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Male: Thank you very much Lee. So I'm going to talk to you about you, and how you can
be brilliant every single day. So, big as... I spent the last 15 years working with some
of the best CEO's and executives around the world and one of my observations is some of
them were absolutely fantastic. But the problem is they can't be fantastic every single day.
Which reminds me of the story.
I was sat on the couch at home watching the TV about five years ago. Not that I'm a golfer,
but I was watching the British Open, and a very good golfer called Sergio Garcia was
playing and he had been brilliant all week, dominating the field, and it came to the last
round and he was sort of fantastic, and on a Sunday morning in the front nine he scored
39 shots. The previous day, on a Saturday, he'd scored 29 shots, on exactly the same
holes.
So, overnight he'd lost 10 shots on the same hole. So what happened was Horrack Harrington
came past him and won the British Open and the [inaudible 00:01:11]. And very interestingly,
exactly a year later Horrack Harrington beat Sergio Garcia. I think it was in the US Masters.
Sergio played brilliantly all week, he got to the Sunday, and something went wrong. He
was leading the field by six shots and on the Sunday, again, Horrack Harrington came
past him.
So that was sort of really interesting to me and Peter Alice, the famous golf commentator
is watching this and says, "It's a funny old game, golf." As though it's a complete mystery
why these things happen. As there was a complete loss of form. So I'm there shouting at the
television, it's no mystery to me. Actually I know why that happened, and I know why Sergio
Garcia basically between 2007 and 2008 really didn't learn that much. Because he made exactly
the same mistake in 2008 as he made in 2007.
So I'm going to share with you the secret about that. Some of the things we've been
teaching executives. Bringing in some neuroscience which is my background and going to reveal
some secrets as to how your system works. So we're going to go through that and then
I'm going to break with TED tradition at the end of the talk and we're going to have a
bit of live demonstration of something.
But I just want to give you the sort of model that we work to that starts to explain why
Sergio or anybody may lose performance or why you may lose performance and what you
need to do to maintain your brilliance every single day. So if we're all after the same
goal, we're after improving our performance in some way, or the results in some way.
It doesn't really matter what kind of results we're talking about, whether we're talking
about sporting results, whether we're talking about business results, academic performance,
relationship performance, sexual performance... I don't know why I'm looking at Simon when
I saying that. Whatever we're talking about, what is going to improve our performance...
Well first and foremost, in order to change the result you've got so focus on people's
behavior. So we've got to do things differently in order to get a different result. So most
performance appraisals in industry focus on what you've been doing. You go in and you
see your boss. And he said, "Oh, I've got some 360 data." You've been doing these kind
of things, that's really good. These are the things, not so good, so a bit less of that
please and more of that. So I want you to do that, and less of that.
And sometimes that actually works, and then you get a different result. But an awful lot
of times it doesn't make much difference or it will only make a difference if the leaders
stood over that employee cracking a whip and making sure they do this. So it's necessary
but insufficient, and the reason being is that even when people know what to do, sometimes
they just don't do it.
"I know I want to make another 1000 calls to 1000 customers, but, you know what. It's
Friday afternoon, I'm not going to do that." So it's not enough just to focus on what you
can see on the surface, on the behaviors. You've got to really get to grips with what's
on the inside of individuals. Why do people do what they do? If you really want to change
performance permanently, and be brilliant every single day, you've got to get to grips
with the inside.
So first and foremost what's actually driving behavior, it's how people think. So how you
think determines on what you do. So when I'm coaching a CEO, if he thinks I'm an idiot,
he's not going to do what I say, why would he? Or if he thinks what I'm saying is rubbish,
he won't do it. So I've got to get a grip of what he thinks about. In fact, that requires
me to ask him some questions, which is a lot more complicated than just observing the behavior.
But our view is if you don't get to grips and start to ask some more detailed questions,
you won't get a sustainable change in the results. It won't last, you'll get this variance
in performance... this form loss. So you've got to get to grips with how people think
about you, about what you're saying, about the world. But even if you did, it's not enough,
because it's something more fundamental driving how people think.
So how you think is really hugely influenced by how you feel. In fact these two things
effect each other. Thinking effects feeling and feeling effects thinking. It goes back
and forward in a loop. But the dominant factor really is feeling. So for a whole bunch of
neuroscientific reasons we haven't got time to explain. Actually if you want to change
what people do, you've got to change their thinking. If you want to change their thinking,
you actually have to change how they feel. This is a much more significant impact on
that than the other way around.
