Self Help

Learned Excellence - Eric Potterat

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Matheus Puppe

· 33 min read

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Here is a summary of

  • The website is dedicated to helping people improve their mental performance and achieve excellence through a learned approach.

  • It addresses common scenarios people face where performance matters, from big events like giving a speech to more mundane tasks like a science test.

  • The core thesis is that while people train their physical skills, they often neglect the mental aspect, which is what separates top performers.

  • The author, Alan Eagle, has over 30 years of experience working with elite athletes, military, leaders and developing mental performance programs.

  • His approach compares hardware (physical abilities) to software - the mental skills and mindset that allow the hardware to perform at its best.

  • Top performers are not innately mentally tough - they have learned excellence through developing their mental software just like any other skill.

  • The site provides principles, exercises and action plans to help readers improve their mental performance and learn excellence in whatever challenges they face.

In summary, focuses on developing the mental skills needed to perform at one’s best, through a learned approach of excellence applicable to all life’s performances, big and small.

Here is a one sentence summary:

The first chapter introduces the author’s experiences in the Navy which led him to focus his career on performance psychology and developing the mental side of excellence.

  • The author worked at a Navy base in Spain overseeing potential landing sites and emergency response plans if NASA space shuttle missions needed to abort. Their job was to help astronauts and secure missions.

  • After 9/11, they wanted to continue serving and took a new role leading the psychology team at the Navy’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school.

  • SERE trains military personnel to withstand capture and interrogation through intense, realistic simulations that subject students to high levels of stress. The author underwent SERE training to understand the program.

  • Their job involved designing psychological curricula and ensuring student safety. They began transitioning from clinical to performance psychology, focusing on managing stress.

  • Additional roles included working with repatriated military personnel and helping Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell return home after surviving an Afghanistan battle.

  • In 2006, they became the first psychologist for Navy SEAL training (BUD/S) to develop screening assessments to identify candidates likely to fail, improving completion rates.

  • The assessment focused on predicting performance under stress rather than clinical diagnosis or “healing.” This was a new approach for psychological assessment.

  • The author developed the first Navy SEAL mental toughness curriculum to systematically train mental resilience and performance. This was piloted at BUD/S training but allowed students to navigate extreme adversity like Hell Week on their own mentally.

  • To research techniques, the author interviewed dozens of elite athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps who visited BUD/S. He learned about their mental preparation strategies for high-pressure competition.

  • After implementing the program at BUD/S, the author became a psychologist supporting deploying SEAL teams, reinforcing the techniques SEALs learned.

  • The author later worked with Red Bull developing extreme “performing under pressure” camps to inoculate athletes to stress. And served as performance psychologist for Red Bull athletes.

  • In 2015, the author joined the LA Dodgers as their full-time performance psychologist, applying similar assessment and training programs to develop players mentally. The Dodgers saw success during this time.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The passage describes professional cliff diver David Colturi and his journey overcoming the fear of reputation. As a competitive cliff diver on the Red Bull World Series circuit, Colturi would dive from heights of around 88 feet into water, hitting the surface at over 50 mph. He acknowledges this is a scary experience, with safety divers appearing like “ants” from so high up.

Early in his career, in addition to managing his natural fear of the heights and speeds involved, Colturi would worry about his reputation in the sport. However, during training for the 2022 season, he had a shift in perspective. For the first time, he saw himself as a human first and athlete second. This allowed him to completely overcome any fear of reputation. The passage implies this new mindset freed Colturi to solely focus on his performance without worrying how others may perceive him. It suggests reframing his identity in this way was a key breakthrough that helped him achieve excellence in his diving.

  • David excelled at diving in high school and won national championships from 10-meter platforms. He started diving from even greater heights up to 20 meters for a water show job.

  • He went to Purdue to study pre-med but decided to learn about human limits firsthand by cliff diving. He qualified for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at a young age.

  • Early on his coaches taught him mental skills but he struggled with emotions and outside opinions. He worked with a mental performance coach starting in 2016.

  • In 2018, David did a teaser dive in Switzerland by jumping from a platform suspended from a paraglider. On the second attempt he was too high and almost belly flopped from over 100 feet, badly lacerating his spleen. He had to have an emergency splenectomy.

