How to Achieve Ultra High Performance | Dr. Michael Gervais on Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "How to Achieve Ultra High Performance | Dr. Michael Gervais on Impact Theory".
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The greatest fear in modern times is what other people think. So our job is to love others and not give a shit what they think of us. Because we only get one emotion at a time. That's how our brain works. One emotion. So our job is to really find the right state that we want to be in, the right emotional place, and use that rather than let the brain win. And if that is untrained and unconditioned, it will win. Everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. Our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today's guest is a high-performance psychologist who has worked with some of the world's most accomplished athletes and performers. He's helped level up everyone from Olympic gold medalist and MVPs in every major sport to elite UFC fighters, Red Bull Extreme Athletes, the US Military, and the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. He's the guy you call in when you absolutely, positively must set the skydiving world record by jumping out of a helium balloon at the edge of space and falling back to earth at faster than the speed of sound. Or you decide you want to become the first person to survive jumping out of an airplane at 25,000 feet without a parachute. No matter what your discipline, if you play in rugged, hostile, and elite spaces, please demand you bring in to help you build a mindset for unparalleled achievement. A peer-reviewed published author was some of the most usable insights into the mind there is. He's been featured by virtually every high-profile news outlet around, including NBC, ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. His principles and teachings are so sought after that he and legendary NFL coach Pete Carroll co-founded the Corporate Training Institute, Compete to Create, to help some of the world's largest and most prestigious companies create winning cultures that foster greatness and fulfillment. Their client roster is The Who's Who of the Fortune 500 and includes Microsoft, Zinga, and Boeing. So please, help me in welcoming the host of Finding Mastery, one of the most recognizable minds in the field of optimal human performance, Dr. Michael Gervais. Oh my gosh, I'm kidding.
Building Emotional Capacity And Mindfulness
The Prime Mover Is Pain (02:13)
Thank you very much. That was great introduction. Dude, thank you, man. That was fun. Dude, your story is crazy. Like, what you help people do is really, really extraordinary. And that's where I want to start. Like, what it takes to play at that elite level, especially around the framing of, you said that every great change starts with pain. And I found that really intriguing. It feels dark. It feels heavy when you say that. But that's been my experience, that it's accurate, is that the reason people change is because of pain. The reason we grow is because we get uncomfortable and we embrace being uncomfortable. But being honest with the pain that we feel is usually the prime mover for people to do the work that is necessary to push to the edge. And in the space of world leading athletics and arts and business, everybody works hard. Right? And some people work smarter, but everybody works hard. So there's a balance in modern time right now about running to the edge and then properly recovering.
Modern Day Capacity Building (03:20)
So why would somebody run to the edge? And run to the edge of their ability? To the capacity that they have within themselves. So yes, but when we talk about capacity, we're talking about emotional capacity, mental capacity, long gone are the days where it's just physical capacity. Like you can get your heart rate up relatively easily and that is the old way. It's still relevant, but that is an old way to think about capacity building. That's not the case anymore. And what we do is we spend time working to understand the strengths of people. We want to understand where they want to go and how they want to be on that going in their life. So that's like setting a vision. I want to go back to pain for a second. I have a quote which I thought was really extraordinary. This is from you. The worst thing we can do for our loved ones is to try to reduce their pain. Yeah. Does that sound surprising? It doesn't, from my perspective now, that would have been absolutely shocking to me 15 years ago. What changed for you? All the stuff that you talk about, pain being the motivator, all of that, all of my success is predicated on misery. Period. And you talk about the need to, you don't use the words rock bottom, but I'll use that because that's how it felt for me. I needed to hit rock bottom in order to put in the work, in order to be so desperate that I had to let go of my old way of thinking about myself. I had to fix mindset. And I didn't have these words at the time, but this is me now looking back. It was a binary choice between depression or a growth mindset. And I didn't know if a growth mindset was real. I just knew it was different than the depression that I was racing towards. So in that period, that just was the spark of like, I was suffering so much and laying on the floor of my apartment and broke and hopeless and all of that, and just trying to figure out how do I move forward from here. So if you had said it at that moment, I would have said, the sole reason we exist is to reduce the pain of our loved ones. Yeah. And okay, so there's a difference between pain and suffering.
