In business there is a concept called the law of variability. Essentially, this concept states that the larger the amount of variance in a process, the less productive that process will be. I am not suggesting that we should run our lives like a production line. Humans are not robots, and our personal goals do not include manufacturing 15,000 cars in one day. We do, however, have mental processes we go through each and every day.
When an Olympic weightlifter is going for the gold medal, they have practiced the most efficient lifting motion over and over again. This allows them to lift the most weight possible while using a finite amount of energy. They reduce variability by practicing with lesser weights so that when it counts, all of the repetition has perfected the motion and they can get the most out of their body.
We can adapt this concept to mental processes. It is the mind, after all, that controls the body motion and muscles used by the lifter. We are all going to have gold medal moments in our life. It could be an exam, a job interview, or trying to land a contract for your company. There will be moments in your life, where you need to be at your best. The only way to be your best in those moments is to start reducing variability now.
What causes variability in our lives? Certainly we must be able to identify the origins of unwanted variability before we can work to eliminate it. These things are going to be very personal, and you as an individual will have to work to identify them. They are the things that throw you off balance. It could be a person, a bad habit, nagging thoughts, or just about anything that tries to push you off the path to your goals. If a certain account on Instagram fills you with insecurities, unfollow them. If going out every Saturday night causes you to be unproductive every Sunday, alter that habit. If interacting with a friend leaves you feeling emotionally drained, talk to them about how your friendship can leave you feeling empty. Work through it, find the positives in your life, and remove the unpredictable variables.
Once this is accomplished, you will find yourself with more mental energy. You will feel sharper, more alert, and even more intelligent. You wont be fatigued by things that do not matter, and that will allow you to focus on things that do matter.
Start today, so that when your gold medal moment arrives you will be standing at the top of the podium, rather than watching from the sidelines.
– E.G. Scholl