  • The accident provided an opportunity for David to fully commit to developing his mental performance, focusing on shifting from valuing reputation to having a strong sense of identity. This involved crafting a personal 10-word creed defining his core values and motivation.

The passage discusses developing a personal values credo by writing down emotions and values that are important to you. It encourages being expansive at first and then narrowing it down to 10 words or fewer. Family and friends can also provide their perspective on your values to help refine your list.

Creating a clear values credo helps provide identity, direction and meaning. It allows you to make decisions and evaluate opportunities based on your core values rather than reputation. Developing a strong sense of identity insulated several people mentioned, like David Colturi and Ted Brown, from ups and downs so they could perform at their best. Having values beyond just work or performance helped ensure well-being even after retiring from competition/careers. The process of reflecting deeply on values can provide clarity and strength in challenging times. Overall, regularly referencing a personal credo centered on core values and identity was said to yield substantial benefits.

  • Carli Lloyd attributes much of her success as a soccer player, including two World Cup and two Olympic gold medals, to setting goals and writing them down. She still uses this process today for both soccer goals and life goals.

  • Research shows that simply thinking about a goal results in 43% success rate, writing it down boosts it to 62%, and sharing it with a friend and tracking progress increases it to 76%.

  • When setting goals, it’s important to write them down, publicly commit by sharing with others, and create an accountability plan to track progress. Goals should also be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).

  • Process goals, focusing on daily improvements, are as effective as outcome goals which focus on end results. Maintaining intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation is also important for success.

  • Setting goals in six areas of life (career, relationships, health, spirituality, hobbies, legacy) helps achieve excellence. Spiritual goals don’t need to be religious and can include mindfulness.

  • Iconic baseball player Yogi Berra emphasized the importance of everyone having their own “engine” or internal motivation to succeed, whether it be to not lose, to win, or something else that drives them. This stuck with the author and influenced his work.

  • It is important to understand what truly motivates you at a core level, beyond surface level answers like money or fame. Asking “what is your engine?” and probing deeper into the reasons behind motivations can provide insight.

  • There is a distinction between motivators (what drives you) and values (what you care about deeply). Understanding the relationship between these is important for optimal performance and alignment.

  • Recalling and reflecting on the most difficult challenges or hardest things you’ve experienced reveals how you respond to stress and adversity. This provides insight into default behaviors that can be improved upon.

  • Developing self-awareness through exploring motivations, values, stress responses and past behaviors helps high performers maintain focus and fortitude especially during challenges. They intrinsically know who they are and why they are “in the building.”

  • Taking the time to define a personal credo capturing core values and setting goals across life aspects helps provide clarity of purpose even during pressure or difficult periods.

The key message is deep self-reflection and understanding of motivations, values, stress responses and priorities provides foundation for excellence and persevering through challenges.

The hardest experience Katy Stanfill described was her first deployment after flight school, when she had a dangerous incident during a vertical replenishment mission where the flight controls became unresponsive. This caused her to lose confidence in herself as a pilot.

When she returned to land, she couldn’t bring herself to get the helicopter close enough to land and had to hand off control to her copilot. She felt a lot of shame over this failure.

To handle it, she had to change her mindset. Previously, her focus had been on outcomes and achieving success, but this resulted in feeling threatened by the possibility of failure. So she intentionally worked on redirecting her thinking to focus on the process of flying rather than the outcome. She told herself “Just keep doing it, you will get better, you will get there.”

By shifting to a process-focused mindset rather than an outcome-focused one, she was able to build her confidence back up through continued practice. This allowed her to overcome her setback and go on to have a successful military career. The key lesson was learning to view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than threats, by focusing on improvement through the process rather than outcomes.

Placebo-controlled clinical trials are the gold standard for evaluating medical treatments. They involve comparing the performance of a drug or treatment to a placebo (fake treatment). This controls for the placebo effect, which is when patients experience improvements simply from their belief in a treatment, not because of any real pharmacological or physiological effect.

Placebo effects apply to performance as well. A meta-analysis of 12 sports studies found that athletes given placebo pills told to enhance performance received statistically significant boosts ranging from 1-5% on average, up to 50% in some cases. This suggests untapped psychological potential in athletes.

Superstitions, a form of placebo, also enhance performance. One study showed competitors across sports and tasks performed better when using good luck charms, due to increased confidence and “task persistence”.

