human performance

Human Performance: 5 Ways To Be Happier For Longer

How do we achieve happiness in the digital age? With more noise in our lives than ever before - Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor argues that happiness inspires us to be more productive.  What's fascinating is that external conditions can only predict 10% of our long term happiness.

Image:  David Heitz

Image: David Heitz

Here are 5 actions you can implement today to be happier for longer : 

Small Changes that ripple outward: 

  1. 3 Gratitudes 
  2. Journaling 
  3. Exercise 
  4. Meditation 
  5. Random acts of kindness 

Human Performance: A Practical Guide To Changing The World

I'm not quite sure speeches of any kind get much bigger that this one delivered by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven at The University of Texas on May 17, 2014. It's a real, real shame that only 4.4 million people have had the privilege to watch this thus far. And it's my mission to ensure this man and this speech get the recognition they deserve. If you're ever in doubt, ever feel as though you can't go on - get this on. 


(Image NY Times)


Here are the take away points: 

1. If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.

“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”


2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

“You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.”


3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

“SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.”


4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

“Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie*.”

*For failing the uniform inspection, the student [in Basic SEAL training] had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand.

The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day—cold, wet and sandy. There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill: You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform.


5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

“Life is filled with circuses. You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.”


6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.


7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

“There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.”


8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

“At the darkest moment of the mission—is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.”


9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

“If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.”


10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

“In SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

Human Performance: Taking Ownership With Jocko Willink

If you watch just one TED talk this year - it should be this one. 

My god..Jocko leaves everything on that damn stage - and I applause him for it! As an ex Navy Seal Commander and now author and leadership consultant, he lives and breaths his message of ownership in life and business. I found this talk fascinating to watch, because in years gone by, war hero's would have only been able to share their learning on leadership, teamwork and pride with a very small circle. Their sphere of influence was small and practice sharing was generally kept within the military world. But now we see military methodologies being brought into the public domain via guys like Jocko and Four-star general Stanley McChrystal. It's great to see and I wonder what sort of influence it will have on generations coming through.

Having just watched this - I would, if I had the power, play this video to all kids in school under 18 as well as to all the businesses into the city - as a reminder that their current fears aren't as bad as they think and that next time they need to step up in any shape or form, great leaders galvanise their team by taking ownership. Enjoy!



Human Performance: The One Shortcut To Greatness

If you've clicked on this because you think you're going to find the shortcut, the hack, the easy route - shame on you.

If you've clicked on this because you know I'm a tongue in cheek kinda guy and would NEVER advocate taking the comfortable option in life - GOOD. 

Watch this 3 minute clip from Jocko Willink author of 'Extreme Ownership' (you'll thank me). You can feel the passion in every word the man says (I love his use of silence). It comes from a place of sheer grit, determination and will to win, not for anyone else, but himself: 



Human Performance: 'The Noble 3 Fold Path'

I, like many of you, have spent the last few days of 2016 attempting to work out how to plan effectively for the year ahead. So the question is: how do you give yourself the best chance of winning in 2017? How do you create a plan that not only feels right, but one you can measure and conquer? In the last week or so I have silently sat back and taken on board as much as I can, from as many sources as I could regarding yearly planning. And it has boiled down to this: 'The Noble 3 Fold Path'. Three simple steps to setting goals for next year. 

1. 'Daily Wins'

These are daily practices and routines that set you up for a great day. These are non negotiable. They just happen. These are small wins, that allow you to start winning from the moment you open your eyes. Think of these as the micro elements (the small things) that build to the macro elements (the big things). Very much like in rugby, you have to earn the right to go wide. Here you have to earn the right to go to the next level. So get these in place on a daily basis and you move up the hierarchy.  
For me these are (in order) :

- Make the bed (start the day with a win)

- Drink half a litre of room temperature water on waking (we tend to wake up dehydrated)

- Train at the Crossfit gym at 6am, 4 times a week (just sweat - whatever you do, just sweat)

- Omega fish oil / Vitamin D / Magnesium (all from Wild Nutrition)

- Green power (from Bioglan)

- Love + Kindness Meditation (simply pick two people you see, and wish the best for them that day - simple but powerful)

- 1 Minute visualisation (on my phone I have a number of images of people things that inspire me. I don't just look at them, I 'feel' them, as if I am currently living with them in my life)

- 15 minute meditation (I use the Headspace App - this brings me a deep sense of 'wealth'. And by that I mean, happiness and joy in the smallest things, like seeing tourists laughing and enjoying our great city of London)

- Journal (I use the '5 Minute Journal' - 3 things I am grateful for, my affirmation, and a few lines on what happened during the day)

To track them I use the 'Way of Life' App

2. 'The List'

So the second aspect to 'The Noble 3 Fold Path' is 'The List'. This is a epic gathering of all your big goals for the year. Like 'visit Copenhagen' / 'compete in the Oxford Triathlon' / 'renovate the kitchen' or 'publish a book'. These are big things. These are things that are clearly defined, clearly measurable and could be around for one year or five! Make the list, make it crazy, make it funny and make it twice. Because one should be pinned in the wall, so you can scratch off goals once complete, and the second should be folded into an envelope for the end of the year, so you can once again put a line through what has been accomplished. Unaccomplishged goals roll on.  

3. 'The Overview'

The third and final aspect of 'The Noble 3 Fold Path' is 'The Overview'

This is basically a snapshot of the year ahead. Split into 4 quarters, each month features a number of those bigger goals from 'The List' above. For example I have holidays (great for ensuring you book leave at work!), physical events, sports rehab sessions and course schedules (my basic framework below). 


The 3 stages in 'The Noble 3 Fold Path' are:

1. 'Small Wins' - Day to day practices

2. 'The List' - Annual achievements (kind of like a bucket list that roll from year to year)

3. 'The Overview' - The annual snapshot calendar