Mindful Sport Performance Podcast

Ep. 61: The ABCs of Greatness - A Fresh Take on Success in Sport

September 15, 2023 Dr. Keith Kaufman & Dr. Tim Pineau Season 5 Episode 1
Mindful Sport Performance Podcast
Ep. 61: The ABCs of Greatness - A Fresh Take on Success in Sport
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you ready to challenge the traditional paradigm of success and greatness? What if hard work and perseverance aren't the only tickets to victory? Buckle up as we embark on an intriguing exploration redefining greatness in sports. We analyze the sports careers of high-profile athletes who, despite their relentless dedication and effort, never reached the pinnacle of success. Alongside, we ponder the elusive elements of luck and opportunity, and their often overlooked role in shaping an athlete's career.

Ever wondered how acceptance, bravery, and consistency contribute to an athlete's success? We delve into these aspects of Keith's "ABCs of greatness." From the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, we discuss how accepting reality, embracing bravery, and demonstrating consistency can influence an athlete's career trajectory. We then zoom out to address the broader complexities of greatness — integrating the inherent qualities with hard work, wrestling with the fear of acceptance, and nurturing confidence and curiosity about life's possibilities.

Finally, we plunge into the philosophical depths of sports, drawing parallels from Buddhist teachings and the wisdom of Pema Chödrön. We ponder upon the power of embracing uncertainty and "muting oneself" to unlock an athlete's full potential. And for our closing act, we shine a spotlight on rowing — a testament to the power of perseverance and a fascinating example of 'rowing for greatness'. So, are you ready to upend your notions of success and bask in the richness of this unconventional perspective on sports greatness?

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Books Mentioned

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement

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Very much appreciated, 

Keith, Tim, and Taylor (our producer!) 

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Taylor:

Hello and welcome back to the Mindful Sport Performance podcast. This is Taylor Brown, the producer. Season five is upon us and we have some exciting updates to show. We'll be shaking up the format a bit and offering some new material for you, our listeners.

Taylor:

Today's episode is the first of many featuring myself, tim and Keith trying to answer some of the most important questions in the world of sports and performance. I'm going to read a list of names and I want you to think about what they have in common Dan Marino, randy Moss, barry Sanders, jj Watt, lydaniyn Tomlinson, larry Fitzgerald, terrell Owens, alan Iverson, carl Malone, charles Barkley, reggie Miller, steve Nash, patrick Ewing, carmelo Anthony, ted Williams, ken Griffey Jr, ty Cobb, barry Bonds and Mike Piazza. Yes, they are all famous professional athletes and they also never won the major championship in their sport. You heard me right Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl, alan Iverson never won the NBA championship and Ted Williams never won the World Series. A belief I was raised on goes a little bit like this If you work hard enough and never give up, you can achieve anything. All of these athletes I just mentioned worked very hard and I'm sure they never gave up, yet still they did not achieve the thing you know they wanted to achieve.

Taylor:

We are often told when we are young that nothing is impossible if we work hard enough, and this gives the illusion of control. Naturally, it leads to the belief that if we work hard enough, then we will achieve our dreams and accomplish our goals. But the unfortunate fact is that there are a lot of factors outside of our control that can simply get in the way. We don't all achieve what we want to, in spite of working incredibly hard and persevering. Many would say that if you persist working hard through those obstacles, then eventually you will meet an opportunity where you can seize upon your goals.

Taylor:

Another saying that supports this is success is when hard work meets opportunity. But where does that opportunity come from? How about if it doesn't come at all? Will more hard work make the opportunity arise? The question that we want to answer and address today is what is the real path to success? Controllable or uncontrollable, aside from the hard work belief that we are all taught? Of course, hard work is necessary for success, but is it sufficient? And you can argue that all of those players mentioned before achieved great success. You know their names, don't you? But did they achieve greatness?

Tim:

You know, I think you guys will be impressed. I knew almost every name on that list.

