You Got This!

"You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?" - Steven Wright

a climber on the way to the summit
pushing through to the summit

At one time or another, I'd bet that you have given a child, a friend, or a colleague a 'pep talk' to help get them through some situation they had doubts about. Athletes, industry leaders, coaches, etc., always seem to give rousing speeches to help energize individuals to rise, excel and push past any doubt or preconceived fears. The motivational pep talks to inspire the underdog in high-stakes situations are often incredibly effective.

And, of course, without hesitation, Hollywood will always use pep talk to stir up a thrilling moment or perhaps even help someone survive.

There are studies which show there's a formula 'that while every individual has their tips and tricks, according to the science, most winning formulas include three key elements: direction giving, expressions of empathy, and meaning-making.'

But ask yourself... when was the last time you gave yourself a pep-talk?

"I got this"
"Come on, I can do it"
"I won't miss."

The idea of positive self-talk, spoken or through an internal monologue, can be an incredibly effective method to get through certain situations or challenges.

Carl Lewis, who won nine Olympic gold medals, and one silver, says:

My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win … Channel your energy. Focus.

Self-motivation doesn't even need to be just your inner voice rooting you on. My wife used to write HTFU (Hurry the Fuck Up!) on her hand when racing Ironman as a bit of inspiration when feeling depleted.

Our inner voices often go towards negative thoughts: I'm going to screw this up. I'm going to lose. Research shows that negative thoughts will equally push you towards adverse outcomes.

The best thing you can do to overcome these and have a meaningful pep-talk is to flip the narrative.

  • Instead of 'this is all screwed up,' try 'this is an opportunity.'
  • Instead of 'it's too hard,' try 'the obstacle is the way.'
  • Instead of 'that's not how we used to do it,' try 'maybe there's a new way.'
  • Instead of 'I can't', try 'I can.'

Give it a try - I guarentee that you'll find this little bit of self-care can go a long way.

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Slow Tech

Still on the bucket list of 'things to get to,' but I wish I had learned how to play an instrument when younger and stuck with it. It's always inspiring to see the lengths people go to refine their craft.

Check out this short video of an inspired individual who built his guitar using 'Ikea furniture as a primary source of material.'

Brain Dump

Here are a few articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • So much of the Internet these days (especially on social media), people go out of their way to just shit on something they like, post, or mention. I loved this article on changing your perception and opening your mind to the idea that you may actually like something if you give it a chance. — [via How To Like Things]
  • Was incredibly grateful to reconnect with an old friend from my teens this week, and we had a great time catching up, laughing at the crazy roads life has taken us down and the paths that got us where we are today. Interestingly, we discussed many learning lessons late in life, and this post spoke to me. — [via 5 Lessons Most People Learn Way Too Late in Life]
  • Do you bring your authentic self to work? Companies are leaning heavily on personality tests to measure employees' thoughts and feelings. I've done several of these throughout my career - some provide interesting insight, and others were just flat-out wrong; there's lots of debate if tests like Myers-Briggs are still accurate. — [via The $2 Billion Question of Who You Are at Work]
  • While this one is more software engineering focused, I'd almost reframe many things in work or life around the "cost of complexity." Choose boring tech, IMHO — [via The Cost of Architectural Complexity]
  • Feeling seen with this article: Meetings are the work. And while we all agree that 'meeting culture sucks,' this post has some great insight that it's not 'how to make knowledge together, but rather about how we can promote culture change to value social meaning-making and reflective practice appropriately.' — [via Meetings are the work]
  • A beautifully written essay on how we get trapped in the norms of our current day-to-day work and how we 'effectively box ourselves in, unintentionally limiting our options because the momentum that would otherwise nudge us toward something fresh is instead expended circularly: used to power the existing contraption, not to build a new one.' — [via Everlasting Present]
  • A great checklist of tips and reminders of behaviors that can derail a meaningful conversation. — [via 6 Conversation Habits to Break]
  • I hadn't heard the term 'stickiness of the mind' before reading this, but it makes sense - most fall into the trap of letting their mind be too sticky. Known as repetitive looping thinking, the stickiness comes from a 'grueling inner monologue' of worst-case scenario thinking, and the article reveals some simple techniques to get past it. — [via How a "Sticky Mind" Leads to Anxiety]
  • In a follow-up to the great 'pirates and farmers' post, a fun look into the difference between academics and intellectuals. — [via Hunters and farmers]
  • I'm always looking at simple mind-hacks to get through the day a little better, and I could relate to this thinking about taking breaks throughout the day and getting physical movement is a key to being more productive — [via How a nonlinear workday might help you get more done]
  • Remember just 'hanging out'? I reference this often as 'the art of gathering.' Still, the simple task for people (especially college students due to the pandemic) being able to 'sit around with friends and talk shit' is getting harder and harder. — [via There’s a Growing Crisis in Our Social Lives. Is the Cure This Simple?]

This Weeks Vibe

If you're a frequent reader of this blog/newsletter, you already know how much of a Hans Zimmer fan I am. I had a long heads-down week and needed to keep focused, and throwing on the headphones and listening to his exceptional scores keeps my brain flowing.

For your enjoyment, from his Live in Prague concert is Chevaliers de Sangreal from the film The Da Vinci Code.

Be well. ✌🏻

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Jamie Larson