suc·cess: (n.) The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted

Hip-Hop, Michael Phelps, and Peak Performance

I am unashamed to copy the peak performance techniques of peak performers.

Since "imitation is the highest form of flattery," I am pleased to flatter one whose success I admire.

After all, I am after the success. Originality is great, but reaching my goal is the issue.

However, there are limits.

Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps, winner of six goal medals and eight overall, likes hip-hop. Some even follow the word "hip-hop" with "music."

When asked, "What do you think about when you are in the water?" he responds, "When I'm swimming one thing that's going through my head is doing anything I can to get my hand on the wall first.

"Sometimes it doesn't always happen but there's always a positive thought in my mind.

"And also I'm singing a song in my head ... whatever I was listening to before I got into the water."

That song is likely to be Eminem's "Till I Collapse," Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ready To Die," or something from Twista.

(Ah, right. I could do a search, but maybe later.)

"I just like the sound of hip-hop," Phelps says. "I love Jay-Z and 50 Cent and I'm a huge Biggie (Smalls) fan. I listen to rap on the way to practice and whatever I've been playing just loops through my head as I swim."

And his daily workout lasts two-and-a-half hours and covers ten miles.

Fortunately, I suspect that audio art forms besides hip-hop (or, perhaps, an actual form of music), played on the internal audio system will also occupy the conscious mind and unleash the power of the unconscious.

So, whenever you have to engage the mind and body for an extended period, play your own internal music.

Fortunately, peak performance is the issue and there's no accounting for taste.

Copyright 2004 by Tony Papajohn. Tony writes and speaks on success. Subscribe to his free SuccessMotivator e-zine at

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