Years ago I had a friend with a crazy sense of humor and a vivid imagination. He was also absolutely reliable—never missed a deadline, and always delivered precisely what was needed.
I finally asked him for his secret. “If I don’t finish on time,” he said in a whisper, looking both ways, “They’ll push the button.”
Ooooh-kay. I slid a little further away from him and asked what on Earth he was talking about.
He laughed and explained. Whenever he was on an impossible deadline, he imagined he was in one of those implausible movie situations. Some unseen bad guys have planted a device in his body and instructed him to meet the deadline or…they’d push the button.
“I don’t know what happens if they do,” he said, “but I don’t want to find out.”
He doesn’t really believe this, just in case you are wondering. He’s just playing his version of a mental game that really works. Act as if your life depends on it, and you can do just about anything.
How would everything you do be different is you acted as if your life depended on doing it, and doing it well?
If your life depended on it, could you get your weekly report in on time? If your life depended on it could you hit your targets? If your life depended on it, could you get that new product out on time?
The answer, in every case would be “Of course!” Because you decided up front to make it happen, based on the level of stakes.
So why not bring those high stakes into your mental game every day? By tempting yourself with a reason that is bigger than life, you trick your brain into finding ways to do things instead of ways to not get the result. Everything becomes possible.