The Difference between Pain & Suffering (05:29)
There's a difference between there. We're all suffering. We all have suffering. We all have an emptiness or dark place or corners inside of our spirit in our mind that are not fulfilled and watered and full. Like we all can relate to that. And when I'm talking about pain, I'm not necessarily talking about suffering, but acknowledging our suffering, being in touch with the pain, that's enough to say, when you're really honest, that's enough to say, I can't do this. I don't want to do this anymore. Like this is not the person I want to become and be on a regular basis. If that's the case, if that assumption is right, then as a loved one, my job is to help you get real and experience those places as often as you can so that you make the declaration to say, no, no, no, no, no. That's not okay for me to feel and be this way on a regular basis. So let me pull on that thread just a little bit further. It is healthy and necessary to feel all of the human emotions. When you ask people, what do you want in life? Most people say, I want to be happy. Wait, hold on now. If grandma dies, do you want to be happy? That's like really. When your child is sick, do you want to be happy? No, no, no. I think the answer is that we want to feel all of the human experience to its fullest, but never lose ourself in it, but to experience all of it. And so we're getting into the weeds as some very esoteric and non-scientific thinking right now, but the practice is that if I care about you deeply, the mistake I can make in your life is to help you feel like it's all okay. Like, oh, it's okay. It's okay that you're drinking and driving and you killed a 14-year-old. That's no problem. Like, you'll do better next time. No, the work is to say, well, what's this like for you? To feel that pain. So you make the commitment to say, no, no, no. I can't do this anymore. And that's when it becomes really real.
Standard versus loving a person (07:30)
It's interesting. So that made me think about standards and holding people to a standard and loving them at the same time, which that's entirely stuff that I hear you talk about and then knowing your work with the Seahawks and Coach Carroll. So this notion of relationship-based groups, teams, companies, however you want to think about it, but how do you simultaneously hold somebody to a standard, say you messed up, and you're not going to be able to do that? Say you messed up and at the same time, love them. Okay. So that is the fabric that binds us, right? I think I'm imagining for you the same as we want to be around people that somehow give us the sense that, "I want I'm around that person. I don't know. They just, I just feel better. They make me better somehow." Let's say it's you and me. What I want to feel from you is that you've got my back. You understand me and that when you're making decisions, it's not just for you. It's for me as well. And so a rising tide floats all boats. The relationships that go wrong or sour is if I'm on the side of this relationship, I'm like, "Do I trust that he's making these thoughts or moves because it's right for him or me?" And the sour relationships are the one where it's really just good for you and I'm just casualty in your experience. So what we do ahead of time is we invest in the relationship. So for example, the Seattle Seahawks, the product is football. So just like a business, you've got products for your businesses as well. But we are a relationship-based organization. If Coach Carroll was here, he'd say, "That's how we run the relationship-based organization and the output is football." And we've found that to be incredibly valuable because none of us do this thing alone. And if we're really going to go the distance and really step into the frontier to do the amazingly difficult, challenging things, we need to lock arms to stay in the trenches long enough. And what happens for most people is we lock arms, we say, "Oh yeah, let's go get it." And then we lock arms and as soon as it's hard, the brain kicks in and the survival mechanisms in the brain are stronger than the thriving mechanisms. So the survival mechanisms are going light up and what do we do? We save our own ass and we unlock our arms and we take care of ourselves. That is how people fray in rugged and stressful environments, emotionally stressful environments. We unlock. And so the extraordinary able to stay the course locked arms because they're mission-minded. They're really clear about what they want to experience and they bet on each other. That really hit me hard.
