Life’s Simple Equation

Consider this: what if almost everything about a person’s ability to accomplish a goal or task could be summarized in a dumbed-down, user-friendly, easy-to-understand concept?  What if the necessary ingredients for high performance could be rationalized in a simple expression?  Is that even possible?  It may not be, but here’s an idea for you all to think about…

A few years ago, I was reading a book on coaching football (not surprisingly right?) by a man named Allen Trimble, who has been one of the most successful high school football coaches of the last 20 years.  In his book, titled Coaching Football Successfully, he described how the only two things that a coach can really ask of his players are their best level of execution, and their best effort.  I have kept this thought in the back of my mind since the day I read it, and not too long ago realized how it really extends to almost every other facet of life.  The only two things that anyone can ever ask of you in anything are your best level of execution and your best effort.

Execution and effort are concepts that, on their own, are relatively easy to understand.  Execution is a measure of how competently an action is performed (ie. how correctly it is carried out), while effort simply refers to the level of desire and vigour that a person expresses while performing.  Execution is about doing a task to the fulfillment of a particular criteria or standard, while effort is the will of someone to continuously work toward a task’s completion.  It’s the combination of these two characteristics, in my view at least, that allow people to be the best that they can be.

While there are some things in life where your best effort and best execution won’t get you where you’d like to go (a notable exception would be in the realm of romantic pursuits, where “mutual attraction” is usually required for initial romantic proceedings to occur), there are still many aspects of the world we live in that should, by my estimate, follow this equation:

Maximum Performance = Effort x Execution = E2

The “E2 Principle” is my catch phrase for this concept, and is quickly becoming a general coaching point that I widely emphasize when teaching and leading athletes.  Think about some of the scenarios where this simple idea applies perfectly:

To be the best spouse or partner that you can be you must be accountable for your share of the relationship in all its components (execution) and you must be accountable all of the time (effort).  You can’t cheat on your mutually-exclusive partner with someone else and claim that you care deeply for their well-being.

To be the best student that you can be you need to complete the work that will allow you to learn the material being taught (execution) and you must do it on a consistent basis in order to achieve consistently high grades (effort).  You can’t earn an “A” in a course by voluntarily not studying for half of your exams while preparing for and perfecting the other half.

To be the best athlete you can be you must thoroughly train yourself physically and mentally in an attempt to be as ready for competition as possible, and when competitive events arise, you must fulfill your objectives as well as your past preparation allowed for (execution and effort combined simultaneously).  You need to ensure that every practice and every training session makes you better as an athlete: you can’t take days off from your training or choose to play in a way that you are aware is not fundamentally sound.

One of the points I’d like to make about this notion of the E2 Principle is that coaches and teachers have a definite role to play in determining someone’s execution level.  They are responsible for ensuring that those they lead are equiped with the knowledge and skills needed to perform a task in a techinically correct manner.  Once someone has been taught, it is up to them to act and apply the teachings.  Although simple enough to state, utilizing the EPrinciple is a somewhat sophisticated approach because of how specific tasks have very specific nuances and variables.  It is, nonetheless, an intriguing value that has helped me keep my focus intact on whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish.  I hope it helps you too.



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