These placebo effects demonstrate how beliefs impact performance. Choosing a growth mindset, the belief that abilities can be developed through effort, is key to maximizing potential in different roles. Most people rely on default mindsets rather than intentionally shaping one. Top performers make mindset a priority, selecting traits suited to each role through observation and self-reflection.

  • Growth mindset is the belief that abilities are malleable rather than fixed. Grit refers to passion and perseverance towards long-term goals, as defined by Angela Duckworth in her book “Grit”.

  • While grit and growth mindset are distinct concepts, they reinforce each other. Having one makes developing the other more likely.

  • Other beneficial mindsets include optimism, warrior mindset, and ambition. However, balance is important - too much of a good trait can become a flaw.

  • When choosing mindset traits, focus on controlling your attitude, effort, and behavior (controllables). Ignore external factors you cannot control.

  • Mantras like “stay in the circle” help focus on controllables and redirect attention away from uncontrollable challenges.

  • Dave Wurtzel’s story illustrates how negative self-talk over an early failure influenced his attitude and performance. Redirecting to positive self-talk helped him overcome this and succeed. Maintaining a growth mindset requires actively practicing the right attitude through both successes and failures.

  • The passage discusses the importance of practicing effort and managing self-talk. It notes that self-talk can influence mindset and affect performance.

  • It describes an example of a athlete, Dave Wurtzel, who fell during a practice run but was able to redirect his negative self-talk (“man you suck”) to positive self-talk (“you can do this”) in order to succeed.

  • Managing self-talk involves observing your internal dialogue, filtering out negative chatter, and replacing it with positive mantras or affirmations. Research shows this can improve performance.

  • The key point is that after he fell, Dave didn’t fall again, showing how positive self-talk can help overcome challenges and lead to success.

  • Practicing failure is an excellent way to develop a growth mindset. Failing allows you to learn from mistakes and get better. Successful performers regularly fail and learn from it.

  • Deliberately put yourself in situations where you may fail, like taking on a new challenge, sport, hobby, food you’ve never tried, etc. This allows you to practice responding to failure in a positive way.

  • Failing helps you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It sparks creativity as you have to get “off balance” and explore new things. Incremental discomfort leads to growth.

  • The more you fail, the more you practice your mindset and attitudes in response. Top performers don’t take failure personally and see it as a learning experience rather than the end.

  • Start practicing failure in low-stakes environments to build up your ability to handle it. Then you’ll be better equipped for bigger failures and challenges in life. Failure leads to success if you learn the right lessons from it.

  • A former SEAL Team leader, Jimmy, gets out of his comfort zone by challenging himself physically, like practicing shooting left-handed despite being right-handed. He also can’t sit back and relax like others his age.

  • As an example, Jimmy tells a story of singing badly to a Styx song in his car to purposely get outside his comfort zone. He filmed it and showed his wife to make herself laugh.

  • The anecdote is about a retired SEAL chief who yelled at his young son for accidentally spilling milk multiple times at the dinner table after returning from a stressful deployment.

  • The chief visited the psychologist, Dr. Potterat, who was leading the SEAL teams, to feel remorseful about yelling at his son.

  • Dr. Potterat suggested the chief adopt a daily routine of telling himself he’s no longer deployed but is a father when brushing his teeth, to help shift his mindset.

  • The chief reported this simple routine helped him stay calm the next time his son spilled milk, and his son had not spilled milk again since, showing how effectively shifting mindsets can be.

So in summary, the anecdote illustrates how a former SEAL leader challenges himself physically and mentally to stay out of his comfort zone, and how adopting simple routines can help shift mindsets effectively between roles like work and home.

  • Loss aversion is the innate human bias to play not to lose rather than play to win when holding a lead. As we get closer to winning, we worry more about losing.

  • A study found PGA golfers hit birdie/eagle putts (to win the hole) with less accuracy than par/bogey/double bogey putts (to avoid losing). Golfers become slightly less aggressive when they have a chance to win.

  • Another study found golfers scored lower when holes were rated par 4 instead of par 5, suggesting they try harder to avoid bogeys than maintain their score. This costs them about 1 stroke per tournament or $1.2 million annually.

  • This is consistent with prospect theory - people are more risk averse recording gains than suffering losses. Loss aversion affects performers across fields and human thinking is often biased by aversion to loss over increasing the chance to win.