Taylor:

Wow.

Keith:

Yeah, I think you were about to say the opposite. Actually, I was about to say, oh no.

Taylor:

I think we'd have to stop. If Tim didn't know the names on that list, I would be a little upset. I did some research to find those names and there's a lot that I didn't know and they were like really impressive athletes in their sports and I was like man. So I was just going through thinking all right, what are the names I know here?

Tim:

No the fact that I even know them is like, and it's really surprising to think like wow, those are some of the biggest names in their respective sports. And to think that they are so well-known and yet never having won a championship which we think is that, of course, is the epitome of success or achievement in a given sport.

Taylor:

Yeah, I mean, ted Williams is up there with who you would list as one of the best baseball players of all times, and I know I grew up watching Allen Iverson and Dan Marino is one of the greatest quarterbacks. So, yeah, you don't really think that. You know, you don't really think that, oh, these guys just didn't work hard enough or they weren't persevering enough. And I think that that really gets down to the question that I originally posed, which is like, what are these elements that lead to success that are in addition to the very foundational things of hard work and perseverance, as kind of the central question that we're really trying to approach today.

Taylor:

And you know I sent preparing for this episode, you know I sent you guys a essentially an editorial written by a bunch of folks from around the world who are sports scientists, and you know one of the things at the end of it that I thought was really interesting well, I guess two things. One of the factors was luck and one of the factors was opportunities, and I kind of mentioned that in my little preamble. But, yeah, where do those things really come from and how can you go about putting yourself in the best position possible to meet those opportunities and situations where you might be on the right side of luck.

Keith:

Well, I'm sort of brimming with all kinds of reactions already. Just a couple of things to I will get to answering the specific question you just asked. But something that's worth noting is that that full list of athletes you listed, they're all from team sports and we could also talk about individual sports, folks who never won majors in golf maybe, or in tennis and singles tennis, right, other sports like that, which is a whole. I mean it's a related conversation but there's also some important differences, especially when you fold in things like luck, where you're dealing with a team, you know that there's different factors, maybe that an individual athlete can't control. But we think about a player, their legacy like. I think about automatically a player like Allen Iverson versus Michael Jordan, and how we might look at those players differently. I think it's hard to argue that both of them weren't great in their respective ways, but it almost becomes as well in a team sport. How do great individual players manage to function within a group, to kind of elevate the group right, to maximize the product, which is of course, greater than the collection of the individuals? So I think there's so many layers to this conversation because on one hand we could say well, you know one of my, a movie that I really enjoy. I'm sort of a Will Ferrell fan, so Talladega nice, right, if you're not first or last.

Keith:

Right this mentality that we have, you know, there can only be one winner, whether it's a team or whether it's an individual. Does that mean no one else was great in an entire season of competition because there's only one winner? Is that how we define things? Some people might say, yes, right. So thinking about that, like how do we even define greatness?

Keith:

And then kind of knowing, sort of bringing this maybe into the mindfulness sphere, right, which is where we operate and is really the substance of this podcast. We kind of operate that there's this simple truth that the only thing we can ever truly control is ourselves in the present moment, and there's something so liberating about that, but also something so frustrating about that in this, in this context of greatness, right, because all you can ever do is manage yourself. And I think if you look at all the athletes on the list that you read Taylor, you can make a pretty strong argument that they had incredibly successful careers and probably behaved in many ways as professionals that distinguish them from other folks who may have also had similar physical capabilities or athletic talent. But it takes a certain level of greatness even to get to that level and then become an all star at that level or become a great player at that level at the NBA, at the Major League Baseball level, whatever, let alone to win a championship.

Keith:

So, I see this as a very multi-layered conversation, incredibly.

Taylor:

Yeah, one of my reactions that comes up as you were going through that is just thinking about those athletes who we consider the greatest, the goats, and how they have been reported to have interacted with other people on their team and the standards that they held people to. And I think a lot of times we kind of we put that behavior, those behaviors, those actions, the way they led up on a pedestal because we say, well, they're the greatest, they did it. So we should now act like that, and I think there are definitely good qualities to take away. But then there are also.

