Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

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Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

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One is learning to sit with the pain, instead of pushing through it. That way you’re not giving it power. Because our brain is designed to protect us, it says, “Oh, you’re going to resist, that must mean we must actually be in danger, so I’m going to up the ante so that you actually listen to me.” Train your brain to sit with it, and respond instead of react. Another strategy is using your attention to create some space, so that you can deal with [whatever comes up]. World-class athletes are experts at this, they can zoom into a problem or zoom all the way out. They can flip the switch, put their head down and turn into Michael Jordan in the clutch. At the same time, world-class marathoners have to run for two hours so they zone out for a while until it actually matters, then they flip the switch. In the fourth chapter, Magness focuses on the power of persistence and why it is essential for success. He explains that persistence is the ability to keep pushing forward even when things get tough and that it is a key component of resilience. Magness provides strategies for developing persistence and encourages readers to set goals and create a plan for achieving them. Chapter 5: The Importance of Mental Health

From beloved performance expert, executive coach, and coauthor of Peak Performance Steve Magness comes a radical rethinking of how we perceive toughness and what it means to achieve our high ambitions in the face of hard things. Toughness has long been held as the key to overcoming a challenge and achieving greatness, whether it is on the sports field, at a boardroom, or at the dining room table. Yet, the prevailing model has promoted a mentality based on fear, false bravado, and hiding any sign of weakness. In other words, the old model of toughness has failed us. Steve Magness, a performance scientist who coaches Olympic athletes, rebuilds our broken model of resilience with one grounded in the latest science and psychology. In Do Hard Things, Magness teaches us how we can work with our body – how experiencing discomfort, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action can be the true indications of cultivating inner strength. He offers four core pillars to cultivate such resilience: Pillar 1- Ditch the Facade, Embrace RealityPillar 2- Listen to Your BodyPillar 3- Respond, Instead of React Pillar 4- Transcend Discomfort Smart and wise all at once, Magness flips the script on what it means to be resilient. Drawing from mindfulness, military case studies, sports psychology, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, he provides a roadmap for navigating life’s challenges and achieving high performance that makes us happier, more successful, and, ultimately, better people. Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness by Steve Magness – eBook Details

He currently lives in Houston, Tx with his wife Hillary. Once upon a time, he ran a mile in 4:01 in high school, at the time the 6th fastest high school mile in US history. According to the old-school definition, it’s “tough” to ignore your feelings and emotions. But actually, when you ignore your feelings, you’re wasting a huge opportunity to become more resilient. Think of emotions as the brain’s first line of defense. They’re giving you a signal that something is up. And the better you’re able to sit with and listen to your emotions, the tougher you’ll become. Old school toughness is all about projecting a facade – creating an image of toughness that depends on overstating your endurance levels and capabilities. The problem? It’s demotivating when our expectations don’t match up, at least partly, with reality. So if you’ve said that learning Icelandic will take you six months max, but it’s six months in and you’re still struggling with basic grammar, you’re likely to give up. And giving up isn’t exactly “tough,” is it?

If you are interested in learning more about this book and how it can help you develop resilience in your personal and professional life, read this article for more information and resources on performance science and coaching. Do Hard Things (2022) explodes mythologies around the popular conception of toughness. It shows how traditional markers of toughness, like putting on a brave face and pushing past pain, can actually hinder physical and mental performance outcomes in the long term. Instead, real resilience comes from listening to your body and embracing your emotions. Humans have three psychological needs: autonomy, competency, and belonging. If you can cultivate a feeling of autonomy, competency, and belonging during a difficult endeavor, you will dramatically increase your odds of finishing that endeavor. Even when you feel completely exhausted and at the point of collapse, you can keep going. Your brain has a vested interest in keeping you alive and healthy – it wouldn’t let you keep going until you had literally zero percent left to give. But some of us can deplete our tanks far further than others, taking them almost to empty. The reasons for this are a strong sense of motivation and drive.

