The Psychology Secrets of Extreme Athletes, NFL Teams & The World’s Top Performers with Dr. Michael Gervais

November 30, 2017
In this episode we explore 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 life long quest of discovering your own personal philosophy and much more with Dr. Michael Gervais. 
Dr. Michael Gervais - Michael is a high performance psychologist who trains mindset skills and practices that are essential to revealing one’s potential. Michael has 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 more! His work has been featured on ESPN, CNN, The New York Times, and much more!
  • Years in the trenches with top performers to get the best strategies
  • The importance of rugged and hostile environments to cultivating presence and peak performance
  • The value of working hard and getting right on the edge of capacity in order to grow
  • Our ancient brain is the thing that gets us stuck, keeps us safe, and keeps us small
  • The importance of stillness - the place where all of life happens
  • Expressing your authentic self in harmony with other people
  • There are only 3 things you can train as a human
    • You can train your body
    • You can train your craft - this varies by person - can be anything from writing to motorcross to partening
    • You can train your mind
    • Everything falls into those buckets when we talk about the development of the human experience
  • A personal philosophy is one of the most significant anchors you can ground yourself with. Great achievers always have clarity of personal philosophy
  • Line up your thoughts, words, and actions across any environment - there is a sense of power that comes from that - an inner knowing and being that is so rock solid that you can move eloquently in any environment when you have that mindset
  • The life-long quest of discovering your own personal philosophy - and the 3 methodologies
    • Mindfulness - being present with your inner experience
    • Being around wise people - people who are switched on, people who are having deep convos, talking about their philosophies, having those conversations
    • Writing - the art of writing, taking a thought and all the words in your native tongue and lock down these ideas and concepts
  • Start with putting your philosophy to memory, and then most importantly begin putting your philosophy into practice
  • There’s nothing new in the world of self help - the science is super clear - this is what we know to be true - you just have to do the work
  • Optimism is a foundational pillar for mental toughness, optimism is about how you think about your future
  • Optimism is a learned behavior - how to train it
    • Relentless belief that you can focus your mind on what’s good
    • First function - without awareness of inner dialogue you’re dead in the water - you must have meditation/mindfulness - train your inner experience to become more aware of thoughts and sensations
    • Second - Martin Seligman - focus on 3 good things - gratitude journal 
    • Become a researcher of amazing / researcher of good in your own life 
  • Mindfulness is the backbone that runs through all of these strategies
  • Going through difficult things doesn’t mean you will be traumatized - Post Traumatic Growth is also possible - How can you achieve post traumatic growth?
  • “Small t trauma” vs “Big T Trauma"
  • Resilience is at the center of growth - and the only way to become resilient is to go through difficult situations
  • The difficult things you go through either get you stuck or push you to the edge of growth.
  • In modern life for the average person  - the most dangerous thing is what people think of us
  • Getting uncomfortable is a requirement for you to be your best. This can be easily demonstrated with any world class performer from music to sports to any field.
  • Knowledge won’t carry us through - it's not about more information - that learning has to turn into application and action. Learning has to turn into insights - and those insights need to change your behavior
  • The 4 Pillars of Recovery
    • Sleeping well - the science is pretty clear - the commitment to doing that requires incredible discipline
    • Eating & Hydration are necessary pillars - colorful vegetables & clean protein 
    • Moving well - getting your body switched on, oxygenating your system - 6-7 hours of moderate to intense movement per week
    • Think Well - your mind is an incredible tool, but it also needs to be harnessed
  • Most people cannot even fathom the amount of vulnerability necessary to get to the truth - radical vulnerability - allowing the inner stuff to be revealed - is incredible, and so hard to do - most of us retreat to our normal patterns 
  • Doing difficult things expands your comfort zone
  • How do you strike the balance between achievement and non-attachment?
  • Winning is fun, winning pays bills - but the far deeper part of that is that the process of becoming - the process of knowing that you have what it takes, the process of being creative to solve problems on the fly and make decisions is much more fun. 
  • Winning is a requirement to keep going - but in order to cultivate non-attachment you have to be focused on the present moment
  • Practice is more important than the conceptual idea itself
  • What is your “craft" and why is it so important?
  • For most people who are not on the world stage - begs the question - what is my craft? It’s not as complicated as it sounds - what are you most passionate about - what is the thing you care so much about you love doing it, you put work into it?
  • Get back to seeing what we do from 9-5 as a primary craft - think about your work and your job as a craft
  • Social media has made us lose our way, lose our true north, lose our focus on our craft
  • Taking time to think about and articulate your personal philosophy - just starting WRITING “My personal philosophy is…” in 25 words or less - what do you stand for, what are you all about? What’s your true north, your compass?
  • Write down the people who have inspired you in life - and next to their names right down the characteristics that they expemplify - those characertics might be part of your philosophy
  • How you can engineer your inner experience
  • Mindfulness is not a relaxation training - it's a focus training 
  • That moment of awareness (that your mind has wandered) is the work taking place
  • Minimum effective dose is 6-8 minutes, optimal dose is 20 minutes
  • Compete to become the best version of yourself
  • Every day is an opportunity to create a living masterpiece 
  • And much more! 

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