Tag Archives: performance

Sleep sets up success. Without enough of the former, you may not experience any of the latter. No wonder high achievers jealously protect their scheduled hours of slumber. The average teen needs about 9.25 hours of sleep a night for optimal performance. But, in sleep as in all other things, quality is as important as quantity. Craig Ballantyne, the Editor of Early to Rise, seems to have cracked the code to quality slumber. His 10-3-2-1-0 formula establishes the conditions to facilitate getting to bed on time, sleeping better, and waking up the next morning well rested and ready for a great day. 10 hours before bed – No more caffeine 3 hours before bed – No more food (or alcohol, obviously!) 2 hours before bed – No more work 1 hour before bed – No more screen time 0 – The number of times you will hit the snooze button…

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Ah, the Super Bowl is upon us once more, and an entire world awaits epic entertainment from NFL athletes and advertisers alike. Not everyone loves football as much as I do, or considers Super Bowl Sunday one of the year’s finest holidays. But everybody, even the most ardent opponent of this sometimes-reviled sport, understands that every football player and coach that will be facing off in the big game reached the championship through massive expenditures of talent, skill, and commitment. Basically, you don’t get here… …without countless hours here… …and here. Every professional sporting event highlights competitors exerting themselves against challenges, challengers, and the limitations of the human body and mind. The SAT and ACT share much in common with even the highest-stakes game. Test takers must achieve their highest levels of performance just as the pressure is greatest, which means that nobody earns their very best scores without massive…

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Life is tough, right? We’re always looking for ways to become happier, smarter, richer, and just plan better with the least effort possible. So why, when the obvious time-tested answers are staring us in the face, do we look away in search of something new and gaudy? The answer, when wondering how to become better in almost all possible ways, is to READ. Reading makes us better in so many profound ways. Obviously, through the right kind of reading, we become more knowledgeable. We also become clearer thinkers with more expansive vocabularies. But if you need more incentive than that to pick up a book, consider five more ways reading will make you better:   1. Reading makes you happier. “A nationwide survey commissioned by the National Year of Reading to explore the importance of reading in everyday life confirmed that reading can have real benefits for your health, as…

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Big tests challenge us on levels that extend far beyond sheer knowledge or academic prowess. Marathon exams like the SAT and ACT also test endurance, commitment, and focus. How we score, then, reflects how carefully we cultivate the physical and psychological drivers of peak performance. Focus matters as much as any other attribute. If you cannot focus, you cannot bring your best; if you cannot bring your best, you cannot do your best. Simple, really, but focus tends to fall by the wayside in deference to more concrete skills. Focus can be divided into two different yet equally important traits: mindfulness and concentration. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana elucidates the essential distinctions in the book Mindfulness in Plain English: Concentration and mindfulness are distinctly different functions. They each have their role to play in meditation, and the relationship between them is definite and delicate. Concentration is often called one-pointedness of mind. It…

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Over years as an entrepreneur, author, and publisher of (now-defunct) SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy has relentlessly studied and dissected the habits of the most accomplished people on the planet. He can attest that the secret to success isn’t much of a secret at all: practice. However, the kind of practice that drives stratospheric levels of accomplishment and excellence is extremely specific. Deliberate practice requires tremendous commitment and structure over time. But no other path takes you to even the chance of doing your very best when it matters. How do you know if you are practicing properly? Hardy described four essential steps to attacking deliberate practice: You must be motivated to attend to the task and exert effort to improve your performance. The design of the task should take into account your pre-existing knowledge so that the task can be correctly understood after a brief period of instruction. You should…

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Did you hear that SAT Scores from the graduating class of 2015 were low this year? In fact, total scores in all 3 sections are the lowest they’ve been in decades. Should we panic? Don’t worry… there’s always time to freak out later. For now, let’s tackle the question that’s perplexing the pundits who breathlessly exclaim that SAT Scores Continue Troubling Downward Slide, but No One Knows Exactly Why. I’d like to share three possible reasons:   EXPANDED POOL OF TEST TAKERS Rumors of the SAT’s imminent demise have been slightly, or perhaps prematurely, exaggerated. A record 1.70 million students from the class of 2015 took the SAT. A higher percentage of students than ever were either underrepresented minority students and/or used fee waivers. We should be encouraged, rather than despondent, that the testing pool now includes so many more students that did not traditionally pursue enrollment in four-year colleges…

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