So if you feel anxious, for example, it's no good me saying to you, "Don't worry." You'll
have experienced that doesn't work. Or I'm doing this exam. "Don't worry." "Oh, you know
what, I hadn't thought not to worry. That's the answer then. Ah I'm not worried. Oh good,
how much was that? There's the check." It doesn't work like that.
You've all experienced that if you feel anxious, you feel anxious and no amount of "don't worry"
is going to help you. In fact, it often makes you worse. "All right, you say 'don't worry,'
I'm worried." So the real active ingredient is you've got to change this. Still not enough.
There's something more fundamental driving how you feel and that is your raw emotion.
So you've got to change the emotion in order to change the feeling in order to change the
thinking. Now you maybe sat there wondering, "Well hang on a minute. Feelings and emotions...
that's the same stuff, isn't it?" It is not.
So many people don't realize... and particularly, many of my own friends in science and medicine...
don't realize that feelings and emotions are not the same thing. In fact, many people don't
even realize that feelings and thinking are not the same thing, particularly men. So you
ask many men to tell you how they feel and they tell you how they think because they
don't understand the question. You see most of the women in room nodding, "That's true,
that's true. That's been my my experience." And most of the men sat there going, "What?
What's he talking about?" These are not the same phenomena. Thinking and feeling are not
the same thing. And feelings and emotions are not the same thing.
So if you want to change the result by changing the behavior, there are multiple levels...
and even if you got to grips with the emotion, it's still enough. There's something even
more fundamental. Down here in the basement of the human system is your physiology. So
the reason you get variance like Sergio did in his performance is there are multiple levels
that Sergio Garcia hasn't got control over. He's just concentrating on his technical putting
performance or the way that he drives the ball. And he hasn't got a grip of any of this
other stuff, even if he's telling himself and rehearsing mentally, "I'm a good golfer.
I'm a good golfer. I'm a good golfer." It's not enough because there's still three levels
that he hasn't got a grip of.
So if you want to be brilliant every single day, you've got to get a grip of every single
level. And that's how you crank out your A-game every single day. So let's just work from
the back to the top. So if we start with physiology, what is that? That is just simply streams
of data. That's all physiology is. It's data streams. So as I'm talking to you right now,
most of you are getting streams of data coming into your brain about what's going on in your
body. So some of you had the cupcake at the break, and you'll be getting a signal from
your gut saying, "Oh sugar. We got sugar." And it's coming into your brain telling your
brain what's going on in your gut. Some of you then are getting contractions around that
cupcake, so you've got pressure waves being created telling your brain about what's going
on in your gut.
So these are all just bits of physiology. These are just data streams. As some of you
might write or type, you've got joint position sense going up the nerve channels into your
brain telling your brain about where your fingers are. They're just bits of physiology.
So this is just streams of data, if you will. So what's an emotion? Well an emotion... if
you take all the streams of data, whether it's coming from your gut, or your joints,
or your heart, or your lungs... if you take the data from all the streams, all the bodily
systems, and it comes into your brain as electrical signals, electromagnetic signals, chemical
waves, pressure waves. Take all of those signals from all of those systems... that's what an
emotion is. It's simply energy, E, in motion. That's all an emotion is.
So we all have that, even us fellows. We've all got emotions. Every second of every day
there is an energetic state going through us. Because we're constantly digesting, we're
constantly breathing in and out, our heart's constantly beating. It's happening all the
time. So we've got energy in motion every single second of every single day. But we
may not all have feelings. Feelings are the awareness in our mind of that energy. And
that's where the problem is. The energy may be there, but we just don't feel it. So for
example, if you take a very common experience of most people... if we look at what is the
energetic signature, if you will, of something like anxiety? So what goes on physiologically
when we're in a state of anxiety? If we look at the heart rate, it's fast. The heart's
going, "boom - boom - boom - boom -- boom."
What else is happening? What's happening in the mouth? The mouth is dry. So you're talking
as though you've got co-- co-- wooly can't get the... that's happening. What's happening
in the palms of your hand? They're sweaty. What's happening in the gut? It's churning.
These are the specific physiological constituents of that thing that you would know as anxiety.
And I'll ask you, how did you feel? And you say, "Alright." So all that data is there.
You're just not feeling it. And if you're not feeling it, it's altering what you're
thinking and how well you're thinking it, which is changing what you're doing. But you
don't realize that because you feel all right.
