Exponential Learning and Peak Performance – Part 2


In my previous article I used my son’s sport experience as an example. I also promised a follow up to dig deeper into this important subject matter

If you haven’t yet read the previous article make sure you read it first. Click here to read it.

So I mentioned my son had started off missing his first 4 throws in his first baseball game of the season. And similarly, the other boy (who we are calling John) also missed his first attempts. One boy came back and had a great game while the other one didn’t. One turned a challenge into success, while the other boy turned failure into more failure.

I also suggested this outcome was quite predictable, and that this pattern is a developed skill.

How do we develop it? Well, allow me to share the conversation at our dinner table after the game. I tell my son a story:

“You know, its so common that we human beings tend to get so frustrated, sad and angry when things don’t go well. Thats understandable. Of course it doesn’t feel good when things don’t go well. But then what often happens is that we get so frustrated that things get worse, which make us even angrier, and then it gets even worse and we get even angrier, and things just get worse and worse.

But see, once I saw this amazing guy with a remarkable skill. He was the starting pitcher in a baseball game. Guess what he did? He started off throwing 4 balls in a row to open a game. Now that would be really frustrating for a lot of people and I’m sure it was for this guy too. But then guess what he did? The second batter approached the plate and he threw… Bam. Strike one. And then… Bam! Strike 2. And then instead of playing it safe, he goes for a curveball, which he’d only done a couple of times before in his life – and it was the most awesome curveball… Bam. Three strikes in a row. Amazing."

My son breaks out in a wide smile, face beaming: “You’re talking about me.”

We have now turned this event into another one of his great successes. He has a decade of those - from imaginary situations with me in the backyard to real situations with others. In the backyard, from when he was only a few years old, he somehow always managed to come back from close defeat to victory in imaginary big game situation.

Sure, in the beginning I “arranged” it so he would come out victorious and he began to love greater and greater “pressure”. Sometimes I would win and let him handle defeat, so he would develop the desire to go at it again.

Nowadays, I never let him win. These days, I swear he’s messing with me when I’m falling behind. I manage to get closer and closer, and then when I’m real close to actually wining he pulls something out to defeat me. I bet he’s letting me come dangerously close in order to put greater pressure on himself.

Now with this real game that I wrote about in the previous article, you realize there could have been numerous scenarios and we would still have been able to turn it into a success – a successful learning experience. We don’t need to create fairy tale stories. All we need do is reflect on the absolute truth: That real achievements and successes come from how we handle various difficult situations.

Do you think he will be afraid of these situations in the future? Of course not. And as we alluded to in previous articles: It is the person who is afraid of failing who also fails.

As you know, we tend to replay past events in our minds. What do you think the difference is between someone who replays failures over and over in his mind, versus someone who replays his successes over and over again?

Everyone has heard that “we learn from our mistakes”. As I wrote in the last article, there is no such thing as “mistake” or “failure” and that we spell it learning. However, what we should realize is that we learn far more from our successes than we do from failures. When we don’t know how to transform failure – such as in John’s case – it just leads to more failure. Misery leads to more misery. Violence leads to more violence. Blaming others lead us to become greater and greater victims.

Success, on the other hand, feeds success. Happiness leads to more happiness. Gratitude leads to more things to be grateful for. Love leads to more love. This is the real power of attraction.

However, there cannot be success without learning. And a success that has no challenge isn’t much of a success, is it?

So therefore, these words “success” and “failure” become irrelevant, as they are mere labels. What are of real importance are our discoveries and experiences.

And this is where exponential learning comes in. We develop effectively because of the cumulative effect of every experience. Every experience becomes multiplied because we tend to replay it, and every experience affects the next experience. A recent experience makes a previous experience even more profound than it initially was, and so on.

Those who have trained with The Singing Zone program know that this is what we encourage and attempt to accomplish. As an example, the lessons of Month 4 may be called “vibrato lessons”. But once we get there we realize that it is the cumulative effect of everything we have done previously that makes vibrato happen more easily.

Those who have worked on the advanced range sessions of month 8 realize how the very first exercises of the Sing With Freedom program have been so important – And they have perhaps become even more important than they initially seemed to be.

Our learning then also affects our lives beyond that specific activity. My singing training, as most students have attested to, is designed to not only to make you sing and perform better. Likewise, my dinner talk with my son is naturally not just to help him become a better athlete. More importantly it is to help him become a more empowered human being.

Now there is one thing that we humans are inherently quite bad at, which if we become better at dramatically improves our lives. I‘ll address that next time.

For now I’ll leave with some questions to ponder. What events in your life have you replayed as “failures”, and have therefore become the fabric of who you believe you are? If you have performance anxiety, feel you’re never good enough, believe you are a perfectionist, etc., then I can guarantee you have been replaying something for a long time – too long. In fact, every fear we have is likely due to replaying something we have perceived as failure, and then projecting it into an imaginary future.

I get tons of emails from people who don’t dare to do something because they have been “burned” in the past. Being “burned in the past” is exactly the same thing. These fears might be not daring to sing in public, not daring to use a credit card or purchase on the Internet, not being able to make a decision, not being able to experience love, etc. Therefore, they won’t give themselves permission to engage in what they love and follow their dreams.

So what if we’ve been burned in the past. So what if we have “missed”. So what if we have made “mistakes”. The replaying of a bad event and making that stop our entire life is as ludicrous and tragic as if an 11 year old boy came to believe that he should never pitch a baseball game again just because he “missed” 4 in a row.

What do you think?

  • Fidelia says:

    Thank you Per,for the article it made me realise that if you have fear there is nothing you can achive,I use to be one of those who are afraid of failing,like you said in the article that It is the person who is afraid of failing who also fails.thanks to you,”NOW I CAN MAKE IT”!

