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Friday, May 24, 2013

Mario Andretti's Quote on High Performance


“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”Mario Andretti
According to Andretti, the thing many people crave impedes progress. In a world where we are obsessed with making everything predictable and controllable, we miss the possibility of
extraordinary performance.
In business, we have personality analyses, 360 assessments, market research and political correctness. It’s all designed to allow for control and predictability. Without it, there is fear of anarchy.
With control mechanisms, we are able to wrap our lives in beautiful boxes tied with exquisite ribbons. From Andretti’s perspective, it happens at a huge cost. We miss out on the thrill of functioning at our absolute best. As we increase the amount of mechanisms to avoid the fear of unpredictability, we eventually experience the opposite. We crave control out of fear. Perhaps we fear how we will handle ourselves when things are beyond our control. Yet, as each event in our lives becomes more predictable, we lose our ability to manage one of life’s natural occurrences – chaos.
Those who manage chaos best become the sought after leaders. Why? They seem to be able to bring order from chaos. Perhaps they figured out that it is more valuable to dance with chaos rather than avoid it. Like the professional racecar driver, the goal is to dance with high speed. If you are in control of the vehicle, you are going to slow. The one who drives fastest throughout the race wins. 
Therefore, in reality, control is the enemy. Perhaps it is even a myth. Most of us cannot control what we think. We have fleeting thoughts that seem to come from nowhere. Furthermore, when our significant other, relatives or coworkers do something we dislike, we lose control emotionally. And we justify is by saying that is just what it means to be human.
Perhaps it is time we become responsible human beings and collectively decide what it means to be human. Besides, I have no idea who made up the rules for what it means to be human. What if the paradigm we live in is erroneous? No one really questions it.  We simply agree to it. What if to be human means you are powerful in the face of chaos? What new mental models would we have to create to be that kind of human being? Perhaps high performing athletes who produce extraordinary results possess that kind of mindset.
For years, we have been told what it means to be human. Maybe it is time to let go of what we believe it means to be human and start to invent what it means. We may find out that it is natural for people to be comfortable and effective in chaos. More importantly, we may find that in chaos we have the best chance of being all that we can be. Then we would know what it means to go fast enough.

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