Psychology Secrets of Extreme Athletes, NFL Teams & Performers with Dr Michael Gervais

Psychology Secrets of Extreme Athletes, NFL Teams & Performers with Dr Michael Gervais



[Applause] welcome to the science of success introducing Yoast mat partner welcome to the signs of success the number one evidence-based growth podcast on the internet with more than 1 million downloads and listeners in over a hundred countries in this episode weeks or what it takes to succeed at the highest possible levels we get science and data from years in the trenches with top performers to uncover the strategies that really work for achieving results we dig deep into the lifelong quest of discovering your own personal philosophy and much more with dr. Michael Gervais I'm gonna give you three reasons why you should join our email list today by going to success podcast.com and signing up right on the home page one you're gonna get awesome free guys that we create based on listener demand including our most popular guide how to organize and remember everything you can get it completely for free along with another surprise bonus guide you got to sign up to find out by joining our email list today next you're gonna get a curated weekly email from us every week including our mindset Monday email which listeners have been absolutely loving and you're gonna get an exclusive chance to shape the show that means voting on guests changing parts of the show like our intro and outro music and much more and even submitting your own personal questions to our guests there's some amazing stuff that's only available to our email subscribers so be sure to sign up you can sign up by going to success podcast.com and signing up right on the home page or if you're on the go right now if you're out and about just text the words smarter that's Smar ter to the number 4 for 2 to 2 in our previous episode we discussed the proven strategies for building effective relationships why it's vital to understand that the results you get in the world come from working with other people how you can see the world from other people's perspectives tactics for building your credibility how to get better feedback and much more with our previous guest Todd Davis if you want to uncover the number one strategy for achieving results and getting what you want in life listen to that episode now for the interview today we have another awesome guest on the show dr. Michael Gervais Michael is a high-performance psychology to trained mindset skills and practices that are essential to revealing one's potential he's worked with some of the world's top performers including sports teams such as the Seattle Seahawks Felix Baumgartner the Red Bull sponsored athlete who completed the stratosphere jump Olympians musicians and much more his work has been featured on ESPN CNN the New York Times and many other sites Michael welcome to the science of success thanks for having me on well we're super excited to have you on here today so I'd love to start out tell me a little bit about you know what is your mission what's kind of the driving purpose behind what you do well it's changed and I can work in reverse order because I think it's probably a little bit easier but the beginnings is where I am now the mission now is to see if we can make an impact in one in seven people across the globe and that sounds daunting and ridiculous but we make it where it's bite-sized our snackable if you will and we're trying to make a difference one in five people in any organization that we work with and the reason one in five the image in place is to help people be more clear about how they can train their mind to be more present and so that's the mission if we can increase the frequency of people becoming their authentic self and by meeting the present moment when it happens and having command of their mind to do so and rugged and hostile environments then the ideas that will create a rising tide where that swell floats all boats you touched on the idea of rugged and hostile environments how does that play into the the cultivation of presence and another topic I know you've worked a lot on is mastery well by trade and training my skill set is is high-performance psychology or performance psychology and so I think that is important to give some context to where I'm coming from so it's not it's grounded in good science and then I've spent years in the field and in the trenches with some of the top performers in the world learning how they and we together customize a mindset training or psychological skills training programs and so the rugged and hostile environments is relative in many of the environments I work in there physically rugged and hostile but for the rest of folks like it doesn't have to be physically dangerous to be rugged it can be emotionally dangerous in risky and what that means is anytime that your heart starts to thump because of the interpretation that something is on the line then by definition that becomes relatively hostile right it can it feels as though no no a better way of saying that it it is the exact same feeling as if somebody were chasing it down with a knife in a dark alley when you're required to walk across onto dancehall in seventh grade and experience that vulnerability being the first person to dance or to walk across and ask some of the to dance all of the same ancient brain stuff from our ancestors that were passed on to us about fight flight freeze mission or flow State all of those are at play and in modern times so many of us we understand the value of working hard and getting right on the edge of capacity or getting on right on the edge of instability to grow and to become larger in our ability to manage moments but the truth is that our ancient brain is the thing that gets us stuck and keeps us safe and small in many respects so that's a long way of saying that the hostile and rugged environments is where we learn about who we really are and the way that we learn about who we are is you know only we really know our experience in those moments do we shut it down do we avoid them do we sell our so self-critical that it's hard to be fluid in our craft whether that be words or whether that be something more physical like sport and it's the dangerous and hostile environments that teach us how well we prepared to be still in the present moment and why is the stillness important it's because that's where life happens that's where all things high performance that's where all things that look like or feel like mastery take place it's where we're connected to ourselves it's what connected to nature its were connected to our craft is what we're connected to others and the essence is the whole inner engineering game is to figure out ways to become more present and to have that presence be aligned with your personal philosophy about who it is that you want to become and who it is that you're working on being and it's the confluence of those variables that you know be more specific those variables are hustle or