The Top 10 Ingredients for High Performance

At Five Rings Training I train athletes and business leaders in how to take their game to the next level. Within that work some of the most rewarding journeys have been those which involved taking beginner sportsmen and women to national and world championship wins, and individuals with a dream to become successful start-ups. 

High Performance is available for everyone, it is not an elite option available to a chosen few. Anyone in any chosen part of their life can decide at any time to increase their performance and capabilities and with the correct guidance and mindset the seemingly impossible can be achieved.

Here are my Top 10 Ingredients to lifting yourself, your life and your capabilities to get your started:

1) Positive Feeding

You simply can't expect any part of you: mind body energy or spirit to be in a good state or function well if you're not going to provide your system with positive food. By that I don't just mean nutritional or healthy, I mean properly programmed for whatever you are undertaking. I get accused of 'eating technically'. Eating technically is what gets you results and it has a strong relationship to directional mindset and emotional state.

2) Directional Mindset

Correct mindset training takes a 3 stage journey of observation and analysis, current application and altering, and future application and growth. If you don't know where you're going you simply can't get there. If you don't have an awareness of where you've been you don't appreciate your route and miss out on the attributes you've naturally picked up along the way. You must understand the present to correctly extrapolate appropriate lessons from the past and usefully apply those in a strategic way to your present position to benefit the future. All this is 'awareness', vital for driving successfully towards your goal. High performance is more than simply making up your mind to be positive and goal orientated: it starts with arming yourself with the twofold vision of clear perception and observant sight. 

3) Self Discipline

You can have all the wants in the world but the most common attribute which sets those who reach their goals apart from those who don't is self discipline. You have to firstly be committed to yourself and secondly be committed to your goals. If your goal is bettering yourself then your increase in performance will be more rapid. Once the route is chosen, and a good coach can help you with this, the goals are set and you move towards those through personal programming as a mechanism for development. Not a short route. Self discipline is needed to go the distance. This is why its easier to reach goals you are passionate about, because passion is a driver and soars you through the grinds of the self discipline needed for results, more easily. Nothing great comes quickly and without dedication so apply yourself, turn your determination into practical action day to day and you are on your way. I was once asked in an interview for a book what the principle quality for success is: To give one answer = True grit. 

4) Emotional Mastery

Being swayed by others is of no use for high level performance. You need to know your own mind, who to listen to and a good coach will keep you on track. We're constantly surrounded with emotional and energetic interference at some level or another and it's important to know when to get your head down and ignore the outside world in order to lay tracks. Be mindful of taking advice from those who haven't walked the walk, keep your friendship group a positive one and don't get deterred by set-backs. As Mohammed Ali brilliantly put it - it's not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out but the pebble in your shoe. Get the pebbles out of your shoe, swiftly, without reacting, and climb on. 
If you've got emotional issues in your own life take the time to work them through. Ignoring them creates blocks which impact later no matter how hard you try to push them down. Journaling, meditating, exercising and talking problems through to understand the lessons in them are all critical for self development and building a stronger awareness of yourself. What you uncover or the processes you use will become tools to help you, and hopefully others, later in your life. 

5) Feeling Good

Rest, exercise, time-out, fresh air, nature and fun, are positive requirements to boost the system. Make time for it. Daily ritual to connect you in to your self, bring your energy back to you and keep your vibration high is vital. Establish what keeps you inspired, motivated and joyful and keep it planned in! 

6) Awareness

Understanding the way of things is something largely ignored in the west as society mostly focuses on the day to day detail of personal issues and life-reacting. Take time to observe nature, patterns, sequences, human trends and you will learn the rhythm of things, understand how events play out and inform yourself to enable you to play a wiser game. 
Observing and listening requires non-action, stillness and patience. To hone these skills switch off the devices at certain times of the day or week to reduce stimuli and interference and give your intuitive abilities and inner composure a fighting chance. 

7) Philosophy

Studying philosophy and applying a philosophical approach to life is a useful mechanism to enable you to sit back and survey without constant emotional reaction. If you can see the bigger picture you can play a longer game. In a modern culture of short attention-spans, the need for immediate gain and personal reward, the individual who can go the distance towards a higher goal with a considered approach to an outcome which benefits others or functions for the greater good, stands out further and will ultimately be a more fulfilled human being. 
Reading how others have questioned, pondered or analyzed aspects of life helps you develop your own viewpoint and set of values. Borrowed cultural thinking is not applicable for high performance, you have to push through to your own truth and use the tools available to you to do that. 

8) Spiritual Quality

Following the heart is the ultimate fuel for success. The more connected you are to your life path the faster the flow towards producing the results you want. 
This comes back to 'knowing' what you want (item 02). Often we can 'think' we know what we want but it's completely off the mark and we wonder why its not happening for us. Connecting to heartspace, finding that which drives you, lifts and inspires you is about giving yourself the freedom to think beyond current limitations, whatever they may be. Think outside the box, dream big and take control. I say this because often people feel powerless to change a situation. It's not about becoming a millionaire over night, it's about identifying what do you truly want in your heart at this time. Give yourself a deadline and do it. 
The heart is the navigator and the connection point between you being both a spiritual being and a physical being, the point where spiritual and physical connect for creation of purpose in this lifetime, so do your best to connect to yours to engage in goals on track with the true You. 

9) Toolbox

A good coach will help equip you with a thorough toolbox packed with the tools you need. These tools should be physical, mental, emotional, communicative, energetic and spiritual daily practice: not just simply goal setting and throwing ego and willpower at it to get it to work. Increasing performance abilities is about nurturing the system at all levels to create sustainable growth and development underpinned with a solid self knowledge and understanding. Like placing bricks in the wall, abilities must be built up over time with patience, focus and determination. 

10) Eye On the Target

Keep focused. "Over, under, sideways or through but never back."
was my personal mantra when training to fight competitively. I ended up applying it to everything. The position of your thinking is categorically the most significant factor to performance. Mantras and affirmations are useful positive linguistic programming which keep you focused towards your target. Thoughts and speech are energetically very powerful so programming them effectively keeps the eye clearly trained on the outcome. I see in the corporate world this focused steeliness often misunderstood for being a tyrant at work. This is not useful. Behaving badly towards others is a short-term approach to creating long-term problems for yourself. You can be a highly motivated, focused and determined individual whilst holding huge compassion and care towards others. It is your job as a human being to fulfil your potential whilst benefiting others. Those who study or coach leadership or performance must emphasise this in their teaching.  There can be a lot of language about personal focus and being strict with your time and energy and this can be mistaken for being selfish and being solely out for personal gain. Performance results happen when you don't want to be the best in the world at something for personal gain, they happen when you want to make the very best of You.

If you want to embark on a committed online programme to increase your Performance contact us at Five Rings Training to book onto our courses. 

For more info on coaching programmes available visit

Article by Kirsty Henderson, Five Rings Training Founder. 


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