You're not noticing any of that. You're just thinking what you're thinking and doing what
you're doing. So what we're saying is that the brilliance every day requires on you to
tune in to what's happening down here at the physiological and the emotional level, and
not only become aware of that but get control over it. Because most of you do not have the
control at that level. In fact, very few people have got control of any of this stuff on the
inside. Even when people have been highly trained on regulating their behavior... even
they haven't got that much control over this. So that's the source of your brilliance.
If you can get control of the whole thing, you can crank out your A-game every single
day. So how do you get control? Well first we're going to start with which bit of the
physiology, given that so many different signals, where are we going to start? Well we're going
to start with one specific signal, which is the electrical signal of your heart.
So your heart beats. So when your heart beats, "ping, ping, ping, ping." If you watch the
medical programs before it goes, "beep," which it always does, doesn't it? So the ping is...
the heart basically contracts and causes a spike of electricity. And you can measure
the distance between each heartbeat. And I don't know whether you know, but the distance
between each heartbeat varies over time. So if we look at your heart rate over time, we'll
see that your heart rate will vary up and down like that. And if you go to your doctor's,
he takes your pulse rate and he says your average is 70. But in taking the average,
he's ignoring all the variance. And it's the variance that really matters.
Taking the average, you lose all the critical data. That's like listening to Mozart and
saying the average is, "daaa." Was that Mozart or was it Pearl Jam? Okay, we don't know.
So it's the variance, or something that's called heart rate variability, that's key.
Heart rate variability is key for three reasons. Number one, it predicts your death. So if
I measure your variability for 24 hours, I can tell when you're going to die. So now
I have your attention. Alright. So we tell this to organizations. Do you know what? They
don't care. So we can't sell them on that. So the other reason is it predicts... if we
measure HRV for 24 hours, it can tell you how much energy you have got. Which is sort
of interesting to leaders, because leaders need lots of energy.
But the real reason that they buy and they're interested in this is because HRV alters brain
function. So when I put you under pressure, what actually happens to your HRV is it becomes
super chaotic. So basically, your brain receives a signal from your heart up the nerve channels,
which when under pressure becomes super chaos. The consequence of the super chaos is it shuts
off your frontal lobes and you have a DIY lobotomy. So under pressure, you lobotomize
yourself. It's as though you've suddenly taken the stupid pills and you've gone like that.
So I thought I'd just show that to you for a live demonstration. To show you how easy
it is to create chaos in your biology, whether you want to happen or not. So we need a willing
volunteer for this moment. So just to come and sit in the chair, and I'm going to show
you how to be brilliant by showing you your physiology. So we need a volunteer just to
come up, if you would. And all we're going to do is just put a little clip on your earlobe.
So thank you very much. Give him a round of applause, by way of encouragement. Thank you,
what's name?
Neil: Neil Nelson.
Speaker: So Neil is very kind. He has no idea what we're going to be doing to him, so this
is really very brave. So first of all, we're going to make sure Neil is alive. So is his
heart beating? So you can see that every time his heart contracts, it squirts blood up into
his ears and his ears go red. Between contractions, all the blood drains out and his ears go white.
So if you look at the person sitting next to you, you can actually see their ears flashing.
Red, white, red, white. Actually you can't see that, because your eyes aren't sensitive
enough. But what this little clip on Neil's ear can see, is we can see the change in color.
Here's red, here's white. Here's red, here's white. Here's red, here's white. So this is
a heartbeat. So good news now. You're alive, mate.
The heart's beating away. Boom - boom - boom - boom - boom -- boom. So the heart's beating.
And so what the software does, it measures the distance between each of those beats.
And based on the distance between this beat and this beat, it calculates its heart rate
and says its 76. And it calculates it again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
And you can see that his heart rate bobbling along about 75 beats per minute. So pretty
relaxed. Sat in a chair, your heart rate should be doing about 75 beats per minute. Okay,
so what we're going to do in a moment is put him under a little bit of pressure and see
how well he copes with that kind of pressure. Are you good under pressure, Neil?
Neil: I don't know yet.
Speaker: We don't know. Well we're just about to find that out, aren't we? So let's see
how well he does under pressure. So we haven't started yet, and already his heart rate is
creeping up to about 90. So he says, "What are we going to do here?" So we're going to
give you some mathematics. How good are you at mathematics?
Neil: Quite good.
Speaker: Oh he's quite good. This will be no trouble, right? So he thinks he's quite
good, but his heart rate's now... I'm good. I'm quite good. He's gone off the charts and
now he's settling back down. You can see there's a lot of chaos going through his system right
now. So even though, "I'm good at this," that is a natural physiological response to a challenge.