rugged environments a personal philosophy about who it is that you're working on becoming and the mental skills to have command of your inner experience so that you can do one thing which is express your authentic self and when you can do that in harmony with other people really good stuff takes place and that's the essence of how I spend most of my time conceptually thinking about those those elements and how to leverage them and manipulate them in all the right ways and then to train our minds to be more calm more confident more resilient more mentally tough more nimble if you will to adjust to the unfolding and unpredictable unknown that only comes within the uncertainty of hostile rugged environments there's a tremendous amount of stuff that I want to dig into just from just from that answer I'd love to start out with the idea of really getting clear about who you are and how important it is to know who you are and how that intersects with performance yeah I think it's a it seems like it's a simple question but it's a really big question and let's start with let's start with one concept above that which is there's only three things that as humans there's only three things that we can train we can train our body and science is pretty good they're like we've got a pretty good handle on how to do that you can train our craft and our crafts vary across people right like some people their craft is writing and some people the craft is motocross like there's all different types of crafts people have parenting is a craft so you can train your body you can train your craft in you can train your mind everything else in life falls in one of those three buckets when we're talking about development of the human experience and there's an asterisk and that asterisk is your spirit there is some thought but I you know I'm a scientist at heart and there there's no science that I can point to that says you can train your spirit but I put an asterisk next to it because I think it's possible okay so there's only those three things that you can train now I spend most of my time on how to train the mind and when we talk about training the mind it becomes almost fruitless to have mental skills but there's nothing to calibrate who you are and who you're becoming which is a personal philosophy and a personal philosophy becomes seriously like one of the most significant anchors that we can ground ourselves with and if you think about some of the most significant people in the world that have shaped the culture and the rhythm of the world we're very clear about their philosophy Martin Luther King jr. we know exactly what he stood for because he talked about it he thought about it and his actions lined up and that's the essence of why personal philosophy is really important is to line up your thoughts your words in your actions across any environment and when you can line up your thoughts words and actions there's is a sense of power that comes from that and I don't mean power in a cheesy way but there's an inner knowing and an inner being that is so stock solid that you can a lot I'm not alone that you can move eloquently in any environment when you have that alignment okay so you know that's Martin Luther King jr. we knew that he stood for equality Malcolm X on the other side also stood for equality and they had very different tones to how they went about achieving that aim of equality Malcolm X was widely known for by any means necessary and and Martin Luther King jr. dr. King was very clear about having a nonviolent approach so there's styles that get embedded in one's philosophy but the philosophy itself becomes the compass for how to line up your thoughts your words and your actions that's so powerful and I I think it's critically important point I'm curious for for somebody who's listening that that kind of wants to ground that an experience how would you recommend starting out to uncover or discover what your own personal philosophy is or starting to get to the core of that it's a lifelong quest and it starts by getting clear and there's three methodologies to get clear that both science and ancient wisdoms would teach us and so it starts with a basic principle and the basic principle is that everything you need is already inside you so it's not about going and asking other people from their philosophy but it is helpful to have your eyes open to be curious about what other people's philosophies are so that you can be more connected to what it is that they're searching for and how they've organized their life and I'm talking about people of wisdom and passion and people that have had great influence that you think is remarkable okay so that's the first part the second part is if everything you know is everything you need to know is already inside you how do you reveal that there's three methodologies and the first is mindfulness and so that is the practice of being present with your inner experience and we can go down that as much of that conversation as you'd like and the second form is being around wise people being around people that are switched on and having those conversations about deep stuff about their philosophy about how they have cultivated the philosophy about how their philosophies changed over time and being able to bounce deeper type conversations across with people that have wisdom and if you don't if you're not fortunate enough to know somebody that's wise that's okay there's certainly people in your community too debt like are on the ball maybe they don't have wisdom and they haven't revealed it yet but they're certainly on the ball and have switched on so that's the second those types of conversations and building that community and then the third is writing and the art of writing of being able to take an esoteric thought and all the words in your native tongue to be able to lock down as a forcing function to say this is the word or sentence or phrase the best describes this feeling or thought or concept that I'm trying to articulate and it's something incredibly powerful about that forcing function to take all the possible words that swirl in our head and pick one or two or a phrase of words so articulate ourselves so those are the three ways and but it starts with the premise that everything you need is already inside you so your work is to reveal that and that happens by being by listening by having conversations and by writing what has your own journey been like to uncover your personal philosophy well so I've had I've had wonderful experiences with this and I've been fortunate enough to have some mentors I needed mentors when I was when I was younger I should say and so I was fortunate enough to have some really amazing people that helped guide me and one of those folks challenged me and said you know what is your philosophy and I had no idea what it was and I just couldn't articulate it and I tried and just like most people say well you know the things that are most important to me are and but that's not what it is it's like there's