Why the next level doesn’t exist?
You hear this a lot in business and sporting circles, ‘I want to get to the next level’. The next level of performance, the next level of finances, the next level of winning tournaments. We all want that elusive next level, don’t we?
So what is the next level and how come we don’t always reach it?
Here is a little secret, make sure you don’t tell anyone else though, do you promise? Ok, here it is, the next level doesn’t exist.
This invisible and elusive next level is actually a construct of your mind and your mind alone. It’s a pre-programmed wish and desire for someone who has an ambitious mind to continue to grow and expand. The concept of a next level implies that we can do better whilst also subconsciously reminding us that we are not doing good enough. Crazy isn’t it, all this time we have been aiming for something that doesn’t actually exist, and no-one told us until now.
Sure, you might share this next level ‘dream’ with someone else but it is as individual to you as a fingerprint as it’s made up of your conscious and unconscious thoughts about what you can and cannot do. Rory Mcilroy’s next level isn’t the same as a top-level amateur golfer and your next level wouldn’t be the same as mine (if I had one).
The even more crazy thing is that it’s constantly moving, your next level today might not be your next level tomorrow. You also have people who reach their perceived next level and then they think ‘now what’ and stop improving. Sports players like top golfers who win that coveted first major and then seem to drop off the face of the earth and don’t win again are good examples of next level thinking.
So how do you improve then, how do you make yourself better and how do you measure being better?
All this ‘next level’ feeling in your mind is actually a call to action and nothing else. Want to improve, take more action, do more, raise your standards. Improve something small every day and be relentless in pursuit of your outcomes. There is no next level, just a willingness to keep improving.
We propose following an incremental method of improvement rather than a levelled version. This involves continuous improvement with no ending, you literally take action every day and then keep taking action at a high level. For this to happen you create a goal which is far, far beyond what you are currently doing, think of it as 10 x your perceived next level. This is your outcome and this is what you then take steps towards making happen. Daily discipline becomes your mantra and you keep working on the process even if you don’t seem to be getting results. We sometimes refer to this as the lag time where a high level of action takes time to manifest itself. You keep going and you keep improving daily, that is how you reach your outcomes. That is how you become better.
A great example of this in action is the Sky cycling team who famously use what they call ‘marginal gains’, making small improvements in everything they do. Look what they have achieved, they have completely redefined success in road racing. Incremental improvement is the key to continuous growth as it avoids stagnation and keeps you always looking forward.
Start now by looking at your outcomes and making them BIG. Then strive to improve one thing you do by something small every day. I like to think of 1% improvement in 1 thing I do on a daily basis. What will you improve?