You put somebody under pressure, the physiology... whether he wants it to happen or not... You
see, he might look like he's in control. He is not. In fact, I am the puppet master. I'm
pulling his strings, whether he wants me to do that or not. So at the moment, there's
a bit of uncertainty.
The physiology is sort of settled around about 80. Slightly higher than it was before because
he doesn't know what's going to happen. So let's see how well his brain actually functions
under pressure. So let's see how good at that math he really was. So what you're going to
do is, you're going to count out loud backwards subtracting threes. I'm going to start you
off at a certain number. I want you to take away three and then give me the answer. Take
away three again, give me the answer. Take away another three, give me the answer. And
keep going, serial subtractions of threes without making a mistake. And if you make
a mistake it's 50 quid. Okay, so financial penalty for every error. Okay.
So is that alright with you? So no problem at all. We're going to count out loud backwards
subtracting three's, the mention of 50 quid look the heart rates crept up here to 120.
Just the tension in the system, so again, I'm just talking to him, that's all that's
happening. And actually by me just talking to him, a physiology chaos is kicking in and
that's going to be sending a signal from his heart to his brain. It's going to be inhibiting
his brain function, we'll see there, as fast as you can without making a mistake say your
subtraction of three's starting off at 300, go, come on 300.
Come on, faster, 286, 275, 273... Well done... Give him a round of applause everybody. So
what you can see is when I started to feed in the wrong answers, it's called cortical
inhibition, or frontal lobe shutdown.
So under pressure the frontal lobe shuts down in the simplest of tasks. Subtract three from
that number. Can't do it that is happening to all of you when you're under pressure.
Your brain is built this way, so one of the things you need to learn to do is to get control
of that physiological level and switch from a chaotic signal to what's called coherent.
So the thing that underpins brain function is the ability to generate a coherent signal.
So there's variance, but it's stable variance as opposed to wildly fluctuant variance. And
that is the source of your brilliance, so I thank you very much.
Well this is kind of nice isn't it, because 18 minutes is incredibly difficult to contain
what you want to say to 18 minutes, well it is to me. So we kind of showed you earlier
on what goes wrong under pressure. So, the human brain is constantly getting a signal
from all the bodily systems, but particularly the heart of the Vegas nerve. Which as we
showed you a sort of erratic and under pressure, super chaos causes that DIY lobotomy. So you're
all built that way, and you've all had the experience when somebody kind of puts a challenge
to you and it doesn't really matter as you saw, how small that challenge is. And it can
be any type of challenge.
Challenge to your point of view... A challenge to your ego. A challenge to your relationships,
any type of challenge causes the physiology to go chaotic. Causes the frontal lobes to
go inhibited, and you become suboptimal almost right away. And what's kind of interesting
about that is when the brain's inhibited it also inhibits your perceptual awareness so
you don't realize it's happened.
So you can come out of a meeting and go, "That went well." And everybody's going, "What do
you mean that went well. You were rubbish," because your awareness is inhibited, you don't
realize how rubbish you were. So it's a bit of a catch-22. So this is really what the
phenomena underpins. Lots of different things that you've seen and experienced yourself
and seen. Stage-fright, people get stage fright and can't remember their words. Kids go blank
in an exam, it's the same phenomena. My personal favorite Family Fortune, if you've ever watched
that show Family Fortunes, the two people sit at the front. We've asked 100 people in
the street to name something you put in a jacket potato, [noise] jam. It's hysterical,
you know, when your frontal lobes inhibited you say anything, and it's really funny. Ann
Robinson, the weakest link...
She throws you a simple question, stares at you, and you blurt out any sort of rubbish.
So when you're up with your boss, he might be the nicest boss in the world. If you're
feeling a little under pressure you suddenly discover you're talking rubbish. Sometimes
you even have that awareness. You almost sort of see yourself coming out with the most ridiculous
nonsense. You think, "Why is this happening?" And it's because you're built that way.
The human system is built that way is that under pressure, physiological chaos, brain
shutdown. You're designed that way. You think, "Well, why are we designed that way?" And
the reason is, the only reason you have anything in your physiology is survival. There are
survival advantages to having brain shut down. And it goes back 200,000 years when you were
wondering across the prairie, and a big grizzly bear comes out from behind a rock and says,
"Oh, human being, there's my lunch.