  • To combat loss aversion, maintain a winning mindset throughout and keep the focus on tactics/behaviors leading to success, like Navy SEALs who focus relentlessly on the mission until complete. Don’t ease up or coast when close to winning.

  • An elite special forces soldier accidentally shot himself in the leg during training because he was using a new holster that was slightly different from what he was accustomed to. The small change in his routine and equipment disrupted his muscle memory and led to an accidental trigger pull.

  • Top performers rely heavily on consistency and processes. They are very particular about any changes to their routines and only make gradual, tested adjustments. If new equipment is introduced, they thoroughly practice with it first before high-stakes situations.

  • Baseball pitcher Rich Hill attributed losing an important playoff game early in his career to being too focused on outcomes rather than his process. Over years of experience, he learned to focus intensely on executing his pitch-by-pitch routine and trusting that results would follow.

  • The key takeaway is that even elite operators are vulnerable to mistakes when familiar routines are disrupted. Top performers recognize the importance of carefully managing any changes to their processes through practice and iteration to avoid potential errors.

  • The passage discusses the importance of proactive time management for learning excellence and well-being. Top performers are very good at intentionally managing their time and fill their calendars in advance.

  • Ted Brown, an executive, maintains a disciplined weekly and daily routine which includes exercise, meditation, family time and meetings scheduled according to the optimal times for different tasks. He believes keeping this routine is critical to his high performance.

  • The author recommends a system where people fill blank spaces on their calendars in advance every Sunday for the following 10 days, color coding tasks by flexibility. This allows them to be intentional about time use and more easily manage interruptions.

  • Having goals in mind helps with prioritizing interruptions, represented by a “waterline” metaphor - only issues below the line require immediate focus. Keeping goals lists alongside calendars reinforces this.

  • While some resist filling calendars, the author finds this approach actually reduces stress by gaining control over time instead of being interrupted-driven. Disciplined time management is a hallmark of high performers.

  • The passage describes an anecdote about an athlete who got unsolicited advice from a barista on improving his techniques. While well-meaning, the barista was not an expert and did not have enough data/insights to properly diagnose issues.

  • Top performers follow deliberate processes to manage their career/life that help them optimize performance over time through practicing, training, nutrition, relationships, etc.

  • Processes need constant refinement, which requires filtering high-quality feedback (signal) from low-quality opinions (noise) given the vast information available today.

  • When determining who to trust for feedback, consider if they are loyal, honest, knowledgeable about you/the field, and willing to provide challenging input, not just what you want to hear.

  • Building a team of vetted coaches/mentors takes work but is important for long-term growth. Look to experts in your field, former colleagues, and set clear expectations for their coaching role.

  • The key is learning to properly filter information sources to optimize the process for continual self-improvement.

  • Coaches, managers, mentors, and close friends and family should be sources someone consistently gets honest feedback from after vetting them as trustworthy and knowledgeable.

  • When getting feedback after a performance, be aware that emotions may cloud objective analysis from even normally reliable sources. Make sure feedback is based on evidence of what actually happened, not just feelings.

  • Similarly, one’s own self-assessment right after a performance may be biased by negative emotions. It’s best to wait for emotions to settle before analyzing objectively.

  • Take the same care in vetting media sources for honest, expert opinions that challenge assumptions rather than just agreeing. Periodically review sources and remove unnecessary noise.

  • High-level athletes like pro wakeboarder Mike Dowdy benefit from having a consistent structured routine and process for training and preparation rather than changing randomly after outcomes. Sticking to a vetted process is more important than any single outcome.

  • Both athletes and others are prone to biases like outcome bias where they overvalue the importance of results rather than the underlying process, and recency bias where the most recent event looms too large in evaluation. Having a consistent process helps overcome these biases.

The passage discusses the importance of trusting one’s process when facing failure or poor outcomes. It gives several examples:

  • Goalkeepers in penalty kicks are statistically better off standing in the center of the goal rather than guessing which way the ball will go, but goalies feel compelled to act and usually guess.

  • Athletes and sports talk radio listeners often react emotionally after losses by calling for quick changes, but coaches emphasize sticking to the process.