Locking arms (10:08)
And now what I want to know is how many areas of your life outside of sports does that apply? Where I want to get to is how the locking arms not fraying, betting on each other like that tribal mentality, which when you were telling that story really, really hit me and it made me think, "Okay, how much am I doing that in my business?" Very plausible to do in my business though hearing how well you guys do it makes me want to be better. Definitely possible in my relationship with my wife. But then how far can we expand that? Because if you could have that kind of relationship with a potent enough number of people in a versatile number of situations, it just feels like you could accomplish so much more. But I just don't know how many places it actually applies. Is it realistic to do with your friends? You know what I mean? Yeah, it depends on the community that you're building. We like to think that we are all a pebble in a pond. And so the weight of the pebble indicates the ripples and the output, the effect. And those inner circle, there's a greater impact and then as you spread out, especially through social media, there's larger impacts. But yeah, it is available. You're in relationships in every community that you're in. And like I don't know if you have spent the time to articulate your philosophy and to be able to get it in maybe 25 words or less, maybe down to four, three or two, one word. You know, and so that type of work, investing on the clarity that you have within yourself, allows us to have a greater weight in that pebble. And so from clarity, we can train our mind to have conviction in stressful environments. And the clarity also allows other people to know really what we're about. And then when we ask them what they're about, that's how you start to build that deeper bond. Right? And what I found is that most people want to stay on the surface because it's hard to talk about things that are hard to talk about. And there's like three levels, right? And then we can talk about, I don't know, beer and pizza, you know, and sporting event scores. And there's nothing wrong with that, but that's just some type of relationships. And then underneath, there's other conversations which are about ideas that are hard to articulate. And then underneath of that, it's talking about personal experiences that are hard to articulate. And those are kind of the three levels of depth that I think most conversations get bucketed in.
One thing that I found really interesting, you know, you talk about really being yourself, asking people what they're really like, the relationship that you have with your wife. And what you talked about, that very courageous moment of hers where she actually said this isn't working. You've done your homework. I mean, with stuff like this where I can learn, like, it's so powerful to me. And the way that you think and some of the lessons you put together really, really are insanely powerful. This one I found interesting, I found your reaction to it, or at least the way that you frame it now, really powerful. So walk us through that moment, how authenticity plays into it, and how you get to those deeper levels. Yeah. It's not easy. You know, intimate relationships are challenging. And because the person that we're talking about knows you and knows if the relationship is really rich, almost all of you. I'm not sure as a human, somebody, this might sound sad, but I don't think that another person, even in the most intimate relationships, can know all of another person. So there is a loneliness to the human experience that I think is important just to honor. And that doesn't mean I'm by any means depressed. Like there's a vibrancy about how I view life and engage in life, but there's also like this honesty, you know, about the lonely part. So what happened in our relationship is that I was ripping and running, figuring out I was in the study mode, big time study mode of the science of psychology. And I had some early budding successes that were taking place. And essentially I was not watering the relationship, and I was being selfish. And that first I had for understanding the science and the application of the science of psychology was out watering the intimacy and relationships of that relationship. So one day she came home and this looking back, I was surprised by it, but looking back, all the telltale signs were there. For a long time she had been saying, "Hey, pay attention to the relationship." But I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." And I really thought it was all fine, but it wasn't. And so finally one day it was the most candid conversation and she just grabbed me, we've been dating since high school, and she grabbed me, not forcefully, but grabbed my attention and she said, "As a friend, as your best friend, I'm telling you, this doesn't work anymore. I love you, you're a wonderful person, but I can't figure out how to be me in this relationship." And so I was like, "Holy, that's the worst thing that a friend could say, like the worst." And so I was like, "No, no, no, no." And she was like, "Okay, okay, I feel you now." And she's like, "No, no, no, it's too late." And so that was my cue, like I had to leave, right? Like out of kindness and compassion for the experience, and she's feeling it deeply. And I wish she was here in this conversation because she'd make light of it and say, "Well, you know, yeah." Because looking back, it was the richest, most intense thing that I've been through in the relationship. We hit rock bottom to your point. And then we moved out in kind of bounced around from a couple different places. It was a month before we went back and had a conversation. And basically, she's like, "I'm done." I said, "Let's give it a chance. We've been together a long time. Let's just give it a chance." So we went to therapy. And day one of the therapists, I identify with my Italian roots, and she's Cuban. And so the therapist is across from us, and she says, "Hold on, hold on. It's worth a lot of time. The temper is up." She says, "This is as bad as I've ever seen it." And so she basically asked one really important question. She said, "Do you guys want to do the work? You need the work, Mike. Lisa, you need to work. Do you want to do the work with each other, or with somebody else?" And I thought to myself, "Oh, my God. Oh, this is... If she says, "I want to grow, but I want to grow with someone else, this is the end of the relationship." And that was the moment. And my heart goes, "Papam." And I knew that I couldn't go first, because that was the problem. I was going first too much. And so that moment lasted, it felt like an eternity. And obviously, she said, "I want to do the work with you, but I'm not sure that I can trust you, that you'll do the work too." So we did some work. And so we're still married to get like, "It's great. Like looking back." I mean, the work... I would encourage everybody, anybody that, you know, in your community, like to do that intimate, deep work with somebody and have real conversations. The freedom is incredible on the other side of it. Like really incredible. And it's hard to get to.