Taylor:

You just hear stories about the way Jordan demanded perfection from the people on the team around him and Kobe and Tom Brady, and a lot of times people wouldn't describe them as nice ever. You know, it's always. They were incredibly demanding and if you did something wrong they were tearing you apart. And it's interesting because other players who might not have had the most success that were also demanding. That wouldn't be a quality that people would necessarily equate with greatness. They're oh, that guy's a jerk. That's why he never made it. Well, if you look at some of the best, someone might describe them as kind of jerks as well. It's just the difference between like well, that's got that jerk won five championships and that jerk didn't win any. So it's like the context dictates how you look at a quality in somebody. It's interesting.

Tim:

That's super interesting. It reminds me of a conversation I was actually just having with a buddy of mine a couple weeks ago. We were he's got two little girls and we were just talking about how we, you know, came to the names of our respective children, you know, and, and he's, he's a big sports guy. Um, he was like, yeah, I, just when we were picking names, like I have to admit, like one of my criteria was it has to kind of fit with and next up, because he's always like I'm really hoping that one of my kids becomes an athlete. Um, but we were joking like, well, yeah, if you're not that good, your name has to fit. If you're great, your name can be whatever it is, whatever you want it to be, because that just becomes greatness. Right, thank you.

Tim:

These people that we put on pedestals, right, they almost like reshape reality in terms of what does it look like in that particular sport to be good? Yeah, maybe they're just being a jerk and I mean this maybe is like a hot take for a sports podcast. But it's like, do the ends really justify the means? You know, like, if that's what it takes to win a championship, I really want to win a championship.

Keith:

you know or maybe that's just me- Well, I sat down and thought about this a little bit and I made sort of a. I didn't want this to be a super long list because I could probably get carried away, so I boiled it down to three elements of what I think, at least mentally, elevates an athlete to greatness. Now I focused in. Taylor. You mentioned that article you had sent us, and it did mention a couple of things like opportunity and luck, which you can kind of argue. Those are external factors to some extent and, yes, I think absolutely there are very real elements that might lead to winning a championship versus not. Right, I mean, luck is absolutely a part of sports, but, as any good sports psychologist would tell you, right, we don't want to focus on that, right, we want to focus on what we can control, and so I tried to narrow it down here to you know what are the most controllable factors? And so maybe what we can do is a little thought experiment here is I'll give you these three factors which, taylor, I figured you'd appreciate this they happen to be an A word, a B word and a C word, so it's the ABCs of greatness. We can kind of make this really, really catchy and let's filter this through. Let's talk. I know, tim, you might be a little bit less equipped to have this particular conversation, but you know, if we compare an Iverson to a Jordan, you know, or you know we compare a Merino to a Brady, who you mentioned before Do we feel like there's a substantive difference between these athletes, maybe on these admittedly self-created factors of greatness? So this wouldn't be a very good mindfulness podcast if I didn't have my A, which I actually truly do believe is a critical factor, which is acceptance. Right? I think a conversation that comes up almost every single day in the work that I do with athletes, both individuals and teams, is we just want things to be smooth, everyone wants to win, everyone wants to be on a win streak, but that is not reality, right? The reality of sports is that it's chaotic, that it's unpredictable, there are uncontrollable elements. You can play a great game and still lose. You can play a crappy game and still win, right that? The ability to ride the waves, the ability to not have it be a linear process, to have ups, to have downs, to understand that that's just the nature of the beast and that it's gonna be chaotic, I think that that's a vital skill for an athlete to be great. If someone needs it to be smooth sailing, it's gonna create a lot of added resistance for that person.

