How to achieve world-class performance: Definition & Assumptions


This post belongs to the RethinkingTruth Performance Series. It is meant for those of you out there who’d like to understand how I define “world-class performance” and what assumptions I make when writing about performance.

Defining world-class performance

First of all, “performance” is subjective pr. definition. It’s therefore only possible to objectively measure “performance” when it has been generally accepted what is meant by “performance” in a certain performance area.

Let me give you an example:

It’s only possible to measure what is meant by “being the fastest person on the planet” when what is meant by “being the fastest person on the planet” has been widely accepted.

Is Usain Bolt the fastest person alive or is it Stephen Kiprotich? Well that depends on whether we’re talking about “fastest” as being the time it takes to run 100 meter run or 42,195 kilometres.

Similarly, who is the world’s greatest business executive?

I have no idea how to measure that in a way that would make every person alive nod in agreement!

By the way, is our planet Earth big?


The RethinkingTruth Performance series defines world-class performance as:

“The behaviour someone consistently carries out in order to be widely accepted as in the top 10 of all performers in their performance area”.

Does that mean that Milos Raonic, who’s (pr. the 25th of August 2013) ranked 11th in the ATP Tennis rankings isn’t currently a world-class performer?

Well, as I said at the start that’s highly subjective and no he would not currently be classified as a world-class performer using this definition.

Four key performance assumptions

Consciously or subconsciously everybody  makes assumptions. Here are the four main assumptions I’m conscious of making about performance:

I could go into great detail about why I believe these assumptions are all valid but I won’t bore you with that in this post.

Now I want to know what you think

Do you agree with my definition of performance? What assumptions do you make about performance?



* Yes, I agree it would be hard to someone without arms to become the fastest swimmer in the world but I’m sure you understand the point I’m making here.

I’ve borrowed the pictures above from the following sources:

Thank you.

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