  • Sandra Taylor says:

    The baseball story is a good example. Without failure, we cannot have any successes. I believe that is why God says we must be thankful to Him in all things — success, failure; wealth, poverty; health, sickness; life, death.

    Another good thing about failure is that it keeps us humble.

    A bad thing about success is that it can make us too proud. there is nothing is worse than a braggart that has an attitude of “I proved I can do it on my own. I am the best now. WooHoo! Now, no body can do better than me”

    Success is tempered by failure. That is why we must be as excited about the successes of others as we would be of our own successes.

    Failure can also teaches us that every one fails at some point. So, we are not alone in our failures. Failure is a great teacher of compassion.

    Success or failure – they are BOTH blessings from God. We need to be THANKFUL to Him that He provides for all of our experiences.

  • Philomena Nally says:

    Yes, the vallies in my llife have somehow creared the Mountains of my success!
    Wright and wrong have somehow gone, and bouncing back is my best song!!

  • john says:

    Per, what your saying is so true. i know from my own experiences. thank you from bringing this to my attention

  • Lenora says:

    Hi Per,
    It is funny that we win or lose according to our thinking patterns. I’m trying to overcome my negative thinking pattern concerning my singing. I’m thankful for the help I get from your lessons.

  • Simcha Mendel says:

    These articles make me feel much better about myself. I am multi-talented including singing, writing, proofreading, public speaking, and teaching children but unfortunately am not successful in using any of my talents for a livelihood. Those who are successful in their livelihood have the right connections but NOT the talent. It is best to have the talent and also the connections but in my opinion it is better to have the talent than only the connections without the talent due to the fact that I believe a job should be earned, not just because of the right connections. I have sent resumes but I believe that those who can help me find a job are afraid of losing their position due to the fact that I may be more talented than them. What makes me feel good about myself is that I do use my talents to help others. Thank you Per for these articles.

  • Don Teske says:

    When I came across “It is the person who is afraid of failing
    who also fails” I thought that fits me to a T. I’m always afraid of
    singing the wrong note. When the directer has us sing a note
    I try to sing it very quiet so he can’t hear me,but he does hear me. I always try to get by a strong lead or a good singer then I follow him. I’m going to work hard on this problem and I do need to realize that the real importance are our discoveries and
    experiences as you stated. Thank you Per

  • Kara Gleave says:

    Well I have been singing since I could talk. I performed in front of an audience for the first time when I was 3. It was about 250 people. It was a solo. And I got a standing ovation. Ever since then I have been trying to make my voice known. I have done many singing competitions and came home with many 1st place metals. I also can act. I think really good. I have been in very very very many plays that I got to act in and got the lead in most of them. I hope someone reads this and will try to get ahold of me for and future auditions. I promise that I won’t disappoint you and you won’t regret it. I will try so hard my vocal chords will bleed. Nothing will make my career in music go away. Music is just way to important to me to let it go. And I also play piano. Just putting it out there. I’m 13 and live in California. Thanks for reading.

  • Pauline says:

    Thanks very much for this article Per. I wish I had you for my Math Teacher when I was attending Primary School! You make things so clear, and one so unfraid!
    The Lord bless you. Keep up the good work.

  • Hi Per,

    This line stopped me in my reading tracks:
    “Therefore, they won’t give themselves permission to engage in what they love and follow their dreams.”
    So, this is another way of describing what happens when you allow yourself to go into ‘reverie’:
    In the words of French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard: “Reverie gathers being around its dreamer. It gives the illusion of being more than he is…Suddenly an image occupies the heart of our imagining being. It seizes us, holds us. It infuses us with being….The imagined detail is a sharp point which penetrates the reverie and prompts the dreamer to a more concrete meditation.”(“On Poetic Imagination and Reverie,” p.104).
    In other words, we must give ourselves over to the power of reverie, allow ourselves to ponder and imagine our success, visualize our performance and actually live the joy of it in our reveries so that we will be open and ready for the practical application when the opportunity presents itself. And it will come! I truly believe, like Per, that we must give our imaginations permission to “dream big.”
    According to Edgar Poe “the power of man’s imagination is greater than any poison.” (On poetic imagination and Reverie,” P. 105).

    “Let it be so!”–E.A. Small

  • Nicole says:

    *sniff* sir that was beautiful!!! Your sons story was very touching :))) and I agree 100%! While it is true that we learn from both our failures or “mistakes” and our successes, we learn so much more from our success but we cannot learn from failure if we leave it at just failures and give up because it is through viewing it as a learning experience that we turn it into a success. I also believe that if we dont learn from our mistakes and view them as a learning experience rather than saying “we arent good enough” that we will never turn them into a success and i am very happy to know that you agree with that 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    As a response to my previous comment what I meant in a nutshell is that I absolutely agree fully 🙂 a person who looks back at all the positives in life that they’ve done or experienced will go much farther than a person who dwells on the negatives. To mean “learning from our mistakes” means that we find out what we did wrong and turn it into a future positive experience rather than believe “Im a failure”. So yes I agree we must always stay positive as there really is no true such thing as “failure” because you as I once heard “the only true faliure is when you stop trying”. I hope this comment shows that I agree with you and not against you

  • Nicole says:

    Oops I noticed a typo in my last comment and I apologize. But I agree we don’t literally learn from mistakes but we, as the expression truly means, overcome any negative things that may happen to us on our journey to our goals

  • […] follow up on my previous two articles regarding exponential learning and peak performances and why they are developed skills, I promised to address one issue that we human beings are […]

  • Jessie Stark says:

    When the student is ready the teacher will appear. Your May 25, 2013 blog can be applied to many situations. Learning experiences happen at any age. It will be shared with as many people as I can share it with. Thank You!

  • >