4 Cs & Me

7 Mar

I have been thinking again.  This time it is about mental skills.  Skills that are essential to any performer, chef, athlete, business person, etc.  Each professional has a set of technical, tactical, and physical skills needed to do their job, but mental skills are critical to their success.  Here are four mental skills that I see as critical and some interesting commentary on them.

The 4 Cs are:

  • Concentration – ability to maintain focus
  • Commitment – ability to continue working to agreed goals
  • Control – ability to maintain emotional control regardless of distraction
  • Confidence – believe in one’s abilities


Exclusive attention to one object or close mental application.  AKA “be the ball naaaaanaaaanaaaaa.”  In my world I see this as see the stick, watch the line, catch the ball, sauce the meat, chop with speed, or work with a sense of urgency.  A Highlander style of “keep your eye on the prize.”  One needs the ability to focus on the task at hand, no matter what it is.  Concentrating not only on the short term or immediate skill needed to be performed or achieved, but one also needs to be able to focus on the long term goal or the super ordinate goal/dream goal.

You can see concentration physically in an individual’s face, for me I see it in the eyes.  It is a certain gaze, a brow movement, and when it appears you can see the intent of the chef, cook, or athlete.  Verbally it can be heard two ways a firm voice with direction or simple silence.  I think concentration is a type of grace; not everyone has it, but when they do it is intense, passionate, and energy driven.


This is my favorite one.  This skill for me is the easiest to sniff out in people.  Commitment.  I can smell it a mile away.  It is a pledge or promise; the obligation to something or someone.  Commitment is everywhere in sport, cooking, business, and life in general.  If you do not commit, then leave.  No excuses, I can’t stand uncommitted people.

I can see commitment by the drive a person has to reach their goal.  Setting up times to practice in the gym , in the ice house, or in the kitchen, studying the game/food through reading books, asking poignant questions, taking notes, and watching tape.  NO MATTER WHAT.  You feel like crap, you need to work out.  It is 6am Christmas morning time to throw stones.  It is 3am and you need to bake cookies.  Do it!  You have to do it.  I have to do it.  Do you?

Being committed to win or successful; one needs to train, practice, cook, bake, and then do it all over again the next day.  If not, then I can see it, I can hear it.  It is ok, if it is not for you, but I don’t want to hear people complain.  Make time if it is that important to you.  I know I need to read, workout, throw stones, and bake a lot of cookies to see I can can be the best.  I know that I commit to be the best me possible in what I want to do.  And that is why I am exhausted most days cause I try to be the best I can be, but I get tired and I know it is worth it.


To exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command, or to hold in check/curb.  In many ways I am a control freak.  Yeah, it is difficult to see this in me, but I need to be in control of me.  There are rules when to eat, rules when to train, rules when to cut loose, times to start and times to finish.  Then you track, document, and repeat.  Keep in your emotions, don’t let them hear your weakness, and there is no crying. Blah!

Control for me is shooting free throw, sitting the hack getting ready to deliver a stone, manning the grill, getting out of the weeds in the saute station, or getting yelled at by a coach/chef.  On the flip side; hearing fans jeer you in HK stadium, horns, plastic bottles filled with coins, college scouts, and servers.  I can’t see them can’t hear them.  I hear the words of my team mates, words from the opposing team, a coach, the line cooks, the chef, and then nothing else.  I can turn it off so fast.  Can you?

There is a difference between control and intensity.  Control directs the intensity of a person.  It is like a dial you turn up and down and fine tune to get what you want.  If you grip too hard or have to much control then you choke.  Choking just plain sucks.  One needs to find a balance in themselves to be able to control their energy, no matter what form the energy is in.  It can be difficult, it can be done, and it can be practiced.

Control in my mind is the most misunderstood mental skill we have.  There needs to be open discussion with team mates, cooks, business folks to understand how people are in the heat of battle.  If there are deficiencies or choking tendencies,  then it needs to be addressed and modified.  One just needs to step up and take responsibility for their actions and try to improve for themselves and the team.


The belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.  You got to know it.  You have to know that you are ready, that all the work you have put in will pay off and you CAN DO IT.  You know the recipe, you can cook it, and you can crush it.  You know you can throw that shot, because you practiced it.  You know you can talk to the investors, because your proposal makes sense and is logical.  You have prepared yourself for this moment to succeed.  No one prepares to fail.

Confidence is the most difficult skill to train for I think.  Maybe you can’t.  I’m no expert.  I know that one needs to have confidence in themselves.  You need to believe in yourself.  You can not be afraid of your own shadow, afraid to win, or afraid to succeed.  If you do think this,  you need to examine why you are doing what you are doing.  I mean it.

Ones does not need to be an ego-maniac or super arrogant to be confident.  You just need to believe; believe in yourself, and in your team, crew, or staff.  One needs to believe that all the effort they have put in to be prepared will pay off.  When you go off and perform you need to believe that you can do what you intend to do.  That is all.  Nothing else.  Just trust yourself.  As the wise Yoda said “Do or do not, there is no try.”

That is it.

The 4 Cs are covered or well just lightly touched.  Think about the mental skills you use everyday or the mental skills you need to perform.  As Vince Lombardi said “the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”  So can you find in you?

PS…. Cooking update this week, lets say Wednesday.


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