Are You Still Using Training Wheels?

Last weekend, here in Paris, I went with my sister, Carolyn, and her three kids, Emeraude, Henry and Ferdinand, to the Bois de Vincennes to do some bike-riding. For the last two summers, Emeraude and Henry had started learning to ride a bike when they visited their Grandpa George in Concord, MA but hadn’t succeeded in riding without training wheels. When we got to the bike rental spot, however, the man said he didn’t have any bikes with training wheels.  So for 30 minutes, with Ferdinand’s […]

[PODCAST] The Real Secret of High Performers and Why Talent is Overrated, with Anders Ericsson

Download Listen in a New Window iTunes Stitcher SoundCloud Leave a Review Clammr It Subscribe via RSS Subscribe on Android Psychology professor and coauthor of the book Peak: Secrets from the Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson explains the real difference between experts and everyone else. Highlights include: Why talent is much less of a factor than we think and what experts do to practice better.

The Four-Letter Word Slowing Down Your Success

We say it all the time: “This is hard.” “This sucks.” “I hate this.” “This.” Sounds innocuous. But using it as a vague catch-all when we’re under emotional duress keeps us feeling helpless and out of control. It mires us in a place of “all or nothing,” where we lose our perspective, judge everything about a situation as wrong and make decisions we regret later. “This is bullshit,” says the SEAL candidate right before he gives up and rings out of Hell Week. […]

How A Post-It Can Help You Win the Battle of Change

How’s it going with the New Year’s resolutions? Or maybe, knowing the less than 39% success rate, you decided not to make any.  Still, who’s not familiar with the unsatisfying cycle of behavioral change? Step 1: Decide to start a new habit. Step 2: Do it once, a few times, a whole week. Step 3: Get sidetracked with stressful work situation and totally forget about it. Step 4: Be reminded of it by a friend, spouse, CNN and/or Oprah. Step […]

How To Stop Being A People-Pleaser (and Take Back Your Power)

“This feels too nice and polite to come from a ‘mental toughness coach,’” was my coach’s feedback when I asked him to review an email I had sent introducing myself to a high-profile entrepreneur.   “Well, yes,” I thought. “I am asking for his time and attention, I want to be respectful.” In fact, I was reaching out with an offer to be of service. In the process, I was tripped up by what Jean Tang describes in “Sorry, Not Sorry,” as women’s […]

How To Avoid the Main Pitfall of Success

Roger Federer, the great tennis champion, has been playing tennis for 30 years, since he was four years old. In a practice session before the US Open, he was tired. Federer wanted, as Michael Terry tells the story, to cut practice short. ”That’s when I started to run in and hit returns,” he said later. “I hit a couple for a winner. They were, like, ridiculous.” He tried it again in the next two practice sessions, to see if it actually would […]

Are You Mentally Tough Enough to Suck?

Recently, I’ve gotten into rock climbing. Well, actually, I’ve only done it a handful of times and I live in New York City, so it’s  on manmade walls at an indoor gym called Brooklyn Boulders. It’s cool and trendy and I like the idea of it as an exercise in mental toughness — except that it’s really, really hard. You’re perched at awkward angles, at risk of falling if you miss the next hold, while your fingers go numb from their death grip […]

The Goofus and Gallant Approach to Greatness

Recently, I’ve become a fan of Instagram. One of the accounts I follow features Harlow, a stately Weimeramer and Indiana, an adorable Dachshund, who are best friends and a shining example of model canine behavior (@harlowandsage). The two of them lie peacefully on the couch, gaze adoringly at each other and maintain their composure at all times. My sister’s dogs, Ruby and Domino, on the other hand, bark wildly whenever a rabbit (or other living creature) steps foot in the back yard, gnaw holes in imported […]

Do You Leave Room for the Unexpected In Your Life?

Years ago, I was in a business networking group that met weekly for breakfast. One week, a former manager at the Sovereign Bank in Tribeca told this story. Apparently, there was an old lady in her 80s who used to come in and hang out at the branch for hours — she was lonely and just wanted someone to talk to. So the staff would get her coffee and chat a little. This went on for weeks until one day, she […]

How Much of Your Life Do You Want To Spend In Survival Mode?

In The Art of Possibility, Ben Zander tells this story: Inscribed on five of the six pillars in the Holocaust Memorial at Quincy Market in Boston are stories that speak of the cruelty and suffering in the camps. The sixth pillar presents a tale of a different sort, about a little girl named Ilse, a childhood friend of Guerda Weissman Kline, in Auschwitz. Guerda remembers that Ilse, who was about six years old at the time, found one morning a […]