In his book The TB12 Method, Tom Brady lays out a system to achieve a lifetime of sustained peak performance. He might seem to us like a special case. After all, he is an elite athlete with over 20 years of high achievement from his years as a college quarterback at Michigan to his tenure with the New England Patriots in the NFL. His results have been superior and sustained over time. For example, he is the NFL quarterback with the most Super Bowl victories and the most Super Bowl appearances.
In his book, Brady describes an approach to lifetime peak performance that is built on attitude rather than rare skills, and “can benefit anybody who is committed, open-minded and disciplined”. The benefits include living “a vital, active and energetic life off the field as well”. He describes the TB12 method as “common sense principles”.
As individuals, and particularly in our entrepreneurial mode, each of us can take on the challenge of lifetime peak performance. Circumstances change, new challenges present themselves, and we all age, but we are all able to strive for peak performance over an extended period of time. Brady’s ideas and attitude are available to all.
Commitment to peak performance is the first step. As we say in our 10-Point Manifesto For Individualism, everyone is free to try their best, to see what they can achieve.
Once you make the commitment, devise a plan and stick to it. That doesn’t mean the plan never changes; in fact the opposite, because new learning brings new understanding and insights. But you stick to the habits and behaviors you need to maintain to implement your plan every day. For Brady, that might be the exercise room and the skill exercises he needs to repeat and repeat for peak performance, but also the nutrition habits, hydration habits, proper rest and many more elements of everyday discipline.
Self-Directed Learning, Training and Preparation.
Much of the TB12 Method book focuses on what Brady has learned about optimal muscle conditioning, the best ways for him to train (which might be different for him than for other individuals, and different than for other positions on the team), and the best choices to make in a wide range of fields that contribute to performance. He has eagerly sought new knowledge that’s relevant to his current goals, and applies that knowledge in training and preparing for games. There may be little time to think when faced with unanticipated developments in a game situation, so learning and training and preparation are needed to lock-in the muscle memory and habits of mind that govern performance under stress.
Brady works with a subject matter expert, Alex Guerrero. Guerrero has his own set of knowledge, based on research and experimentation with elite athletes to develop the best ways of keeping them fit for their specific athletic activities and helping them to recover from injury or, better still, prevent injury. None of us can hope for peak performance unless we collaborate with others. Each node in a partnership or network brings unique knowledge and capabilities. Our job as a peak performer is to recruit and nurture the best network, to give as much as we get, and to earn the privilege of working collaboratively with others who represent excellence in their own specialty.
Brady plays at peak performance in a very special role that is deemed to be key to team performance. Nevertheless, there is no peak individual performance without peak team performance. Brady knows his team role, and while he often chooses a different training regimen from, say, a defensive lineman, he is always highly focused on how the team does what they do together. He has had many teammates in a long career, but only one professional team. Knowing your role, and helping teammates understand their roles, and integrating all roles in pursuit of a single shared goal, is a big part of the high-achievement individual’s skill set. It’s important to know and apply what’s unique about yourself, and equally important to know how to blend into a team.
Sweat The Details.
Brady spends an extended amount of time in his book explaining the contribution of detailed decisions, habits and practices to sustained peak performance. He covers nutrition (what to eat, in what proportions and ratios, and what not to eat), hydration (how it’s an amplifier of daily vitality), and supplementation (smart use of selected supplements to completely meet your individual nutritional needs). He takes a comprehensive view of personal performance and makes sure no detail is left unattended. You can do the same for your life, your work, your family commitments and every other aspect of your performance.
Re-centering, Rest And Recovery.
One of the 12 sections of the TB12 method focuses on mindset, centering, brain exercises and rest and recovery (especially sleep). Brady even provides advice on room temperature for sleeping, and the role of a clean bedroom and a good mattress. “I like the idea of my body working for me during the night. I’m getting the edge (on my opponents) even when I am sleeping.”
Peak Performance For Longer Than You Believed Possible.
Tom Brady is creating a brand built around the promise of sustained peak performance, and about each of us becoming the best version of ourself. The answer is in our hands, he tells us.
What if we had a President whose brand was built around the promise of being the best person he could, and helping all Americans to be the most productive they could be, and helping the country to achieve peak performance, focusing on the most important contributory factors and eschewing the political distractions that get in the way and make us despise our government? What if any politician were to build such a brand and make such a commitment? It would be nice if one of them read Tom Brady’s book and reflected on the difference between personal peak performance and political performance.