Josh Waitzkin on The Art of Learning

I first heard of Josh Waitzkin after he was an interview subject on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. I listened to the 2nd ever Tim Ferriss show about 12 months ago and more recently heard the second podcast with Josh.

Today I’m listening to Tim and Sebastian Junger speaking and Josh is mentioned again. Tonight, I decided to listen/watch more about Josh, and came across this interview with him. My highlights are:

  • We see teachers who try to fit students into a cookie cutter mould…a teacher knows how to create someone in his own image and try to fit the student into the mould, good for himself and bad for the student
  • A student would do much better to have a teacher who was open to bringing out that students natural shine, their natural strengths
  • We need to be true to our natural strengths and be aware of our natural talents
  • An artist needs to be unobstructed as possible the way the express themselves.

One of the more interesting, endearing moments, however comes just after a question is asked about the movie The Search for Bobby Fischer (the story is about Josh’s chess career) where Josh breaks into laughter about something off-camera, and breaks into smiling and laughter, at a time I felt the conversation was about to get deep and serious.

Other points of note re: learning (specifically related to transitioning from Chess into Tai Chi):

  • Be wide open to every last bit of information; hold no ego about being wrong
  • You need to want to be moulded
  • Changing your perceptual patterns at will (in relation to understanding time moves at different speeds)

As always, the challenge is adopting these principles into our own lives and coming up with a way to embed them in our lives.

Simon Sinek on Authentic Leadership

Today I heard one of the best, most closest-to-me podcasts that I think I have ever heard. Simon Sinek was a guest on The Ziglar Show (Inspiring True Performance), speaking about how to actually, authentically lead.

Part way through the podcast I began really tuning in and absorbing the content to the detriment of what I was currently doing – akin to getting into a flow state listening to the discussion and the message being shared). I recommend you take a listen to the podcast, and let me know your thoughts on whether this had the same impact on you that it had on me.

Some of the key points I took away:

  • Leadership is not a rank or position. Leadership is a decision and a choice. It has nothing to do with your position in the organization. If you look after others, you have become a leader. “We call you a leader because you have the strength and confidence to go first into the danger, first toward the unknown, and we will follow”A great way to explain leadership. I also like to think of it as someone (yes, it can be a subordinate or individual) can take on a leadership role without being asked and without seeking recompense in some way.
  • He admitted to ‘cheating’, and only talking about things he cares about and things he understands. There are so many people out there who think they need to be someone they are not in order to build credibility, a fan base, an audience or even to feel ‘popular’. Being true to yourself is a key element to being trustworthy and being authentic!
  • If you want a work environment where you feel safe and supported, and you love your work, you must find or create a work community that fosters this.
  • Command and control is short term and will not last; those that last are those who are in service to others
  • If you are only a spiritual leader; you gotta learn how to function; if you don’t have that capacity yourself, you need to learn how to trust people; If you’re just a functional leader, you need to learn that spiritual stuff or no-one will trust you. It’s about balance, it’s about both functional and spiritual.

I can’t do this podcast justice with my words, but have attempted to share with you what I took away from the podcast. Have a listen and tell me what you took away from this!

This week…

I’m still listening to Tom Ferris podcasts during my ride to work and truly love the time as it’s just me, Tim and his guest in my helmet for 30 mins at a time.

This week I learned a lot about Seth Godin, someone my #coffeemornings friends have all followed, believed, evangelised or mentioned in the past (I did know who he was before listening to the podcast). 

I’m putting one of his thoughts into action today – writing a blog post whilst donating plasma, something I do regularly and willingly.

Enjoy your day and make it great 😊