You don't need clever thinking, in fact, if you stood there trying to be clever, "Is that
the brown bear, or a spotted grey bear?" He will eat you. So you need brain shut down,
your thinking has to become very unsophisticated, in fact it has to become binary. So you either
have fight-flight, or play dead. Two choices, you either just drop to the ground and faint,
or you're prepare to slug it out or run. It's binary. Anything more sophisticated you don't
need, it will kill you. So here we are, 200,000 years later, and we still have the same biological
mechanism. We basically have 200,000 year old software, and we've never had the upgrade.
We don't meet Bear today, we meet each other. But in meeting each other, the same phenomenon
goes on. We showed you how that chaos can cause somebody who's even good at math, like
Neil is, "Two hundred, uh, uh, ah, uh, shut up you're putting me off! Two hundred uh,
eh," it becomes impossible, a simple task like that.
I can tell you, I did this in the office of the Chief Exec of one of the leading retailers
in the UK. His first answer was 298. And he went, "Oh, no, no that's wrong!" And, he was
so embarrassed that he got the first one wrong, he couldn't think of the second one. It literally
sounded like, aahh, like he was in headlights. He just couldn't come up with anything.
So as I said, you're all at the mercy of that. The point being, until you've got control
of this physiology anybody can make you look like an idiot. Right? And what's worse? You're
doing it to yourself an awful lot of the time. Right? Your own anxiety about you own performance
is actually causing the chaos. So you're just lobotomizing yourself. A lot of people around
you can trigger you into a lobotomy but most of the time you're just lobotomizing yourself.
So until you've got control of that absolutely, fundamental basic; you might be brilliant
one day, you might be poor, who knows what's going to show up that day. So right about
fundamental, the cleverness of your thinking, or your ability to read the line on a golf
putt, or your ability to come up with a great idea, or how to innovate that sales process,
or any of that stuff. The quality of your thought, in fact, the very things that you
think and how well you think them is hugely influenced by your biology. Alright?
I'll give you a couple of light examples and then we'll show you.
We'll get Neal back out and we'll show you how to control your physiology. If you haven't
yet clocked that your biology is controlling your brain function. If we house you and lock
the doors and filled you up with coffee, what happens is your bladder gets bigger and bigger
and bigger. It starts to send alarm messages to your brain and you're getting one of these
pees. "I got to pee. I got to pee. I got to pee." Then if you've ever experienced where
you can't get out of the room but you bladder [inaudible 00:24:48] and all of that. You
haven't got Pampers on.
What you'll discover is you go deaf. Right? You ever notice that? You can't hear people.
You're so internally focused, "My bladder is going to burst. My bladder is going to
burst." You go deaf, you can see people's mouths moving, but you can't hear what they're
saying. Right? Then beads of sweat start to break out and you're trying to pee urine out
through your forehead. [Laughs] Literally, you conscientiousness is completely eradicated.
Alright? That's the biology disrupting your consciousness.
I was in a meeting recently with a woman who was 8 months pregnant. We were chatting away
and you saw the baby visibly ripple across. You could see this ripple go across her abdomen.
She was chat, chat, chatting and then she went, "Oooh!" For about 20 seconds she was
gone, completely left the room. Then she went, "Oh, hello..." back in the room again. It
was like her consciousness disappeared for 20 seconds. These are live examples. You just
think. But what do you think? And why do you think it?
I was talking to a Senior Executive, he was on a government think tank. I said, "Oh, a
government think tank, that's interesting. You probably sit around with loads of clever
people debating the issues of the day and try to come up with some clever answers?"
He said, "Yes, that's pretty much what we do." I said, "Have you ever thought about
why those answers and not the other answers? Have you ever thought about your own thinking?"
He said, "Oh, I never thought about that." So I said, "You're a think tank and you never
thought about thinking. What's that about?" So we just think, but we don't realize that
what we think and how well we think it, is actually influenced by something else.
Thought is really an emergent property within your system. The very things that you think,
you will think different if you're happy that if you're depressed. And how well you think
them will depend a lot on the biology. Okay?
So if you want to step-change thinking, if you want to really double or triple the quality
of your thinking, you can't do it by thinking about it. Wouldn't that be nice to say, "Look
I've spotted the problem for you in your life, you're not thinking smart enough? So I want
you to go away over the weekend and come back 25% smarter on Monday morning. All right."
That would be nice wouldn't it if you could - "Oh, you know I have a thought to do that.
I'll go away and I'll think about my thinking over the weekend, 25%. And on Monday, here
I am!"