something much deeper and that deeper calling is to say I know it's this and the way to get to that clarity are the three approaches I just talked about but also having somebody say hey listen I really would love to know your philosophy there's something really important about that the accountability that that person cares they're interested and you know I'm gonna do this with them or they're calling me out on the carpet that's what happened to me somebody called me out and said I thought you had done this you've said that you've done this work and I thought you I thought you did but it's clear you haven't I said okay so what ends up happening for me as I went based on that kind of I wouldn't say was embarrassment but I let myself down I let this my mentor down and I just went on a quest to really try to figure it out but it took me two years and it was two years of searching and I was reading and I was talking and I was writing and I was listening I was doing all the things that I shared with you earlier and then one day I was reading a chapter in a book and it just spilled out of me and so I don't think that what I'm describing is the absolute most efficient way to do it but that's how it for me and then then when I realized like this is me looking back of hindsight that there are there are some particular phases that we go through this is searching phase trying to understand it and then there's the phase of like shaping it and pairing it and saying these are the words and what I'd suggest the people is that you want to be able to be so crisp with your philosophy is that you can get it out of it at knifepoint in a dark alley so that means that it's got to be just a handful of words or you know certainly less than 15 but maybe you start with a whole page and then you pare it down to half a page and then you pare it down to 25 words or less and then maybe you could get it down to just a handful of words that really get to the center of your compass in your life and okay and then the next phase is taking that work and putting it to memory and little Astra tears that when it happened for me is that when it just spilled out of me it was so right and so true because I've been thinking and searching and really wrestling with it sometimes in the background but sometimes in the foreground of of my daily rhythms that I only needed to edit two words in that my statement and that leads me to this next phase which is putting it to memory so it was so for me it was so crisp that I didn't need to put it to memory it was just there for me but most people need to say okay and they need to practice it like okay what are those words that's right okay it was these words all right and so this is a memorization process then the fourth phase is to put it into practice and so we've got to wake up in the morning in some kind of way and practice it if you want to be good at it especially in rugged and hostile environments to have that alignment that that true nor that only a philosophy can offer us is that we have to wake up and practice it and then we want to practice mental skills to support us to be about it in hostile and rugged environments so that's it I mean it's not complicated it's you know I think that there's something very important about simplicity and it feels like I know I'm onto something when it's really simple but it's hard to do and it just seems like that's that's what I've learned from both being in the trenches with world's best and of our idea of domains that it's not complicated to know how to shoot ask a ball or do whatever the skill is in it whatever sport we're talking about when nobody's looking it's it but it's extremely hard to do it when there are more people looking and you know there's pressure involved and it's a even more difficult to do that in repeated fashion and so that's kind of that's how I think about it yeah I feel like many many of the most important things in life are simple but not easy yeah a thousand percent a thousand percent and that you know there's something nauseating about the self-help world it's like Jesus what there's nothing new but it's a fantastic field too waiting for people to help them become their very best but the science is phenomenal saying listen this is what we know to be true you just have to freaking do it you got to put in the lonely work and roll up your sleeves be really clear about your philosophy train your mind to know how to be confident in the environment that's mechanical that's so mechanical but the practice and the doing of it it's just not easy how to be calm in any environment completely possible to do but we have to practice how do we practice I mean if you want we can go through those mechanics but I'm sure that most your listeners already know the answers on how to do that let's briefly touch on that tell me kind of just in an overview sense what are those core mechanics and mental skills that are necessary to command your inner experience yeah ok ok so once we've locked in and we've got our compass for our philosophy and we've got a sense of ok so I'm gonna do the hard work and you make that commitment right it's hard work to do and then then you can move into training the mental skills which are they're not complicated so it's generating a sense of confidence calm the ability to lock in and focus in the present moment the ability to trust yourself in difficult and rugged environments those are four right calm confidence focus and trust and then there's some psychological framework stuff to work on as well which is a fancy phrase for how you think about your future is it optimistic or pessimistic and we want to double down on optimism because for us what we've learned and science supports this as well is that it's part of the foundation if not be Center pillar for mental toughness and to create a life of high performance little and mastery or peace and meaning we need we're required to be mentally tough and if the center of mental toughness is the belief that the future is gonna work out and I have the capacity to figure it out that's a fancy phrase for self efficacy then optimism is really important for us and so we that's trainable optimism pessimism our learned behaviors and if we want to be more mentally tough we need to Train optimism and then the last two are being able to focus on what's in our control be very clear about that and then the last is developing a sense of grit and you know grits of a simple term but it really means living with passion and a sense of resiliency to persevere for the long term halt for the long for the long track if you will towards your potential so if I make it more clear it's calm confidence focus and trust optimism control and grit and those are the key mental skills that I spend a lot of time thinking about how to cultivate and if you're gonna do all of that working to line up your thoughts words and actions on a regular basis and come in safe environments all the way up to hostile environments and that's what kind of natural training