Five Words For Laser Focus At Work

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a kingdom where the people would go to their office every morning and there, they would begin one, single task, and merrily continue doing it until they finished — without interruption or distraction — before starting the next one. Ha, that’s definitely a fairy tale. Here, in the real world of mostly nonlinear work, a typical day at the office more likely entails constant switching between a myriad of […]

The Time I Got Busted Not Paying Attention

On Saturday afternoons, I take one of my favorite class workouts, Forza, based on samurai sword fighting, with martial arts fitness instructor Ilaria Montagnani. After the warm-up and technical exercises, we learn two combinations, each a series of 16 moves – half cuts, diagonals, horizontals, for example – combined with squats and specific footwork moving backward, forward, sideways and diagonally. Once we’ve learned the combination, we repeat it, without stopping, for five to six minutes. For years now, we’ve done […]

How to Stop Fixating When You Really Want Something

Years ago, when I was starting out as a coach, I realized I had to learn how to sell (they didn’t teach us that in business school). So I decided to sell health insurance. Yes, I chose #7 on the top-10 list of Gallup’s “least trusted” professions.  Every week, I’d make dozens of cold calls and walk in and out of local stores to set up appointments with small business owners and freelancers across the five boroughs of New York (hello, […]

[VIDEO] Visualizing the Perfect Vault

One month before the Olympics, US gymnast McKayla Maroney explained how she visualizes the perfect vault. Notice how she includes details like taking one step back, leaning back and then gaining speed as she starts her approach. She even imagines the crowd cheering. That feeling of just “knowing” that it’s going to be good — that’s when you know you’re ready. Here she is at the 2012 Olympics, executing the perfect vault.

Iced Tea Vendor In The Flow

One of the surefire ways to get into a flow state is to make sure there’s an ideal balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and our own perceived skills — if we perceive the challenge to be greater than our ability, we get anxious; if the challenge seems too easy, we get bored. The key lies in proactively and imaginatively figuring out how to do that. Check out how this ice tea vendor in Bangkok* does it and,  in the process, makes […]

You don't have to be this guy.

How To Enjoy The Job You Have Until You Have The Job You Want (Part II)

A few years back, I wrote a post about how to enjoy the job you have until you have the job you want. Here’s another suggestion Over at The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle wrote a post about how a disproportionate number of CEOs began their careers in the mailroom and worked their way up. (This was also the plot line for an 80’s movie, The Secret of My Success, starring Michael J. Fox.) Despite their lowly position on the corporate ladder, these underdogs […]

Three Ways To Killer Focus (No Mafia Required)

Have you seen the movie Limitless? Bradley Cooper plays struggling author Eddie Morra, who is suffering from serious writer’s block. His life dramatically changes when he runs into his former brother-in-law, who introduces him to NZT, a revolutionary new drug that allows him to instantly focus and tap into his full potential. Voila! He cleans up years of clutter in his apartment, starts working out, finishes his book in four days, learns to speak Italian and Chinese, outsmarts the stock […]

How To Be A Lean, Mean Thinking Machine

“Watch out! Oh no, you’re gonna screw up, you’re gonna screw up, you’re gonna screw up.” That’s what’s usually going through my head during a piano performance…..right before I screw up. Here’s what’s going through my head when I’m in the flow and playing my best: Yep. When it comes to thinking, less is definitely better. In the first few five or so years of life, our thoughts are simple and focused on the present moment: “I’m hungry.” “I’m sleepy.” […]

How to Focus Your Way Out of a Tough Spot (And Avoid Choking Under Pressure Part III)

Over the weekend, I was out in Greenwich, CT to coach Navy SEAL candidates on mental toughness. Every month they show up for the Physical Screening Test (PST), which includes timed push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 1.5 mile run and a combat-style swim. The minimum standards are pretty rigorous and every month they’re expected to improve on the previous month’s scores. Needless to say: they’re under pressure and scrutiny. During my mental toughness brief, one of the candidates asked: “What should […]

[INTERVIEW] Michael Bigger On How Traders Achieve Creative Flow

Information is abundant and technology is cheap. At the same time, the good ‘ol financial models are changing. Linear, analytical thinking is not enough, and traders who don’t figure out how to access their creativity will fall behind. Listen in on the recording of my teleseminar interview with veteran trader and author Michael Bigger about his latest book, How Traders Achieve Creative Flow. Here are a few of the topics we covered in this truly content-rich call: Why creativity is […]