Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Challenge: For Life Beyond Limits

This post is a quickie, and maybe not appropriate to everyone -- except if one wants to truly reach the heights in whatever he or she does, or wants to ultimately do.

With that, here's an awesome video by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, talking about "Life Beyond Limits"...

I hope it didn't go unnoticed what Dr. Gupta said about "what makes these people the best..."  I mean, he said that they weren't necessarily genetically different -- like the biggest or strongest, but the common trait among them was "pure determination". that, I also hope readers are familiar with Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Coyle, and a number of others who in recent times have echoed Gupta's feelings (or actually led that parade).

In his book entitled Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell describes how it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a given field. How did he arrive at such a conclusion? Gladwell studied the lives of numerous extremely successful people to find out how they achieved success.  Along the way, he discovered a lessened significance of genetics, and instead the importance of working at ones craft.  Thus his claim that putting in something on the order of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice towards a goal would ultimately outweigh any God-given talents.  (Every time I think about that theory, it reminds me that there are some potential Mensa Society members sleeping on park benches tonight, while quite a few Ordinary Joes (or Janes) are leading extraordinary lives due to good, old fashion elbow-grease.)

So, if you happen to run across the phrase "nature versus nurture", you should henceforth know that "nature = genetics, and nurture = deliberate practice".

Dr Gupta goes on to suggest that willpower is a major trait among those he studied -- and again, I'll suggest that goes hand in hand with the beliefs of Gladwell, et al.

Roger Bannister
I also love it that the good doctor described how the athletes he studied kept telling themselves that, "I can do it.  I can do it."  Ya, and that brings to mind the story about the 4-minute mile...  For, there was a time in sport history when it was believed that no one would ever run the mile in less than 4-minutes.  In fact, the fear was that a human might come to some harm by attempting such a pace.  The comical part of that story?  Once Roger Bannister did just that -- running a sub-4-minute mile, everyone else on the planet started believing it could be done, and they dawgone did it!

If there was something surprising to me in Gupta's presentation, it was that most athletes told him they strove for special goals for themselves, and not for the recognition.  I loved his explanation, though, in that they liked to compete against themselves.

In closing, Gupta emphasizes in the end how impressed -- or how inspired -- he and others working on that project were.  So, if there's a take-away for my readers, it's that "we are capable" of doing some things that almost seem unattainable.  Or, as he suggests, we might all have the ability for "making the impossible the possible."


Unfortunately, I haven't found access to the actual CNN program that must have aired by now.  If a reader finds such, however, I'd love to know.


Hey, if you're into podcasts, I'd love hockey folks to stop by my new site, the Hockey Secrets Podcast.  If nothing else, you'll get to hear me speak "Boston-ese".  :)