Next Time You Make A Mistake Remember This | George Mumford on Impact Theory | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Next Time You Make A Mistake Remember This | George Mumford on Impact Theory".


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Intro (00:00)

You gotta get comfortable being uncomfortable. So can you handle the truth? There's a question and if you can't, then you see that, then you can say, "Well, if I'm gonna change, "I'm gonna have to figure out how to deal with that discomfort "until the point that I can see what I need to see, "then I can change it." So as the persistence of continuing to do something until you can do it, is most of the work. It's just continuing to make mistakes, learn from mistakes, but the mistakes of you that's feedback, not as, I'm a failure, it's just an event, not who we are. So that error correction is really important. And when you can see it, when you attribute it to something you can learn or change, now you've got faith and confidence to do it, versus if you're seeing it like, "Oh, I'm just not strong enough, "I'm not tall enough and all of that." That's just, that's what I call a negative committee telling you you can't do anything rather than saying, "Well, let me see what I can do." So it's like a child learning how to walk, right? Same thing. - Hey 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 guess is arguably the most effective sports psychologist on the planet. With a master's degree in counseling psychology, he has taught mindfulness and performance to everyone from prison inmates to corporate executives and some of the most extraordinary athletes the world has ever seen, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Known as Phil Jackson's secret weapon, he was brought in to help elevate the legendary Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers and he did just that, helping those teams reach a legacy defining run of eight championships. Jordan himself credits him with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls and Phil Jackson has said, "Time after time, team after team. "I've seen athletes transform and I've seen championships "saved by players who believed in this man's "one mind, one breath efforts. "His ability to transform others becomes easier "to understand when you realize he first had to "transform himself. "After spending much of his 20s addicted to alcohol "and heroin, he learned the art of self mastery "from the inside out and he's remained sober "for more than 30 years, a testament to the efficacy "of his methods. "There is no one and no situation that is beyond benefiting "from his unique and transformative approach "and that's why today he is one of the most sought "after speakers and performance experts around. "So please help me in welcoming the author "of the mindful athlete, George Mumford." - Good, great to be here. Dude, it is so good to have you here. I read your book, got it, a couple years ago now and was really, really impressed with the transformation that you went through as much as the change that you've helped other people make. And what I wanna know is how do you make massive change in yourself and how do you make it stick? - I talk about this idea of having the sense of urgency.

Motivation And Mindfulness Techniques

Method Of Motivation (03:28)

I call it the AOF, Method of Motivation, which is As So On Fire. So it wasn't because I decided to be cool or that was gonna be intellectual. It was because of a sense of urgency that I started learning about who am I and why am I here and can I connect with the masterpiece that's already inside of me? - Can we create and cultivate the As So On Fire notion? Like, can we build urgency into our lives? - Can we build urgency in our lives? Yes, we can. It's, for me, just thinking about my own experience. First it was AOF, Motivation, and then it was a commitment to excellence. So when people ask me, "Well, what gave him my plan?" I'm pursuing excellence in wisdom with grace and ease. And so it's really about the want to, and me deciding or taking responsibility. I have a masterpiece, all I have to do is chip away the letter to express itself. And that instead of going because of this sense of urgency, I can go for the joy of discovery. - That's really interesting. And I've heard you talk a lot about Buddhism, and I know that you lived in a meditation center. - Right, right. - You lived in a meditation center for six years. - Right. - And then you studied Buddhist philosophy pretty intensely. - Yes. - And you said that instead of being original sin, that there's the original blessing? Is that what you're calling it? - Yes, original blessing. - Talk to me about that. What is that and what do you mean? - So that means that we start off with a masterpiece, and we start off with the basic goodness, but it's like that still small voice inside. It's still and small. It can easily be drowned out. And the idea is to be still and know, as it says in the Bible, and to realize that that we were wide for success, but it's how we relate to our experience that determines whether we're chipping away or we're kind of burying that sense of wholeness that we're born with. It's just that we forget it. We don't look inside. We're looking outside. And so unless we're still and we think about it, and we understand that I was born with this masterpiece, no one can give it to me or take it away, it's an inside job. And so if I look at what's right, it makes a lot of sense. So it's whether you're coming from a place of scarcity, or I would say survival mode, or coming from growth mode, which has to do with it. Yes, I can't yes to life. And I have the capacity and the responsibility to make it different, but to make it better. And so that's the basic premise is we have masterpieces. And so when I go in and work with folks, whether they're Hall of Fame coaches like Phil Jackson, or just everyday athletes or weekend warriors, I'm not going in trying to fix them. I'm relating to their masterpiece. That's really interesting. And I want to talk about that.

