Maurice Ashley is a Chess Grandmaster, a chess commentator, a national championship coach, and an author. In 1999 he earned the title of Chess Grandmaster, making him the first African American Grandmaster in the game’s history, and was later inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame.  His latest book is titled Move by Move: Life Lessons On and Off the Chessboard.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Going into any big moment, the best way to calm your nerves is to get into the right mindset which is that you can’t be better than yourself. Don’t focus on the results.  Just focus on being yourself and the rest will take care of itself.
  • He is able to play up to ten people simultaneously while blindfolded and win each game.
  • It’s important to cultivate a beginner’s mind and approach the game as if you’re viewing it for the very first time. That way you’re open to seeing something new and having a fresh perspective.
  • Upper echelon thinking is to keep growing every day. Today you need to be a little bit better than yesterday.  Your only race is against yesterday’s self.
  • Focus often dips when you’re ahead and your lowest concentration is often when you have the biggest advantage.
  • To stay mentally sharp and focused over the course of a prolonged game, you have to learn to continually check yourself. You have to be your own barometer. Counting breaths also helps to calm down and stay in the moment.
  • Retrograde analysis is envisioning a future state and then working backwards.
  • When conducting post mortems it’s important to categorize your mistakes so you can become more self aware of the patterns behind the mistake and preempt their happening in the future.

 

Notes:

Book: Move by Move: Life Lessons On and Off the Chessboard

Personal website: Maurice Ashley

Gary Hunt is a professional cliff diver.  He is a 10 time Red Bull World Series Champion with 43 overall victories and counting.  He is widely considered the greatest cliff diver in the history of the sport.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Juggling was a practice he used to increase his focus and concentration and take his mind off the stress and pressure of the competition.
  • It took several years diving off increasing heights to build up the confidence and courage to jump off the 27 meter platform
  • He’s afraid of heights when there’s no water underneath
  • To prepare for a cliff dive, you have to practice routines off the 10 meter platform and then assemble the pieces together when doing the actual 27 meter dive.
  • His curiosity to learn new dives and explore what’s possible is what drove him to be the best in the world.
  • His greatest fear is losing his motivation to learn new things

George Mumford is a psychologist, elite performance expert, and author of The Mindful Athlete.  He has worked with worldclass athletes including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. He has also consulted with college and Olympic athletes, corporate executives, and inmates, and is a sought-after public speaker at both business and athletic conferences nationally and internationally.  His latest booked is title: Unlocked: Embrace your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Unlocked is releasing the masterpiece within. It’s embracing your inner greatness.
  • Being authentic is a core part of being unlocked. “We remove the extraneous, the layering of our conditioning and defenses, and the ways that we have been untrue to who we really are until we find what is authentic within us – an authenticity that is always there, waiting to be revealed.”
  • Kobe Bryant once said of George Mumford: “George helped me to be neither distracted or focused, rigid or flexible, passive or aggressive. I learned to just be.”
  • George’s big break was coming on the heels of the Lakers’ third NBA championship in a row when coach Phil Jackson asked George to help the team deal with the stress and pressure brought on by their success.
  • 90% of long term happiness is dependent upon how the brain interprets our experience.
  • One of the distinguishing characteristics of the best athletes in the world is they’re very coachable. They are lifelong learners, always looking to get an edge.
  • If you want to be in flow, you have to have a fully integrated self. Your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul have to be in unison and harmony.

 

Notes:

George Mumford website

Book: Unlocked: Embrace Your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success

Book: The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance

 

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist, former science journalist for the New York Times, and the author of 13 books including the #1 bestseller Emotional Intelligence.  He has worked with organizations around the globe, examining the way social and emotional competencies impact the bottom-line. Ranked one of the 10 most influential business thinkers by the Wall Street Journal, Daniel has won several awards including the HBR McKinsey Award for the best article of the year and the Centennial Medallion awarded to him by Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  His latest book which is titled: Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day shows how emotional intelligence can help us have rewarding and productive days every day.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • There are four parts to emotional intelligence: Self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship management. The latter builds on the first three parts.
  • There are three kinds of empathy – cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and empathic concern.
  • When you’re in an optimal state, you’re highly productive, highly engaged, you care about others, you feel connected to your work, and connected to others.
  • The ability to focus is one of the pathways into the optimal state.
  • People who have a sense of purpose and feel inspired in their work, do it better.
  • It’s never too late to increase your level of emotional intelligence.
  • In emotionally intelligent organizations, it’s not just about hitting your targets but how you went about it. Did you get them by inspiring people to give their best or was it by fear and pressure?
  • Team EI is how people on a team relate to one another. And teams with highest team EI are often the most productive.