How to connect on a deeper level with others (17:37)
So that deep work of really getting to know somebody, of figuring out what's important to them, seems to be exactly what you do in your practice as well. What does that look like? Like where does somebody start in terms of trying to connect on that level? A want. You know, it starts with a real deep want to do the work. And so it... You know, I wish there was like the seven steps to whatever. It doesn't quite work that way. But I do know from good research that there are some telltale signs that have great accuracy of predicting separation. And so avoiding critique, avoiding defensiveness as a response, avoiding stone walling, and avoiding contempt. So avoiding those things, people that have some of those things in their relationship, they're able to predict divorce within great accuracy within two years. Yeah, I remember reading some of that research and I think they call them the Four Horsemen, right? That's exactly it. Yeah. Really, really interesting and how contempt is like the one that is just gonna... If you have that, yeah, that's really, really interesting.
How the Seattle Seahawks handle conflict (18:41)
So now, so thinking about that in that context about just the way that humans come together, the way that we can support each other, the way that we transfer energy, which I find really interesting, not in a woo-woo way, but like really like people pick up on your vibe, you were telling the story about a time, I think, it was with the Seahawks, but I don't know for sure, where one guy just went ballistic. He was just seeing red, couldn't like come down from rage, and the team like gotten his face. And the way that they then regot and sink, that was super interesting. Yeah, so that was one of the athletes was right at the edge emotionally of his capacity, and he was just angry. He was just really angry and he came flying off the sidelines and just pissed. And there was not one... And there's a group of alpha apex competitors. Like these are alpha competitors at the Seattle Seahawks in most highly competitive environments. They are alphas. And these are large physically strong men. And there wasn't one human that was able to grab all of his attention and help him get to a place that is productive. So they instinctively knew, there wasn't a coach, there wasn't... There was nobody. And they instinctively knew that they had to wrap around him. And one guy tried, another guy tried solo, another guy tried solo, and then sure enough, like that moment, and it's on tape, it's beautiful. It's really quite special. And they just huddled around him and started bouncing in this tribe away. You can't plan for that. That's a deep connection that those men have, and a care for each other and a care for the mission. And how do you get that to take place? All of the work ahead of time on the relationships, and that's where Coach Carroll's approach to be a relationship-based organization. It pays dividends in those types of moments. And that doesn't mean it's always going to happen that way. There's certainly times when, "Okay, we got more work to do." But that was a beautiful celebration of someone right at the edge not facilitating their emotions to be mission-minded and the team, the community taking care of it. It was really cool.
