The one quality setting high-performers apart from the rest of us


After countless sessions with the highest performers across the globe, there is one absolute certainty; high performance isn’t something they “do”, it’s who they “are”.
woman shown with superimposed image in red and green
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Our life is massively shaped by the way we see ourselves. This is our identity. But like so many people, at some point in our lives we may recognise areas we aren’t happy with. Left to fester, this will lead to an issue of the way we see ourselves, and when this happens, it becomes an identity crisis.

So, how do we move beyond this?

Almost all of us have embarked on a change-piece journey at some point in our lives. New year’s resolutions, self-promises, public commitments. Some of us take inspiration from motivational gurus and teachers while others are inspired by past mistakes. Countless of us have tried, and countless have failed and when we dive into reasons why we fail it becomes evident that there isn’t a clear connection between the behaviours we’re trying to change and the person we’re trying to become. In other words, we haven’t connected to our desire for change to a better identity.

After countless sessions with the highest performers across the globe, there is one absolute certainty; high performance isn’t something they “do”, it’s who they “are”. There is no daily struggle of willpower for optimised behaviours because for these individuals its intrinsic. This is optimal because it would be a huge waste of energy to have to battle to engage desired behaviours daily.

The great news is that none of these individuals started with this level of intention. They developed it. And so, what looks like incredible discipline to the outside world is just part of who these individuals have worked to become, and this is something everyone can achieve.

We need to understand that our willpower aligns with what we see as good. We need to truly see the change we are trying to make as good for us, not somebody else’s version of good. A major part of this process is making the connection between this “good change” and our ideal identity.

The challenge that I come across with most people looking to change is that they aren’t clear on what this better serving identity looks like. The result is that when times get tough, as they always do, we tend to give up because the “what” has no connection with the “why”, and the why is critical because it is our identity.

Once we become clear on our ideal identity, we need to become absolutely dedicated to this vision of ourselves. This dedication will pull us through the challenging times and supporting habits will become the process that will help us get there.

Our habits will rise to serve our deepest aspirations, in particular our identity. Now that we are engaged in the habits that are moving us closer to our desired future, we will become far more resilient to the ups and downs of the journey, because we are far more interested in who we are becoming and less concerned with who we are today. As we continue down the path, keeping a clear vision of what we will look like, feel like, be like, at the end of it, we will ultimately develop the ability to see ourselves at the end. This strengthens the resolve of our mission. There will be a point in time where we realise that this new way of being isn’t something we are doing, rather, it’s become who we are. It’s our identity.

RJ Singh is a corporate and ultra-endurance athlete and the creator of Ultrahabits. Find out more at Peak Performance with RJ Singh: Ultra Habits for Ultra Performance