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Tuesday, April 3,2012

The Secret of Professional Performers

The Ultimate Performing State

By Al Secunda  

Below are some examples of the limited precision priority and how it is the exact opposite of the pleasure priority.

  1. When placed in a potentially pressure filled environment, the amateur will do almost anything to catch a ball. This will include holding his breath, tensing his shoulders, fingers, arms, eyes, face, and believing that these survival based actions will help him to catch the ball.

    The professional, on the other hand, will not call upon survival based thoughts, feelings, and/or actions in order to catch the ball. Because tension and worry are not a part of his performing technique, the professional will drop the ball rather than revert to tension, contraction, doubt, and terror in order to catch it. (When teaching someone to catch a ball his/her first priority should be to have “happy eyes” and “happy fingers.”) The word happy will promote relaxation, trust, confidence, and faith.)

  2. When reciting a memorized passage, the amateur will be very concerned about saying her lines correctly. This will often entail using tension, fear, and seriousness if she thinks that these states and feelings will help her to recall the lines. The problem is that it becomes very difficult to enter into a passionate and emotional acting mode when you are in a result, survival, and “untrust-full” performing mode.
    The professional, on the other hand, will refuse to call upon tension and worry in order to remember and retrieve the lines. Instead, she will use relaxation, focus, and “doubtless-ness.” During the scene, she will have an enormous amount of faith and trust that the lines will be there (assuming the proper preparation has been done).

  3. When swinging a golf club, the amateur will tend to use tension in his fingers, arms, shoulders, and eyes as well as doubt and concern in his mind, to “help” him produce the stroke.
    The professional, on the other hand, will refuse to call upon tension and doubt in his/her production center. Instead, he will use relaxation, energy, focus, confidence, and faith when preparing and swinging the club. The professional trusts that if he remains in the pleasure priority and “doubt-less” state as his body executes specific actions, that the club will follow his hands, and the ball will follow the club.


Below is a chart that distills and summarizes both the amateur’s and the professional’s performing approaches. Notice that the only difference in both approaches lies within each group’s second choice.


Experience                  Results

#1     Pleasurable        Precise Results
#2     Tense                   Precise Results


Experience                  Results         

#1     Pleasurable
         Experience           Imprecise   
#2     Pleasurable         Results


Looking at the amateur approach above, you will see that while the amateurs first preference is a pleasurable experience and a precise result, his/her’s second preference is to create a tense experience and a precise result. Results at any cost are the amateur’s unconscious motto.

Looking at the professional approach above, you will also see that the professional’s first preference is also to have a pleasurable experience and a precise result. However, because of the pleasure priority, the professional’s second preference is to create a pleasurable experience and an imprecise result.

Building A Successful Result-less World

It is important to understand that while professionals are paid for results, results are not where they place their attention. Their attention is placed first on creating and re-creating the pleasure priority zone and second on executing very specific actions from within the pleasure priority zone. If a professional is successful at accomplishing this challenging Pleasure and Precision Principle, more often than not, he/she will create the desired results.



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