Exercise Freedom of Choice (06:32)

It's really powerful coming from somebody who struggled pretty profoundly. The story that you told about the needle breaking off in your arm and you had to tie your arm off to keep the needle from going into your heart. I thought, whoa, this is somebody who really had to figure things out and really climb out of a hole. So in that, how did you not just kick the shit out of yourself for allowing yourself to become addicted? What was that process like for you of moving away from sort of self-punishment into recognizing that masterpiece that was still inside of you? So when I realized that I could beat myself up, or I could love myself and forgive myself, like continual forgiveness, and that I could differentiate between the ego and not saying the ego is evil, is ignorant. So it's like we have the brain, so it's like the reptilian brain with only those fight, flee, force for food and reproduce. It's all it knows. So, but then we have the middle brain and we have the curable cortex. So when I can engage the cerebral cortex by creating space between stimulus and response and exercising my freedom of choice, I'm choosing to live a principal-centered life that talks about basic goodness, love that neighbor, love yourself, forgiveness, compassion, those sorts of positive mind states. Now, that's a totally different worldview. And so when I'm in that abundance, or when I'm coming from a growth mode, there's a total chain transformation of what I'm seeing, how I'm relating to things versus the survival mode, or the reptilian brain, where we're just trying to survive, and you can't be in the growth mode and survival mode at the same time, even one or the other. - So it's really interesting. You, when you were talking about how people have to chisel away to get to what is already there, and you've taught, I don't think you said it today, but you've talked about the Michelangelo core about how he's really just stripping away the marble to get to the masterpiece that's already inside. And I was like, I love the metaphor, it's really beautiful, but I don't actually understand it. But when you were talking, just now I realize that you're talking about the interpretations that we all have of what's happening. So, and I don't want the comment you made about the mirror mind to go by without putting a finger on it. So if I understand correctly, what you're saying is the way that you create that space is by simply mirroring back in that instance exactly what is there, without interpretation, without layers of I'm good or bad, but just simply this is the stimulus. And you said something, and my mind was so doing what you warned about, which was predicting what you were gonna say. And you said, it's like background, and I thought for sure, you were gonna say background noise, and you said background music. And that really hit me, and it hit me because you have this whole concept of basically you get more of what you focus on. So if you focus on that it's background noise, then you're gonna perceive the world one way, but if you focus on this background music, even though it's the exact same situation, the exact same stimulus, you get a completely different result, and you said that 90% of happiness is, what exactly? - Based on, it's based on how we interpret our experience.

Broadening Build Theory (09:46)