  • When struggling, the temptation is to make immediate changes, but the better approach is to carefully analyze performance data from vetted sources before considering incremental process tweaks.

  • Top performers love improving but approach changes warily, making adjustments based on valid feedback and one at a time rather than overhauling everything.

The passage also provides examples of individuals who successfully used failure as an opportunity to pivot rather than viewing it as failure. Derrick Walker reflected on positives from experiences, then applied lessons to new pursuits. He transformed failures into learning experiences by following a process. The wakeboard champion Mike Dowdy also achieved success through consistent process-focus rather than outcome-focus. Overall, the key message is to trust one’s process developed from valid feedback, and make cautious, incremental changes when needed rather than reacting emotionally to outcomes.

  • Andy Walshe, director of high performance at Red Bull, uses a technique called stress inoculation therapy to help top athletes build mental toughness. It exposes them to mildly stressful situations to help them learn their stress responses and practice managing them.

  • At Red Bull’s annual PUP (performance under pressure) camp, athletes are put through a variety of challenges designed to trigger stress responses while not posing any real danger. This accelerates the learning process.

  • One year, Andy asked the author to come up with something new for PUP camp. The author proposed using Bart the Bear II, a 1300 lb grizzly bear, to startle the athletes.

  • On day two, Bart was brought in and made to do a mock charge towards the athletes. This triggered strong stress responses and fully engaged the athletes in learning stress management techniques.

  • The camp demonstrates that even elite performers can improve their mental toughness through controlled exposure to stressors and practicing stress tolerance skills. It helps build confidence and composure under pressure.

  • The passage describes the human stress response and how the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis helps trigger the fight, flight or freeze response when faced with danger. This includes increases in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, muscle tension, etc to ready the body for emergency action.

  • In modern times, the stress response is often hindering rather than helpful as it impairs thinking and problem solving abilities. There are also many more daily stressors compared to ancestral times.

  • Activating the stress response frequently or for long periods can be unhealthy. Mental techniques like those described aim to help manage and control the stress response.

  • The passage introduces several stress management strategies or “exercises” developed for the Navy SEALS to help mitigate the effects of stress in high-pressure situations, like visualizing, planning contingencies, breathing techniques, goal setting, etc.

  • An example is given of a police officer who suffered PTSD from work stressors due to a lack of mental health support, demonstrating why managing stress response is important for health as well as performance.

  • Joe was a star athlete in high school but faced challenges due to his smaller size compared to teammates. He went to Indiana University on a football scholarship.

  • Joe had a midlife crisis after his father died and marriage ended. He quit medicine and moved home. A friend suggested running, which helped his depression. Joe became passionate about triathlons.

  • Through his work with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe became an expert in concussions. He got to know receiver Lynn Swann.

  • Lynn Swann was successful due to his ability to visualize plays in his mind with all five senses before games. This created motor programs in his brain to prepare him.

  • Visualization can be used to mentally rehearse performances, practices important events. It helps wire the brain for success and reduce stress and anxiety. The PETTLEP model outlines best practices for effective visualization.

  • Penelope Parmes, a lawyer and champion dancer, uses visualization of dance lessons and “golden moments” before bed to prepare mentally. She finds it gives her confidence.

  • Ian Walsh grew up in Hawaii and got hooked on surfing from a young age thanks to living near a beach. He vowed to not fit the “dumb surfer” stereotype and graduated valedictorian of his high school.

  • Ian now makes a living surfing big waves around the world at spots like Jaws in Maui and Mavericks in Northern California.

  • Facing huge waves is terrifying, but Ian stays calm by thoroughly planning for anything that could go wrong. He has contingency plans in place to deal with equipment failures, injuries, etc.

  • Proper contingency planning was tested when Ian’s brother D.K. had a bad fall surfing - Ian’s plans allowed them to safely rescue D.K. and get him medical help.

  • The author notes it’s important to plan for problems when doing anything stressful, like public speaking. Imagining scenarios and having backup plans reduces stress.

  • Former Navy SEAL Pete Naschak also stresses planning for worst-case scenarios, not just perfection. This automatic response helps you respond quickly if things do go wrong.

  • Aerobatic pilot Anthony Oshinuga faced an engine smoking in flight but reacted calmly thanks to extensive contingency planning and visualization of problems.

