TN50#151_Thinking About Thinking_05 February 2024

Hi Team,

Do you take the time to think about thinking?  Well, whether you think you do or don’t (see what I did there?) you just did, so you do now.

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #151. I like to think of personal performance in 3 components: physical, mental and emotional.  My frameworks focus on 4 Buckets: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think.  This blog is my sandbox for sharing information that you might find useful for your personal performance.

It turns out your brain is a very powerful thing (yes, even for you Navy guys and gals) and just thinking about how a medication is going to work or whether you will die of cardiovascular disease will directly affect the outcome of those 2 things.  Crazy right?  Let me restate that: how you THINK about cardiovascular disease can increase your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease.  Interesting right?

Now I’m not going to think my way into the NBA at 53; but here are some scenarios and thought choices that might be useful for you to consider:

  1. After an occasional bad night of sleep: Thinking, “That’s ok, you can’t sleep great every night” OR “Great, just great, the whole day is going to suck after that crap night of sleep!”
  2. After a healthy meal: Thinking, “That was a good meal and I made great healthy choices” OR “What was I thinking, I’m going to be starving in an hour after that piddly plate”
  3. After a busy day with no workout: “I didn’t get a gym workout in but I worked all day here at the house, cleaning, shoveling snow, making beds, I’m going to count all this as my workout” OR “I didn’t get my hour at the CrossFit gym today, oh the tragedy! I probably lost 3 pounds of muscle (audible sigh).”

All of these examples are kinda silly, right?  Silly and would you believe it?  There is good science behind all 3 of them?  Your thoughts are very, very powerful.

If I were you at this point, I’d be asking for more proof.  SOOO, here are some options:

  1. I listened to a great podcast a few months ago on the power of the brain. Jordan Peterson interviewed Ellen Langer.  The interview was so good I bought Langer’s book on audible called, The Mindful Body.  Turns out, the podcast was all I needed!  That’s right, I didn’t make it through the book.  Here’s the podcast: Jordan Peterson and Ellen Langer podcast.
  2. A week ago my buddy from HS, Adrian, told me to check out; The Expectation Effect, by David Robson. After checking it out I bought it on Audible, it was a 4 day listen. This is a great book; hundreds of scientific papers are referenced in the very readable/audibleable narrative.

I’ve read that the “placebo effect” can equate to as much as 20% or more.  If you consider that potential regarding positive and negative results, how can you not dive deeper?  And my examples involved eating food, getting sleep and getting movement (duh) wouldn’t you also want to hear or read more about: stress, willpower and intellect?  The Expectation Effect, has it all covered.

It’s February already, are you feeling like you’ve already lost your azimuth on 2024?  If you’re thinking: yes or maybe or I don’t know what an azimuth is but I’ve definitely lost my way; for the love of Pete, check out the resources above.

Who do you know that could use this information?  I bet you can think of a couple of folks before you click the next email!

As always share the post with your team and anyone who might find it useful and let me know what you think!

Have a good one, Alex

PS. Do you have a Performance question I can answer? Let me know:

PPS.  If your new to First Principles Performance Coaching, here’s a one stop shop for all my stuff.