How to train for emotional capacity (20:52)
Yeah, that story really hit me. And I love your concept of emotionally, which I've never heard anybody talk about that before, emotionally going to the edge of your limits and then using that as a training mechanism to get better, to be able to push your emotional boundaries farther and farther. And I assume to be able to handle more emotional amplitude, for lack of a better word. So the question that I had, though, is how do you train that? How do you create? I'll give you a really great example so you know what I'm talking about. In the world of business, I found it was so hard to put myself in a situation where there were simultaneously no real consequences and my anxiety was triggered because that's where I had struggled. And I just couldn't. The only thing that triggered my anxiety was when there was real consequences. So I didn't want to put myself in that situation to train. So I started playing video games. And I found that I had the same anxiety response because there was some 14-year-old kid who was kicking my ass and he was going to mock me at the end of it if I lost. And that triggered the literal same amplitude of anxiety, which is weird, but nonetheless. But there were no real consequences. So I started doing that as a way to see how rapidly I could come back down. God, I love that. Okay, so when we're talking about emotions, there's only a handful of primary emotions. And unfortunately, we haven't done a great job in Western culture of teaching how to feel emotions, label them, and then how to work with them. I didn't have that course. I don't know if you did. And I didn't have a course on how the basic mental skills work, how to label them, and how to train them. So we haven't done a great job of doing this in the education platform. And if there's only three things we can train, craft, body, and mind, why are we not training the mind? Like, why are we, because the way that thoughts and emotions work, it's like a bang bang experience. They happen like right next to each other. And there's some conversation about what comes first. Is it a thought, then emotion, or is it an emotion, then a thought. Most people in the field would say, a psychology would say it's thought, then emotion. The way that I think about this is that it's like a writer in an elephant. So the writer is the thought. And then as soon as the emotion wants to run, because the thought, maybe the writer's scared, he's having scary thoughts, or sad. Because he's having a lot of sad, based thoughts. When the elephant wants to go, when the emotions run, you're not controlling that thing. Your job, my job, is to be the writer, a thoughtful, aware, writer of thoughts. And when we're able to be aware of our thoughts, then we can guide and negotiate our thoughts so they don't run wild. Ultimately, there's a meta awareness that takes place where when you train awareness, and I'd like to get into that conversation with you, when you train awareness of your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and your environment, awareness of your environment, those four things, we become more finely tuned so that we can choose great thoughts. We can harness our emotions. We can feel our body sensations and use them to facilitate clear thinking, creative thinking, or great output. And when we're more aware of the unfolding, unpredictable environment around us, we can course correct and adjust and pivot. And that makes all the difference in the most intense environments in the world. Whether that's an emotional intensity, or vulnerability, or that is, you know, center court, whatever sporting environment that we're talking about.
Expanding emotional capacity starting with vulnerability (24:10)
So, back to your first thought, is its vulnerability that is how we train emotional capacity. And the more that we become vulnerable and demonstrate the courage to do so, we expand our capacity to feel. And if I know I can go to the extreme edges of an emotion, and I start to feel a little bit of an emotion and kind of rapidly going towards, let's say, out here is like panic, like high, high fear, and I'm starting to feel anxious, or I'm starting to feel something on that scale, well, I don't have to panic at anxiety. I can actually use it as a signal go, "Oh, look, what are my thoughts are about, like, this is scary. Wait, what's scary about this?" And then I can start to work with that. Instead of like, as soon as I start to feel something, and this is my capacity, I feel anxious, I'm like, "Oh my God, I'm going to run to the edge of it." Our job is to pull that thing out as far as we possibly can, so that when we're in those emotionally charging environments, we've got lots of room to play. And that's the mark of a master. All right, I want to push you on that. I'm so curious. I want to know how to use this in my life. So, when you say, "How is vulnerability helping me?" They're vulnerability that I'm not worried about looking stupid or whatever I'm panicking about, like, just don't worry about that? It's such a multi-factor question that you have there. Like, there's so much in