Keith:

My B, which I think flows right from acceptance, is what I'm calling bravery, right, but I think you could also kind of sneak in a term that we use all the time on the podcast. I think it really is what bravery is about vulnerability, right. The capacity to put yourself out there, to not be afraid to fail, to be willing to take risks, to be willing to be bold right. To want the ball in your hands, to want the ball at your feet, to wanna be on the line taking the last shot right. So that capacity to know that all eyes are on you and to lean into that moment and still be able to execute some of the most difficult skills that humans have ever encountered right. That takes a lot of courage, that takes a lot of bravery, that takes a willingness to be vulnerable.

Keith:

And then the third piece, which actually I kind of think, anecdotally at least, doesn't get enough attention, which is consistency, right. Consistency that if you look at the best athletes, they are consistent. They are consistent in their approach, they are consistent in their level of performance. And certainly, if we look at those athletes who do win championships, or even those athletes who don't win championships but like the perennial All-Stars or Pro Bowlers that Taylor mentioned, there is a consistency to their career. It's not enough to just do it once and play one great game or have one great season. That it's gotta be a recommitment over and over and over again, which is grueling right. And I think within that we could talk about factors like resilience, which are really important. So those are my ABCs acceptance, bravery, consistency. So I guess number one what do you think of my little list? Tear it apart, if you like. This is what came to my mind. Or, number two can we make a comparison between sort of championship winning athletes and great athletes who don't win titles based on these factors?

Tim:

I like this list because I see the ways that they relate, that they feed into each other, almost like it's or at least the way that I'm holding it in my mind. It's like that foundational acceptance that is required in order to be vulnerable, right, cause, if you don't have the acceptance of yourself and of the reality that we can't control everything, right, then why would you risk exposing yourself? And, of course, you need to be able to be vulnerable, I think, in order to be consistent. And it's a little bit less direct, but it's like when you think about, well, what is required for consistency? Right, it's the ability to weather the ups and downs. And I think, if you're someone who can't accept and then who can't be vulnerable, that just means we either end up exploding our emotions all over the place or bottling them up in. Neither one of those is a sustainable strategy. So I see, yeah, I see how your list kind of flows, which is really nice.

Taylor:

I like your list. I'm wondering, though, if I'm sitting and having a conversation with one of the greats and I say the word acceptance, what? What does that elicit from that person?

Keith:

I probably wouldn't use the word acceptance.

Taylor:

Okay, yeah, well, I'm really interested because I know what you mean by acceptance. I mean, obviously, explain what you mean by acceptance. But being back, you know, for the listeners, you don't know, I'm back into the world of coaching. I'm currently a college rowing coach and I have tried to use the word acceptance and it is met with blank stares. It is actually met with like, what in the hell are you talking about man? And maybe it's, maybe it's my inability to capture the essence of what I mean. But you know, a boat loses a race at the national championship and they're done. You know they can't compete again for four months.

Taylor:

What does acceptance look like in that moment? Or they, you know you don't make the grand final. You know there's six boats in the grand final. You're relegated to the petite final, which would be, you know, seven through 12 or seven, yeah, so. So what is? What does acceptance look like in that moment? And what is not accepting? Look like Cause. I think a lot of athletes, in the way that we're raised, would say no, I'm not going to accept anything except for my best. I'm not going to accept anything except for my goals. I'm, I will never, you know, relent. What is? How do you?

Tim:

what does that look like, I guess, well, I think, when athletes first hear acceptance, they can't help but translate it into their mind as like resignation or complacency, because they can't help but do the thing that we always do, which is project out into the future Right. Cause it's this idea of, of when they hear acceptance right and they try to fit that into the box that they know which is future oriented, goal oriented right, it's like they're hearing you tell them like, oh, just accept, always lose. And that's, of course, not what we're saying at all. I mean, we're, we're from this, my own, this perspective it is. It is about meeting the present moment as it is because, all right, so you lose the national championship. Are you going to refuse to accept that? What are you? What are you going to do? Are you going to go to the, to the refs and challenge the results that we got to rerun this race, you know? Are you going to stay like upset about it and think like, oh, I lost my college national championships and I'm a failure for the rest of my life, Like, is that what non-acceptance look like? What is our other choice? And I remember actually working with a, with a crew team, and got this exact question.

