Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Male: Thank you very much Lee. So I'm going to talk to you about you, and how you can

  • be brilliant every single day. So, big as... I spent the last 15 years working with some

  • of the best CEO's and executives around the world and one of my observations is some of

  • them were absolutely fantastic. But the problem is they can't be fantastic every single day.

  • Which reminds me of the story.

  • I was sat on the couch at home watching the TV about five years ago. Not that I'm a golfer,

  • but I was watching the British Open, and a very good golfer called Sergio Garcia was

  • playing and he had been brilliant all week, dominating the field, and it came to the last

  • round and he was sort of fantastic, and on a Sunday morning in the front nine he scored

  • 39 shots. The previous day, on a Saturday, he'd scored 29 shots, on exactly the same

  • holes.

  • So, overnight he'd lost 10 shots on the same hole. So what happened was Horrack Harrington

  • came past him and won the British Open and the [inaudible 00:01:11]. And very interestingly,

  • exactly a year later Horrack Harrington beat Sergio Garcia. I think it was in the US Masters.

  • Sergio played brilliantly all week, he got to the Sunday, and something went wrong. He

  • was leading the field by six shots and on the Sunday, again, Horrack Harrington came

  • past him.

  • So that was sort of really interesting to me and Peter Alice, the famous golf commentator

  • is watching this and says, "It's a funny old game, golf." As though it's a complete mystery

  • why these things happen. As there was a complete loss of form. So I'm there shouting at the

  • television, it's no mystery to me. Actually I know why that happened, and I know why Sergio

  • Garcia basically between 2007 and 2008 really didn't learn that much. Because he made exactly

  • the same mistake in 2008 as he made in 2007.

  • So I'm going to share with you the secret about that. Some of the things we've been

  • teaching executives. Bringing in some neuroscience which is my background and going to reveal

  • some secrets as to how your system works. So we're going to go through that and then

  • I'm going to break with TED tradition at the end of the talk and we're going to have a

  • bit of live demonstration of something.

  • But I just want to give you the sort of model that we work to that starts to explain why

  • Sergio or anybody may lose performance or why you may lose performance and what you

  • need to do to maintain your brilliance every single day. So if we're all after the same

  • goal, we're after improving our performance in some way, or the results in some way.

  • It doesn't really matter what kind of results we're talking about, whether we're talking

  • about sporting results, whether we're talking about business results, academic performance,

  • relationship performance, sexual performance... I don't know why I'm looking at Simon when

  • I saying that. Whatever we're talking about, what is going to improve our performance...

  • Well first and foremost, in order to change the result you've got so focus on people's

  • behavior. So we've got to do things differently in order to get a different result. So most

  • performance appraisals in industry focus on what you've been doing. You go in and you

  • see your boss. And he said, "Oh, I've got some 360 data." You've been doing these kind

  • of things, that's really good. These are the things, not so good, so a bit less of that

  • please and more of that. So I want you to do that, and less of that.

  • And sometimes that actually works, and then you get a different result. But an awful lot

  • of times it doesn't make much difference or it will only make a difference if the leaders

  • stood over that employee cracking a whip and making sure they do this. So it's necessary

  • but insufficient, and the reason being is that even when people know what to do, sometimes

  • they just don't do it.

  • "I know I want to make another 1000 calls to 1000 customers, but, you know what. It's

  • Friday afternoon, I'm not going to do that." So it's not enough just to focus on what you

  • can see on the surface, on the behaviors. You've got to really get to grips with what's

  • on the inside of individuals. Why do people do what they do? If you really want to change

  • performance permanently, and be brilliant every single day, you've got to get to grips

  • with the inside.

  • So first and foremost what's actually driving behavior, it's how people think. So how you

  • think determines on what you do. So when I'm coaching a CEO, if he thinks I'm an idiot,

  • he's not going to do what I say, why would he? Or if he thinks what I'm saying is rubbish,

  • he won't do it. So I've got to get a grip of what he thinks about. In fact, that requires

  • me to ask him some questions, which is a lot more complicated than just observing the behavior.