progression looks like we start in a quiet safe environment and then progressively get louder it with more risk until it becomes more hostile and then at some point but there's the possibility to dissolve that hostility and dissolve that pressure if you will and that's much more nuanced but that's left for people that are truly at the tip of the arrow to figure that out if we're gonna do all of that work then the last pillar if you will for this for a programmatic approach to progressive improvement would be getting your recovery program you know locked down and on the world stage we do not talk about working hard everybody works hard everybody is freaking a hard work on the world stage and they've got this incredible talent to go with it so it's exciting and it's fun to work hard we talk more about the science and the art of recovery so that we can work hard on a regular basis and we know earn ourselves out in ways emotionally physically that or sometimes spiritually so to speak that we can't go the distance we've got to push up against the edge and if you're going to push up against the edge of instability and doubt and physical limitations then we've got to figure out the right way to recover our mind and our body I wanted to get a recovery but before we do one of the things that I've that I've thought about a lot is how do we balance optimism with the kind of acceptance of negative emotions and experiences and that's something I think personally I've struggled with this is kind of you know how do you balance spending time accepting and dealing with and thinking about you know past trauma or current negative emotional experiences with the with what you just talked about in terms of how powerful optimism is as a psychological framework and a key component of mental toughness and performance okay yeah that's good so everything that I just talked about the wick that runs through it is mindfulness and mindfulness is a particularly being in the present moment without judgment as a definition that was coined by Jon kabat-zinn and to answer your question optimism is about how you think about your future now if you've been burned and I don't mean physically good but it that could be the case too but if you've been emotionally burned or let down or you've been through some really tough stuff you've seen or smelt or heard things that are traumatic or difficult for you for you to deal with that that can and will likely impact a sense of optimism okay so if you've been through some really tough stuff it makes sense to have mechanisms to protect yourself from experiencing those difficult emotions and again so how do we train optimism the first thing we need to do is recognize that going through difficult things doesn't mean that we're going to come out the other side of it traumatized and there's a lesser-known research about so the what I'm talking about post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma you know being traumatizes is a kind of a feature of that obviously that there's less research around or less widely known research around post-traumatic growth so that means it is possible that goes through really heavy situations and come out the other side stronger to come out the other side with a sense of growth how that's it's really important how and it's not it's not as it's not as simple as I'm about to describe I don't want to pretend that this is not nuanced it's very nuanced when we're dealing with emotional stuff that's heavy and I mean shed you know a PhD which is about 14 years of study doesn't prepare us even enough to to deal with what I'm about to say it requires many more years in the field on top of that to deal with people that have been through traumatic experiences but there's trauma with a big t and there's trauma with a small T and let's just say we're dealing with small trauma with a small team it means maybe you were publicly embarrassed it doesn't mean that you saw body parts or you almost died yourself you know so trauma with a small T is more common and that means you may be Republik embarrassed or you you let down some other people or you know there's some sort of embarrassment there's smaller traumatic experiences to place if that was the case and and that experience was fused with emotion and that that fusion of fusion of emotion and physical experience becomes capsulated in such a way that we don't want to experience it again because it was so hard everything that you do looking forward would be to naturally protect yourself from that so we have to undo we have to rewire that experience how do we do that that's the complicated part so that's where you want to get in touch with somebody that really has a deep understanding of how the mind works a psychologist or a properly trained clinician to understand how to unpack that at the same time create the sense that resiliency is at the center of growth so we don't become these amazing human beings without being resilient and the only way to become resilient is to go through difficult so at some point we have to have this meta analysis this observation that the difficult things that I go through are either going to keep me stuck or pushed me right to the edge of growth and that becomes very important now from that point the idea of optimism is a purposeful decision to think about what could be amazing in the future and so we have to spend time to train that because of our of our ancient brain and our traumatized brain with a small tear but big TV for trauma is working to protect us it literally feels like we have to override our DNA and this is my psychology is so freaking powerful and wonderful and complicated because our software our mind is driving our brain our hardware and so if the software is not strong enough the hardware wins the brain wins and the brain is designed for survival so if we want to go back to any of our with a glitchy experiences in us becoming our best version of ourselves it's either because our software has been traumatized or it's glitchy or the hardware is doing its job and it's doing its job to protect you from all the things that could potentially be dangerous in a modern life the things that are most dangerous or what people think of us now certainly there are physically dangerous elements that take place there are dangers and bad people that lurk and in you know dark places that that is true but for most of us the worst thing that we experience is what other people might be thinking about us so we have to face down our glitchy software to upgrade it or know that our hardware is working to keep us safe and small and stuck and just okay and we have to override that bad hardware by purposely training our mind to find what could be good as opposed to what our brain wants us to do is scan the world and find what could go wrong and it's the combination of the balance of those two because it's ridiculous to think that nothing could go wrong when you do need to entertain those thoughts but it's that purposeful balance and doubled down or