There has been a bit of talk in the press about the relationship between how badly an athlete wants something and their ability to realise it. For example, South Africa’s shock loss to Japan in the Rugby World Cup prompted a number of commentators to refer to the loss as being caused by a lack of desire.
Although the comment sounds right, the accuracy is not. The reason for this is because a person’s desperation to achieve something not only limits their ability to produce it, it undermines it i.e. how badly a person wants something adds no material value to their likelihood of achieving it other than encouraging them to work harder in their preparation. Once we show up, it is all about how well we perform, not how desperate we are.
In other words, how desperate you are bears no relationship to how successful you will be. Rather it is who you are that will determine what you experience.
For this reason, we are better to think about how ‘assertive’ we are, not how desperate we are. Desperation is a fear-based state that causes a person to react ‘unconsciously’ to what’s going on around them. Winners on the other hand are clear about what they need to do and as a result, act in a highly conscious and deliberate way to produce the outcomes they are after.
If you want to improve the outcomes you or your team deliver, be clear about what you need to be to operate at the level required to achieve them. It is by being clear, that we will create the confidence to act assertively rather than to react aggressively.
Make no mistake, the fundamental difference between the world’s best and the rest is that they think differently about who they are and what they can do. They aren’t desperate. They are focused. They back themselves and their ability to do what they need to do whereas in comparison, the desperate are out of control and as a consequence, position themselves out of the game i.e. they might try hard but when they’ve got no other way of approaching the task, we can see why they become desperate.
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