There are four simple elements that form the foundation for sustainable human performance: Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery. These four components are simple, yet universal. They are essential at a minimum for survival. They are also the keys to unlocking optimal performance. With these four buckets, we can categorize activities we do, which enables us to build mindfulness for how our actions align with our goals. Before we can begin upgrading lives, it's important to understand what the four areas. Here is how we define each of the four pillars of human performance.
Mindset is the outlook we have and our awareness of thoughts that impact our actions. This is where upgrading lives begins because it help us make advantageous decisions that impact all four pillars. Often, believing is the first step to achieving. When we encourage ourselves, using positive reinforcement, our bodies will be more prepared to do what it takes, even if that means learning new things. In addition, most of our daily actions are driven by habits. In order to change those habits, we must be aware of our mind and body to know what triggers our good and bad habits. Once we have the right mindset, we greatly increase our ability to change behavior in the three other categories of human performance.
Nutritious foods are what fuel our mind and bodies. If we think about which food, drink, and supplements optimize our bodies and encourage long-term health, it becomes clear what we should and should not eat. In fact, recent literature suggests that the mind-body-gut connection is more important than we realize. It is a leading factor in both mental and physical wellbeing. What we eat can directly correlate with inflammation and emotional state. Moreover, clean and healthy eating fortifies our bodies so we can recover faster and improve performance throughout daily life and training.
We move to survive and we move to thrive. Rather than limiting movement to just exercise and sport, we should ask ourselves several questions that pertain to life in general: How prepared are we to move pain-free? What are the general movements we need to live? Then, how can we train high-quality movements to meet the demands of physical labor or specific sports? At what intensity and duration do we need to perform these movements? By answering these questions, we have a better understanding how to intelligently improve human performance within any context. This also leads to a healthier and less painful way of living.
The mind and body must have time to recover in order to adapt to the demands we endure in life and in training. Imagine we have a bucket for all our stressors. Every day we add stressors like work, commuting, managing finances, learning new skills, relationships, exercise and the list goes on. Some stressors, like exercise, are good for us because they encourage our bodies to adapt and become stronger. If, however, we don't give ourselves time to recover, our bodies will not repair and improve. In essence, recovery activities act as a valve that releases stress from our bucket. The more we hone in on the quality of our recovery, the more effective we become at releasing stress. That's why recovery activities, like sleep, meditation, tissue work, enjoying time with loved ones, and being thankful are essential to improving our performance.
All levels of human existence require the four elements of human performance. They are essential to survival as well as excellence. By categorizing our activities into mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery we can develop awareness for what matters most. Once we identify opportunities for improvement we can focus on attacking the things that matter most, one at a time.