Every four years, the World Cup arrives and people start screaming. Some are screaming because their team scored that critical goal, some are screaming because their team lost a game, some are screaming at the officials, and some are even screaming at the estimated $3.5 to $14 billion of lost productivity the games are projected to create.
Thirty-two teams qualify for the 4-week tournament, and in the end, only one will be called the 2018 World Cup Champion. This means that across the world there will be far more sad and disappointed fans than there will be elated ones. Still, from the Tignum perspective, the World Cup could be the perfect 30-day program for building Sustainable High Performance.
From a movement perspective, every game is packed with 90-minutes of action. For you, this means 90-minutes of jumping up and down, pumping your fists, throwing your arms up over your head, and of course, playing your share of air soccer. If you watch two to three games a week, just think of how much natural, unplanned, energy-packed movement you could get in. After Mexico pulled off a huge upset against the favorited German team, seismic monitors registered an “artificial earthquake” from the celebrations throughout Mexico City. Now that’s movement.
In soccer, unlike American football, there are no commercial breaks for a full 45-minute half. This means you better plan your snacks ahead of time to keep your energy, your visual acuity, and of course, your emotional state up. When it comes to the Tignum approach to nutrition, we always encourage the 80/20 approach, so if you eat your high performance snacks throughout the game, you should feel good about your celebration snacks at the end.
Like in business and in life, the World Cup is full of upsets, complex problems to solve, opportunities to practice emotional control, and the need to challenge your own bias. In addition, because your team will rarely be undefeated (spoken like an American whose team didn’t even qualify), there is the opportunity to practice compassion, empathy, and grace. Whether it's your mental preparation before watching the game, your emotional control during the game, or your ability to keep perspective after the game, the World Cup offers a great training stimulus for your Performance Mindset.
While many economists may attempt to make the case of how the World Cup robs productivity, I beg to differ. In today's busy world where work and life are fully integrated, taking a little time to enjoy a game (even during work hours) to cheer, yell, smile, and cry and to fully immerse yourself in the sheer beauty of the game seems badly needed. Since most of our clients rarely take the recovery they need and all of the things I mentioned above should be great for synchronizing the brain and clearing brain fog, I would argue that the World Cup is the perfect recipe for improving creativity.
This year, as the World Cup unfolds, I hope you take the time to enjoy a game, cheer your team on, and build your Sustainable High Performance. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.