  • But our view is if you don't get to grips and start to ask some more detailed questions,

  • you won't get a sustainable change in the results. It won't last, you'll get this variance

  • in performance... this form loss. So you've got to get to grips with how people think

  • about you, about what you're saying, about the world. But even if you did, it's not enough,

  • because it's something more fundamental driving how people think.

  • So how you think is really hugely influenced by how you feel. In fact these two things

  • effect each other. Thinking effects feeling and feeling effects thinking. It goes back

  • and forward in a loop. But the dominant factor really is feeling. So for a whole bunch of

  • neuroscientific reasons we haven't got time to explain. Actually if you want to change

  • what people do, you've got to change their thinking. If you want to change their thinking,

  • you actually have to change how they feel. This is a much more significant impact on

  • that than the other way around.

  • So if you feel anxious, for example, it's no good me saying to you, "Don't worry." You'll

  • have experienced that doesn't work. Or I'm doing this exam. "Don't worry." "Oh, you know

  • what, I hadn't thought not to worry. That's the answer then. Ah I'm not worried. Oh good,

  • how much was that? There's the check." It doesn't work like that.

  • You've all experienced that if you feel anxious, you feel anxious and no amount of "don't worry"

  • is going to help you. In fact, it often makes you worse. "All right, you say 'don't worry,'

  • I'm worried." So the real active ingredient is you've got to change this. Still not enough.

  • There's something more fundamental driving how you feel and that is your raw emotion.

  • So you've got to change the emotion in order to change the feeling in order to change the

  • thinking. Now you maybe sat there wondering, "Well hang on a minute. Feelings and emotions...

  • that's the same stuff, isn't it?" It is not.

  • So many people don't realize... and particularly, many of my own friends in science and medicine...

  • don't realize that feelings and emotions are not the same thing. In fact, many people don't

  • even realize that feelings and thinking are not the same thing, particularly men. So you

  • ask many men to tell you how they feel and they tell you how they think because they

  • don't understand the question. You see most of the women in room nodding, "That's true,

  • that's true. That's been my my experience." And most of the men sat there going, "What?

  • What's he talking about?" These are not the same phenomena. Thinking and feeling are not

  • the same thing. And feelings and emotions are not the same thing.

  • So if you want to change the result by changing the behavior, there are multiple levels...

  • and even if you got to grips with the emotion, it's still enough. There's something even

  • more fundamental. Down here in the basement of the human system is your physiology. So

  • the reason you get variance like Sergio did in his performance is there are multiple levels

  • that Sergio Garcia hasn't got control over. He's just concentrating on his technical putting

  • performance or the way that he drives the ball. And he hasn't got a grip of any of this

  • other stuff, even if he's telling himself and rehearsing mentally, "I'm a good golfer.

  • I'm a good golfer. I'm a good golfer." It's not enough because there's still three levels

  • that he hasn't got a grip of.

  • So if you want to be brilliant every single day, you've got to get a grip of every single

  • level. And that's how you crank out your A-game every single day. So let's just work from

  • the back to the top. So if we start with physiology, what is that? That is just simply streams

  • of data. That's all physiology is. It's data streams. So as I'm talking to you right now,

  • most of you are getting streams of data coming into your brain about what's going on in your

  • body. So some of you had the cupcake at the break, and you'll be getting a signal from

  • your gut saying, "Oh sugar. We got sugar." And it's coming into your brain telling your

  • brain what's going on in your gut. Some of you then are getting contractions around that

  • cupcake, so you've got pressure waves being created telling your brain about what's going

  • on in your gut.

  • So these are all just bits of physiology. These are just data streams. As some of you

  • might write or type, you've got joint position sense going up the nerve channels into your

  • brain telling your brain about where your fingers are. They're just bits of physiology.

