Bill Walsh on Getting Back Into The Game

Do…

  1. … expect defeat.
    It’s a given when the stakes are high and the competition is working ferociously to beat you. If you’re surprised when it happens, you’re dreaming; dreamers don’t last long.
  2. … force yourself to stop looking backward and dwelling on the professional “train wreck” you have just been in.
    It’s mental quicksand.
  3. … allow yourself appropriate recovery – grieving – time.
    You’ve been knocked senseless; give yourself a little time to recuperate.
    A keyword here is “little.” Don’t let it drag on.
  4. … tell yourself, “I am going to stand and fight again,” with the knowledge that often when things are at their worst you’re closer than you can imagine to success.
    Our Super Bowl victory arrived less than sixteen months after my “train wreck” in Miami.
  5. … begin planning for your next serious encounter.
    The smallest steps – plans – move you forward on the road to recovery.
    Focus on the fix.

Don’t…

  1. … ask, “Why me?”
  2. … expect sympathy.
  3. … bellyache.
  4. … keep accepting condolences.
  5. … blame others.

Bill Walsh, The Scores Takes Care Of Itself

“Follow me!”

Who do you follow?

Chances are you follow people who lead by example.

You follow people who embody their values – who are a living example.

Living by example has the benefit that you live in harmony with your values.

This brings peace of mind and increases your feeling of self-respect and achievement.

It also means that you constantly check your values against reality. By being a living example, you can find out if the values that your actions are based on are values you want to embody. You can also make improvements and adjustments to your values, which will become more nuanced and refined.

If you want to live by example you first need to identify your values.

While you may already know some, the vast majority of them will be part of your unconscious. Once you’ve figured out what your values are you can act in accordance with them. You can live by example.

Yet, especially at the beginning you can aid this process by writing your values down, regularly reviewing them and refining them as necessary.

With enough practice you’ll be able to say:

“Follow me!”

Offense & Defense

Open Minds play offense. Closed Minds play defense.

Playing offense means testing your ideas against others. You don’t resist change and don’t fear being wrong. That’s playing defense. Instead you actively look for ways to improve your idea.

You can find flaws in your reasoning or consider your idea in light of new information you were unaware of. You can also find support for ideas and add additional content to it. Additionally, you can abandon your idea if you find that it no longer serves you and focus on another one.

Regardless of what you find, your idea will become more nuanced. It will become a stronger and better idea overall.

If you want to play offense, actively look for opposing ideas. Read books, watch lectures or listen to podcasts with the goal of understanding the content you consume. Apply what you learn to your idea and look for ways to improve it. Take notes, draw mindmaps or highlight a lot. Add valuable or subtract wrong information.

Thus, by playing offense you’ll gain a significant advantage over playing defense. You will grow your ideas, improve your reasoning and improve your thinking rapidly.

If – by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

One of my favorite poems, pact with practical advice!
First heard on JockoPodcast 140:

Source of the poem.

On Comparing Yourself

For the longest time, people have compared themselves to others. This was useful for the assessment of social status in a group and could provide valuable information that could benefit survival.

Today, comparing yourself to others can negatively affect you. It can lead to self-doubt, unfair assessment of your efforts and resentment of yourself and others.

This is mainly because the way you compare yourself to others is inherently flawed:

Often, you compare your weaknesses to the strengths of others.

This is inherently unfair as the strengths of others are often a result of long and difficult practice in a narrow domain. Which is often a result of different prioritization and choices throughout others lives.

Additionally, you compare yourself to others without a complete picture of them.

All you know about them is what they share publicly, which is often nothing more than a carefully selected highlight-reel.

While Elon Musk is famous and wealthy, he is also divorced multiple times. While most people would aspire to similar fame and wealth, they’d almost certainly try to avoid Musk’s relationship problems.

Thus, comparing yourself to others is inherently flawed and only of limited use.

The alternative to comparing yourself to others is to compare yourself to yourself! Specifically, with who you were yesterday. Since you know the full picture of your life, your comparison is fair.

In the words of psychologist Jordan Peterson:

Compare yourself to who were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life

The Pressure-Question

“As I went through the war, it was natural to ask myself:
Why am I here?
Why am I putting up with the freezing cold, the constant rain, and the loss of so many comrades?
Does anybody care?
A soldier faces death on a daily basis and his life is one of misery and deprivation. He is cold; he suffers from hunger, frequently bordering on starvation. The impact of seeing those people behind that fence [in the concentration camp] left me saying, if only to myself:
Now I know why I am here! For the first time I understand what this war is all about.”

Dick Winters, Beyond Band Of Brothers

Under high pressure it is normal to ask ourselves exactly the same questions as Winters did in the middle of the Second World War:

Why am I here?

Why do I subject myself to this pressure; to this stress?

Why don’t I quit – right here, right now?

If you are unprepared for these situations, you won’t have answer. Your conviction will waver. You’ll likely quit.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to know what you want to do with your life and what everything you do contributes to. It’s this clarity of vision that prepares you to answer such difficult questions as “Why am I here?”.

This clarity will make an important difference between success and failure; between putting one foot in front of the other and between quitting altogether.

Maybe it is one of the most important questions to have an answer to.