Habitually Excellent – 3 Steps to becoming an effective person

Traditionally, when people aim to make positive changes in their lives they will throw themselves into guides such as “Become successful in 30 minutes!” Or “My secret to becoming an overnight millionaire!” But the long-term goals involved in such guides are perpetually vague and provide little in the way of short-term, moment to moment answers in your current role. That’s where being effective as a person can produce real results. At Quanta we wanted to write about this and saw a golden opportunity to make the following examples more relatable – the rugby world cup! The pitches in Japan are literally packed with supremely effective people as we speak! We can guarantee that the professionals representing their countries have formed habits that are converted into the skills, knowledge and desire to be the best at what they do. Here are some examples of 3 types of habits that will certainly transform your effectiveness as a person.

Focus

Keep your eyes on the prize! There are four years separating each world cup, and players at the pinnacle of their careers can’t afford to let their training intensity drop in that time. They know that they have one chance to represent their country before it is gone again for four years – and in such a fiercely competitive sport like Rugby there are no guarantees that anyone will be chosen.  

The average adult makes 35,000 choices every day, which implies that not every decision is life or death – so it pays to know what the object of your focus should be. It’s theorised that there are three layers of things that you can focus on. As a rugby player you could more simply break them down. The player on the pitch has an immediate circle of control – they need the tackle the player in front of them, or perhaps jump that extra inch higher to reach the ball at a crucial lineout. Outside of that immediate circle of control lies their influence. Speaking supportive words to teammates or inspiring them to perform better through positive relationships is not something that the player can personally control, but therein lies a degree of sway over how others react. The final circle of focus is that of concern. The player on the field can’t do anything about how other teams in the group stage perform even if it directly affects their team – all the players can do is their best at playing what’s in front of them. Understanding what you can and cannot change refines your focus and goes a step towards removing anxieties.

Collaborate

Working together makes the dream work. The dream is facilitated by listening. Listening with empathy creates a “win-win” situation for everyone involved. Well, unless you think about it in terms of rugby metaphors – then the opposition would certainly be the one to lose in the face of superior teamwork.

On average, people spend around 75% of their day engaged in some form of communication, be it written or verbal. Beyond that, approximately 55% of our working day listening to others. It’s interesting to know that there are four layers of listening: Pretending, selective, attentive and empathetic. “Selective” listening in particular would only be useful on the Rugby field when listening to the crowd, because no one wants to hear what the opposition fans have to spout! “Attentive” listening, however, would be a worthwhile exercise if you’re the away team. Cutting through the noise of the crowd to listen to travelling fans can be the confidence boost you need. But when conversing with team members there is one excellent way to achieve top-tier collaborative effectiveness; active, empathetic listening is the key.

Acquiring and acting on this information is indicative of a growth mindset. The short summary of this concept is that people with a growth mindset believe that efforts and attitudes determine performance, rather than being content to rely on fixed individual ability.

Improve every day

This is where the previously mentioned growth mindset really comes into play. As a rugby player will need to maintain fitness or risk becoming a less potent matchday choice, you can’t let these habits become nullified over time. For a competition such as the rugby world cup, the later matches at the end of six weeks can become battles of attrition for teams with players lacking long-term commitments to consistent growth. Efforts diminish more easily than you would think, which is why there are four distinct considerations to remember when maintaining effectiveness, contextualised through rugby:

Physical – Players focus on full recovery between matches, finding a proper balance between rest and training. You might meet these needs through activities such as cycling to work, and subsequently giving yourself the appropriate rest.

Mental – The rugby boys watch match footage and learn from mistakes. For those of us without cameras on us at all times, we can treat our mind well by reading, learning, writing or teaching.

Social/Emotional – Forming bonds with teammates as well as maintaining other relationships such as family back home is vitally important for players. As a spectator we can catch up with friends over a pint while watching the world cup!

Spiritual – For many teams a connection with music or pre-match ritual is vital to performance. For us it’s less socially acceptable to do the Haka in public, so we’ll have to settle for engaging with music or helping others instead.

Whilst not all of us have the ability (or even the desire) to be professional rugby players, we can all learn from the drive and effectiveness that players at the world cup exhibit. These lessons can help us every day, at the office and at home. However, this is all merely scratching the surface. Habits of an effective person are huge in range and equally broad in opportunities. If you want to find out more about how you can learn valuable habits, then call Quanta Training today! Together we can get over the try line.

 

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