Josh Waitzkin on The Art of Learning

I first heard of Josh Waitzkin after he was an interview subject on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. I listened to the 2nd ever Tim Ferriss show about 12 months ago and more recently heard the second podcast with Josh.

Today I’m listening to Tim and Sebastian Junger speaking and Josh is mentioned again. Tonight, I decided to listen/watch more about Josh, and came across this interview with him. My highlights are:

  • We see teachers who try to fit students into a cookie cutter mould…a teacher knows how to create someone in his own image and try to fit the student into the mould, good for himself and bad for the student
  • A student would do much better to have a teacher who was open to bringing out that students natural shine, their natural strengths
  • We need to be true to our natural strengths and be aware of our natural talents
  • An artist needs to be unobstructed as possible the way the express themselves.

One of the more interesting, endearing moments, however comes just after a question is asked about the movie The Search for Bobby Fischer (the story is about Josh’s chess career) where Josh breaks into laughter about something off-camera, and breaks into smiling and laughter, at a time I felt the conversation was about to get deep and serious.

Other points of note re: learning (specifically related to transitioning from Chess into Tai Chi):

  • Be wide open to every last bit of information; hold no ego about being wrong
  • You need to want to be moulded
  • Changing your perceptual patterns at will (in relation to understanding time moves at different speeds)

As always, the challenge is adopting these principles into our own lives and coming up with a way to embed them in our lives.

Simon Sinek on Authentic Leadership

Today I heard one of the best, most closest-to-me podcasts that I think I have ever heard. Simon Sinek was a guest on The Ziglar Show (Inspiring True Performance), speaking about how to actually, authentically lead.

Part way through the podcast I began really tuning in and absorbing the content to the detriment of what I was currently doing – akin to getting into a flow state listening to the discussion and the message being shared). I recommend you take a listen to the podcast, and let me know your thoughts on whether this had the same impact on you that it had on me.

Some of the key points I took away:

  • Leadership is not a rank or position. Leadership is a decision and a choice. It has nothing to do with your position in the organization. If you look after others, you have become a leader. “We call you a leader because you have the strength and confidence to go first into the danger, first toward the unknown, and we will follow”A great way to explain leadership. I also like to think of it as someone (yes, it can be a subordinate or individual) can take on a leadership role without being asked and without seeking recompense in some way.
  • He admitted to ‘cheating’, and only talking about things he cares about and things he understands. There are so many people out there who think they need to be someone they are not in order to build credibility, a fan base, an audience or even to feel ‘popular’. Being true to yourself is a key element to being trustworthy and being authentic!
  • If you want a work environment where you feel safe and supported, and you love your work, you must find or create a work community that fosters this.
  • Command and control is short term and will not last; those that last are those who are in service to others
  • If you are only a spiritual leader; you gotta learn how to function; if you don’t have that capacity yourself, you need to learn how to trust people; If you’re just a functional leader, you need to learn that spiritual stuff or no-one will trust you. It’s about balance, it’s about both functional and spiritual.

I can’t do this podcast justice with my words, but have attempted to share with you what I took away from the podcast. Have a listen and tell me what you took away from this!

Getting better in 2015

I’m looking for ways to better myself and others in 2015.

2014 was such a difficult year as I focused so much on work (as there was a lot to do) and had little time for other things.  It;’s not who I am so in 2015 I am getting back into the way

I want this year to be different.
I need this year to be different.

I’ve gotten back into my blood/plasma donations but need some help and ideas on what else to do in 2015.

Giot any ideas? let me know!

Soften the Fck Up

Last week, a new initiative launched called “Soften the Fck Up“.

My buddy Gavin has written a great post about this new initiative to get men to accept that it’s OK to soften up and admit when things aren’t going well.

I met with one of the founders Ehon Chan last week and had a fabulous chat with him about the issues we (men) face and how ‘Soften’ is attempting to change things. It’s related to the decision behind why Raz, Robbie & I started Riding4aCause. I hope theres an opportunity to combine the 2 in the future!

David Brooks: The Social Animal

In February 2011, Writer, thinker and NY Times columnist  David Brooks presented “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement”. In this 18 minute presentation he touches on something that everyone should strive to understand. Watch the video and see if you can spot what this is:

Did you spot it? For me, it’s this point:

Reading and educating your emotions is one of the key central activities of wisdom

For many of us, we believe that our rational minds can help us live better lives, and that emotions or feelings are not important. This is not so. Neurologist Antonio Damasio noted that in a number of patients who had lost the ability to experience emotion were no longer able to make a decision. What should have taken a few seconds was now taking minutes. What should take minutes was now taking hours. David Hume (an eighteenth century Scottish philosopher) declared that “reason was the slave of the passions” (lifted from How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer). David Brooks supports this view as well, and urges us all to become better at understanding our emotions to not only become better individuals, but a better society overall.

Some other points from the video you may find interesting:

  • When we think about human capital, we think about things we can measure easily – things like grades, SAT’s, degrees, the number of years in schooling. What it really takes to do well, to lead a meaningful life are things that are deeper, things we don’t really even have words for.
    • The first gift or talent is mindsight – the ability to enter into other people’s minds and learn what they have to offer.
    • The second skill is equal poise – The ability to have the serenity to read the biases and failures in your own mind.
    • The third trait is medes, what we might call street smarts – it’s a Greek word. It’s a sensitivity to the physical environment – derive a gist.
  • Limerance. This is not an ability, it’s a drive and motivation. The conscious mind hungers for success and prestige. The unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence, when the skull line disappears and we are lost in a challenge or task.

Are you ignoring your emotions, or are you precisely tuned into them? I’ve shared some of my thoughts above and would love to hear yours in the comments below!

A textbook way to live your life

It’s not often you find someone who’s laid out a list of rules/guidelines on how to live (what I believe) is a great life. There are a number of interesting points in the license agreement for Eugene Blanchard’s 2007 textbook Introduction to Data Communications. I am not sure there are many books out there with such a great outlook on how to live your life!
Image courtesy of ThinkTank Media

  • That you will try to be a better person today than yesterday.
  • That you will exercise your body as well as your mind.
  • That you will tell the persons dear to you that you love them.
  • That you will defend the rights of those who are unable to defend themselves.
  • That you will not hurt your family members emotionally or physically.
  • That you will respect your elders and care for them in time of need.
  • That you will respect the rights of others in their religious beliefs.
  • That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation.
  • That every man, woman and child has the right to be here and is equal regardless of race, creed or color.
  • That you will act honorably in all aspects of your personal and business life.
  • That your family is first and foremost the most important thing in your life.
  • That when you make a mistake, that you admit it and make amends.

This book is available online in the hope it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

I resonate with almost all of them – Which ones do you believe in? Which 1 (one) would you choose to work on for the rest of 2011?

Note: this article originally appeared on boingboing & quoted from here.