that. Let's see if we can... You've heard of Yolo. You only live once. FOMO. Fear of missing out. Okay. I want to introduce a new kind of fun concept. And before I share that with you, we've got an ancient brain that's working in modern times. And our ancient brain isn't as fast as adapting as modern technology. Like, it's rapidly changing. Okay? So, our ancient brain is designed for survival. Okay? Easy to kind of track that idea. And how we track that idea is that information right now is coming into your brain two ways. The high road and the low road. And the high road is up into your thinking brain. And the low road is down into your emotional... Call it the amygdala... into the emotion centers of the brain. And it's coming in here to the fight-flight response mechanisms at twice the speed. So, it's coming in. All the time information is coming in as twice as much and twice as fast before you're getting it here. The thinking part of the brain. So, what's happening here is right now you're gating out and I'm gating out. Nope, this is safe. Nope, we're safe. Nope, we're okay. This is okay. This is okay. And so, our brain is designed to figure out if we're going to be okay and safe here. That came from saber to tigers. That came from the rustling and the bush. Is it a saber tooth or is it a bunny? And so, we've had to figure out how to be hyper-vigilant so we could get away. Our ancestors passed that down that gift down to us. But what is the... we don't have saber tooth anymore. So, what is our modern day fear? What other people think? Period. So, fopo. Fear of other people's opinions. Right? I find that to be clever. That's good. So, right. No, so fopo. So, but that is our modern day threat. What other people think. That's why public speaking is so hard for people. You know, because what's... what are the stakes there? What another human thinks of us? So, what are we really good at? Picking up facial structures. Micro tells, if you will, if they are being critical of us. What do we do to protect ourselves? We become hyper-critical of ourselves so that we get to that state before somebody else might embarrass us that way. And that's so we've got this self-cutting mechanism. This self-criticking mechanism that we're basically beating ourselves up or tenderizing ourselves in not a good way so that we don't face those casualties publicly. So, our brain is great at picking up these little signals and other people so that we can adjust and provide some sort of protective mechanism from being exposed of not being good enough. Because if we're not good enough, we're kicked out of the tribe. And what in modern days, what that means is we may be fired. And so, you know, there's a lot at stake for people if they don't have a job. So, long way of saying the greatest fear in modern times is what other people think. So, our job is to love others and not give a shit what they think of us. But not in a cold way, but to really love other people because we only get one emotion at a time. That's how our brain works. One emotion. Either you are anxious or you are joyful. You can't get the two at the same time. So, our job is to really find the right state that we want to be in, the right emotional place and use that rather than let the brain win. And the brain wins by saying, "What are they thinking? What are they thinking? Am I safe? Am I safe? Am I safe?" And if that is untrained and unconditioned, it will win. It sounds like a lot of this rides on the back of your ability to be self-aware. And you said that, you know, there is a process for training that. So, how do you go about training a level of self-awareness that you can deploy against that? Okay, super thoughtful. So, this is not a new thought, but it is gaining incredible awareness, which is mindfulness. If we follow the science around mindfulness, in 1980 there was two or three research articles on mindfulness. That is not a lot. In 2008 there was an uptick, a couple hundred. In 2016 there was this Jay hockey stick arc that has happened. In 2016-17 there is thousands of research articles from scholarly universities. So, what is happening with that trend? Mindfulness has been around for, let's call it, 2500 years, 2600 years. And research is starting to find incredible changes in our brain, neurochemistry, neuroelectricity, structurally things are changing, behaviorally there is great change, and it starts with awareness of thoughts and emotions. There are two pillars to mindfulness. You could use a word meditation if you wanted. I use a word of mindfulness because meditation in alpha-competitive environments has some sort of baggage to it. We can say mindfulness, hyphen training. That works better. But there are two main pillars to mindfulness. One is awareness, and the second pillar is wisdom. So, if we did a disservice to mindfulness and we just stopped at pillar one and you became more aware of your thoughts, your emotions, your body sensations and the environment, you would be a better performer because you course correct more eloquently. And here is something really important. I can't be around a wise person and all of a sudden be wise.
