Dr. Jim Loehr on Mental Toughness, Energy Management, the Power of Journaling, and Olympic Gold Medals (#490) | The Tim Ferriss Show

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Key Takeaways

  • The real power broker governing our lives is our inner monologue
    • The tone and content of our internal monologue can have tremendous power over our actions, motivations, happiness, and much more
    • A rule of thumb to check if your internal voice is constructive
      • Is the way you are speaking to yourself the same way you’d speak to someone you deeply care about?
  • Improving your internal monologue is like building a great coach who’s with you at all times
  • How to Improve Your Inner Monologue
    • It all starts with becoming aware of your internal voice
      • Listen to what kind of coaching advice you give yourself daily
    • Decide how you want to speak to yourself
    • Write the script of how your ideal internal monologue in difficult situations and read it
  • The way we treat others is the gold standard that we use to determine our success as human beings
  • We often think of time as our most important resource
    • In reality, our most precious resource is energy

Key Products Mentioned

Intro

  • Dr. Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist who worked with hundreds of world-class performers in sport, business, medicine, and law enforcement. He is also the author of 17 books, including the national bestseller The Power of Full Engagement
  • Host: Tim Ferriss (@tferriss)
  • In this chat, Dr. Loher discusses what he learned from working with hundreds of world-class performers, the power of journaling to change your inner monologue, and much more

The Real Power Broker in Our Lives

  • The real power broker governing our lives is our inner monologue
    • The tone and content of our internal monologue have tremendous power over our actions, motivations, happiness, and much more
  • We start developing this internal voice when we are around 5 years, and it mostly comes from the authority figures in our lives
    • Sometimes our internal voice can be extremely harsh and damaging
    • The more you can understand where your internal voices come from and what they are trying to say, the more you can be freed from them
  • A rule of thumb to check if your internal voice is constructive
    • Is the way you are speaking to yourself the same way you’d speak to someone you deeply care about?
  • Part of Dr. Loher’s work his helping athletes to develop their own constructive internal voice

How to Improve Your Inner Monologue

  • Improving your internal monologue is like building a great coach who’s with you at all times
  • It all starts with becoming aware of your internal voice
    • Listen to what kind of coaching advice you give yourself daily
  • Decide how you want to speak to yourself
    • Write the script of how your ideal internal monologue in difficult situations and then read it
    • Doing so you start forming new neural pathways, teaching your brain a new kind of internal monologue
  • Keep yourself accountable
  • Continue journaling 
    • Dr. Loher found journaling to be the most powerful way to change negative thought patterns, specifically cursive handwriting

Managing Your Energy

  • We often think of time as our most important resource
    • In reality, our most precious resource is energy
  • With elite athletes, it is not about how much time they spend practicing, but about how much energy they bring to the time they have
    • As long as we have energy, we can have an impact
  • Whatever you invest energy in will grow

“Leading With Character”’s Journal

  • Dr. Loher’s latest book Leading with Character: 10 Minutes a Day to a Brilliant Legacy Set, includes a journal
  • The journal is a way to encourage readers to invest their energy into building their character
    • Performance character includes traits as focus, ambition, determination, and discipline
    • Ethical character is about taking the actions you know to be right even though they might come at a cost to you
      • It includes caring for other people and for causes, you believe in
      • The way we treat others is the gold standard that we use to determine our success as human beings
  • We usually have no idea where our moral standards come from
    • We tend to inherit them from our culture or parents
  • This journal, in 10 minutes per day, encourages us to look into ourselves to assess what is really important in our lives and where we should invest our energy
  • Example of journaling exercises:
    • Write down the 6-8 words that describe who you are when you are the proudest of yourself
    • Write down the 6-8 words that you’d like to be written on your tombstone
      • People are often surprised to see that the words they write are not aligned with the achievements they are chasing

Sustained Success

  • There are many people who climb to the top and are not that happy
    • They achieved external success but the way they did it makes them unfulfilled and disliked by others
  • Dr. Loher defines “sustained success” as the ability to perform at a high level in a way that fulfills you and makes you proud of what you’ve done (01:03)
    • The way you achieved material success enabled you to become a better father/mother, member of your community, etc…
    • They are able to balance striving for their own success and giving to others
      • Roger Federer is a great example of this

Dan Jansen, Journaling and Performance

  • Dr. Loher recalls his time working with Dan Jansen, the Olympic speed skater
  • Dan had great talent but wasn’t able to win anything at the Olympics up to that point
  • Among the performance improvements that Dr. Loher had Dan work on, he also instructed him to write in his daily training logs two things
    • “35.99”, as back then being faster than 36 seconds was thought impossible in the 500 meter race
    • “I love the 1,000”, because Dan had never liked racing in the 1,000 meters but Dr. Loher thought that he could actually win the gold medal in that race
      • With time, Dan actually started liking racing in the “1,000”
  • Eventually, Dan won the gold medal and broke a World record in the 1,000 meter race
    • Two years earlier, in the same event, he had come 26th in the World
  • This story helped Dr. Loher better understand the connection between mind and body and the power that we have over our thinking and emotions

Additional Notes

  • “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ― Mark Twain
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Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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