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Win once with performance, win consistently with preparation

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Win once with performance, win consistently with preparation

Scott Miker

With March Madness in full swing I am always interested to see how everything plays out.  I am not a big basketball fan but it is exciting to see an underdog pull out a victory or the Cinderella team go on and win it all.  

But March Madness is very deceiving.  Suddenly the entire season is disregarded and it all comes down to that very game to decide if the season is going to end for that team.  It seems to focus on the performance alone, yet the team’s preparedness is what will ultimately determine how far they go.  Any team can play one game at a very high level and upset a powerful team.  But how many teams can consistently outperform their opponent to win it all?  But what about success in other sports?


Tim Tebow

I read an interview with Tebow’s newest passing guru, Tom House, who is tasked with correcting issues with his throwing motion and accuracy.  He answered some questions about how he works with Tebow and what his strengths are.  Then he was asked what they are doing differently to make him successful.

House responded “I honestly believe that everybody who was trying to help Tim, everybody who thought they ‘fixed’  him, they probably did temporarily fix him.  But Tim didn’t have enough repetition for it to become autonomic.  When he got into the competitive situation, he fell back to his old habits.”

Changing ingrained habits is very difficult.  The only way to truly change is to devote the time and focus on habitual change.  House says that it is repetition that helps action to become autonomic.  It isn’t the insightful words we hear, it is our actions and behaviors and how we consistently approach something.



There is a lot of talk on sports radio these days about the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight.  Boxing is another example of a sport where onlookers seem to focus solely on the event and not on the process to get there.

Boxers spend months preparing for their fights.  They train and train and focus on areas of weakness that they discovered in their opponents style.  They work for months to solidify habits that will ultimately determine success.  Yet the experts and gurus seem to focus solely on the performance and almost completely ignore the months of preparation.



One sport where the preparation is somewhat highlighted is during the Olympics.  The fact that they come every four years helps to truly understand the training that these young athletes endure.  Yet split seconds determine success or failure during those events.  Years of hard work summed up by a few milliseconds.  

But preparation is the norm in sports.  Despite the excitement around the performance the true champions that make it to the top must rely on preparation and training.  They have to be willing to outwork their opponents and find ways to innovate and grow during practice.  

In our lives we tend to take the performance stance too.  The preparation for a job interview seems less important that the ‘performance’ of the job interview.  People will ask how it went and give you tips for the performance but to truly get better and improve, you will need to take a different approach.  You will have to look at the preparation to determine how you can consistently get better.  

Regardless of what it is you want to succeed at, understand that the performance is not always indicative of the true champion.  But consistently going out and giving a great performance is a direct reflection of the preparation.  By training and solidifying the habits that you will rely on during the performance, you will be able to sustain a level of success that the Cinderella’s in this years March Madness Tournament won’t understand.