Many of the strategies employed in competitive and recreational sports are applicable in business and our personal lives. One lesson I learned from alpine ski racing was the “40-30-30 Rule.” During training, early on, I tried to go fast, and I also focused on not falling. On a ride up the ski lift, my coach told me I was missing the point. He explained that success in ski racing, or most sports for that matter, was only 40% physical training. The other 60% was mental. And of that, the first 30% was technical skill and experience. The second 30% was the willingness to take risks.
With ski racing, specifically, that meant taking the risk of leaning harder into turns, balancing at a steeper angle to the slope, and placing greater pressure on the outside ski edge – all of which increased the chance of falling. My coach explained, though, that if I wasn’t falling at least once a day in training, I wasn’t trying hard enough. Indeed, to improve at anything, we must at some point push ourselves outside our comfort zone. Body builders call it the “pain period.” Only by trying something new, struggling, learning, and then trying again do we improve our performance. It’s a simple matter of acclimating to unchartered territory.
To improve at anything, we must at some point push ourselves outside our comfort zone.