• Jonathan Gibbon

Discover the Peak Performance of a Positive Mind (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 9

We are all familiar with the need to work on our physical fitness. We understand from a young age, and indeed are taught in school, that exercising, eating the right food and sleeping will help us improve our physical health and fitness. We also understand that doing repeat exercises will strengthen our muscles and build our capacity to exercise, play or perform for longer.

Developing mental fitness

Just as we work to maintain and improve our physical fitness, we can (and should) do the same for our mental fitness, too.

Mental fitness is our capacity to respond to life’s challenges with a positive mindset, rather than a negative one. We are able to build mental muscles through exercise, just as we can build physical muscles. For example, through deliberate practice and intentionally activating the positive parts of our brain, we can effectively rewire the brain by creating new neural pathways that change our response to certain triggers, stimuli and events.

Of course, working on our mental fitness once every now and then is unlikely to have much impact. If you go to the gym once a month, you probably won’t notice much of an improvement. But if we work on our mental fitness consistently and with an initial focused effort, we can create a positive mindset that enables us to:

  • Access peak performance

  • Gain peace of mind

  • Build healthy relationships

  • Thrive through challenge and change.

And, as we continue to venture on our voyage of uncertainty, this is something that will be of significant benefit to us all.

Three Core Muscles

In these articles, we will focus on three core muscles that are the key components of mental fitness:

  • Self-command

  • Saboteur interceptor

  • Sage.

As you progress in the development of your mental fitness, you will come to work on these three muscles simultaneously and see how they combine to provide an operating system that enables you to thrive. However, it initially helps to focus on one muscle at a time so you can start to build the right muscles and understand the differences and impact they each have.


The first muscle to build is that of self-command, so you can control your brain rather than having your brain control you. This muscle can be built with very simple mindfulness/meditation exercises where you focus on one single physical sensation, giving it such attention that it activates the positive part of your brain. This enables your brain to shift from producing cortisol (the stress hormone) to activating the part of your brain that produces endorphins (which reduce pain and increase mood, self-esteem and pleasure).

The good news is that the exercises we use can be done anywhere and for as little as 10 seconds! In our ‘Peak Performance of a Positive Mind’ programme, we use PQ Reps which were developed by renowned coach and Stanford lecturer, Shirzad Chamine, and his team at Positive Intelligence. PQ Reps are particularly useful because they can be short and are designed to be used anywhere, anytime, so you don’t need to be in a quiet, calm meditation space or have specific conditions for them to work. They can be as simple as rubbing your fingertips together to feel the ridges on each finger.

Of course, when you do these exercises and focus on one single sensation, your mind will no doubt wander every now and then. And that’s fine because you’re human and it happens to us all. By commanding your mind to return to your focus when it drifts, you are building your self-command muscle and improving your ability to focus on your chosen task.

When used at intervals throughout the day, PQ Reps enable you to break the accumulation of stress and shift to clear, focused action. This helps you to control your mind, so you can improve your decision making, increase your productivity and activate the positive part of your brain ‘in the moment’, in stressful or pressure situations when you need it most.

In this short video, Shirzad speaks about the simplicity and power of PQ Reps in activating the positive part of the brain (referred to as the PQ region of the brain).

Read the second part of this article, in which we discuss the second and third muscles of mental fitness; the saboteur interceptor and the Sage.