Tim:

One of the rowers had had caught a crab. For non-rowers, it's just when your ore gets kind of like sucked under the water and you lose control of your handle. He caught a crab in the middle of their last race of his college career and he was like, how do I accept? Like, how does my influence help me with that? I was like it was actually in the moment a really hard question to answer. I wanted to say I was like, well, if you could have a time machine, you went back when we started working together and you've been meditating since the beginning, cause he was someone who actually didn't really buy into the training. I was like maybe this would have worked out differently. But I didn't say that. It's what I wanted to say.

Tim:

But but really I think it gets more to to what is scary about acceptance, which is like, yeah, we are not entitled to any particular experience of the human being, no matter how hard we work, no matter how good of a person or an athlete we are.

Tim:

No one's entitled to a championship, no one's entitled to win any particular game, no one's entitled to be a parent, no one's entitled to to be a sibling. You know like, but we, we, we latch on to these identities and then we come to expect them or think that we should have them and then kind of define our success and failure based on our relationship with these identities that we think on some level we're entitled to. They're like the athlete believes, if I just work hard enough, that championship is mine, mine, which is such a weird way to think about it, such an egoic way to think about it. That's championship is mine. No, that championship is an abstract thought, a concept, right that if it belongs anywhere, belongs to everyone. Right that everyone gets to pursue it and try to attain it, enjoy it. But no, people want to make it like I, me, mine. I feel like I'm going off on tangent now.

Tim:

Go off, go off, Close my my lips and be quiet for a moment.

Keith:

Well, yeah, I mean, it's the conditionality of everything, right? I mean, we, we live in a conditional world and I think acceptance means, yeah, what happens happens, just the cold, hard facts. What happens happens. You can choose to stick your head in the sand or you can acknowledge, yeah, this happens, and then what do you do with it? I mean, that's, that's why I think something like mindfulness can be so galvanizing for anybody but for athletes that you know we don't get to cherry pick our reality. You know, if, if you lose the big game or you don't even make it to the big game, does that make you a loser? Does that mean, like you were saying, tim, that that this is stapled to your identity for the rest of your life, if you allow it to? Be sure, it could be. But you know, we're all about the present moment. We're all about, okay, this happened. I mean, I always think I know I've mentioned this on the podcast before I always think of that. That NFL running back might one of my favorite quotes right, it happened, it sucks, got to move on. It happened, it sucks, got to move on. Right, like, like, stuff happens and we can acknowledge that it sucked, we can acknowledge it's what we wanted to happen or didn't want it to happen, but then we move on and we have another battle to fight. The other thing that this makes me think of like Taylor, to your point of how do we, like explain this, right, like, what does this mean? Because there's something to the idea of acceptance that I think is inherent to greatness, but it's it's kind of a tricky concept and not one that easily resonates with with many athletes at this point, but a lot of people try to explain it in a lot of different ways. That's something else that comes up on our podcast a lot, right, too, is you try to explain the same thing a thousand different ways and you sort of see what sticks.

Keith:

I'm working with a with a Socrates team this year with a lot of United at the USL championship, and their coach, who was a previous guest of ours, ryan Martin, shared something about the Stockdale Paradox, which is this guy, jim Collins wrote this book Good to Great, which is pretty well known in in the business world, and he talked about the Stockdale Paradox as what makes businesses great, as opposed to just good or successful, is two ingredients, which he called the Stockdale Paradox. He said number one you have to maintain an unwavering faith that you can prevail in the end. Right, so we can kind of think about that as confidence that that in the end, yeah, I can be successful. There's, there's faith, there's trust in that.

