What it takes to become the best in the world

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wondered what separates those who succeed (like the authors we read, the actors we watch, the entrepreneurs whose businesses we visit), from those who tried and failed (the authors we’ve never read, actors we’ve never seen, and businesses that never came into being)?

It’s obviously not the trying and failing part – we know the most successful people in the world have failed countless times.  Just ask any famous author, artist, or entrepreneur and they’ll tell you (often with enthusiasm) all about the hardships they experienced at the beginning, all the uncertainty, all the flops…

Yet they pushed through (sometimes for years) and eventually found their footing.

They succeeded in spite of the odds.

So what is it?

  • Is it determination?  Grit?  The ability to keep going when others throw in the towel?
  • How about talent?  Does that play a part?  Are some people more inclined to succeed?
  • How about our network or team?  Is it true that ‘it’s who you know’ rather than ‘what you know’?

As it turns out, I’m not the only person who’s wondered about such things…

Enter: Dr. Jason Winkle

Dr. Winkle is a high-performance consultant.  He’s helped countless sports teams and individual competitors transition from good to great.

Dr. Winkle knows a thing or two about performance and what separates average players from the best in the world.

Prior to entering his current line of work, Dr. Winkle spent years training some of the most elite military and para-military units in the world – from Rangers to S.W.A.T. – which gave him a very real glimpse into what it takes to perform not just at a high-level, but to perform flawlessly in high-pressure situations.

After all, when it comes to being in the military or in a police unit, when things get hairy, the smallest mistake can mean the difference between life and death.

Which is why the work that Dr. Winkle has done is so profound: he’s found that it’s not about how talented, skilled, and determined we are (although all three of those are fundamental building blocks of high-performance), it’s how we handle high-pressure / high-stress situations that separate the good from the great.

In other words: to become the best in the world, you must be achieve excellence in high-pressure situations.

Reactions to The High-Performance Athlete

The High Performance AthleteWhen Dr. Winkle approached me about writing a book on this topic, I immediately said: yes.

This is a subject that is infinitely fascinating to me and a message that others need to hear about and understand.

We recently released Dr. Winkle’s newest book: The High-Performance Athlete (which is available via trade paperback, Kindle, and high resolution PDF here), and the response has been great:

“A must read for anyone who values physical fitness or relies on athleticism to succeed in everyday life.”

“If you have been part of a high-performance team, this book puts in words what you already know. If you haven’t and want too – this book explains what it takes to get there.”

“I think EVERYONE needs to buy this book and share it with the people they see every day.”

“I love this book…I hope that you avail yourself of the wisdom and practical application potential contained in this book and put it into action IMMEDIATELY. First with yourself, and those around around you (family, friends, teams, work colleagues)”

So if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the book.

A Short Interview with Dr. Jason Winkle

Dr. Winkle is a busy guy and almost always on the road speaking to teams, coaches, and leagues, but he was kind enough to answer a few questions for our audience.

I figured these questions would help explain a little bit about high-performance and show you why it’s a worthwhile topic to explore.

Without further ado:

What is High-Performance?

Dr. Winkle: Any athlete and any team can have a lucky day securing a victory or achieving a personal best.

True high performance, however, is not a function of luck, providence, or hope.

It is the product of an intentional approach to training, a mission-focused mindset, and the ability to consistently achieve near-peak performance.

This book addresses several of the key practices and behaviors that increase the chance for sustainable high performance by both individual athletes and teams.

Why Is it important to approach Performance from the perspective of Fear, Stress, and Anxiety?

Dr. Winkle: Individuals or teams who are expected to perform on demand—at incredibly high levels—understand the power that anxiety, pressure, and fear possess.

Fail to mitigate these influencers and the athlete runs the risk of not reaching their potential.

Many athletes benefit greatly with training in autogenic breathing, visualization, and self-talk monitoring.  These simple tactics help athletes reduce the stress response and allow them to perform at their best.

How does a student, athlete, or coach Define Excellence?

THPA - softcoverDr. Winkle: Excellence, like high-performance, is difficult to define but easy to recognize.

In the context of athletics, it is often referenced in regard to statistics and win/loss records.  I, however, views excellence as a disciplined approach to behaviors, choices, and personal accountability.

When viewed through this lens, excellence can be broken down into small actions that every athlete, coach, or student can execute to raise their level of performance.

Are you ready to become a High Performer

The High-Performance Athlete is the newest book out of Insurgent Publishing and our first-ever single author book.

I couldn’t be more proud of the results.

If you’re interested in grabbing a copy (or buying bulk for your team, company, or league), check it out here:


Thanks for reading, and expect some updates in the near future about how we’re spreading the word of this book one person at a time (insurgent marketing at its finest).

– Tom Morkes