 

Notes:

Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day

Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ

Daniel Goleman website

Emotional Intelligence Courses

Kristin Harila is a Norwegian mountain climber who recently set a world speed record for climbing the 14 highest peaks in just 92 days.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • She quit her job and sold her home and put everything on the line to achieve this goal.
  • “If you are happy with less than your goal, then you’ll never reach your goal.”
  • You have to truly believe in what you’re doing if you want to achieve a goal.
  • Working together as a team with her Sherpa was a key component of allowing her to pull off this world record.
  • Many people think that the summit is the goal but the goal is actually to come safely back down the mountain.
  • “On almost all the peaks, there are dead people. If it happens to me, I will have died happy.”

Chris Voss is one of the preeminent practitioners and professors of negotiation skills in the world. He was formerly the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI as well as the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group.  He is the founder of The Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that provides training and advises Fortune 500 companies through complex negotiations.  He has taught business negotiation in MBA programs at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He also taught business negotiation at Harvard and guest lectured at other leading universities including the MIT Sloan School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.  His book is titled: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Working the crisis hotline was where Chris first learned the power of empathy. Showing someone that they feel heard is often enough to get them to change their behavior.
  • Empathy is about the transmission of information whereas compassion is about the reaction to that transmission.
  • Any time you relax into stress, you’ll handle it far better. The act of relaxation increases your body’s ability to handle its stress demands.
  • Labeling is a verbal observation of an emotion or a dynamic. It’s a way of demonstrating that you’re listening and understanding the other side.
  • Meeting someone halfway (i.e. splitting the difference) rarely works since it never feels like it’s really halfway. You feel the transaction was unfair.  Reason being, based on the economist Daniel Kahneman, people tend to fear a loss twice as much as they are likely to welcome an equivalent gain.
  • “Excellence is a delight with learning and growing. It is not the pursuit of perfection which is a fool’s errand.”

 

Notes:

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your Life Depended on It

Black Swan Group

Fireside Black Swan Group Coaching Program

Jason Belmonte is an Australian pro bowler. He has won 31 PBA titles including a record 15 major championships.  He is one of two bowlers in PBA history to have won the Super Slam, winning all five PBA major titles. He has been named PBA Player of the Year seven times.  He is widely considered one of the greatest bowlers of all time.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • When he was just 10 he told his mother he planned to one day bowl 100 perfect games which he actually accomplished a couple years ago.
  • He chose to pursue bowling over the more popular sports like rugby and cricket given his love for the game despite the fact that it would never be as lucrative.
  • He was often teased and mocked for his two handed style of bowling but he let his impressive scores shut the naysayers down.
  • His unique two handed technique allowed him to spin the ball twice as fast as most other bowlers which allowed him to strike with much greater frequency.
  • He has never had a coach and has always been self-taught, learning from his own mistakes and continually improving his game.
  • A turning point that allowed him to begin dominating the sport is when he shifted his mindset from being worried about failure when everything was on the line to just being in the moment and enjoying himself.
  • “Excellence is working and striving toward a better version of yourself every single day.”

 

Show Notes:

Jason Belmonte website

YouTube videos:

Jason Belmonte YouTube Channel

Nascar bowling: fastest strike ever recorded

Bowling trick shots with Dude Perfect

Bubba Watson is a professional golfer. He has won two major PGA championships, both victories at the Masters.  He has a total of 12 PGA tournament wins and reached a world ranking of 2nd in 2015.  He has played in the LIV Golf league since 2022.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Bubba never had formal lessons. He was entirely self-taught. He would just go by feel and practice over and over until he understood how to position himself and swing to achieve a certain shot.
  • In college his drive to be better at golf was due to immaturity – he was mad at people. These days his drive to be better is so he can help people.  Paying it forward is much more important than trying to be the best in the world.
  • He built a distinguishable brand as Bubba – the new age redneck country boy, despite not hunting or dipping or smoking or country music.
  • He was kind and considerate off the golf course but had a hot temper on the course. Pride and ego was eating him alive.  He got caught up in the rankings and allowed that to dictate how he felt about himself.
  • His first Masters victory was on the heels of adopting their first baby so allowing his mind to focus on something outside of golf removed him from the excessive pressure which allowed him to play the match of his life.
  • Joining LIV Golf wasn’t about the money but an opportunity to play golf in a team format which he misses and the entrepreneurial opportunity to own a franchise in an emerging league.
  • “Excellence is touching others in a way that makes their lives better. It’s giving people an opportunity to be successful.”

 

Notes:

Book: Up and Down: Victories and Struggles in the Course of Life

Personal Website: Bubba Watson

LIV site: Bubba Watson and the RangeGoats