Nothing kills confidence more than waiting to feel confident to do something.

You will be waiting forever. Attention and Determination is what you need to achieve your goals – no matter how scary they are.

Learning about the power of Attention and Determination made me fall in love with this series about achievement orientation from the First Person Plural podcast. It’s one of my favorite podcasts (after hexdevs, of course ;).

In this post, I’m going to share my takeaways from the episode with Peter Haberl, a Senior sports psychologist. Peter demystifies what it actually takes to perform well and to achieve our goals as driven-oriented people. The episode is entitled “Attention is the Currency of Performance”.

I figured… why not learn tools to be successful and cultivate a more resilient mindset during the process? Who better to teach these tools than an Olympic coach who has trained hundreds of successful athletes?

Let’s dive in.

Confidence is a trap. Attention is the currency of performance.

Peter Haberl starts the discussion by sharing the most common misconception Olympic athletes have about being successful: that confidence is necessary to perform at their best and win the competition.

He disagrees with that statement by saying:

“Something that’s much more precious for the athletes is attention. To me, attention is the currency of performance. So when athletes perform well at the games, what is always present is their ability to be present, to be focused, to be in the moment. And that actually can be done irrespective of what feelings are shown”.

Up until recently, I still believed that I needed to be feeling a certain way to do my best. The problem with this belief is that feelings are not trustworthy.

Pleasant or unpleasant feelings disappear every couple of seconds. The most useful skill I’ve been practicing is self-management: deciding to take action despite how I am feeling.

I would be pushing off the unpleasant feelings while hoping to feel motivated tomorrow. All while beating myself up for not achieving my goals. This was a trap.

To take action despite how I am feeling, first I need to be aware of my internal state.

Now, what to do once I am focused on the present moment? It’s time to cultivate clarity, determination, and resilience.

Clarity, determination, and resilience beat confidence

Instead of being led by our feelings and sensations, we are more resilient and mindful when we take charge of how we feel and act based on our determination and values.

Peter says:

“Confidence is a feeling state. And like all feeling states, they’re very fleeting. And that one’s leading to and at the games may not materialize or may disappear. And when you think that I have to generate the right feelings to be successful, then you’re actually in big trouble. As opposed to can I be in charge of my attention, irrespective of how I feel? And then can I take actions that are perhaps guided by determination and resilience?

Now, after I become aware of my internal state, I reflect on what matters to me:

“Based on what I am feeling at this moment, how can I be in charge of how I feel and act based on my determination? Where do I choose to put my attention? What do I stand for at this moment?”

And there’s nothing else to worry about other than my putting my attention into what matters to me right now, and letting go of what I can’t control.

Sometimes, it means taking a break, petting my cat, laying down, and doing nothing. Other times, it’s setting another Pomodoro session to honor my word.

I’m no longer my slave driver. I’ve been learning how to be my coach; a kind one. To practice resilience and determination. After all, when I achieve a goal, I know the feeling of accomplishment won’t last for too long, just like any other.

What matters is what I choose to focus on now. After all, this is the only thing I can ever control.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I recommend listening to the entire episode and coming to your conclusions. Most of all, you get to experience the joy of living in the present.

If this post helped you in some way, let me know on Twitter :)


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