- So not what's real, just how we interpret it. - That's right, that's right. So you have people, if you have, so we know that you can predict someone's, this is from research that Shana Court did, and his series of books on happiness advantage, and that sort of thing, that you can predict somebody's success in a job by three things. One thing is optimism or hope levels. Second thing is social support, and the third one is interpreting a situation as a challenge rather than as a curse. So this changes, so it's a matter of the brain being in survival mode or growth mode. So just looking at it, so when we start with the basic goodness, or if we start with joy, we start with a positive mind state, they call it the broadening build theory that you actually, your cognitive functioning is enhanced. In other words, instead of having this, you have this, and your thoughts, and your feelings are totally different, and you may be playing out, which we do, five organizes things, and we're thinking in a way of how we're gonna do something rather than how it's gonna go badly. So it's this whole thing, everything begins with the mind. So if we, the mind is right, everything else is gonna be right. If we see things clearly and accept the truth, know the truth and the truth, so it's that you're free, now our reaction or a response to it, even if we react to it, we can step back and say, okay, that didn't work out so well. If I had it to do over, what would I change, and then you change it, and you might have to, like myself, tryin' to get clean or whatever, you might have to react hundreds of thousands of times before you finally realize, oh, I don't have to do that. But you have to be paying attention, and part of it is having that faith, that vulnerability that just see things that are hard to see, and things that are uncomfortable. So in my book, I talk about, you gotta get comfortable being uncomfortable. So can you handle the truth? It's a question, and if you can't, then you, if you see that, then you can say, well, if I'm gonna change, I'm gonna have to figure out how to deal with that discomfort until the point that I can see what I need to see, then I can change it. So as the persistence of continuing to do something until you can do it, is most of the work. It's just continuing to make mistakes, learn from mistakes, but the mistakes of you that's feedback, not as, I'm a failure, it's just an event, not who we are. So that error correction is really important, and when you can see it, when you attribute it to something you can learn or change, now you got faith and confidence to do it, versus if you're seeing it like, oh, I'm just not strong enough, I'm not tall enough, and all of that, that's just, that's what I call a negative committee telling you you can't do anything rather than saying, well, let me see what I can do. So it's like a child learning how to walk, right? Same thing. - It's interesting, hiding in there, I hear notions of identity, you talked, you said something so interesting, and I actually thought it was a part of recovery to say, I am a recovering addict, and you said that they teach you not to do that. Why do they teach you not to say that? - So my meditation teacher, Larry Rosenberg, when I was in recovery, and he understood, he said, when you see yourself as a recovering addict, you are a talent university, you are identifying with who you are instead of saying, I'm just in recovery, right? Because you're telling a nervous system how you wanna behave, so if I'm a recovering addict, then there's a whole process that I'm supposed to be doing because I'm identified with being a recovering addict, and based on what I know of a recovery addict, I'm gonna be living that out, or limiting my possibilities by putting myself in this frame. So focus on what you want, rather than focusing on what you don't want. - That's really powerful. Now, in that, you've talked about clarity being really critical. How do you help people find clarity? How should people think about what their goals are, what they want, what they're striving towards? How do they build that vision? - So beginning with a masterpiece, pretty good place to start, and then saying, well, what do I want?

Who Do You Want to Be (13:55)

