A Psychological Paradigm for High-Yield Performance

I applaud Instructor Zero’s integration of cognitive psychology into his training. World-class athletes are distinguished by their ability to regulate and focus attention in a dynamic and fluid environment. This cognitive approach also helps to reduce the physiological arousal experienced in challenging or threatening environments.

However effective, this cognitive approach is the result of well-intentioned scientists that are perennially bound by the institutionalized dogma of behaviorism. Behaviorism clings to measurable and observable data to the exclusion of anything not palpable. Anyone experienced in combat will tell you that there is more to the warrior than meets the eye and it may not always be measurable by a scientific instrument.

There is an intangible, ephemeral quality to a person who is capable of ruthless pragmatism in the arena of life and death. That palpable but immeasurable quality is to be found in affect. Affect is where human performance begins. This is the substance of the person that makes them a warrior or a leader or a business executive. It is often attributed to a heavy dose of testosterone and testicular fortitude and a warrior spirit. While it is attributed to the heart of the man, it is to be found in the human’s capacity for psychological freedom.

My fellow warriors, this outward manifestation of our inward strength is the substance of who we are. While it is immeasurable, we ourselves know it to be real because we are capable of measuring it in each other at a glance or in a sniff. If we are to realize our full potential and if we are to share our blessing and gift with those who will fill our place, then we must embrace the very essence of our inner warrior and lay out the path for those to come. We can embrace cognitive science and the fruits thereof. But, to save the lives of those warriors-to-be, we must show them the way to true psychological freedom. Understanding our own affect leads to the consciousness necessary to meet the demands found in the toxic environment of human conflict.