Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happiness and Your C Game

Play the Game
Play the Game (Photo credit:
by Gary Greenbank

Everyone has an A, B and C game. The difference between winners and the rest is how much time we spend in each one.

When you are playing your A game you are operating at your optimum i.e. you are in 'the zone'. Everything is working well and you are very confident in what you're doing and the results you're achieving.

Your B game, where you will spend a lot of the time, is your default style. It's where things are working okay and you are getting your regular tasks done effectively and efficiently.

Your C game is a negative place. You may be feeling stressed, angry, defensive or low in confidence etc. You are not only being ineffective, you are not feeling good about yourself and who you are.

Everyone has an A, B and C game. The difference is that the top performer spends more time playing their A game and next to no time playing their C game. It sounds simple but the best way to improve your effectiveness and happiness is to think in terms of cutting out your C game.

I play poker at a high amateur standard. What separates me from the world champions and professional players at this stage is mainly this. Similarly in top sport the players at the top have similar skills and a lot of the difference between number one and the player ranked tenth is in their head.

I once knew a young golfer who as a junior was one of the best in the world. Ten years later his peers were winning majors and he was struggling in satellite events on the secondary tour. He told me that his swing simply doesn't hold up under pressure.

Effectively his brain can't tell his muscles what to do under pressure. In other words he can't play his A game under tournament pressure. In a social game he can play his A game but when the pressure comes on he loses control and reverts to his C game.

In many cases your C game is triggered by the consequences of failure. Imagine putting a one foot wide plank of wood on the ground and walking along it. Now put it one hundred stories up between two skyscrapers and walk across it. It's exactly the same task but the consequences of failure have changed.

Ask yourself what are the triggers for your C game - what environment brings it on. This could include tiredness, criticism, lack of autonomy, dealing with incompetence, impatience, relationship issues or something else.

Being aware of the situation and the triggers is often the biggest step you will take in cutting out your C game. Once you are aware of the triggers you can start to make and enact plans to help you minimise the chances of slipping into the C zone.

The most important thing to remember is that your performance will increase and you will feel happier simply by cutting out, or at least minimising, your C game.

For more advice and answers to questions you won't find in a text book go to
Copyright Gary Greenbank 2012

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