Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Anxious in America" by Thomas L. Friedman: A Peak Performance Analysis

I have taken the liberty to print an opinion piece published by Thomas L. Friedman/New York Times/June 29, 2008 in it's entirety.

I wanted to illustrate the article as a great example of a peak performing journalist at his best and how he illustrates the Peak Performance System so well.

Thomas L. Friedman and the New York Times do not endorse nor use the Peak Performance System to my knowledge. The blog is for illustrative and educational purposes only.

Below is the article with headings written and added by me.

The original article can be found at: Anxious in America.

Anxious in America

Identifying the Vision: The Dream for America

Just a few months ago, the consensus view was that Barack Obama would need to choose a hard-core national-security type as his vice presidential running mate to compensate for his lack of foreign policy experience and that John McCain would need a running mate who was young and sprightly to compensate for his age. Come August, though, I predict both men will be looking for a financial wizard as their running mates to help them steer America out of what could become a serious economic tailspin.

I do not believe nation-building in Iraq is going to be the issue come November — whether things get better there or worse. If they get better, we’ll ignore Iraq more; if they get worse, the next president will be under pressure to get out quicker. I think nation-building in America is going to be the issue.

It’s the state of America now that is the most gripping source of anxiety for Americans, not Al Qaeda or Iraq. Anyone who thinks they are going to win this election playing the Iraq or the terrorism card — one way or another — is, in my view, seriously deluded. Things have changed.

Up to now, the economic crisis we’ve been in has been largely a credit crisis in the capital markets, while consumer spending has kept reasonably steady, as have manufacturing and exports. But with banks still reluctant to lend even to healthy businesses, fuel and food prices soaring and home prices declining, this is starting to affect consumers, shrinking their wallets and crimping spending. Unemployment is already creeping up and manufacturing creeping down.

Fast-forwarding: Anticipating the Future and the Barriers to the Vision

The straws in the wind are hard to ignore: If you visit any car dealership in America today you will see row after row of unsold S.U.V.’s. And if you own a gas guzzler already, good luck. On Thursday, The Palm Beach Post ran an article on your S.U.V. options: “Continue to spend upward of $100 for a fill-up. Sell or trade in the vehicle for a fraction of the original cost. Or hold out and park the truck in the driveway for occasional use in hopes the market will turn around.” Just be glad you don’t own a bus. Montgomery County, Md., where I live, just announced that more children were going to have to walk to school next year to save money on bus fuel.

On top of it all, our bank crisis is not over. Two weeks ago, Goldman Sachs analysts said that U.S. banks may need another $65 billion to cover more write-downs of bad mortgage-related instruments and potential new losses if consumer loans start to buckle. Since President Bush came to office, our national savings have gone from 6 percent of gross domestic product to 1 percent, and consumer debt has climbed from $8 trillion to $14 trillion.

Developing a Game Plan: Strategy for Achieving the Vision

My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working.

I continue to be appalled at the gap between what is clearly going to be the next great global industry — renewable energy and clean power — and the inability of Congress and the administration to put in place the bold policies we need to ensure that America leads that industry.

“America and its political leaders, after two decades of failing to come together to solve big problems, seem to have lost faith in their ability to do so,” Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib noted last week. “A political system that expects failure doesn’t try very hard to produce anything else.”

We used to try harder and do better. After Sputnik, we came together as a nation and responded with a technology, infrastructure and education surge, notes Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. After the 1973 oil crisis, we came together and made dramatic improvements in energy efficiency. After Social Security became imperiled in the early 1980s, we came together and fixed it for that moment. “But today,” added Hormats, “the political system seems incapable of producing a critical mass to support any kind of serious long-term reform.”

If the old saying — that “as General Motors goes, so goes America” — is true, then folks, we’re in a lot of trouble. General Motors’s stock-market value now stands at just $6.47 billion, compared with Toyota’s $162.6 billion. On top of it, G.M. shares sank to a 34-year low last week.

Execution: Making the Game Plan Work

That’s us. We’re at a 34-year low. And digging out of this hole is what the next election has to be about and is going to be about — even if it is interrupted by a terrorist attack or an outbreak of war or peace in Iraq. We need nation-building at home, and we cannot wait another year to get started. Vote for the candidate who you think will do that best. Nothing else matters.

Thomas L. Friedman and the New York Time do not endorse nor use the Peak Performance System. The blog is for illustrative and educational purposes only.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did Tiger Win or Did Rocco Lose?

Is it in his swing?

(Oh no, not his swing!)