Or, and then being willing to have the burning desire, and then to put a plan of attainment in place, and being willing to persist, and keep changing things until you get what you want. So it's like, we become what we think about. Does that make sense? So it's really more about, like just keeping it simple, and just, well, who do you wanna be? You know, why are you here on this planet? If you live according to the principles of love, compassion, appreciative joy, celebrating other people's successes, but how do you overcome hatred and confusion, and just having a good heart? Then I think that's what happened to me, then I start to get clear about what I like to do, and how I could be a service. How can I help other people? So when we cover it, the first thing they tell you is, you gotta help somebody else that has the same problem, so you can get out of your selfishness, or your self-conceived, or your ego, and just focus on how you're gonna help somebody else. And so there's no one way to do it, but what I would say is that it has everything to do with just be still and know, just think about, it's gotta be inside jobs. So how am I going to chip away to express the masterpiece? Now I can listen to you, I can listen to myself and other people, but I have to find a way that works for me, but I have to keep at it and be willing to learn from my mistakes and continue to pay attention, and to see, is that taking me where I want it, going if it's not, then what else can I do? So you need the mindfulness, but you need the understanding or the wisdom, or what are the principles involved in, and true north, or what does it mean to relate to another person? So we know that mutual benefit, mutual respect, is really helpful. Coming from a place of abundance is really helpful, and if we think when, when, it's really helpful. And so these principles, they don't change, and they're universal in their self-evident. So if we're principle-centered, then we'll figure out the other stuff, but those principles are guiding, principles are guiding ideas that help us to just say, okay, how can I be George based on taking what I learned from Buddhism or philosophy, psychology, or whatever, but the ultimate responsibility is me, but I have to have some idea or vision or possibility. What is the future I can live in to that I'm motivated and inspired to live into? 'Cause we live into the future we see, so when I was at it, it wasn't no future, was just this. But once I realized, oh, I don't have to be that, I can get out of that addiction and live a life of love and compassion, and self-expression, 'cause that's what it comes down to. Basically, who am I, and how can I express myself? 'Cause that's what it comes down to. - Yeah, so what are we all chasing after? - I said, everybody, I don't know, you can think people, according to Joseph Campbell, he thinks we're all chasing after a meaning or having a purpose. Maybe one thing, some people say they're chasing happiness, and of course, Victor Franklin said happiness cannot be pursued, it has to ensue, so you do things that make you happy. So I say people want peace of mind and people just wanna be happy, I would say, or they don't wanna suffer less. So the way I look at it is, if I can alleviate a little suffering or eliminate suffering completely, that would be huge. - In yourself and others. - And others, right? When we can open our heart and see other people suffering, it helps us to connect and have more compassion, can't have compassion without suffering. - Whoa, never heard anybody say that before. - I can have compassion for them 'cause I know from a personal level what that feels like to be in pain or to feel like you're not worthy or that you're never gonna be anything or you're just feeling really awful about who you are, low self-worth or just feeling like you're not worth anything. When you can identify with that feeling, then it's easier to have compassion for somebody who's gone through that 'cause you know what it feels like and how awful it feels. And so, yeah, I think we're social creatures, but when I can relate, so the pain I go through helps me to be more sensitive to other people's pain. So it's just really, it's just knowing that the universe works in a certain way, all right? It's a friendly universe. If you look at it that way, it's friendly. If you look at it, it's dangerous. - We get to decide, right? - Yeah, we get to decide. So when you look at it as a friendly universe and there's a lawfulness to it, then align with the lawfulness and then that's how you-- - You're gonna have to go deeper on that one. I know what you mean. - Yeah. - The Einstein quote, "The most important decision any of us will ever make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe." I've heard you talk about that a lot too. I'll want you to start there, but then also just how this all begins to play out I think that you have some really interesting insights. So what does it mean that we get to choose between those two things?

We Get to Choose (19:10)

- Yes, so number one, we don't know we can choose. That's our birthright. We get choices. Some people say, "Yeah, you're addicted or you're jeans and all of that stuff." What we know with consciousness, if you focus and do certain things, the jeans may not even be turned on. So it all comes down to this moment. This moment is the only time we can transform. And I say, "Joy now or never." So I got laid off or I get fired from a job. I can relate to it like, you know, now what am I gonna do? I don't have a job or not gonna be able to pay the rent or anything. Or I can say, "Oh, one door closes and another one opens." Cool, okay. So, you know, why would I wanna be somewhere where they don't want me? Right? So that empowers me. Just by me interpreting it that way and seeing that, "Oh, okay, no worries." And we know this from research that people who have hope and optimism, then they're gonna figure stuff out. If you have the opposite of that, then you're gonna be a victim. You're gonna be in survival mode and there's gonna be no space. There's gonna be noise and clutter. There's no space to create. All right, I love all that stuff. And I think that it's even more interesting in the context of what you do for a living.

Working with High Achieving Athletes (20:27)