  • In summary, thorough contingency planning for potential issues helps people perform under pressure by reducing stress and allowing automatic responses if problems do arise.

  • Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to combat stress and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps return the body to a relaxed state.

  • Practicing 4444 breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 4-6 seconds, for 4 minutes, 4 times per day) helps make deep breathing a natural stress response.

  • Deep breathing gives a sense of control over stressors that may feel uncontrollable, focusing attention on the action of breathing rather than the stressor itself.

  • Leaders in high-pressure fields like law enforcement and sports attribute their ability to perform under pressure to regular deep breathing practice. It helps calm nerves before important events.

  • Deep breathing preparation techniques like visualization are helpful for managing emotions in difficult interpersonal situations like comforting grieving families.

So in summary, regular deep breathing practice is positioned as one of the most effective tools for managing stress and performing at one’s best even in stressful or high-pressure scenarios.

  • Joe, a surgeon, describes a stressful surgery where he needed to remove a tumor near a delicate facial nerve. He became very anxious during the surgery.

  • To reset, Joe stepped back from the surgery, took deep breaths, but was still anxious. He told his team he needed a break.

  • Joe went to the hospital gym, ran on the treadmill for a few minutes, took a shower, practiced breathing techniques, and then felt ready to return to the surgery as “a new person.”

  • He was able to remove the tumor without damaging the nerve in about 20 minutes. Joe says if he had continued with his anxiety, it would have caused problems during the surgery. Taking breaks to reset his state of mind helped him perform better under pressure.

So in summary, the passage discusses how Joe dealt with stress and anxiety during a high-pressure surgery by taking breaks to reset himself through breathing exercises and physical activity like running, in order to return focused and perform the delicate surgery successfully.

  • Goal segmentation involves breaking down large, distal goals into smaller, proximal goals that are more easily achievable in the short term. This reduces stress and builds confidence by allowing people to track incremental progress.

  • Setting both big long-term goals and smaller short-term goals is most effective. The big goals provide motivation but the smaller goals make progress feel manageable when facing challenges.

  • In stressful situations, it’s best to break tasks down into the smallest possible steps rather than focusing on the large overall goal, which can seem overwhelming. Taking things one step at a time reduces stress.

  • People form beliefs based on past experiences (the ABC model), but these beliefs are not always rational. Top performers intervene to question irrational beliefs that arise from past events.

  • Negative self-talk based on fixed, irrational beliefs can be self-fulfilling and lead to poorer performance. Athletes and performers counter this by looking at objective evidence rather than believing negative thoughts.

  • Approaches like self-compassion, treating yourself as you would a friend, and reframing mistakes in a positive light can help individuals short-circuit their natural ABC response and prevent negative consequences from a single mistake. Regular practice of these techniques can change one’s default mode of thinking.

The men’s soccer team from the University of California, Santa Barbara were scrimmaging on their field. During practice, players like the team captains Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Alex Morgan would shout “Black-box it!” to each other in response to mistakes.

The author had the privilege of working with the US Women’s National Soccer Team as they prepared for the upcoming World Cup in France. At training camps, he taught the players techniques for managing adversity and compartmentalizing negative events during performances. He used the metaphor of “black-boxing” - putting unwanted emotions and reactions in a mental “black box” to stay focused on the current task.

Many players adopted this black-boxing technique to avoid getting derailed by mistakes according to the ABC model of negative self-talk. They would shout “black-box it!” to each other on the field. The technique allows players to forget about errors and stay focused on their performance. It shows how promoting a growth mindset and learning from mistakes, rather than dwelling on them, can benefit elite athletic training and competition.

  • Steve Idoux believed he needed to outwork everyone to be successful, which led him to work almost non-stop and put immense pressure on himself.

  • One day when stressed, he yelled at a team member who came to discuss an issue, which made him realize he had become someone he didn’t want to be.

  • Working with the author helped Steve realize he needed better balance across the different areas of his life like work, relationships, health, spirituality, hobbies and legacy, rather than being over-invested only in his career.

  • The author sees these different areas as “pillars” that together create a whole, happy life, rather than relying on just one or two pillars. A balanced life draws from all areas.

So in summary, the passage discusses how focusing too much only on work led Steve to lose balance and lash out, and how finding better balance across different life areas is important for well-being. The author frames these different areas as pillars that together support a fulfilled life.

