There are a few things that are important to pay attention to I believe as the complexity and challenges of life pull at us.
Humans generally have a Cognitive Negativity Bias that we inherited from our ancestors who had to live in a far more dangerous society than our own. Our own upbringing can either counter these inherited traits or shift them the other more constructive directions. I like to watch people who have a different perspective and mental approach even if it is a small sliver of their life. It gives me a sense of hope and belief in our potential and capacity for greatness. I also like to teach my own kids about how to look at the world from a limitless capability point of view. Sometimes it is easier to show a video of this than hear ‘dad’ talk about it. These videos explore what it takes to be world class and some of the approaches to fear and risk taking might surprise you.
If you like tennis or like Maria Sharapova you can learn about her mental approach to the game. I find tennis so much fun to watch but the grueling mental duel that players have to go through is extraordinary. Maria finished this year #2 in the world but this article in the Sept/Oct article of Tennis Magazine I found great since it reminds one of the importance of making mistakes. It refers to number 2 below. In this article I was reminded of how a world class psychology handles being at the top of her game in the strongly competitive game of tennis.
1) Confront your weakness
2) Don’t let your worst shot destroy you
3)Keep your mistakes in perspective – “She had 57 unforced errors but that her game is power and she knows that power and not consistency is her game and hitting winners requires risk….it requires making mistakes.”
4) Make your opponents respect you. In particular I like this quote from her.
DARPA – Flying at Mach20, Hummingbird Drones and the psychology of achieving the impossible
This is a TED Speech by Regina Dugan who achieved national prominence when she became the first woman in charge of Darpa, the Pentagon’s research arm.
“Since we took to the sky, we have wanted to fly faster and farther. And to do so, we’ve had to believe in impossible things and we’ve had to refuse to fear failure.”
As director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Regina Dugan oversaw the US armed forces’ innovation engine. Now she deploys the same research tactics at Google. This talk focuses on Flying at Mach 20, hummingbird drones, robot dogs…..and the psychology of achieving the impossible. Watch here
One More Reason to Get a Good Night Sleep
Jeff talks about how we have doubled our knowledge of the brain in the past 5 years. The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep. We have all read that we are supposed to get sleep, but Jeff has learned that the brain does some very interesting things as we sleep. Watch here
Some of you may laugh that I have put him on this list of inspirational people, but I ready his biography 5 years ago before his mess-ups with his former wife and when you read about his immigrant upbringing and how he made his first millions in the mason brick business you will begin to understand his mental approach to life which I find uplifting
His Motivational Speech (more about his life growing up) If you don’t know about his upbringing then you will really really like this. I loved his book but the video makes it come to life.
We give him a hard time because of his accent and his women problems but his mind is exceptional. Even taking small parts of people’s lives can be beneficial to learn from.
Swimming – 4×200 Olympics 2008
I think that all children should watch this to see how to never give up. It is still quite incomprehensible how the US won this race. But they did! Jason Lezac absolutely closes down on the Frenchman to win the race. Fastest split in history. Love it Watch here.
Michael Lazerow sold Buddy Media to Salesforce for hundreds of millions of dollars a few years ago. This video is a powerful reminder of how Michael cheated death as a young kid and through this experience now lives unafraid. His experience helped him start and sell 4 businesses….the 4th and most successful being Buddy Media. Watch here
The video is an explanation of his experience.
400M – Derek Redmond 2008 Olympics
Warning don’t watch this unless you are prepared to cry
My favorite….Because I like a message that you might not win but can still finish the race!
Never give up. Watch here
Can we teach our kids the value of taking risks? I think so. I think that the stories they tell themselves are critical at an early stage. I often ask my kids how they process wins and losses to take a peek into how the gears of their brain are making meaning of events.
For example, I watched my son (U12) play a game of soccer this weekend. They tied the game and should have won since they dominated 75% of the game in the opponents end of the field. But soccer is weird and they ended up tying. What was even odder though was that each 11 year old walked off the field somber and despondent. My own son was on the verge of tears. He said that the coaches had told the team that they should be upset about the tie (they have tied 4 times this year….this is allot) and should be crying about it like own of the boys was in the post-game discussion. In fact it was said that by the time they got home if they were not upset with their play then they should be. Needless to say, I spent the better part of 30 minutes undoing this nonsense from his brain. He now knows that there are boundaries that coaches cross and that this is one of them. I said excellence is not achieved by being ashamed but that excellence is achieved with a powerful psychology that acknowledges what we did well and what we need to honestly improve upon. I said that coaches sometimes go insane but it is his responsibility and no one else to make the correct meaning from the message.
How to stay sane: The Art of Revising Your Inner Storytelling is a great for further reading on the topic.