tripling down on what could be amazing and saying okay if that's an outcome it could be amazing what do I have to do to position myself right now in this moment or over the next week or month or years to see if that thing is actually possible and that's where all of the mental and physical and technical craft based work goes into play so if if optimism is a learned skill how can we cultivate and train it it starts okay so it starts with a decision like I'm gonna focus my mind on what could be good what could be amazing and it's a relentless belief too that that's possible then once that's in place then we back into how to train it and there's two functions of it the first function is without awareness of our inner dialogue we're literally dead in the water so it begins with an awareness of your inner experience how do you train awareness mindfulness mindfulness is a way to train your your inner experience to become more aware of your thoughts your emotions your body sensations and the stuff outside of you the external environment so it starts with awareness if you don't know your thoughts you can't change them the second is there's some really great research at AU pen that Martin Seligman designed and that study is reflex they put people through I can't remember that as thousands of people that I think was four thousand people they put him through a study I could be mixing up my research right now but they put thousands of people through a study and they asked them for seven days to just focus on three good things and at the end of the day just write those three good things down and what they found is people came into that study that were depressed it stabilized their depression what they found is people that were not depressed overall life satisfaction and wellness increased after just seven days and so that spawned this a bunch of research around optimism training and gratitude training and so that would be the most mechanical the easiest way evidence best practice to start is wake up in the morning become a researcher of good just do that become a researcher of amazing and a researcher of good and then at the end of the day write those things down at the end of the day you'd have a sentence and a parenthesis right next to this end of the sentence and literally I've got so many athletes and folks out and artists and folks I work with that they'll send me a text as an accountability measure at the end of the day and it'll say something like a woman held the door open formal period and then a parenthesis it would say cadet like a you know like they felt connected so the parentheses is the emotion or the piece that made it special and then the sentence is the thing that actually took place so it's got to be real it's got to be something that happened and it's by definition has to be good or amazing if it's if we're so bold to be able to make that list and so it forces our brain to scan the world and find what's good as opposed to all the things that could go wrong and it's simple its mechanical and it's evidence-based we talk all the time on this show about the importance of mastering new skills and abilities and that's why I'm excited to tell you once again about our amazing sponsor Skillshare Skillshare is an online learning community with over 16,000 classes in design business and much more you can learn anything from logo design to social media marketing to street photography and the cool part about Skillshare is that they give you unlimited access for a monthly fee so you don't have to pay per class they have some amazing courses on there that I personally really enjoy in everything from mastering Evernote to mind mapping to learning how to sketch and draw if you want to get a leg up on everything from graphic design to your knife skills if you're into cooking and much much more skill share is giving every single science of success listener one month of unlimited access completely for free that's pretty awesome so go to Skillshare dot-com slash success to redeem your free month let's transition back to talking about recovery you mentioned how important recovery is and talked about a little bit the art and science of that tell me more okay so if you're gonna get on the edge if you nod your head and say yes I understand that getting uncomfortable I've heard it over and over again that Gideon comforters required a requirement for me to be my best then what that means is that you're physically taxing your body on a regular basis and if we're doing that and we've got to put in the right recovery mechanisms so that we can replenish and there's four pillars of recovery the first is sleeping well right and the science around that is pretty clear we all know it we all know that's most human being six eight percent of human beings need between seven eight and seven and eight hours of sleep on a regular basis that's not new grandma told us that however making the commitment to do that does require an incredible discipline and it requires organizing our lives in such a way that we value recovery because we're working at our capacity on a regular basis so it's not not knowledge is not going to carry us through it's not more information and it sounds like you know it sounds counterintuitive for me to say this but the idea of listening to and I have a podcast and I love it and I'm on a clip just like you to learn it's at some point the learning has to turn into application and then that application has to turn into insight and then when we have that insight we can reveal our potential easier so it moves from not knowing and hearing again that oh I should be getting eight hours sleep it's having a fundamental pivot and orientation in your life to say that I'm freaking getting after it and because of that I need to or be disciplined and organize my life to ensure that I have at least eight hours in bed on the regular basis so that's one so sleep is a first pillar eating in hydration is the second pillar and you know I mean that's mechanical as well I'm not going to tell you more information that is gonna be helpful other than you know that having colorful foods on your plate and having clean protein is essential and colorful foods I don't mean like skittles and you know like I mean like all the different colors that mother nature offers us and having handfuls of clean protein on a regular basis are real important and we can dig down in the weeds and you know to go deeper in that but that's a basic frame and if you're not doing that on a regular basis and eating on a regular basis every three to four hours then you're kind of blowing it and the hydration piece is essential as well and so our brain when our when we are dehydrated one of the first things that happens is we dehydrate our brain I shouldn't say the first thing but we know that the Hydra people also have a shrinkage in volume in their brain because so much of our cellular structure happens up in that three pounds of tissue in our skull and so eating right and hydration those are that's the