The two pillars to mindfulness that will change your life (30:58)
I can't hijack wise wisdom. You can't hack it. You can't shortcut it. It is with it. You can't read a wise book and all of a sudden be wise. You have to reveal it. You have to do the alone based work of silence and listening. And you have to reveal that. That's how it happens. And that takes time. It takes time for this busy mind that is so scattered all over the place with external stimulation and internal dialogue to quiet it down, to let go of the noise, to get to the signal. And the more time we can spend conditioning our mind to be connected to the signal, which is the present moment, the stillness that I was talking about, we reveal glimpses of wisdom. Everything changes. So those are the two pillars of mindfulness. How do you train it? Research would suggest somewhere around 8 to 20 minutes a day. Minimally effective dose would be 8 minutes a day of training mindfulness or meditation. We can talk more concretely if you want what that is. Upwards to 20 plus minutes. For the most part, more is better. When people ask you, "How did you end up working with Pete Carroll?" Like, "Is it a day you call them up?" or whatever, which your answer to that question was amazing.
Cutting your Teeth & Sports Psych (32:14)
But your real answer of how you did it, the 18 years of cutting your teeth, is the part of your story I think I like the most. Tell us a little bit about that. What do you mean by cutting your teeth? How on earth did you convince yourself to spend 18 years every Saturday in a gym? Yeah. God, I miss it. I just got a gym. Now I miss that experience. So I'm wrestling right now in my life with who can afford access to doing this deep work. I've trained, I don't know, 30 years. I've invested millions of dollars in the craft. I've made a lot of mistakes. I've learned an incredible amount from research and the best doers and thinkers in the world. And there's one of me. And I'm really wrestling with who has access to this information because it feels really selfish. And so right now, it's reserved for the wealthy. But that's not where I came from. And so the 18 years of wood shedding, if you will, what we're talking about is it was born out of an entrepreneurial spunk that I didn't know what I was going to do. This is right out of college. And a mentor of mine said, "Hey Mike, this is part-time temporary job that you might be interested in. It's like three weeks, 20 hours a week. It's a nonprofit. It'd be nice to just kind of give to the community." And it had this government funding around crime prevention and alcohol and drug prevention. Those two. And so day two, I was like, "Whoa, they're sitting on a lot of money. They've got proper funding is back in the days." This was 1980-90. So it was a democratic approach to government. And so I was sitting on lots of money. And I said, "Hey, I went to the executive director and I had no place to do this." I said, "If I had an idea, would you guys fund it?" And they said, "Well, what's the idea?" I said, "Well, let me go work on it and let me kind of really get it clear. And can we talk tomorrow?" So I came back with this concept. And the idea was, what's a premium right now for young high school and college age athletes? Is that there's nowhere to go on Saturday night. You can go to a party. But there's nowhere to go to do athleticism. So what if we can get a gym, open up the gym, bring a DJ in, make a network of high school athletes and coach them on some of the psychology that I'm just kind of learning. Undergrat, I just finished my undergrad. Kind of just learning. If I could coach them up on some leadership stuff and then open up the gym and see if we can get some basketball going and create a culture of learning. And so they said, "Yeah, let's try it." So the executive director gave it a shot. The first night we had 130 young men, it was mostly men, that showed up and it was amazing. And that's prime time party hours. We picked a neutral gang territory to do it. And I was just barely one step ahead of ideas. And so what I've, and then I was now just starting my master's program. And so what I did basically is I used Saturday night as a refuge for me to be around people of like mind. People like to sweat and compete and, you know, not interested in the party scene, but really kind of do something fun and engaging that way. And at my job, the price to admission to this beautiful indoor, three-charts, beautiful, rare piece of property in Los Angeles that was gang neutral. And the price to admission was to listen to me for 10, 15 minutes on a thought that I thought was important. And this is now imagine 130 young men, high school and college aged. 80, 90 percent are gang involved. And I'm not gang involved at all, obviously. And when I say obviously it's like that's not where I came from. And you can imagine, they don't want to listen to me. They have no interest in listen. They want to play ball listen to the music and get on with it. And so I had to be crisp and short, which I'm not in this conversation. It had to be like really intense and purposeful about how can I get in a great mindset practice that they could use tonight. And we could practice it tonight. And I had this, this staff of high school kids that would, that were switched