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

 

Dr. BJ Miller is a longtime hospice and palliative medicine physician and educator. He currently sees patients and families via telehealth through Mettle Health, a company he co-founded with the aim to provide personalized, holistic consultations for any patient or caregiver who needs help navigating the practical, emotional and existential issues that come with serious illness and disability. Led by his own experiences as a patient, BJ advocates for the roles of our senses, community and presence in designing a better ending. His interests are in working across disciplines to affect broad-based culture change, cultivating a civic model for aging and dying and furthering the message that suffering, illness, and dying are fundamental and intrinsic aspects of life. His career has been dedicated to moving healthcare towards a human centered approach, on a policy as well as a personal level.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • “I had a basic hunger and curiosity to understand the world in which I was living and to understand myself”.
  • Early on, as he was recovering from the accident with three less limbs, he forced himself to reframe his situation. That life wasn’t going to be extra difficult going forward but just uniquely difficult. And that suffering is something we all deal with in our own way.  Eventually his emotions would catch up with his mind whereby he truly felt that way.
  • Studying art history in college taught him perspective. It taught him how he was in control as to how he perceived his life and how he framed his life experience.
  • In palliative care, you don’t just treat the pain, you treat the suffering.
  • “If you don’t know the depths of sorrow, you aren’t going to know the peaks of joy.”
  • As dying patients reflect back upon their lives, it’s not so much regret over what decisions they made but how they imbued whatever decisions they made. Did they do it with love, did they infuse their spirit into whatever they were doing. That’s what matters most.

 

Notes:

The Center for Dying and Living

Book: A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death

TED Talk: What Really Matters at the End of Life

Kara Swisher is the host of the podcast On with Kara Swisher and the co-host of the Pivot podcast with Scott Galloway, both distributed by New York magazine. She was also the cofounder and editor-at-large of Recode, host of the Recode Decode podcast, and co-executive producer of the Code conference. She was a former contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and host of its Sway podcast and has also worked for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Her latest book it titled: Burn Book: A Tech Love Story.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Her father’s passing when she was just five made her appreciate the ephemeral nature of life and focus on what truly matters.
  • A lot of big tech titans have a big deficit in their upbringing and replace it with enablers and fence themselves off from the population, hence their isolation and loneliness.
  • With her direct no nonsense approach, she has an uncanny ability to get big people to open up and share unique insights.
  • She has been as entrepreneurial and innovative with her career as the tech entrepreneurs she covers for a living.
  • She feels Steve Jobs is the most consequential figure of the modern tech era.
  • She has called Mark Zuckerberg one of the most carelessly dangerous men in the history of technology.
  • “Excellence is doing your very best to get to the heart of something, doing your very best to create something fresh and new, and doing your very best to get it right.”

 

Notes:

Book: Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Podcasts: Pivot   On with Kara Swisher

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

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