second pillar and then the third pillar is moving well and that's just a function of getting your body switched on and oxygenating your system and you know basic guidelines are like six seven hours of movement moderate to intense movement a week but that that's probably not quite enough if you're really trying to get on the edge and so the reason we want to get our bodies moving in that way is because it oxygenates our system it gets the blood flowing it gets all of the joints and the muscular and the skills the tissue all our that stuff is working in it it helps enhance our brain and for lots of different reasons but also it's one of the ways that helps promote if we're lifting heavy things and now I say this with an asterisk if you're gonna lift heavy things make sure that you're skilled and qualified to do that get with a coach you know sports performance coach or your local exercise guru whoever that might be and lift heavy stuff it helps promote growth hormone it helps promote the Brees testosterone and both men and women need those especially as we get into you know 20s and 30s and 40s we need to make sure that we're taking care of those two hormones so that that is all part of it and in the third pillar or the I'm sorry the fourth pillar is to think well and if you did all those three pillars if you kicked ass all day got right up into the edge of you capacity by doing difficult things whether it's emotional or physical and you're in the amphitheater so to speak on a regular basis and you recover for the first three pillars but you wake up in the morning and you pour your sheets off and the first thing that happens is if you drop into a state of anxiousness or worry or frustration that somebody drank you're the last I don't know I'm saying milk or orange juice or whatever the image in my in my mind is that you go to the frigerator and somebody drank all of your the juices that you wanted I'm not a fan of juices that's one kind of stammering and this part of it that if you wake up with a mind it's interests are frustrated you just undo all of the recovery that you put in place and so our mind is an incredible tool it's also a weapon that can be used against us if we don't put the right harnesses on it and those harnesses be with great awareness and again awareness can be cultivated it can be trained and mindfulness is one of the center pillars for increasing that awareness you casually kind of tossed out a phrase that I think is a phenomenal insight which is the idea that getting uncomfortable is a requirement to be your best you know I think so many people get trapped in their comfort zone and it ends up really kind of stifling much of their growth potential yeah for sure I mean that's one of the things that we can easily learn from world class in anything whether it's music I mean the amount of like artists world-class artists who I'm spending some time right now with an artist who I don't want to say who it is for confidentiality but has over 200 hits and I mean hits and so he's a writer producer and artist himself and when he goes onstage he sells out in 15 minutes he books out at about 1.8 million dollars a night and works about 50 nights a year and so I mean mega influencer of the world and the amount of vulnerability the intensity of vulnerability to get to the truth I don't I don't think most people can even fathom what it takes to get to the truth and that that level of radical vulnerability to allow the inner stuff to be revealed is incredible and it's so hard to do that what most of us do is we retreat to our normal patterns we drive almost the same way every day to work we eat from the same restaurants we think the same patterns we talk about the same silly with our friends on a regular basis and so really getting on the edge whether that's physical and great athletes have taught us this for years and coaches world-class coaches have this insight practice has got to be real it's got to be on we've got to get switched on and and get the most out of ourselves so that we can learn so that we can figure out and push on capacity out and I'm holding my hands like as like like a my hands are on a balloon and if I breathe air into the balloon which is doing difficult things the balloon stretches and there's a new capacity and so there's more room to play when the capacity gets bigger when the balloon gets bigger and that is you know there's ways to do it emotionally and there's ways to do it physically and there's no such thing as mental uncomfortableness that you know thoughts or thoughts thoughts are become challenging as soon as we have an emotional experience to them so there's an emotional uncomfortableness which is really vulnerability and then the physical stuff is much more mechanical and much easier to do it's about getting your heart rate up and you're lactic acid and brandy kinase the Nura camp are the chemicals in our body that are difficult to deal with it's about getting our wind up and breathing heavy because we're out of capacity from an oxygen standpoint and from a lactic acid brand-new kinase standpoint when our muscles feel like they're shutting down and you can do that by long long distance stuff or intense bursts of stuff and that's how you get physically the whole purpose of that is to be able to have better command of your mind in those difficult situations and command of your craft whatever that craft is physical or mental I want to come back and dig into craft as well but there's another topic that I'm curious to hear your insights on one of the other psychological frameworks you talked about was focusing on what's within your control and and kind of a corollary to that is something that I think a lot about is is striking the balance between pushing and really trying to achieve a lot and also kind of the the concept of non-attachment you know non-attachment to the outcomes and how do you how do these high performers you work with and how do you think about sort of striking that balance between not being attached to outcomes and at the same time still striving to achieve great things yeah so the concept of non-attachment is very much a the origins of that are very much in a Buddhist practice and you know I think that it's hard what you just described sounds wonderful and is really really difficult to do however and before I get to the however almost everyone I know wants to win I mean they they know they understand the invisible handshake that winning is really fun if you don't win enough you don't get to keep going and that invisible handshake is for me or for an athlete or a coach on in world-class organizations is that if we don't win in the first let's say in the NFL you know coaches don't win in the first four games the owners can fight just fire you like that's kind of the tolerance so imagine if you've got four weeks to get it right and it doesn't work right like you're gone and so you have to win yeah it's a requirement winning pays bills winning is certainly fun and but it's far deeper than that the