on about it as well. And we would support and challenge them to try it tonight goal setting. Self talk. Breathing when you get too intense. Conflict resolution, how to use words and emotions and pull you out of the engagement rather than a fist fight. In 18 years, every Saturday night from 8 a.m. I'm sorry, 8 p.m. to midnight. I was in a sweaty gym working out how to deliver sports psychology and mindset principles on time to a group of people that didn't really care what I had to say. And I had to be crisp and short and get in it and then see if it could work. In 18 years, we had three fights. Wow. Three fights. I mean, I just got a tweet today and it would be fun to share that. A tweet today where a kid that came through that program, I mean he, during the program he was probably 18 years old. He, he tatted up his face, you know, like really a great edge about him. Went to the edge. I mean, when you go above your neck on a tattoo, there's, there's something there. And so he tatted up his face. He was really intense. And he tweeted just today, he said, Mike, thank you, a lot of lives have been saved for what we did together for those 18 years. And he was a participant showing up every day. He was one that almost got in a fight on a regular basis. But we worked and we worked and we worked. And so I miss it. I crave it. You know, the ability to share a piece of information and be involved in a relationship where other people grow is, is like electric. And so thank you for bringing it up. That's where I worked it out. And by the way, my office was a janitor's office without windows that it was me and three rats that I was chasing out of that thing for years. Years. That's where I went to work. That was my office. And I look back and fond memories like, good old days of being, you know, grubby and, you know, like it was, it was awesome. So thank you for letting me share that.
Michael Gervais Online
Michael Gervais on the Internet (38:26)
Oh man, for sure. Thanks for sharing it. Yeah. All right. Before I ask my last question, tell these guys where they can find you online. Mmm. Lots of places. So LinkedIn, Michael Jervais, G-E-R, V-A-I-S. And then Twitter is @MichaelJervais. Instagram is Finding Mastery. And so we fired up a podcast called Finding Mastery. And you can also find us online. The partnership with Coach Carroll is called Compete to Create. And it's taking the principles about how he switches on a culture where people become their very best. And the principles of how to train your mind and putting those two things together for enterprises. And that's Compete to Create. And then again, the Finding Mastery podcast is Finding Mastery.net.
Global Impact Of Michael Gervais
Michael Gervais Impact on the World (39:10)
All right. Very cool. My last question. What's the impact that you want to have on the world? Okay. So the idea is one in five people in an organization. And one in five people in a family or an enterprise organization to help them condition and train their mind to live in the present moment more often. Because in the present moment is where all things high performance take place. It's where love happens. It's where relationships and the fabric of relationships are strengthened and revealed. It's where glimpses of wisdom and potential happen. So increasing the frequency of people spending time in the present moment. And the way to do that is by conditioning and training your mind. In non-hostile, non-rugate, non-stressful environments and purposely working up into more hostile, stressful, rugged environments, emotionally challenging environments. It doesn't mean that there's physical consequences. It just means that something's real for you. And to do that on a regular basis. So one in five people to live in the present moment more often. Wow. I love that. Great answer. Thank you so much for being here. Yeah. Thank you. Guys, man, I'm telling you what is utterly fascinating about him is exactly what he just said there at the end. That it's mindfulness. It's being in the present moment. That is the place where all of high achievement, high performance, greatness exists. It was not the answer that I expected to find when I started researching him. Somebody that I had known from his accomplishments, the people that he's helped do these extraordinary things. I did not think the punchline was going to be turning inward, finding that inner peace, finding calm, being in this moment. And that notion that he has of letting the past and the future exist simultaneously now as noise in the present. I thought it was a really powerful way of explaining exactly what mindfulness is of finding that silence so that you can hear the subconscious, so that you can be, as he says, where your feet are. I thought that was absolutely incredible. Trust me when I say go watch the videos that he's done, the other interviews. Take him as a body of work. It is absolutely astonishing. You will be blown away, I promise. Alright guys, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Thank you, sir. That was amazing. Hey everybody, thank you so much for watching and being a part of this community. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. You're going to get weekly videos on building a growth mindset, cultivating grit, and unlocking your full potential.