  • So this is just streams of data, if you will. So what's an emotion? Well an emotion... if

  • you take all the streams of data, whether it's coming from your gut, or your joints,

  • or your heart, or your lungs... if you take the data from all the streams, all the bodily

  • systems, and it comes into your brain as electrical signals, electromagnetic signals, chemical

  • waves, pressure waves. Take all of those signals from all of those systems... that's what an

  • emotion is. It's simply energy, E, in motion. That's all an emotion is.

  • So we all have that, even us fellows. We've all got emotions. Every second of every day

  • there is an energetic state going through us. Because we're constantly digesting, we're

  • constantly breathing in and out, our heart's constantly beating. It's happening all the

  • time. So we've got energy in motion every single second of every single day. But we

  • may not all have feelings. Feelings are the awareness in our mind of that energy. And

  • that's where the problem is. The energy may be there, but we just don't feel it. So for

  • example, if you take a very common experience of most people... if we look at what is the

  • energetic signature, if you will, of something like anxiety? So what goes on physiologically

  • when we're in a state of anxiety? If we look at the heart rate, it's fast. The heart's

  • going, "boom - boom - boom - boom -- boom."

  • What else is happening? What's happening in the mouth? The mouth is dry. So you're talking

  • as though you've got co-- co-- wooly can't get the... that's happening. What's happening

  • in the palms of your hand? They're sweaty. What's happening in the gut? It's churning.

  • These are the specific physiological constituents of that thing that you would know as anxiety.

  • And I'll ask you, how did you feel? And you say, "Alright." So all that data is there.

  • You're just not feeling it. And if you're not feeling it, it's altering what you're

  • thinking and how well you're thinking it, which is changing what you're doing. But you

  • don't realize that because you feel all right.

  • You're not noticing any of that. You're just thinking what you're thinking and doing what

  • you're doing. So what we're saying is that the brilliance every day requires on you to

  • tune in to what's happening down here at the physiological and the emotional level, and

  • not only become aware of that but get control over it. Because most of you do not have the

  • control at that level. In fact, very few people have got control of any of this stuff on the

  • inside. Even when people have been highly trained on regulating their behavior... even

  • they haven't got that much control over this. So that's the source of your brilliance.

  • If you can get control of the whole thing, you can crank out your A-game every single

  • day. So how do you get control? Well first we're going to start with which bit of the

  • physiology, given that so many different signals, where are we going to start? Well we're going

  • to start with one specific signal, which is the electrical signal of your heart.

  • So your heart beats. So when your heart beats, "ping, ping, ping, ping." If you watch the

  • medical programs before it goes, "beep," which it always does, doesn't it? So the ping is...

  • the heart basically contracts and causes a spike of electricity. And you can measure

  • the distance between each heartbeat. And I don't know whether you know, but the distance

  • between each heartbeat varies over time. So if we look at your heart rate over time, we'll

  • see that your heart rate will vary up and down like that. And if you go to your doctor's,

  • he takes your pulse rate and he says your average is 70. But in taking the average,

  • he's ignoring all the variance. And it's the variance that really matters.

  • Taking the average, you lose all the critical data. That's like listening to Mozart and

  • saying the average is, "daaa." Was that Mozart or was it Pearl Jam? Okay, we don't know.

  • So it's the variance, or something that's called heart rate variability, that's key.

  • Heart rate variability is key for three reasons. Number one, it predicts your death. So if

  • I measure your variability for 24 hours, I can tell when you're going to die. So now

  • I have your attention. Alright. So we tell this to organizations. Do you know what? They

  • don't care. So we can't sell them on that. So the other reason is it predicts... if we

  • measure HRV for 24 hours, it can tell you how much energy you have got. Which is sort

  • of interesting to leaders, because leaders need lots of energy.

