Our mind and body have various comfort zones. These mental comfort zones range from speaking in public in front of a thousand people, to only ever saying that snappy comeback later that evening in the shower and never to that jerk’s face. These comfort zones include things like racing down the highway at 65mph with only a yellow line separating yourself from a head on collision, and they even include things like how confident you are throwing that apple core into the trash can at 10 feet. These comfort zones dictate our “mental” actions and they even dictate our performance in the physical world – like in shooting.
Some people feel comfortable with a 2 second draw from concealment, some are comfortable with a 0.9 second draw from concealment. These comfort zones create normal performances. They keep us doing the same draw at the same speed – until we push ourselves to get out of our comfort zones and push for that next par time.
Pushing our comfort zone
This is how we get better in the short term – pushing outside of our comfort zone. But without creating a new normal, we will eventually fall right back into our old comfort zone. We push our normal forward and get better in the long term by normalizing that new level of performance.
The obvious question becomes – how do we create that new normal? How do we normalize greatness?
We normalize greatness by create subconscious competence and boosting our self image – the combination of these two pushes our comfort zone forward, creating a new normal.
What level of performance is “like you?” What performance metrics to you consistently put out? What kind of performance on a drill are you confident in executing? (Side note: this is why measuring performance is critical to pushing to the next level)
Step 1: Mental rehearsal
Next time you set up to work on a particular skill or drill, shave a tenth of a second off of your normal. Do what it takes to beat that new time. Push yourself to accomplish one thing sooner – be it hand on the gun, sights on target, gun in the mag well. Pick one component of the drill and focus on completing that step faster.
When you beat the new par time – reinforce the success. Reinforce the success by telling yourself “this is like me, this is my normal.”
Mentally re-rehearse exactly what you just did. The more detail in the rehearsal, the better. Feel the tension in your arms. See what you are supposed to see down to the exact sight alignment.
This mental rehearsal is another repetition of the drill – but it is a perfect repetition. This increases the amount of perfect reps you get and really tells your mind this is what you want to do. These extra repetitions push your skills and performance levels into subconscious competence.
Step 2: Revel in success – ignore the mistakes
In order for you to truly embrace the new normal, you have to truly believe this new level of success is the new normal. That new comfort zone will never be established by constantly focusing on mistakes.
The more you dwell on a mistake – the more you are rehearsing the mistake. You are effectively running repeated drills of that mistake. So stop dwelling on the mistake and focus on the successes. I guarantee you there are plenty of successes to focus on. Stop running a drill correctly 9 times out of 10 and obsessing over the 1 mistake. Focus on the 90% success rate.
Focus on the successful drills. Mentally run and re run the drill – create that constant positive feedback loop of the correct method. The more you ooze positivity, the more you build yourself up, the more confidence you create. The more confidence you have, the greater consistency you will have. Simple positive reinforcement pushes your comfort zone foreword and creates a new normal.
These two very simple steps are a very effective combo – they push your your “normal” – your “comfort zone” – to the next level, and ensure this new normal sticks around.
This is how you normalize greatness.