Keith:

And then number two, and this is mindfulness. You may not call it mindfulness. This is acceptance. We may not call it acceptance. Number two having the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. So being able to see things as they are, the cold, hard, bitter, brutal truth, and still, in the face of whatever that truth is, maintain an unwavering faith that you can ultimately be successful.

Tim:

Which to me just feels like a translation of Buddhism. Yeah, exactly that's my point.

Keith:

I mean, if you walk into a room full of athletes and say, let me teach you this Buddhist concept, let me teach you about acceptance, you're going to get looks like what Taylor was saying. But you say something like this and these kinds of words I don't know about you, I mean, at least to me, I think this kind of resonates. I think this is something that a lot of athletes can hear, like you got to maintain faith that you can be successful and, by the way, also have this unvarnished look of at what happens. It's just this, is it? These are the cold hard facts.

Tim:

And the word can there does so much work right, because it's not will. It's not like I have unwavering faith that I will be successful, that's denial, but the idea that I could be, I can be, that any situation I face is workable in some way, there's some way for me to grow or to learn, and like that. That's what feels like so so, so Buddhist about it, right, and it's like to accept, like yeah, there might be then kind of a nonlinear path that gets me to what my ultimate goal was.

Tim:

Or maybe I actually have to reconsider what I was defining as success. But regardless of what the cold hard facts are right, like, unless those cold hard facts are, I'm dead and no longer conscious. Like I, I'm going to be able to respond in some way. I'm going to take another step. I might not know what that step is, but I know that, whatever the situation is, I will be able to, in that moment, figure out where to step.

Tim:

Like that to me is that's, that's resilience, right, not not the, not the blind faith that I will absolutely be successful, because we know that that's false, that's that's wrong. But and to me it also feels like it's not a faith in ourselves, necessarily, but a faith in the, in just the I don't know, kind of this capital R reality that we live in, that like, yeah, any situation is workable. Like that it has to be. Because if it weren't, if there were really situations that were just so horrible, that's just where consciousness and life and opportunity just ends, right, we feel like there'd be people just like dropping dead around us all the time. But we see people just navigate some of the most treacherous and horrendous and unimaginable circumstances. They find them to be workable.

Keith:

Yeah, I mean, I was just reading an article this morning. You know, Taylor, I know you said you grew up watching Alan Iverson. So I'm from the Philly area Originally, I grew up in the Lehigh Valley and you know I've been a lifelong Philly sports fan. Was just seeing this morning like Jalen Hertz is really hungry this year to come back. You know it's hard to think about the Super Bowl last year, the Eagles against the Chiefs.

Keith:

Look at Jalen Hertz's performance and not think, wow, you know, that is greatness. You know, here's this guy most the biggest game of his life, first time he's ever played in the Super Bowl. And the way he showed up, the way he performed the team lost really wasn't on him. He didn't even get a chance at the end of the game to lead a game winning drive. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened with the ball in his hands, but unfortunately the defense couldn't get off the field at the end of the game and that's how it ended.

Keith:

But can we say that he wasn't great? Can we say that that if the Eagles don't get back to the Super Bowl, he's not a great player, right? I mean, I think that there is so much nuance here. And yet I, just like anybody else, right, if they had won that game, if you had a Super Bowl ring, we'd probably regard him a little bit differently. You know, it's hard to separate that out. There is something, there's a prestige, there's a greatness factor that comes with winning championships. And yet, you know, as a sports scientist, I know that there is so much more than that.

