The Will of Heroes - Notes

3 components that distinguish deliberate practice:

  • Improve your weakness not your strength
  • Consistent feedback
  • A repeatable process – repetition

Willpower is not a virtue or a skill it is much more like a muscle – it it is exercised it gets stonger

Impact of human physiology / neurology. Evolutionary instincts for survival under the control of the limbic system, eg find food, reproduce, stay safe from predators and threats. To survive as a species without great strength teeth or claws we evolved to use our intelligence to be socially cooperative. This required basic social contract to be in a group, don’t steal food mates or possessions.

This requires self-control to moderate impulse behaviour. Comprise short term desire in the interests of a longer term goal. Impacts on development of pre-frontal cortex

Standford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal

  • Will power – ability to persist against your impulse desire or instinct to stop
  • Wont power – ability to say no to temptation. This is about control of emotion and therefore impulse control
  • Want power – most important and powerful. Ability to identify and move toward long term goals

All are diminished through use but in different ways. Want power requires least energy. When you tap into real passion and purpose your turbo charged.

Power of language in your self-talk.

When something is framed as something you ‘have to’ do eg exercise diet etc. The language cue ‘have to’ causes your primitive brain to begin motivating you to stop to allow you the easy way out. (impulses and short term desires are driven from the primitive brain)

This response can be turned off by re-framing with ‘get to’ rather than have to. This shifts you from using will power to want power.

How you say no to temptation impacts on the likelihood of how successful you will be. Saying ‘I don’t’ rather than I cant sets up a distinction that you have chosen not to rather than that you cant.

Biggest mistake with willpower is to overload it. Limit goals to a max of 3 to avoid overload

Sleep, quality and volume very important to your willpower. Lack of sleep leads to mild pre-frontal dysfunction which makes it difficult to regulate emotion or attention.

Low glycaemic fuels most effective for fuelling willpower

Exercise increases efficiency of your willpower – helps the brain with the efficiency with which it processes glucose

Evidence shows willpower can be strengthened (David Blaine example)

Meditation is the single most effective method for improving willpower, just 3 days of 10 mins per day will start to have a positive impact

Your purpose is the greatest source of your willpower

Grit = passion and perseverance to work toward a long-term specified goal (for years). Talent is less important in this than persistence, hence importance of being able to cope with boredom and repetition

Sports scientist Timothy Noakes research into the role of the brain in perception of fatigue during exercise suggests fatigue is as much an emotion as a result of physiological change. In this sense it motivates us to hold back and conserve (evolutionary requirement from a survival point of view – principle always to conserve) Therefore have more willpower than you think. (When you think your done your probably at 40%)

Have to be out of your comfort zone to learn most effectively – in this zone you will fail 20-40% of the time but at this rate you learn most effectively from failure

Being out of comfort zone and under pressure key to building self-confidence / self-efficacy, ie belief in yourself to manage a challenge or task

Procrastination a big barrier – we all do it for a variety of reasons. Best defence is to try and stay in the moment, not to think about past or future (Gestalt process) focus on senses what can you see, what can you hear what do you feel? Questions like these help you to stay in the present

Process orientated goals more effective than results goals.

Gentlemen we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it. Because in the process, we will catch excellence. I’m not even remotely interested in being just good.’ Vince Lombardi