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Mental Fatigue and Getting to the Next Level of Performance

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Performance takes energy – does your life-style pump you up with energy or drain it away?

Mental Fatigue and Getting to the Next Level of Performance

By Brett Steenbarger at TraderFeed

I recently posted on the topics of psychological energy and life success and how we can overcome procrastination to become more productive. What is the difference between someone who persists through adversity and someone who gives up? Someone who makes that one extra trade to recover losses and someone who does not? Someone who stays alert and focused on opportunity and someone who overtrades in unfocused moments?

As Jim Loehr has pointed out, many times the difference is one of psychological and physical energy. How many times have we seen a basketball team make an attempt at a comeback, only to run out of gas late in the game and ultimately fall short? The same thing happens in the boxing ring: fatigue makes cowards and weaklings of the best fighters.

Less well appreciate are the effects of mental fatigue. We have free will only to the degree that we can direct ourselves in goal-oriented ways. When we are burned out, overwhelmed, or just plain tired, we lose that capacity for direction. We drift, rather than act with intent. Even our minds drift, rather than stay focused on goals.

It’s important to recognize that fatigue is not just something that happens to us, but also something that we actively do: we fatigue ourselves with low-yield activities, negative self-talk, and the frustration of unmet needs.

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