I hear the words “Play Full Out” many times from speakers at personal development seminars. Usually it is their way of saying that if you give 100% of your attention, energy and commitment to the seminar, then you will get the most results. I thought about applying this to life in general.
So what does playing full out look like?
• It’s about giving it your best effort, even when you are tired and want to quit.
• It is being fully present, not distracted by anything else.
• It’s about stretching yourself, even if it makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable.
Playing full out gives a powerful message to your unconscious mind that you are going to give this task your complete attention. Do this regularly and it becomes a habit. There are other benefits too such as:
1. You make others raise their game. Being fully present in a meeting or project has a noticeable impact on others. You raise their energy and enthusiasm.
2. You learn more. When playing full out, you are leaning forward, fully engaged, you will absorb and take away more information.
3. You change more quickly. We know that it can be difficult to change. It’s a lot harder if you’re half-hearted or not fully committed. By playing full out, you accelerate your rate of change.
4. You get a whole lot more done. If you are 100% involved in a meeting, task or project, you will learn more and do more in less time. This leaves you with more time to have fun or focus on what’s really important in your life.
Attention Focusing Exercise A good area to practice this skill is when listening. I’m sure you have had experiences of your mind wandering when you are listening to other people or information on the Radio or TV. If you are used to Meditating, then you will probably be familiar with this technique already.
Start by focusing 100% on what you are hearing on the Radio or TV. I often do this when listening to music. Listen to every single word or sound. As soon as you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to what you are hearing. You may need to do this a number of times and that’s OK.
Sometimes a minute might go by before you become aware that your mind has wondered. That’s OK too. However, as soon as you notice, gently bring it back to what you are listening too.
Another technique is to adopt the physiology or body language of someone that is playing full out. A person playing full out while listening is likely to be sitting forward, with head up, eyes on the person speaking and probably nodding every so often. By applying this physiology, you will notice that your concentration and listening skills improve.
This is also a good technique to apply when feeling down. Try keeping your head up and smiling. You should notice an immediate change in emotional state. It is impossible to feel down with your head help up high!
When doing an activity that is challenging for you, imagine how a person who has great confidence and ability would do this activity. Take on their physiology and notice how you feel now.
Create a sense of urgency with whatever task you are doing. Set a time limit on larger projects. This will give you the mental shift to become more fully involved and will stop procrastination. This can also challenge your beliefs about how long you think a task should take.
Playing full out also means working smarter rather than harder. I once heard a saying that “managers do things right, but leaders do the right thing.” So, are you doing the right things? – The actions that will take you towards your goals? It is much easier to play full out doing activities that you are passionate about or inspire you.
Practice Playing Full Out
Pick a boring every day task like cleaning, washing up or filing.
Complete this activity, but pretend that you are an actor. This actor is truly passionate about this task. Really play the part. Pretend that every detail is crucial and that you must act with great precision and care. Complete the task with energy and enthusiasm, even if you feel bored. Imagine that there is a $10,000 cash prize as your reward for the perfect completion of this task. Play full out.
So what was this like? – Hopefully it gave you a greater sense of what playing full out feels like, or at the very least, made that boring task somewhat more interesting!