right. This conditioning warps our perspective, and to see the facts as they really are we need to reframe our mindset and focus on the positive.

The benefits of identifying the true causes of effects is not only informative but infinitely practical. We can place precious time and resources into those aspects of our performance or business that yield the best results. The difference between those that continue to grow and succeed and those that end up becoming only one-hit-wonders is knowing “facts as they really are” and seeing the causes we want to replicate to get the effects we want to duplicate. There is no on-fit-all answer on the fearless path. To become high performing we all need to do our own research.


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