far deeper part of it is that the process of becoming the process of knowing that you have what it takes the process of being creative to solve problems and make decisions on the fly is much more fun it's just like when we match up against our competitors and we get to see how well we prepared that's the real reward the winning part of it is a requirement to keep going to get another shot at it okay so how do you get into the non-attachment piece by thrusting yourself completely into the present experience and our minds are wired in such a way that we cannot process two new things at the same time it's called serial processing and that's our we think at least work we're wired and so if you can't process two new things at the same time and you make a conscious decision and you have the ability anytime you have an ability that means you can get better at it you make a decision and develop the ability to put your mind in the present moment to focus on the most relevant task at hand then that's where we experience non-attachment so non-attachment is a byproduct of full absorption in the present moment that that's a great insight and I think that makes a ton of sense and that balance is something that I that I spend a lot of time kind of thinking about is how do you strike the balance between those two things so thank you for sharing that insight yeah good and I'd say it's it's not gonna probably do you much good thinking about it you know the next phase is if once you have some clarity around it is practicing it and how do you practice being fully connected to the present moment just this next thing is you might actually be practicing it on a regular basis through these conversations and then your podcast is by listening deeply and if you're just listening deeply to this conversation right now you're practicing single-pointed presence like just this word just this word again and you're here now again in the present moment and again in the present moment and doing that for 15 seconds 20 seconds and locking in for another 30 seconds once your mind wanders and shouldn't maybe even doing it for one second at a time so that's how it works and I'd say practicing it is far more important than thinking about just you know the conceptual piece of it another really good insight and very true you know I'm a very cerebral person so I naturally gravitate towards the ideas but I think the practice is is is integral and critical oh yeah yeah and these are all abilities that means we wherever we are with them we can get better and what I love about the space of psychology and the space of mindset conditioning and training is that it's wide open right now and our potential as humans is untapped and we're moving into a digital world where our ancient brains are not primed properly for it so we have to train our minds to pursue our potential we have to train our minds to override our DNA and that DNA function is to survive and so if we can train our minds and we've got a clear purpose of our philosophy and connection to our philosophy like the world becomes so much more playful and wonderful it doesn't mean it's hot naty's it's like hard you know and there's and there is real danger in the world but jeez it's it's a fantastic time right now for the science of psychology and the application of it it's phenomenal I want to circle back to craft which we which we talked a little bit about earlier tell me you know when you say craft kind of what does that mean and how does thinking about that factor into the work you do with top performers so craft is well it's so easy to look at an athlete and say oh I understand their craft their craft is dribbling a basketball throwing a football or you know throwing a javelin whatever like that's super simple and you look at an artist you're like okay his craft or her craft is playing the guitar or singing for most people that are not on the world stage or are not professional at what they do it begs the question what is what is my craft and it's not as complicated as it sounds if the way to think about your craft is what are you most passionate about what is the thing that you care so much about that you love doing it you put work into it and that's like it could be a hobby but that can be your craft and I'd also suggest that it's really important for us to get back to seeing what we do from 9:00 to 5:00 what or whatever that rhythm is for work for people to seeing that as a primary craft even if it doesn't have the same type of passion around what it feels like to you know spinning pottery or to play music on a guitar as a hobby but to see what we do and how we spend most of our time as a workforce as that being our primary craft that's a really important distinction between being a labourer and being a craftsman and even if it's a factory worker even if whatever it does not matter and what we found from research is that people that have a deep connected connection to purpose and meaning in life they see that the simple bolt that they're attaching on the factory line to the nut that is eventually one day going to turn into an automobile where people can have some freedom to move around or it's going to turn into whatever piece of technology that provides creativity for people that connecting to the deeper part of what they're doing is significantly important to overall well-being to happiness to joy and to purpose in life and so the and that science has been around a long time but what's happening right now is that modern the modern pace of instant access and the need for comparing our Instagram highlight reel to other people's Instagram highlight reel is that we've lost our way and we've lost our way about what is our true north what is the craft that we're working on refining and why are we here what is the purpose for us to be here and it's a difficult conversation that only you can answer for yourself and but I would encourage us to take a good look at how we spend our time and to think about the things that we do through the lens of being craftsmen the idea of seeing your job as a craft makes me think of Zen in the art of motorcycle maintenance and especially the the notion of quality from what from that book yeah it's a classic book it's really good yes certainly he has pulled on that thread quite a bit and if you haven't read that book I'm highly encouraged and then to take a look at it for sure so what is one piece of homework that you would give somebody listening to this episode so that they could concretely implement some of the ideas we've talked about today okay so certainly taking time to think about and articulate and your philosophy your personal philosophy and how do you do that just start writing and just start you know feeling the words that start thumping when you say my personal philosophy is and just kind of sense and feel your way through that that would be a phenomenal and significant investment in yourself to see if you can articulate in 25 words or less what you stand for what you're all about what you're