Tim:

Yeah, well, and yes, I don't know what's making me think about and I know there's like the wrinkle here with a team sport versus an individual sport but even just this idea of like greatness being held within a person, somehow, that it like is, are we talking about some inherent quality? There are some people who are thrown to greatness more so than others, you know, which is kind of like an interesting, kind of thought, like how we kind of I don't know integrate that with the idea of hard work, you know, or maybe that is what greatness is, it's the innate capacity for hard work. And if that's the case, like huh, I wonder how many great athletes we're missing, because I'm sure there are thousands, tens of thousands, millions of people out there who have the capacity for hard work and probably have natural athletic talents, who are born in an Aboriginal tribe in Papua New Guinea, who will never have the chance to touch a basketball, you know, but like, maybe they could have been great. Maybe they could have been great. And it gets me back to that, I don't know, the fear that I think can be associated with acceptance is like, yeah, sometimes luck, the opportunities, they just don't show up, no matter how hard you try, no matter how great you might be, right, that has to also like find an outlet right, and sometimes those outlets really just aren't available, no matter what one does, kind of the recognition of the limits of our control.

Tim:

I think that's one of the other reasons why, like, acceptance is such a tricky topic for athletes, because you can't talk to athletes about it without acknowledging part of what we're asking them to accept is the fact that, yeah, you just might lose, you just might never get the chance to be as great as you want to be. It could happen, right, even if the likelihood is small. Like, yeah, the range of possibilities. That's what we have to be able to accept and that's where I think the training the MSBE or my own training is so important, because this stuff is hard to accept. It really does, in the same way that you can't just decide one day, having never run before, I'm gonna run a marathon. Right, like we're being able to accept some of these truths. Right Takes training takes some real muscle memory.

Keith:

What it made me think of is we're talking about championships, but you know injuries, right? People whose careers they never reached their potential because of injuries, or someone who never is on a winning team, might be a great player on a losing team. There are so many chaotic factors and I think we tend to have such a reductive view of what it takes to be great. That is yeah, yeah, I think it's the scariest part.

Taylor:

The scariest part of sports for me is the uncontrollability of it all, the uncertainty of it all and I think that just kind of circling back to kind of where we started here it coming up as an athlete, I know I keep coming back to how I was raised or how athletes are raised, but I think that's where the beliefs are formed about success and about how you achieve it. And those beliefs I think are very sticky and I'm sure you guys work with your clients a lot on redefining their relationship with success and how to achieve it. But yeah, I think it's really that distinction of the Tim you mentioned of I will be successful versus I can be successful, and I mean, keith, that was such a poignant thing that you pointed out from good to great. It's having that confidence in the ability, that you have the capacity to be successful in your life I think is an incredibly important thing and I wrote down some notes here before we started. It's like I was conceptualizing it a little bit as a vision of being able to see yourself being successful or having a curiosity about what the possibilities in life are, because I think sometimes athletes, younger athletes they don't really even have any conception of the possibility of what they can achieve until they get on that path and actually start achieving it. But I think when we first started talking about this episode, I was talking about the Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary that just came out on Netflix and there are some parts in it where he's reflecting on his life and his success and it kind of comes across as him saying I just knew that I was going to be successful. I always had the vision. I knew it and I think it's easy for someone who's achieved a great amount of success to reflect and go. I always knew I was going to be successful Because, looking back on my career as an athlete, I would say I gained some success in the rowing world and I don't know if there was ever a time where I knew that I was going to be successful.

Taylor:

It was always like I think I can do it and I'm confident that I can go fast. But there wasn't. Even when we had great seasons and we were lining up on the championship line, I was always afraid of the uncertainty of it. I was never like I know we're going to win this race. It was always like oh man, I think we can do it. I think I can do it, but I think that's where we just get driven, pushed astray a little bit sometimes with the way that successful people have talked about success. No-transcript.

Keith:

Yeah, like it was a foregone conclusion in a way.

Taylor:

Yeah, but you hear it. You hear success when people talk about it like that all the time.

Keith:

Yeah, well, and I think that plays into the linearity, the expected linearity. Oh, I'm supposed to just be great. And yeah, I agree with you, taylor.

