by Sunil Bali, 02-08-15

"Get off your cross – somebody needs the wood," said philosopher and singer Dolly Parton.

Whether it’s in the boardroom, on a blank canvas or in a boat, peak performance and creativity require a balance to be struck between ease and effort.

Over exertion and struggle always hit of a point of diminishing returns, whereas a period of ease taps into deeper levels of our subconscious to produce those light bulb moments and those great performances.

Its as if a strain free state gets us back into the flow of the universe and paddling downstream with the current.

When Sir Steve Redgrave was asked what was the most important thing he needed to do before the Olympic final to win his fifth consecutive Olympic Gold medal he replied, "We’ve put in the work, we’ve done the training, we now need to let relax, not try too hard and let the boat glide.",

Dubbed the new Usain Bolt at the age of only 17, for two years Zharnel Hughes struggled to live up to this title. In the last year however, Hughes has run the fastest 100m time ever by a 19 year old (10.12 seconds), and last week beat a start studded line up to win the 200m in London and move to the top of the Diamond League standings.

So what’s changed? Hughes credits his coach, Glen Mills – who is also Usain Bolt’s coach – for getting him to run more relaxed, not try too hard and therefore run faster.

….. remember, "Easy does it."


After a tiring day, a commuter settled down in his seat and closed his eyes.As the train rolled out of the station, a woman sitting next to him pulled out her mobile phone

She started talking in a loud voice:

"Hi sweetheart. It’s Sue. I’m on the train. Yes, I know it’s the six thirty and not four thirty, but I had a long meeting. No honey, not with that Kevin from the accounting office. It was with the boss. No sweetheart, you’re the only one in my life. Yes, I’m sure, cross my heart!"

Fifteen minutes later, she was still talking very loudly.

The man sitting next to her decided he’d had enough, so he leaned over and said into the phone, "Sue, get off the phone and give me another kiss."

Sue doesn’t use her mobile phone on the train any more.