The Three Laws of Performance, Part 1


I recently read the book, The Three Laws Of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan. I found it absolutely fascinating and if I truly lived according to these laws my life would never be the same. I want to explore each of these laws, one by one, in three consecutive posts.

The first law is, "Your performance is correlated with how situations occur to you." Now, I must say when I first read that it made little sense and sounded like philosophical babble. But, let's look at it a little more closely. The word "performance" is pretty self-explanatory. You can replace it with "actions" or "behavior" and it might be more palatable. "Correlated" implies "connection" or "mutual relationship." However, it was the word "occur" that threw me. In this usage, occur means, "to come into a person's mind." In other words, your perception of what happened. This is where it gets foggy because your perception will be very different from my perception even of the exact same occurrence.

Picture this scenario. It’s a rainy day, two young children and a businessman are waiting at a bus stop. There is a big puddle of water at the curb and a large truck drives by and splashes water all over the children and the businessman. The children are ecstatic. They are playing in the puddle getting themselves even more wet, and they may be saying things like, “This is great now we don’t have to go to school!" The businessman, on the other hand, is grumpy and might be saying something like, “This sucks. Now I have to go home and change. I'm going to be late for work and I'll have to pay to have my suit cleaned again!"

Now, if you asked each of them what happened their stories would be similar. They would say that they were standing at the bus stop and a truck came by and drove in the puddle, which splashed them with water. They would be describing their experience. But, it occurred to the children like an opportunity and to the businessman like a problem. Why? Could it be that how situations occur to us is a function of our experience plus our interpretation of that experience? So, even though the children and the businessman had virtually the same experience, how it occurred to them was completely different.

This presents a problem for assimilating this first law because the nature of being human is to assume that how situations occur to us are true without realizing that we have added meaning to our experience. It is this "added meaning" that explains why multiple people can share the same experience and have it occur differently.

So, here's the question: If a situation occurs to me in a particular way is it true or false? If it is false, does that mean my performance, actions or behavior is determined by bogus perceptions?

What do you think?

In Part 2, I will explore The Second Law of Performance, "How a situation occurs arises in language."