Keith:

And I think in a way, I mean, what you're saying really fits with what I was saying, too, right, like, I think the fear of the uncertainty, that's kind of what I was thinking of with that bravery element, right, that people who can actually lean into that, because the uncertainty is going to be there. You cannot want it to be there, all you want that's the reality of life and competition, for sure. And so people who can tolerate that uncertainty and lean into it and not I always think about it as like muting yourself, right, like being afraid to fail, so you play it safe, so you don't really let your full skill set come out and then you perform as less than you're capable of, right, so people who can not fall into those restraints. I think that that strength, that strengthens greatness, and so how do you get there? How do you allow that bravery to come out?

Keith:

Like Tim pointed out before, like by accepting the nature of what is right, that uncertainty is a reality of sport. We can't take it away, right, we can't eliminate it, we wouldn't want to. I know a lot of times, like standing on that start line or sitting on that start line, I'm sure you're like, oh, I wish I knew what was going to happen. This is really, really scary, but in reality, if you knew what would be the point of doing it, what would be the point of having the experience Boring Well, you know, yeah, because Pema Pema Shodron, the Buddhist nun.

Tim:

You know she talks about perfectionism, as I really like the way she talks about as an aggressive denial of life and I'm like it's. It's an evocative, provocative way to frame it, but I use that with clients all the time because it's so true. If everything were perfect, if there were no ups and downs in life, that's not living Right To know exactly how the outcome is going to be of a race, right, that's not competing. It's just a different thing and I don't think it would be very fun.

Keith:

Well, this, this was awesome. Yeah, I was just going to say that. Yeah, what an interesting conversation. Where have we?

Taylor:

gotten to where where I feel like there there's just so much more, but unfortunately we're right at the end of our time here.

Keith:

Well, I think we should just give me credit. I developed the model for greatness.

Taylor:

Yeah, this is it. I wish we got more into bravery and vulnerability and consistency. I think those are great too. But I mean, this acceptance conversation can just go on and on, and I guess we're just going to have to record more episodes.

Tim:

Yeah, I guess.

Taylor:

Yeah, look forward to that part two.

Keith:

Yeah, so well. Well, thank you for everybody who listened and, and you know, we're excited to be exploring this new format and hope it's something that you all enjoy as well. But we're always open to your feedback and open to engaging with you, and there's lots of ways that you can reach out to us, the MSP Institute. We have a website at wwwmindfulsportperformanceorg. Our Institute is also on Facebook and on Instagram. Our podcast, the mindful sport performance podcast, also has an Instagram page at at mindful underscore sport underscore podcast. We also have a YouTube channel that we've built up over the years that has tons of free content, tons of free meditations that experts from all over the world have led on our podcast, so please check that out, especially if you're in a meditation. It's a great, great library that we've built. You can find me, dr Keith Kaufman, on social media as well. If you want to connect. I am on Instagram and Twitter and my handle in both places is at mindful sport doc.

Keith:

Also, just a quick plug for our book, which is still out there mindful sport performance enhancement mental training for athletes and coaches, and if you're wanting to learn more about our work and mindfulness and sport and MSP, it's a great, great resource and we very much welcome your reviews of our book as well as of our podcast.

Keith:

And, if you are so inclined, we are starting a new feature this year with our podcast as well, where, if you'd like to help us support the running and operation of our podcast, you can make donations at our buzz sprout page, which is where our feed is housed, and buzz sprout is Buzz SPR OUT. So if you go to buzz sprout and search for the mindful sport performance podcast, you should be able to find. It will also have a link to that page in our episode notes. And so, just to help us with our budget and the running of the show, if you are inclined to help support us, we we really appreciate that. So thank you to everyone who listens and thank you, tim and Taylor. Anything you wanted to pitch or mention about the work you're doing right now.

Taylor:

Just get out and watch a rowing race.

Keith:

Get out and watch a row. I love it. I love it. Go Pen rowing. Yeah, all right. So thank you everyone and we'll see you next time.

The Path to Success
Defining Greatness in Sports
Acceptance, Bravery, and Consistency in Athletics
Greatness and Success in Sports
Embracing Uncertainty
Appreciation and Promotion of Rowing