In 1974 Timothy Galwey wrote the book The Inner Game of Tennis and he introduced us to the formula:
Performance = Potential – Interference
When Breakthrough clients eliminated their interference, they talked about the clarity they were achieving. In this context, clarity has three different meanings, which all apply at the same time.
We can be clear about what we must do (Purpose/Big Picture). Secondly, we can also clear out everything, from our minds, which is not needed for what we must do (Outlook). There is nothing spoiling the view. In an auditory sense, the outlook is like a signal-to-noise ratio. We clear out all unnecessary noise so there is purity to the sound. There is no dissonance. In a kinaesthetic sense, we are ‘in flow’ with nothing diverting us or holding us back. Lastly, we can choose precisely and solely to what we pay attention to (Focus/Detail Picture).
To achieve Total Clarity, all must be true at the same time. That is, we must have clarity of purpose, clarity of outlook and at the same time, clarity of focus.
Zero Interference = Total Clarity = Clarity of PURPOSE + Clarity of OUTLOOK + Clarity of FOCUS
In this zen-like state, you experience the time paradox. When clients talk about having more time, they mean that, in the moment, it has expanded or slowed down so there is more time in which to think and act. This happens time after time, without the effort associated with their PB state. This is the reason why they feel ‘in flow’. At the same time, the passage of time reduces or speeds up such that they lose track of time. This is where the expression ‘time flies’ comes from.
Anecdotally, we think time expands by about 20% in the moment. Heart rates are lower, and fewer calories are consumed.
Being in the state of Total Clarity creates alignment between the five senses, the conscious mind, the unconscious mind, and the body. This makes us incredibly strong. Conversely, we are very vulnerable when we lose this alignment. Sports teams are at their most vulnerable at two points in their game – when they have just scored and when they have just conceded. At these two times there is the most emotion and the most pressure to change state. Mind games are played to trick your opponent into getting emotional and therefore losing their state.
In business, most CEOs never experience Total Clarity. Research shows that they are interrupted, on average, every 11 minutes. Their brains simply never get into the Alpha state and they perform as if they have an IQ many points lower than it is. Achieving Total Clarity means that you can focus 100% of your resources, your energy, your expertise on that task, in that moment. You are fully present, and you are fully capable. Most importantly, you are not expending any energy-sustaining this state, because you are ‘in flow’, you are ‘in the zone’. Hence consuming fewer calories for a given amount of work to be done.
This means you have eliminated internal interference and made yourself robust against external interference. When we achieve a shift of this magnitude, we create a significant competitive advantage.