It doesn't work that way. That's what Einstein said, you can't solve problems with the same
level of thinking that created the problem? You need a new level of thinking. But the
problem is how do you get a new level of thinking? You don't get a new level of thinking just
by thinking about it. You've got to change the context in which thoughts emerge. It's
the context, in human terms it's the biology. What is the biological context from which
thought emerges? What is the emotional state from which thought emerges? You change that
context, the biological and the emotional context, and you can change the quality of
the thought and the actual thought itself. That is the source.
Okay? So let's get Chris back up and I'll show you how Chris can learn, with no training
before, how to control his physiology. You do not need to be a... sorry, Neil... a yoga
master...
Neil: What happens to short term memory?
Male: Which ear are we on, this one? Alright, if you just hold that. In fact, change the
chair around a little bit if you like. Just turn your chair around a bit so you can see
the screen more easily.
So exactly as before. Is he still alive? Yeah. So we'll start recording. So again, just picking
up each heartbeat. And so, again, the software's measuring the distance between each heart
beat and calculating his heart rate. Now, because he's just come out of the audience
and walked up the stage he's going about 90 miles an hour. Just the excitement about being
at the front here.
So if you want to control your physiology, this isn't years and years and months and
months of practice. You don't have to be a yoga master to control your physiology. You
just have to know exactly what to do. All right? So we're now going to show Chris exactly...
sorry, Neil... exactly what to do. Mental block.
So over here is a breath pacer. So when that goes up, I want you to breathe in. When that
goes down, I want you to breathe out. And at the bottom there's hold, so wait for it.
Don't go too soon. Ready? And a long, slow... Okay, wait for it. A long, slow... And you
can follow this in the room, if you want. Just breathe in this rhythmic fashion. So
nice, rhythmic breathing. So a long breath it, and a long, slow breath out. Okay. So
I'll leave Neil to do that and I'll carry on talking to you guys.
So of all the things that you can do to get your physiology under control... there are
many, many things. But the start point is to do something that you can get conscious
control over. And you can get conscious control over your breathing.
Now there are 12 different aspects of your breath that you can regulate. 12 different
aspects. So when you go to classes, whether it's singing, sports, fighter pilots... all
sorts of things. They all taught you that breathing and breath practice. Yoga... But
what are they teaching you? So for example, there's a yoga practice where they teach you
ultimate nostril breathing. And that's kind of interesting, but in my view that's number
nine on the list of priorities. Of the 12. The single most important thing is rhythm,
which is what this is training. So, we've seen that this measures the level of coherence
in Neil's system. So when he's in complete chaos, he's down here in the red. And just
with a bit of guidance, in less than or about a minute, he's up and into the coherent green.
He is the yoga master. Neil brackets Yoda.
Okay. So you can see the physiology has changed from erratic to this coherent wave form. In
less than a minute. When you know what to do. So of all the things in your breathing
that you can do, if you start to control the rhythm of the breath that will start to change
the physiology just as you've seen. And you'll start to become more coherent. So his frontal
lobes will work better now than at the beginning of this trace when his physiology was sporadic.
Do you all see the difference?
And even though the average heart rate is about the same during that period and during
this period. The heart rate is the same but the pattern is different. So when you change
that pattern, you're basically sending better quality fuel from the heart to the brain,
and the brain's going to work better. And when the brain works better you're more perceptive,
you're more insightful, you're more clear-thinking, you can understand how to problem-solve.
So I saw one of the speakers say to figure out when things go wrong, what am I going
to do about this? Well if your brain's inhibited, you probably won't come up with the idea or
the right answer. But if you've got your brain switched on, you've got a much better chance.
Does that all make sense?
So when you hear people say to you, "Oh yeah. Before that presentation, take a few deep
breaths." I'd say, don't bother. Because a few deep breaths isn't actually going to alter
your brain function that much. And by the way, when they say deep, what they actually
mean is large. They mean large volume breaths. Because depth is really where the air in the
lungs is going. And what they mean is a few big breaths.
But even volume is only about number five or six on the batting order. The number one
priority is rhythm. Take a few rhythmic breaths. That will start to change your physiology.
So you can put this to the test. Next time before you might have to make a difficult
phone call, rather than taking a few deep breaths or even a few large breaths, take
a few rhythmic breaths. And rhythm really means a fixed ratio of in to out. And it doesn't
matter what that ratio is, so long as it's fixed.