what what it is that is your TrueNorth your compass for what you're doing here in life that would be a phenomenal thing to do and maybe even go research other people's philosophies just to get your juices rolling and then I let me add one more thing and I want to give your listeners two things so that would be one and if I could add to that it would be you could even write down the people that have inspired you in life whether you know them or not write down their names and then right next to the names write down the characteristic that they embody that they exemplify and those characteristics will also be part maybe of the words that you choose for your philosophy okay so that's it that's a significant contribution to your overall inner engineering right and we do get to engineer our inner experience and then the second would be an investment of mindfulness and mindfulness has been around for twenty six hundred years it's it's what I I feel like we've moved past the conversation with folks about what it is and why it's important so I feel like that pop culture has done a great job there but mindfulness that the actual practice of mindfulness is so powerful and so wonderful to increase our awareness of our inner experience I thought so our emotions our body sensations as well as the awareness of the unfolding world around us so that we can pivot and just that investing in a mindfulness practice is would be a second very significant investment and one's you know potency in life or efficacy in life so how do you do it mechanically there's there's thousands of mindfulness practices there's thousands of ways to meditate and mechanically if we started off with some training wheels it would be as simple as mastering your inhale so breathe in and take a nice deep breath in and maybe that breath lasts for about four to five seconds somewhere in that range and master and how do you mass with the inhale is when your mind wanders away from it just bring it back bring it back to the inhale and when your mind wanders away again bring it back and if you ask yourself am i doing it right that's the wandering mind just bring it back and then notice the tension at the top of the inhale and master that tension that pause at the top it's not radical but it's just enough to say that I've got a full breath and then master the exhale and if the exhale is longer than they inhale over time you're going to get the benefit of a bit of relaxation but mindfulness is not a relaxation training mindfulness is a focus trim and as soon as you're mine Dee focuses moves away from the present moment which in this case is the breath your breath at the moment that you're aware that you're away from the most important task at hand that you set set up for yourself to breathing that moment of awareness is the moment of the work taking place and so you gently deep bring it back so it's like that yeah I've realized I'm away okay come back and that's the mechanical part of refocusing back to the present moment so if you set a timer and if you follow good science there's somewhere between six and eight minutes is a minimal effective dose and my teacher from I guess is about 20 years ago is rolling his eyes right now if he's listening saying Mike are you still thinking about timing yourself you know that's not what it's about and then but you know an optimal dose according to science is somewhere around 20 minutes and you know it's not like it's completely hard science we're still trying to figure it out and there's some great researchers that are doing that right now but somewhere between six and eight minutes is a minimal effective dose and the upper limits are somewhere around 20 minutes and that is what a mindfulness practice would look like and where can listeners find you and your work online brilliant so the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll who I think is going to go down as one of great coaches of our era is and that's an NFL team for people that are not familiar with the National Football League that he and I about fought four years ago we created a joint venture where we've taken his insights and best practices on how to switch on a culture and my insights and practices on how to train the minds of people that want to become the very best and it's essentially what we've been doing together up at Seattle Seahawks had had a cultivate culture and how to train the minds of people inside of it and we've created a business out of it and so you can go to compete to create net and those two words are the center of our personal philosophy his personal philosophies always compete to become the best version of yourself the best dad the best wife the best coach the best friend and then mine is philosophy is that the work create is important which is every day is an opportunity to create a living masterpiece and so we took our two Center philosophies and spun it into a business and let's compete to great net you can also find me at finding mastery net which is his podcast we spun up to have conversations about mastering and with world's best in a variety of different domains and then more mechanically on social media it's at Michael Gervais its Gerda is and on Instagram is at finding mastery Michael this has been a tremendously insightful conversation there's so much that we got into and so many fascinating insights thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all of this knowledge and all these practical insights with the listeners Matt thanks for having me on like what you're doing is a fantastic expression of people being able to share what they've spent their life figuring out and I feel honored to be in the conversation with you and I hope that some folks have found this fast conversation to have maybe one little gem in there that they can practice and apply and so thank you for the opportunity thank you so much for listening to the science of success we created this show to help you our listeners master evidence-based growth I love hearing from listeners if you want to reach out share your story or just say hi shoot me an email my email is Matt at success podcast.com that's ma TT at success podcast.com I'd love to hear from you and I read and respond to every single listener email I'm gonna give you three reasons why you should join our email list today by going to success podcast.com and signing up right on the home page one you're gonna get exclusive curated weekly email content from us every single week including our mindset Monday email which is short simple tidbits articles with stories that we've been loving for the last week next you're gonna get an exclusive listener only chance to shape the show that includes voting on guests changing parts of the show like our intro and outro music and even submitting your own personal questions that we will ask in interviews with our guests lastly you're gonna get an awesome free guide that we created based on listener demand called how to organize and 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