  • Maintaining balance across six pillars (health, career, relationships, spirituality, community, hobbies) is important for well-being and high performance. Relying on just one pillar leaves you vulnerable if that pillar fails.

  • Balanced lives with fulfillment in multiple areas lead to greater happiness, health, productivity and longevity. Research supports the benefits of balance.

  • For many people like SEALs and lawyers, periods of intense focus on one or two pillars like career or family are necessary, but balance must be reestablished when circumstances allow.

  • Striking the right balance will vary over time based on life stages and responsibilities. The focus should be on continually assessing balance and adjusting as needed.

  • To maintain balance, set goals across all six pillars and invest time intentionally in each area. Build in recovery time from intensive focus or performance to allow stress to dissipate. Balance improves not just well-being but performance as well.

  • The passage emphasizes the importance of active recovery techniques like taking time for hobbies, nature walks, meditation, yoga, exercise, sleep, etc. to relax the body and mind after periods of stress or hard work.

  • It discusses how activities that don’t induce pressure, judgment or anxiety can help us recover, like spending time with family, cooking, walking in nature, etc.

  • Pro athletes and coaches discussed use float tanks, nature walks, gratitude practices, and trying new hobbies as ways to mentally reset after competition or training.

  • Adequate sleep is also highlighted as a key recovery tool, with tart cherry juice suggested to aid sleep. Screen time before bed is said to hinder sleep quality.

  • Spending time in nature through activities like forest bathing is described as having remarkable restorative effects on mood and focus according to research studies.

  • In summary, the passage emphasizes the importance of prioritizing relaxation and recharging activities during downtime to recover from stress, rather than always being “on” or allowing work stresses to continue when off the clock. Active recovery practices from different cultures are examined.

Here are some suggestions for how to help coworkers and teammates learn excellence:

  • Lead by example. Practice the principles yourself and let your actions be an example to others. Walk the talk.

  • Create and communicate a shared vision or mission. Help the team understand the goals and why achieving excellence matters. Get buy-in.

  • Provide coaching and feedback. Have thoughtful conversations to help others understand their strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Build a culture of learning and development. Encourage continuous self-improvement through training, mentoring programs, etc.

  • Celebrate wins and recognize excellence. Publicly acknowledge great work to motivate others.

  • Foster accountability. Establish check-ins and accountability partners to support others in achieving their goals.

  • Promote balance and well-being. Advocate for reasonable work-life balance so the team can sustain excellence long-term.

  • Create community. Foster an environment of support, where people help each other succeed through collaboration.

  • Lead by questions, not answers. Guide reflection and problem-solving, so others can learn to achieve excellence independently.

The key is to find approaches that work for your unique team culture and roles. Leading by example of excellence principles is often the most effective way to help others follow suit.

Here are the key points on how to teach excellence to kids:

  • Model excellence through your own behavior, habits and mindset. Show them what it looks like.

  • Allow kids opportunities to fail and make mistakes. View failures as learning opportunities rather than something to avoid. Help them “fail forward.”

  • Encourage kids to take risks and challenge themselves. Do not be overly protective or risk averse. Put them in situations where they may struggle but can develop resilience.

  • Use questioning to have thoughtful discussions after events or decisions. Ask why they did something, if there are other perspectives, how they can improve their thought process. Listen without judging.

  • Express unconditional love and support. However, also encourage kids to push their comfort zones and stress levels appropriately. Do not let them avoid difficult tasks.

  • Develop an environment where kids feel comfortable speaking their mind freely and learn from both successes and failures. Seek to understand their intrinsic motivations.

The key is balancing support with gentle pushes out of comfort zones, so kids learn excellence through experience while knowing they are loved regardless of results. Questioning can help guide their reflection on experiences.

Here is a summary of the key points without directly stating them:

The passage discusses various techniques parents use to raise resilient, curious children. It focuses on asking questions to encourage critical thinking rather than simply providing answers. This allows kids to develop problem-solving skills through self-discovery. Promoting a growth mindset is important to help children view challenges not as failures but as learning opportunities. Negative self-talk can start early so vigilance is needed to catch it and replace doubts with positive affirmations. Pushing kids outside their comfort zone in a supportive way helps them build confidence through practice handling new experiences. Kindness, especially to oneself, is important for developing resilience. Overall, the approach aims to instill habits of lifelong learning by engaging children’s natural curiosity and fostering an attitude of resilience through question-based discussions.