And this I really wanna talk about. So you work with some of the highest achieving, hardest pushing, like, I mean, between Jordan and Kobe Bryant, I can't think of people that are more maniacally focused and driven. I mean, it's insane. Kobe used to make 1,300 three-point shots a day. Just crazy. So how do you have this like, it's about the not doing. It's about being still and quiet so you can hear the voice. It's about, you know, creating that space and also be like that intense. Yeah, so that is interesting 'cause I work with a lot of people and not everybody has that pursuit of excellence or wants to be, of course, Michael Jordan. And it's in the view, said, "I mean, Kobe had that curse." It's not a curse, but it's like, they just have to be a certain way. So it's really more about understanding that about themselves, the self-knowledge. This is how I roll. This is how I run. I'm committed to this. And then showing them how, or giving them the opportunity to see that, okay, so if you wanna be better at making threes, then you gotta put in that work. So you have to have the passion, the fire. I mean, that's huge, the want to, the desire to push through pain and that sort of thing getting comfortable with uncomfortable. So Kobe had to have that, but it's also the understanding that, and this is the interesting thing about their lead athletes can throw Tom Brady in there. They're always looking to get better. They're always looking at, "What can I do now to give me an edge?" And that's why I say they're probably the best students because they get it and they wanna get better and they know this is gonna help them get to the next level. So there's a willingness, but there's a want to there. There's a passion there that you have to have. So it's not for those who need it, it's for those who want it. So you can have different degrees. Do you have to be as intense as them? No. But I think that we have that capacity to do that. Now, whether or not we want to and whether or not we've, but a lot of it has to do with what we think the results of our training is gonna be. So when you know that it's gonna take you where you wanna go, there's a commitment to doing whatever you need to do to get there versus like, okay, yeah, I wanna, 'cause people say, yeah, I wanna be like Mike and Kobe, but then when I tell them what they have to do, they said, "No, I ain't signing up for that." You know, I'm not trying to be like that. I'm not, and so, and that's for them knowing that they don't wanna make that commitment. So it's fine. There's nothing wrong with that, but the people who really get it and understand what it is to really say, okay, I really want this. And that could be a problem. You can want it so badly that your effort's gonna be marked up. So you gotta want it badly, but then you gotta allow things to happen. That's a challenging thing, but when you have folks like, if you talk about MJ, he just, I mean, I can tell you one time I'm working out with the team for the game and he has something going on with his finger and I have them doing some kind of exercise. And I said, "MJ, you don't have to know I'm doing that." That's, I mean, it's just he's gonna do what everybody else is not gonna do. Kobe's gonna have a finger there where he can't hold the ball, but no, he's not gonna stop playing. He's gonna change his shot and he's gonna do what he needs to do, but he has that awareness and the know-how and the commitment to just doing what he has to do. If that means putting another three, four hours a day on top of practice, that's not a problem because that's what he's committed to. And so it's just understanding, what are you doing? Is it taking you where you wanna go? - Are you as intoxicated by the pursuit of greatness as I am? - I, like when I hear stories about people like Kobe, like Jordan, who are just driven to the level of being concerned for their wellbeing, that excites me. And it ignites something in me and makes me think about my own potential and how much farther than what people think we're capable of, we really are capable of. Or do you think that that is exactly what the Buddha was saying when he said that desire is the root of suffering? - I see it as just me being me. And this is where my bliss is, so I'm following it. So for some people they're gonna say, yeah dude, you're intense. Yeah, but that's the opinion, but to me, I'm just being George. So to answer your question, yes, I think that there's commitment. And I think because of that, I get drawn to people like you, like Michael, like Kobe and other folks. Why? Because that's what I'm interested in. And that's the energy that I'm creating. - Yeah, man, there's something about people that are completely committed, that are completely driven, that I am drawn to tremendously. It is so fascinating because we were talking before we started rolling. I think you represent a type of mindfulness practice that could have saved me from years of rejecting mindfulness because I thought it was soft. I thought it was weak.

Mindfulness Is Not Weak (25:54)

And I felt like the thing in my life I had to overcome was that, but that by my nature, I was very lazy. I was very soft. I couldn't take pain. I couldn't hold a vision in my head of what I wanted to become. And then execute against that. If early in my life, I was not willing to do the 1,300 three point shots. And the biggest gains in my life came from when I stopped worrying about how many shots I needed to make. And I just started making them and falling in love with the journey for sure and not worrying about the end result, but really trying to love my day to day moment. I really resonate with what you're saying about this moment is all you have. So you better learn to enjoy that. And I found joy in the process, in the hard work, because I could finally believe in what it was that I was trying to become. And so for me, you're this fascinating mixture of you're really going hard for things. You really obviously are attracted to ultra higher achievers, but at the same time you used to teach a three month silent retreat. And I'm hoping you can bring that together for people that they're the same guy that is helping the most extraordinary athletes reach. And even a new level who's not telling them, "Don't strive, don't go for these really big things." But at the same time, understands that the way that you create that space is silence. Explain to us the power of silence. Explain why slow motion gets you there faster.