Is it in his drives?

(Oh no, not his drives.)

If you want to know, if he'll lose it, oh.

It's in his talk.

(That's where it is.)

(Sung to the melody of It's In His Kiss.)

Rocco Mediate, on the 19th hole of a 19th-hold playoff with Tiger Woods, was playing to win the U. S. Open and beat a legend. He laid up inside 100 yards in two shots, hit his third shot 20 feet from the hole. He had birdied three straight holes on the back nine to capture the lead, and now he would have a putt to beat the No. 1 player in the world. He was going to defeat Tiger Woods.

“I said to myself, ‘You’ve waited your whole life for this putt, just don’t lag it,’ ” Mediate said. He ran it 3 feet past; Woods made his 4-footer. Mediate lost it, and once again, Tiger won it. Lucky or good?

So, what did Rocco do wrong? He didn't control his internal dialogue, his self-talk. He focused on the outcome and the consequences of his actions. He paid attention to the "what ifs."

“I thought I was going to win after that putt went in on 15,” Mediate said. “I said, if I can keep hitting good shot after good shot, which I pretty much did, I’m going to win this golf tournament.”

Thinking, not executing, was Mediate's downfall.

By contrast, as always, Tiger Woods was thinking about how to execute his putt and what he steps he needed to perform to get the ball in the 19th hole. In comparison, Rocco Mediate, lost control of himself internally and focused on what not to do instead of what to do. He choked, and once again, Tiger Woods outmuscled his opponent with his mind and his focus.

Next time you are under pressure, think about what you must execute not what will happen to you if you don't.

If you want to be like Tiger, it's in his talk.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Creative Growth Group, Andrew Dietz

Check out Andrew Dietz's blog on business development at:

He has some interesting stuff on "Resistance & How to Overcome It" (June 8, 2008) which includes some comments from yours truly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics: Work Ethic Pays Off

“When you look at it, it was kind of nasty because you went to class all sweaty at the time. But, hey, that’s what you had to do back then to get to this point.

“It helped me get a work ethic and it helped me sacrifice. Who wants to wake up at 5:30 to go to the gym? I know nowadays I don’t. But when you’re a kid who had dreams and tried to develop a work ethic, those were the things that you wanted to do. Any chance you got you wanted to get in, and that’s pretty much where it all started.”

--Paul Pierce, NBA Boston Celtics' All-Star, discussing the development of his craft which started in Inglewood, California at the YMCA and Rogers Park Community Center. He often played from early morning until the gyms closed at 10 PM.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Nadal Dominates Federer in the French Open Again!

"Winning four times in a row is
incredible."- Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the French Open, as he won six consecutive
games early in the match and swept the final nine games to win 6-1, 6-3,
This was Federer's worst loss in his 173 Grand Slam matches, and the
Roland Garros men's final in terms of games since 1977.

No. 2-ranked
Nadal lost only 41 games in seven rounds of the French Open.

Spaniard became the second man to win four consecutive French
Open titles. Bjorn
Borg did it in 1978-81.

Nadal improved to 28-0 at Roland Garros, where he has won 83 of 90 sets. Only six-time champion Borg won more French Open men's titles. And Nadal became the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the tournament without a dropping set.

"He dominated the tournament like never before, like Bjorn," Federer said.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fastest Man in the World: Usain Bolt of Jamaica

"You can have the world record, but to me if you don't have the gold medal in the Olympics or world championships, it means nothing. A gold medal is more important to me, especially the Olympic gold medal. Somebody's got to wait four years to beat you. If you're the world record holder, it can be taken at anytime. "

--Usain Bolt (21), from Jamaica, responding to questions following his world-record breaking time of 9.72 seconds in the 100 meters at the Reebok Grand Prix.

Bolt still needs to qualify for the Jamaican Olympic team during the trails on June 24-26. Despite his world record, set on Saturday, May 31, 2008, his speciality (and preferred event) is the 200 meters, so he is unsure of his plans in Beijing. Bolt is the silver medalist in the 200 meters in last year's world championships.

"I think I can be the best in the 200. I want to be the best in the 200," says Bolt.

He beat Asafa Powell, his countryman, breaking the record by .2 of a second, and Tyson Gay. Gay won the 100 and 200 meters in the 2007 world championships, and finished second in this race.

Bolt, is not the favorite for the 100 meters in Beijing at the Olympics. On May 3, ran a 9.76 second 100 meter race, though he is considered too tall (6'5") for the 100 meters.

Excerpts taken from USA Today, 6/2/2008.