Having the Edge
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
There were once two men hiking in the Canadian Rockies. They were both fairly young, healthy, and in good shape. From a distance, they noticed a mother grizzly bear walking with her cubs. As the mama bear got closer, she detected the two intruders and began to charge them at full speed. Just as one of the men was about to run for dear life, the other man calmly sat down, took off his heavy hiking boots, and began to put on his sneakers. The first man said, “Are you nuts? A full-grown female grizzly bear can run over 30 miles per hour! You will never outrun that thing!” The second man calmly replied, “I don’t need to. I just need to outrun you.” The second man knew what he needed to survive: an edge over his competition.
Perception-wise, there is a huge difference between first and second, even though the actual difference can be a fraction of a second, as in a race. Olympic gold medalists have gone on to fame and fortune while silver medalists have their 15 minutes of fame, then are forgotten. Businesses who bid for large contracts and win can excel, whereas those that came in second place go under. As comedian Jerry Seinfeld puts it, and I am paraphrasing here, “Think about it... if you come in second, you are really the number one loser of all the losers.” Having the edge can take you from being the number one loser to being the winner.
Having the edge can be a result of physical, emotional, and/or psychological conditioning. In fact, this whole course is designed to give you the edge you need to succeed at anything you do. The long-term strategy for having the edge basically comes down to working just a little harder, and knowing just a little bit more than your competition.
There is also what is called the short-term edge. This is a quick 24-hour prep to get your mind and body in peak state for an event, such as a marathon, test, presentation or competition of any kind. Here are some general techniques for getting the short-term edge you need to succeed.
- Get proper sleep. You should know by now approximately how much sleep your body needs to function at its peak. Often, the night’s sleep before an important event is interrupted due to nerves and anxiety. Keep in mind that if you just lie down and close your eyes, your body will get the rest it needs. If you still feel you did not get enough sleep, try taking a 10-30 minute “cat nap” the day of the event if possible—it will do wonders.
- Eat the right foods. Read ten different nutrition books and get ten different definitions of the “right foods.” I am not here to tell you what foods are right, but I will tell you that you already know what foods are right for you. Think about it... which foods, and how much of those foods, leave you feeling your best? Which foods leave you feeling lethargic? Avoid the bad foods and take in the good within the 24 hours before the event.
- Exercise. Assuming you are not preparing for a physical event where any additional form of exercise will take away from your performance, get in at least a 20-minute cardiovascular workout. Exercise sends extra blood to your brain helping you to think more clearly. A good workout can give you the “runner’s high” that lasts for several hours after the exercise. A word of caution, if you are not used to cardiovascular exercise, limit your exercise to nothing more than perhaps a brisk walk.
- Clear your mind. Write down everything that is on your mind: everything you need to do, all your current worries, anything that is consuming your thoughts. Then agree to forget about everything you wrote down until after your event. Remember that your mind can only focus on one thing at any given time.
Having the edge is being your best. You can spend a lifetime working on skills that put you ahead of your competition, but there will most likely be tougher competitors. Use the short-term edge to nudge your way to first place in everything you do and never again settle for being the number one loser.
Take Your Year To Success To the Next Level
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)