  • But the real reason that they buy and they're interested in this is because HRV alters brain

  • function. So when I put you under pressure, what actually happens to your HRV is it becomes

  • super chaotic. So basically, your brain receives a signal from your heart up the nerve channels,

  • which when under pressure becomes super chaos. The consequence of the super chaos is it shuts

  • off your frontal lobes and you have a DIY lobotomy. So under pressure, you lobotomize

  • yourself. It's as though you've suddenly taken the stupid pills and you've gone like that.

  • So I thought I'd just show that to you for a live demonstration. To show you how easy

  • it is to create chaos in your biology, whether you want to happen or not. So we need a willing

  • volunteer for this moment. So just to come and sit in the chair, and I'm going to show

  • you how to be brilliant by showing you your physiology. So we need a volunteer just to

  • come up, if you would. And all we're going to do is just put a little clip on your earlobe.

  • So thank you very much. Give him a round of applause, by way of encouragement. Thank you,

  • what's name?

  • Neil: Neil Nelson.

  • Speaker: So Neil is very kind. He has no idea what we're going to be doing to him, so this

  • is really very brave. So first of all, we're going to make sure Neil is alive. So is his

  • heart beating? So you can see that every time his heart contracts, it squirts blood up into

  • his ears and his ears go red. Between contractions, all the blood drains out and his ears go white.

  • So if you look at the person sitting next to you, you can actually see their ears flashing.

  • Red, white, red, white. Actually you can't see that, because your eyes aren't sensitive

  • enough. But what this little clip on Neil's ear can see, is we can see the change in color.

  • Here's red, here's white. Here's red, here's white. Here's red, here's white. So this is

  • a heartbeat. So good news now. You're alive, mate.

  • The heart's beating away. Boom - boom - boom - boom - boom -- boom. So the heart's beating.

  • And so what the software does, it measures the distance between each of those beats.

  • And based on the distance between this beat and this beat, it calculates its heart rate

  • and says its 76. And it calculates it again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

  • And you can see that his heart rate bobbling along about 75 beats per minute. So pretty

  • relaxed. Sat in a chair, your heart rate should be doing about 75 beats per minute. Okay,

  • so what we're going to do in a moment is put him under a little bit of pressure and see

  • how well he copes with that kind of pressure. Are you good under pressure, Neil?

  • Neil: I don't know yet.

  • Speaker: We don't know. Well we're just about to find that out, aren't we? So let's see

  • how well he does under pressure. So we haven't started yet, and already his heart rate is

  • creeping up to about 90. So he says, "What are we going to do here?" So we're going to

  • give you some mathematics. How good are you at mathematics?

  • Neil: Quite good.

  • Speaker: Oh he's quite good. This will be no trouble, right? So he thinks he's quite

  • good, but his heart rate's now... I'm good. I'm quite good. He's gone off the charts and

  • now he's settling back down. You can see there's a lot of chaos going through his system right

  • now. So even though, "I'm good at this," that is a natural physiological response to a challenge.

  • You put somebody under pressure, the physiology... whether he wants it to happen or not... You

  • see, he might look like he's in control. He is not. In fact, I am the puppet master. I'm

  • pulling his strings, whether he wants me to do that or not. So at the moment, there's

  • a bit of uncertainty.

  • The physiology is sort of settled around about 80. Slightly higher than it was before because

  • he doesn't know what's going to happen. So let's see how well his brain actually functions

  • under pressure. So let's see how good at that math he really was. So what you're going to

  • do is, you're going to count out loud backwards subtracting threes. I'm going to start you

  • off at a certain number. I want you to take away three and then give me the answer. Take

  • away three again, give me the answer. Take away another three, give me the answer. And

  • keep going, serial subtractions of threes without making a mistake. And if you make

  • a mistake it's 50 quid. Okay, so financial penalty for every error. Okay.

  • So is that alright with you? So no problem at all. We're going to count out loud backwards

  • subtracting three's, the mention of 50 quid look the heart rates crept up here to 120.