The 7 Most Effective Skills For Success in Sports and Life, No One is Talking About


Every athlete, whether you are a professional or amateur, shares the same problem: the desire for success and results.


You’ve tried everything pop culture has said would lead you to overnight success. But, instead you get results that don’t reflect your effort, which leads to a cluster of bunches of stale oats. At that point, nothing can take the bad taste out of your mouth. But, that is where in lies the problem. You give up in your prime, when you’re on the brink of result. And later, your heart will be broken or grieving the loss of that something that once gave you a feeling nothing else in your life could.


As cute as pop culture is, pop culture does not have your back. It’s trendy with empty promises. Even the entertainment of it all, gets old. Except when there is a whole lot of heart and soul.


Heart and soul.


Results is just really a catch all term for anything really. If you think about it, “results” is nothing more than a word that has no true significance until you give it meaning. What is it that you want? What is “success?” And not all “success” is waited the same. And not all “success” is the same for each person. And not all “success,” has the bread and butter of heart and soul.

Not all successes are created equal folks. They just aren’t. There is just something about that heart and soul.


I personally think, that is the issue with our society right now. Not enough of us are accessing our heart and soul. Statistically speaking, every year, more Americans experience anxiety and depression in shockingly high numbers. (I’ve experienced both!) But, no seriously, according to science, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. And that is serious. First of all, anxiety disorders are highly treatable! I can attest to that. In my humblest of opinions (you don’t need to share this opinion- hence why it’s my opinion), so many people suffer from anxiety disorders because empty promises are soul damaging.


I haven’t even yet touched the most important thing here though, and that’s “happiness.” Statistically, less Americans are happier than they are anxious. So, we can’t even assume the other non-anxious Americans are happier than the anxious ones.


Roughly only 14% of Americans consider themselves happy. Insanity. What are we doing to make us so unhappy? Chasing after empty promises of results/success. When you’re not living for success that has heart and soul…everything is impacted, including the quality of your life/performance/health. Empty promises breed anxiety. Success/results with heart and soul breed happiness.


But it’s not your fault. You can’t blame yourself. The blame game is not worth your time.Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.


Yes. That is right. If only 14% of Americans consider themselves happy, clearly we are not learning how to be happy. (Where does that leave the other 86% of us? Unhappy?) Happiness is a skill. As is unhappiness. There are skills involved in achieving a certain feeling. You have to implement a certain behavior or thought to activate the bio-chemical reaction in your body that would achieve the feeling of happiness. So, are you happy? Are you an overall optimistic person?


How does happiness have anything to do with success/results? EVERYTHING. It’s the most important question, because it’s the crux to your talent, success, and results.


The science behind the umbrella of “happiness” is powerful. (“Happiness” in air quotes to also capture the ideas of optimism and joy). It’s not going to just be enough for me to tell you to be happy. And voila, you’ve solved your problems. But, the science has clearly linked our performance levels with our happiness levels.


Here are 7 of highly effective scientifically proven strategies to help enhance your performance and get results.

  1. The Optimism Effect: Martin Seligman, Ph.D. popularized the movement of psychology into researching ideas related to happiness. In one of his studies, he screened 15,000 newly hired salespeople at MetLife over a three years, using a test he developed to measure optimism. The salespeople who scored in the top 10% for optimism, performed 88% better in sales than the reps in the top 10% for pessimism. This wasn’t a one time thing though, this also was true across other professions. Overall, what they found in their studies is that optimistic people perform an impressive 20 to 40% better than their pessimistic counterparts. Sign me up!!

  2. Go Long Term: We all love Target, no? It’s not hard to leave Target with more than you needed. But, we also all know that the longevity of certain items is purely for our short-term bliss. However, if we are chasing after something highly demanding, trendy is not going to help you sustain you through the journey. When something is highly demanding, it requires you to make the sacrifices that go against short term happiness. And that means, resisting temptation for the short-term trendy fix. When you make something so important that you sacrifice a certain amount of happiness for it, that is when you will see optimal results and extraordinary living, because you’re trading in short term happiness for opportunities in obtaining growth, awakening, meaning, unique experiences, and results.

  3. Prioritize Your Dream, Not First Place: My favorite line from the movie, Pretty Woman, “What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ — this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin.” Having a dream/a vision is key to happiness. Remember not all successes are created equal, but the ones that have heart and soul are most memorable. Emphasize the journey and you will get through all the challenges that are inevitable with pursuing goals.

  4. Turn Up “Your” Volume. The other big thing is that you must prioritize your voice over others. Everyone is going to have an opinion. And perhaps they’re all valid opinions. But they, being “everyone,” are not you. And you have a unique signature, that you must listen to. Ultimately at the end of the day this is easier said than done. Why? Because it’s become so ingrained in us since we were little that people’s opinions matter. But… technically that’s false. This isn’t just about critiquing you, but also about when you receive praise. Every time you give someone the power to build you up, you simlutaneously then give away your power. And every time you give someone the power to critique you and pull you down, you give away your power. The question is how do you do this without turning into an unsocial person: Practice receiving criticism and praise with curiosity, just simply as information for your toolbox.

  5. Fuel Your Soul. If you want to become extraordinary you also have to make your dream something that you live for. It doesn’t mean giving up the job or not paying your bills. It means fueling your soul with your calling, so you become ready for the opportunities that will lead in their learning literally feel like magic. Read some Simon Sinekfor more of this.

  6. Be Happier, Be Smarter. There was a study done at Northwestern University that showed that you can set up your performance by strategically shifting yourself into a positive mood. In this study, they found that people who have a positive outlook, have enhanced decision making skills and emotional control. All super important when performing under pressure in competition. Those who were negative showed little to no activity in this brain region. What does that mean? Under pressure, if you’re happy or optimistic, you will make better decisions, perform better, and get results. Basically, do whatever it takes to have a moment where you crack a smile.

  7. Gosh Darn It Stop Being So Polite. Avoid unhappy people. Another study, found that who you surround yourself with matters. Next time you’re around someone that’s pulling you down, just make up an excuse and walk away. It can be as simple as saying you have to take a car or run to the restroom. By doing this you are strategically protecting your brain, your performance, and your mood. I don’t know about you, but when I am in competition or training, I want to prime myself for success.

Don’t be fooled, these aren’t quick fixes. They deepen that heart and soul journey of yours. Because when you are happy, you are letting your heart guide you. Depression, anxiety, and other ailments I believe are signs that you are not. Science has found that your heart has intelligence, but for some reason we learn to cut it off and build walls to “protect” it. But, in so doing, we neglect it. And that impacts our performance, success, and results.


If science has found that optimism changes the structure of your brain, then I can’t imagine this wouldn’t be the case for your heart too. I won’t bore you with the structural changes. But, you need to know that optimism reduces stress levels by dropping the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that makes us happy, motivated, innovative, and gives us the courage to take risks. It also protects us against anxiety, depression, and getting physically sick. It’s not about faking a smile.


Success is about cultivating YOUR heart/soul journey. Not following trends. A life story, that is your signature, where ultimately everything is always working out in your favor.


For more, please follow me and check out my website drpernillanathan.com for more.

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