Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pushing Limits

And when the night is cold and dark
You can see, you can see light
'Cause no one can take away your right
To fight and never surrender
Never surrender
--Corey Hart

Human performance can be viewed as a product of skill and drive. Skill is talent that can be applied toward executing a task. Skill is often multifaceted. For example, hitting a baseball hard on a consistent basis requires a good deal of strength, quickness, and hand/eye coordination among other things.

At any point in time, skill is capped at an upper bound which in turn limits human performance. A hitter's strength helps restrain the exit velocity of a ball coming off his bat. In the near term, skill defines human capacity.

Drive is ingenuity for getting as much performance out of one's skill set as possible. It is a composite of many factors, including interest in the activity being performed, confidence in one's ability, focus and persistence, and ability to learn.

In the short term, drive dictates how much of one's skill is employed toward achievement. People with low drive employ only a fraction of their skill toward an activity while people with high drive might squeeze every last drop of potential from their skill sets. Drive, in other words, defines human capacity utilization.

In the long run, drive extends the thresholds of skill so that more can be achieved. Why? Because, unlike skill, capacity for human ingenuity is unlimited. A hitter with high drive can always train his body to get stronger and quicker. He can take advantage of technologies such as video to replay his actions and to learn vicariously from others. He can practice concentration techniques to tune out noise and improve his concentration at the plate. For a person with high drive, this improvement process never ends.

Stated differently, drive motivates improvement. Improvement pushes the limits of skill such that the boundaries of human performance, while limited in the near term, are essentially undefinable over time.

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