So this is four seconds in, six seconds out. Four, six. Four, six. Four, six. You could
do five-five-five-five-five-five-five-five, so long as it's fixed. What you don't want
four-six-five-five-eight-three-three-seven-two-five. That's erratic breathing, okay. You want a
fixed ratio. And then once you've got a rhythmic breath going. The second most important thing
is smoothness. Because you can breathe rhythmically but staccato. So you could go [air-breath-sound].
That's entirely rhythmic, but, it's staccato, but what you want is smooth. So [inhale-exhale]
which is a fixed volume per second round the entire cycle. So just as we probably both
row, my sport was rowing, that's what they teach you. So how are the rowers going to
win us all the gold medals in the Olympics in 147 days?
They teach you, whenever you learn to row, blades in the water, and blades out the water.
In-out, in-out, rhythm right. And then once you've learned that rhythm as a novice oarsmen,
the next thing is once the blades are in the water even smooth pressure through the water.
All the way through the stroke. What you don't want to do is put blades in the water, pull
really hard and let it drift a bit. And pull really hard at the end, because the boat will
go [sound], like that. In, even pressure, and the same with Chris Hoy on the bicycle.
If you look at the metrics that are done around Chris Hoy, I don't know if you realize this.
Novice cyclists think it's just about the kick down, but then it's the drag, it's the
lift. And actually it's a circle. So if you look at the metrics on that. They've got to
go circular and get as much pressure evenly applied around the whole cycle. So you'll
see the Olympic cyclist will have a smooth and even force all the way around the loop,
and those are the guys that win the gold metal. So it's smoothness through it exactly. So
exactly as we've got here, is if we can [breathing sounds], and then go [breathing sounds].
So you might have rhythm but have you got smoothness. As you get smoothness better it
becomes more and more coherent. Rhythm and smoothness exactly as you would cycle, exactly
as you would row, gives you the most powerful effect. Does that all make sense? So one other
thing, if you've got time. We probably have, I'm just yapping because we don't have lunch
till 1:00, so I might as well tell you something.
The third most important thing is the location of your attention while you're breathing.
So what we say, is, people teach you is you have to have abdominal breathing. Breathe
through the belly and all of that. Breathe through the center of your chest, through
the heart area if you will. Three reasons why we say breathe through here not breathe
through there. Or don't imagine you're sucking the air up through the soles of your feet.
It's coming in through the crown chakra or whatever. You could do any of that stuff.
The worry is where the attention is when you're breathing. Put your attention on the center
of your chest. Three reasons why you put the attention on the center of your chest is number
one, the heart generates more electrical power than any other part of your system.
So even though there are billions of nerve cells up here, and only a couple of hundred
thousand down here. The power output of your heart are three and a half watts, which is
way greater than the power output of your brain. Because what happens in your brain,
the electrical charges are going all different directions, it all cancels. But here you've
got something called auto-coherence. The heart has to synchronize in order for it to pump.
So electrically speaking the heart generates 50 times more electrical output than the brain.
If you want to record somebody's brain waves, you have to put a clip on their ear just as
Neil's got here. And pick up the heartbeat, and then you have to mathematically remove
the heartbeat. Because the heartbeat is this big, and the brain beat is, or brain wave
is only that big. The heart's way more powerful electrically. Electromagnetically the heart
generates 5000 times more energy than the brain. So it starts to, forgive the pun, turn
on its head, on what's controlling what here. We've got to start looking more broadly in
terms of the human system as a system. We're so brain dominant -- brain centric.
So if you put your attention in the heart. You're putting your attention where the primary
source of power is, here. So that's the first reason. The second reason, if you drop your
attention and breathe through here, it gets you out of the noise in your head where we're
usually confused. Just to drop into the body and breathe through the center of your chest
and the third reason which we're going to get onto is actually, we're ultimately going
to go from controlling that physiology up to the emotional state and show you actually
how do you turn on the passion.
How do you turn on a positive emotional state? We know an awful lot about positive emotions
are experienced in the center of our chest. Hence I love my son with all my heart. Why
do you even say that? Because that's actually where I feel it. The awareness might be in
our mind, but where do we feel the sensation of love, in the center of the chest. So where
do you clutch the baby. You clutch them to your heart. You don't clutch the baby to your
knee. I love my son with all my knee. We don't say that because we don't feel it in our knee.
We feel it in the center of our chest.