  • Set 6-month goals in the areas of career, relationship, health and break them down into smaller 1-month goals using the SMART framework. Measure progress on the smaller goals monthly.

  • During performances, stay focused on your goal/mission and don’t unpack mistakes until after. Learn from errors later.

  • Do a monthly self-check on life events, stress, mood, sleep, health, substance use, concentration, workplace climate. Rate them green, yellow, red. Develop a plan to address any yellow or red areas.

  • Build technology breaks (emails, phone, social media) into your daily schedule for improved focus and mental breaks.

The person is advised to break larger goals into smaller monthly goals, regularly self-monitor key life and wellness areas, and schedule technology breaks to improve focus and performance. The strategy is to segment goals, reflect on mistakes later rather than during performance, and proactively manage things like stress, mood and workspace that could impact one’s performance.

Here are summaries of the sources:

  1. The American Psychologist article discusses research showing that social and community ties are important for health, well-being and longevity. Having social connections impacts both mental and physical health in many ways.

  2. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development article examines relationships between frequency of regret, beliefs about secondary control (ability to adapt to unalterable situations) and health outcomes in older individuals. The study found more frequent regrets were linked to poorer health and that secondary control beliefs moderated this relationship.

  3. The Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine study investigated whether psychological skills training could enhance breath-hold time during cold water immersion. It found the training significantly improved breath-hold performance under stressful conditions, demonstrating mind over matter.

  4. The sources discuss legendary Dodgers like Tom Lasorda, Steve Garvey, Don Drysdale and others who helped the team succeed in the 1970s and 80s.

  5. The quote is likely apocryphal but discusses the idea that when facing a choice in the road, you should take it rather than doing nothing.

  6. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology article reviews research showing past behaviors influence current beliefs and future decision making, as people are likely to behave consistently with past actions.

That covers the key summaries requested.

Here is a summary of the key papers:

  1. A 2018 study by Ortega and Wang found that higher heart rate variability (HRV) is correlated with higher self-efficacy and confidence, and is a strong predictor of performance in competitive shooters. Higher HRV was linked to better shooting accuracy.

  2. A 2017 study by Steffen et al. showed that breathing at 6 breaths per minute for 15 minutes improves mood, lowers blood pressure, and raises HRV. Controlled deep breathing appears to have physiological and psychological benefits.

  3. Three other studies examined the role of sub-goals in motivation, the effects of evaluating goals on emotion and drive, and the development of cognitive behavioral therapy.

  4. The last summary describes Albert Ellis, who developed the ABC model of thought in the 1950s. This model was an early example of cognitive behavioral therapy and looked at how thoughts influence emotions and behavior. It represented a shift away from just exploring past experiences in therapy.

  5. The rest of the entries are just individual quotes or text excerpts and do not contain summaries on their own. Let me know if you need any part of the summary expanded upon.

Here is a summary of the key points from the text:

  • The authors provide an overview of mental performance and describe how developing the right mindset can help optimize performance under pressure. Concepts discussed include growth mindset, process focus, routines, goal-setting, trust in training, mental toughness, and recovering effectively.

  • Experiences from Navy SEAL training, Performing Under Pressure camps, elite athletics, business leadership, and NASA are referenced to illustrate effective mental strategies. Figures like Marcus Luttrell, Megan Rapinoe, Michael Phelps, and Erik Spoelstra are discussed.

  • Mental preparation is outlined as important but often lacking formal training. Concepts from positive psychology, cognitive therapy, and performance coaching are integrated. Visualization, affirmations, balanced preparation, and staying present are recommended.

  • Managing stress, failure, effort, belief and attitude shifts are described as key to mindset. Process focus, trusting training over outcome, and learning from feedback rather than results are emphasized. Segmenting goals and daily/weekly routines are suggested for structure.

  • Finding purpose, balance, trustworthy sources, team support and effective recovery are presented as pillars for sustained performance. Transitioning mindsets and tapping resilience through adversity are addressed.

This document provides contact information for the publishing company HarperCollins Publishers in several countries including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It lists the physical addresses and websites for HarperCollins publisher locations in each of these regions.

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About Matheus Puppe