Steve Magness is a world-renowned expert on performance, co-author of Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success and The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life, and the author of The Science of Running: How to Find Your Limit and Train to Maximize Your Performance. His new book is called Do Hard Things.

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  • The best aren’t concerned with being the best. They’re concerned with being the best at getting better.”
  • Confidence: Confidence needs evidence. Acting with bravado we haven’t earned only works on easy things. It backfires on anything truly challenging. Doing difficult things, even if you don’t quite succeed at them, is how you develop real confidence.
  • How do you find a good mentor? Do interesting things. Be open to learning and guidance. Be motivated, driven, and curious about something. Put your ego aside. Do good, quality work.
  • The difference between real and fake toughness. Fake toughness is easy to identify. It’s Bobby Knight losing control and throwing tantrums in the name of “discipline.” It’s the appearance of power without substance behind it.
    • Researchers out of Eastern Washington set out to explore the relationship between leadership style and the development of toughness. After conducting research on nearly two hundred basketball players and their coaches, they concluded, “The results of this study seem to suggest that the ‘keys’ to promoting mental toughness do not lie in this autocratic, authoritarian, or oppressive style. It appears to lie, paradoxically, with the coach’s ability to produce an environment, which emphasizes trust and inclusion, humility, and service.
  • Sustained Excellence: Observation: the people who sustain success over the long haul are rarely shooting for success. They are focused on the path. Their goal is mastery, which knows no end.
  • What characteristics do the best performers have?
    • Don’t get tired of the boring stuff
    • Masters of compartmentalization
    • Can flip the switch
    • Know how to lose well
    • Cultivate perspective
    • Delayed gratification
    • Drive from within
  • Creating an enemy: Whenever an organization, group, or individual works hard to create an enemy to pit their idea/group against, it’s a sign you probably shouldn’t listen. Us vs. Them is the easiest way to exploit human nature, to get people on your side. It often means there’s no substance there.
  • The best way to get the most out of someone is to make them feel secure enough that they can take risks and fail. Most of us don’t reach our potential because we default to protective mode. Threatening & demanding makes us protect further. Security and belonging frees us up.
  • “Growth comes at the point of resistance. Skills come from struggle.”
  • “The fact is that often coaches figure out what works in training and then the scientists come in later and explain why it works.”
  • What can we learn about success and performance from Eliud Kipchoge?

    • He is not fanatical about trying to be great all the time. He is consistent & patient.
    • His coach says that the secret is that he makes progress “slowly by slowly.”
    • Motivation + Discipline = Consistency
      • He told The NY Times, “He estimates that he seldom pushes himself past 80 percent — 90 percent, tops — of his maximum effort when he circles the track.”
    • “I have a mindset whereby I am a human being. I am walking around as a human being. I learn to perform well at the same time being grounded. And I trust that being humble and being on the ground is the only way to concentrate”
    • “You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There is a formula: 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. And that’s teamwork. That’s what I value.”
    • “To be precise, I am just going to try to run my personal best. If it comes as a world record, I would appreciate it. But I would treat it as a personal best.”
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