Have you noticed the trajectory of your income, your free time and energy slowly flattening out or maybe even declining?
Does it feel like you’ve got less time for friends, family, fitness and fun?
If it feels like getting things like, earning a living, saving for retirement and paying the bills are taking more time, effort and energy it’s likely because they are -- and here’s why.
Things are getting harder for most of the population because we’re now competing with “superhumans” and it’s likely that you are too.
The good news is that superhuman levels of performance are accessible to anyone who needs them. Really, the only barrier is realizing that you do.
Here’s What Happened:
A while back, I was flown out to Wall Street to speak to several groups of financial professionals. It was my intent to do my thing and deliver some game-changing performance knowledge—formulas for success, new mindsets, paradigms, mental toughness. You know, the stuff people can actually use.
But, as I was entering Manhattan, crossing over the Manhattan bridge in the back of a blacked out Suburban, something flooded my brain. I think it was a bit of the "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” spirit that New York City exudes, mixing with a faint memory of SEAL training that I was indulging myself in as I looked over the textured waters of the Hudson.
Whatever it was, I knew my days of just telling SEAL stories about superhuman performance was over. It was time to teach others how to perform at those levels themselves—not just because I got a wild hair all of a sudden, but because I had realized that if those I work with were to survive and thrive in this new world, they’d have no choice but to elevate, to level up, so to speak.
You see, while I was prepping for the talk, I had come across a book titled Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, The Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way we Live and Work, by Steven Kotler. This was the first time I’d ever read an outsider’s recognition of the ability to repurpose the performance principles of the SEAL teams for life and business.
The book describes how SEALs tap into an altered state of consciousness to do what they do—what Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a “state of flow” in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, a book that I’ve had sitting by my side for several years now.
It also describes our brotherhood and what it looks like when we begin to tap into things like “group flow” and “group genius.” The author reported on what he’d been able to glimpse while observing us in training and in action. It was fun to read that others were starting to get a small notion of some of the things that allow small numbers of SEALs to dominate entire battlefields.
At first, I was a bit worried. I mean, this had been my secret sauce for years, and now it’s out in the public?
But as I kept reading, I realized that although others are starting to recognize the altered states of consciousness, refined operating procedures and our tribal culture of violent execution, they were still no where close to being able to replicate it in others. At least not within the private sector en masse.
In other words, it seemed like the author was able to observe the outcomes and contributing factors of superhuman performance, but was unable to identify how the actual components of those altered states can be intentionally and repetitively trained and developed in any situation.
Yes, others knew about the “secret sauce”—could taste it, observe it, write about it—but they didn’t truly understand the ingredients or the recipe required to deliver it to others.
I was stoked to realize that my secret was still safe, but it was in the back of that Suburban that I realized I was going to have to give it up, because it was clear to me that people were starting to stumble upon these heightened levels of performance. These high performers were beginning to show up enough that they’re now affecting the way we all live and work; both personally and professionally.
Why am I Telling You This:
Do you remember a time when superhuman performance was only for guys doing three backflips on their dirt bikes and jumping out of planes without parachutes? About Navy SEALs killing Osama Bin Laden? But, what about a stay-at-home mom? An executive? A salesperson? A Doctor, A father? A friend?
Until recently, corporations weren’t trying to tap into it any more than school teachers were. However, things have changed. There are now enough Superhuman performers out there that it’s affecting all walks of life.
The world has become more complex. We’re bombarded with responsibilities and ways of managing them. The outdated formula of going to school, getting good grades, getting a job, and working hard for 30 years is finished. Kaput. It will never work anymore. An individual or even hundreds of individuals “working hard” can’t compete with small teams of people working in coordination with one another, tapping into group genius, operating as superhumans.
To survive and thrive, we must be in constant invention of new and more effective ways of building and maintaining our capacity. Our roles and responsibilities will no longer remain stagnant for decades at a time. They’ll continue to evolve and change, and if you don’t get good, really good, at getting good at things, then you won’t be able to keep up.
Some of you are already feeling this, even now as you read this paper. Schedules are tightening rather than loosening. The more money you make, the more you spend. Muscles are atrophying. Energy is waning.
So, why are you working harder and harder just to keep up? Why does life seem to be getting busier and more demanding?
It’s because there’s a new standard of performance out there that you’re competing against, whether you realize it or not.
Now that you know, it’s time to up your game. It’s time to recapture lost time, money, and energy. It’s time to do things better, faster, and bigger, with less effort. It’s time to get after life on a superhuman level.