This is an excerpt from In Pursuit of Excellence-5th Edition.
From what you have already read in this book, it has probably become clear to you that the doing side of deciding has the greatest positive effect on your performance and your life. Three critical steps are present in dociding.
- First, decide what you want to improve, change, or act on and why you want to do it.
- Second, decide to do the things you believe will help you make positive changes and ongoing improvements.
- Third, actually do what you decide to do. Doing the good things you decide to do is what will bring meaningful positive change and feelings of success and joy to your life.
Some great examples of the power of dociding have already been presented in this book. Olympic champion Beckie Scott, in the last cross-country race of her World Cup career, docided to focus beyond the extreme fatigue and exhaustion she was feeling and focused all her energy on the step or stride in front of her to win her final World Cup race. Thomas Grandi, after 12 years of competing on the World Cup circuit, docided to focus fully on his first World Cup victory, and then "docided" to do the same thing in his next race for consecutive World Cup wins.
Space shuttle commander Chris Hadfield docided to become an astronaut by taking every step required to become one, even though at the time it was considered an impossible dream because there was no astronaut program in his home country of Canada and there were no opportunities for non-U.S. citizens to be accepted for training to become an astronaut in the United States.
A final example of dociding is the story of my father's docision that saved his life. I took one of my graduate students from China and her family to visit my father on his farm in Maryland when he was 82 years old. My student was an expert in qigong, one of the ancient martial arts. Shortly after her arrival, she led us through some basic qigong exercises, which combined deep abdominal breathing (breathing through the diaphragm) and slow synchronized arm movements. This way of breathing allows a person to get more air into the bottom part of the lungs. Many classical singers, musicians, and endurance athletes use similar breathing techniques. We stood out there by the cornfield, feeling the warmth and freshness of the morning air, and did these qigong breathing exercises for about half an hour.
Six months later, my mother called to tell me that my dad had been in a bad car accident and was in the intensive care unit at the hospital. He had collapsed lungs and a broken sternum. I jumped on the first plane I could get, flew to the nearest airport in Washington, DC, rented a car, and drove to the hospital. By the time I reached his room, he was coherent and I was able to speak with him. He told me what happened.
He was driving down a two-lane country road to pick up some supplies. As he came over a hill and started down the other side, a car in the wrong lane was speeding straight at him. The two vehicles collided head-on. The impact drove the steering wheel and dashboard into my father's chest. At that point he could not breathe, no matter how hard he tried. His first thought was that he was going to die because the pressure of the steering wheel on his chest prevented him from getting any air into his lungs.
In the heat of that moment, when his life was hanging in the balance, he remembered the breathing exercises we had done together next to the cornfield - qigong. He instantly focused on trying to breathe with his lower abdomen, which was not being crushed by the steering wheel. He focused on breathing in slowly and feeling his stomach rise and extend. He was able to get some air into the lower part of his lungs, which kept him alive until the emergency medical team arrived on the scene and was able to extract him from the car and rush him to the hospital.
His dociding to do the abdominal breathing saved his life and gave him another 10 years to live, love, learn, and grow. He worked vigorously on his rehabilitation and paid special attention to strengthening and expanding his breathing capacity through breathing exercises. During his recovery he had every part of his wheel of excellence working for him - focus, commitment, mental readiness, positive images, confidence, distraction control, and ongoing learning. And it worked wonders for him.
These examples show the power of dociding to act on your positive decisions when it really counts - the power of putting the do into your decisions. My father probably would have died within minutes right there in that car if he had not docided to take that one deep abdominal breath, the next one, and then the next. We can extract a positive lesson from his decision: one deliberate breath, one deliberate positive action, one positive step forward can change the course of your life. In my father's case, taking one positive breath and then another and another literally gave him the gift of another 10 years to do the things he loved to do, to reconnect with family, to meet grandchildren he would never have met, and to embrace the simple joys in his life.
The same is true for Thomas Grandi when he won his first back-to-back World Cup alpine skiing races, for Beckie Scott when she won her Olympic gold medal and then World Cup medal in cross-country skiing when she was sick and completely exhausted, and for space shuttle commander Chris Hadfield when a farm boy from Ontario became one of the most highly respected astronauts in the history of the NASA space program. Without the help of a deliberate and sustained positive focus and without dociding to pursue their goals and live their dreams, they never would have arrived at their desired destinations. This is the power of focus!
I know that you or someone close to you probably has or will have a story about the power of his or her own fully connected focus and positive docisions. If you feel so inclined, e-mail me one of those happy docision stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I will learn from it, and perhaps I will be able to share it with others who can also learn or grow from it.
- Docide to pursue your dreams.
- Docide to make the improvements that you are seeking.
- Docide to become the best person and performer you can be and have the potential to be.
- Docide to fully live your gift of life and embrace the simple joys to the fullest every day.
Learn more about In Pursuit of Excellence, Fifth Edition.