Practice (27:27)

- Yes, so when I become a silent witness and I can observe things, what happens is, in a way, my definition of practice, even though I've done a few months silent retreats, and I sort of say, "I don't do that now." My practice from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, I can be mindful, you know, what's my mind, how's my mind? Is it moving towards, moving away, or is it just kind of spaced out? And so to me, the secret is the continuity of mindfulness, continuity of paying attention to what I'm doing and understanding what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, or whether it's working or not. - So does that mean the continuity of mindfulness? Is that about getting rid of my story around what's happening and just being present for the just realities of what's happening? - Yeah, but you can be aware of the story and see how it affects you. See, the whole thing is it's not like either, it's like, okay, I gotta get intimate with anger, with frustration, with jealousy, but can I relate to it in a way where I'm not identified with it? I'm just noticing, oh, when there's anger in the mind, my jaws are tight and, you know, I'm looking at people and, you know, I'm hating. I'm not really loving, I'm hating, you know, like, oh, I don't like it really well, all that stuff. And then when I can see that and say, okay, so is that who I wanna be? No, then okay, so what do I need to change? I need to change my mind. What matters is whether we react or respond to it, that's the power and that's face, we get to choose. Don't let life choose for you, you get to choose. I get to choose and that's what I say, yes and. How am I gonna make this work? It's gonna be great. - What do you say to people that have tried meditation and they say, I just couldn't do it, I can't make my mind be silent? - Well, for me, it was hard sitting still, so some kind of movement, but here's the thing, it's not about you making your mind silent, it's about being with the mind as it is. See, it's an interpretation of whether you're doing it right. If you don't think you're doing it right, you're gonna have a version, I ain't doing this. But if you just, like even now, just sitting and sitting and breathing, breathing and breathing out and knowing I'm sitting, that's enough. Knowing I'm listening and I'm talking to you, that's enough, I'm here. - I love that.

George Mumford at (29:38)

Before I ask my last question, how are these guys where they can find you online? - Yeah, so they can find me at Then there's a Mindful Athlete Facebook page. And I think my name on Twitter is George Mumford or George T. Mumford. I can't remember, I have somebody do that stuff and not very good on it. And I think George Mumford at Instagram. So I have folks that helped me with that kind of stuff.

Impact (30:03)

But yeah, it's, they can find me there. - All right. And my last question, what's the impact that you want to have on the world? - I want each human being I interact with and each human being to release the Minds Parker, have some access to that piece, that's the difference, that masterpiece within. So obviously I want to leave a suffering and I want people to live more in joy and to be more self-expressive, just be who they're supposed to be. - I love that.

Understanding The Mindful Athlete

The Mindful Athlete (30:32)

All right, guys, woo, you are going to want to read the book. It is absolutely extraordinary. It's called The Mindful Athlete and it really shows you how you can both pursue excellence to hold yourself to an extraordinarily high standard. And at the same time, learn to create that space in the eye of the storm so that you can slow things down, slip into your body, as he says, which is really just a way of saying you're not thinking about what's behind you, you're not thinking about what's ahead of you, you're not telling yourself a story about the moment, you are simply in that moment. And if you've practiced something enough, then your body's really going to take over and of course that's what they call being in the zone and you're going to be able to perform your best and do truly extraordinary things. But if, like me, you're foolish and you reject the notion of there being power in the ability to create that space, you're forever going to hold yourself back. And I love his definition of getting to that masterpiece that's already inside of you, that it's not about thinking that you start bad and have to find your path to good, it's really about quieting your mind, stopping the interpretation, stopping beating yourself up, not telling yourself a negative story, choosing to live a principled life, which is focused on creating that beauty, that connection, finding the love so that in that moment you can have joy, which is what is going to prime you to be in the zone and to perform at your best. I think he is an extraordinary mind that you guys will all benefit from greatly, especially, if you want to achieve something amazing and have fun doing it. All right, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe and until next time, my friends, be legendary, take care. George, thank you, man. - George Bernard Shaw said a better than I ever could. He said, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. "The unreasonable one persists "in adapting the world to himself. "Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

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