So the very fact that you put your attention on the center of your chest, or in the heart
area starts to drift you into a slightly more positive state. Does that make sense? So this
last thing I want to... just while Neil's impressing you, give you this other bit so
it might be a big myth of performance, I think is that it's something to do with the adrenaline.
You know, you will see this is business or in sport. You know, if you're not a bit pumped,
you won't perform. That means you've got to be a bit psyched. No, no, no, you've got to
be relaxed under pressure. Now you've got to be psyched, you've got to be relaxed, you've
got to be psyched, and you've got to be relaxed. You get both types of advice, neither is true.
It's not about sympathetic activation, or even parasymthetic activation, it's not about
how hot the system is, or how cold the system is. There is another part of your system which
really determines your output, which is really if you're in a negative emotional state. So,
if this is adrenaline, and this is a chemical called Acetylcholine, A.C.H., negative emotion,
right, underpinned by the hormone Cortisol, or positive emotion, underpinned by the anabolic
hormones like D.H.E.A., Dehydroepiandrosterone, banned substance in the Olympics... You get
caught taking those tablets you're out 'cause they are performance enhancers. In the states
this is known as the elixir of youth, the vitality hormone. You can get them on the
internet.
[Laughter]
Speaker: Right, D.H.E.A. tablets, point is, you don't need them.
[Background chatter]
Speaker: 407. So, when you heat somebody's system up, you can heat it up negatively,
anxiety, anger, and frustration. Or you can heat it up positively, passion, right, determination,
and focus. The heart rate over here is 120, but erratic. The heart rate is 120 over here
but coherent. Both of them have the same heart rate, both of them have the same amount of
adrenaline. That will impair your performance that will enhance your performance. And, passion,
as we have heard, is the number one predictor of performance across every aspect of life,
including health. If you're passionate about something, you will do it better. It predicts
all types of performance.
Similarly, when you cool the system down, relaxation is not necessarily valuable. In
fact, I've given lectures to some of our medical colleagues entitled, relaxation can kill you.
Right, so you know. Sometimes lecture titles, you know, can pull the crowd in.
Relaxation, and it can, because you can be relaxed and negative. Apathy, boredom, detachment,
indifference, all those kind of things... Heart rate is erratic, averaging 50. Now you
can be relaxed, and it can be positive with things like contentment, curiosity, equanimity,
and those kinds of things. Heart rate coherent and 50. So it doesn't really matter is the
heart rate is 50, or 120. What matters is am I on the left, or am I on the right?
And so, the secret really, if you map most organizations is you'll see a right-ward skew.
But people who are rightward skewed over here. If you don't believe me, you can say it's
the coffee machine and you will hear the negative hum. [Mumbles] Do you know what so and so
said to me yesterday? He didn't! [Mumbles] That's outrageous! [Mumbles] Right? And then
you bump into somebody else over here filled with the joys of spring. What's up with you?
How dare you be that cheerful? You don't realize its shit. [00:03:33.02]
[Laughter]
Speaker: Right? I'm not trying to drag you back over here, back to reality. Right? So
as a leader, you really, and a large part of what we do with folks is getting them over
here. And you live your life over here so somebody referenced [inaudible 00:43:05] in
the zone or the state of flow is about being over here. You know, and how controllable
is that emotional performance. We've got Chris' point, can we live our life over here. Now
as you've seen most people don't even have control of their behavior, let alone their
thinking, let alone their feeling, let alone their emotional physiology.
So how do you live your life over here? That's where the training comes in, and we've shown
in Neil that when we have taught him how to regulate his physiology, right, that's the
start point. The regulation, the physiology would at least get you to the mid-point. You
at least get to the mid-point with regulating you physiology.
So you will get to this point just through breathing. So if you learn to breathe properly
you'll at let get the mid-point. How do you get over here, is you've got to learn to regulate
what emotional state you're in. Now most people have got no control over that. Their emotional
state is dependent on everything outside of them, not what is going on inside.
So you've got to learn how to train yourself to stay over this side of the thing. But if
you take nothing away, at least you get yourself to the mid-point by learning how to breathe
properly. So to help you remember that think of breath as an acronym. B stands for breathe.
R stands for rhythmically. E stands for evenly. And through the heart every day. So if you
breathe rhythmically, evenly, and through the heart every day you will at least get
to the mid-point. Okay? Speaker: Thank you.
[Applause]
Speaker: Well Done.
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【TED】讓每天都充滿智慧 Alan Watkins -"Being Brilliant Every Single Day"

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蔡宗倫 發佈於 2014 年 5 月 16 日
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