Steve Magness, a performance scientist who coaches Olympic athletes, rebuilds our broken model of resilience with one grounded in the latest science and psychology. In Do Hard Things, Magness teaches us how we can work with our body – how experiencing discomfort, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action can be the true indications of cultivating inner strength. He offers four core pillars to cultivate such resilience:

When you think of the word “tough,” who do you picture? Many people might think of a John-Wayne-type: someone who suffers silently, stoically ignores pain, and wouldn’t be caught dead talking about their feelings. But this popular image of toughness is deeply flawed. In fact, science and psychology find that stereotypically tough behaviors such as these are counterproductive to cultivating lasting resilience. It’s about time we redefined toughness! Here is a three-part method to reliably return your amygdala to baseline and maintain a state of equanimity (evenness and composure in stressful situations): His writing has appeared in Outside, Runner's World, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, Men's Health, and a variety of other outlets. In addition, Steve's expertise on elite sport and performance has been featured in The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Business Insider, and ESPN The Magazine.Four key behaviors form the foundation of real resilience. Each of the next chapters will guide you through one of these behaviors. Let’s start with the first behavior. Toughness isn’t about projecting confidence; it’s about uncovering authenticity. In other words, to be tough, you need to ditch the facade. Magness has served as a consultant on mental skills development for professional sports teams, including some of the top teams in the NBA. He has also coached numerous professional athletes to the Olympics and world championship level. He has coached seven athletes to top Top-15 finishes at a World Championship, twelve athletes to births on the World Championship or Olympic teams, and guided more than twenty-five Olympic Trials Qualifiers. He helped guide Roberta Groner, a forty-one-year-old full-time nurse, to 6th place in the marathon at the 2019 World Championships. In Do Hard Things, Steve Magness dismantles the widely endorsed but damaging suggestion that toughness is about bulldozing your way through difficult situations. Magness' version of toughness—"real toughness"—is more nuanced, forgiving, flexible, and learnable. Real toughness means processing stressors thoughtfully, deliberately, and with vulnerability, rather than superficially and rigidly. Do Hard Things changed how I think about stoicism and strength, both on the sports field and more broadly, and I can't recommend it highly enough" Here, the best example in history is Abraham Lincoln. He was a hyper realist, almost tragic in the here and now. He was always worried about what was going on in the war and if you had the right general, and thought it was doom and gloom in the here and now. But he was incredibly hopeful for the future. In the mid-1800s, he’s sitting here thinking there could be a world without slavery, which is just an incredibly hopeful thought. All along the way, he’s giving speeches saying that once we get through this scourge of war, it’ll be okay, essentially. There’s this incredible hope, and almost, some might argue, delusion for the future. I’m not telling people not to have big dreams and goals. Hold them in the distance as motivators and north stars that point you towards, hey, this is possible, this is what I’m shooting for. But in the here and now, in the present, you have to be realistic. What am I capable of? Where am I at in my company? That combination or balance is probably the best when we’re looking at performance.

A lot of the book is also about being real with ourselves. But a lot of people have delusional goals and then they go out and make them happen. How do we balance our grandest, craziest ambitions with knowing where our limits are and what we’re actually capable of? Steve Magness is one of the giants of modern thinking about high performance across domains, blending a broad knowledge of cutting-edge psychology with hard-earned practical experience from the world-class athletes and other experts he coaches. In his new book, he takes on an age-old question—who triumphs, and why, when the going gets tough?—and reveals that many of our cherished instincts and assumptions are wrong. A crucial read for anyone who cares about delivering their best when the stakes are highest. Alex Hutchinson Steve Magness possesses an incredible range of wisdom and knowledge about the science, psychology and practical sides of sport performance. Do Hard Things is a master class in how to develop resilience, persistence and confidence under pressure. Christie Aschwanden Every day, the crewman – whose name was Steven Callahan – begged the captain to give him more than his ration of water. Every day, the captain held firm. Thanks to the captain, Steven Callahan survived the ordeal. And the captain? Well, he survived too. Because he was also Steven Callahan.Steve Magnessis a world-renowned expert on performance. He is the author of the new book Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and The Surprising Science of Real Toughness. He is the coauthor of Peak Performance. The Passion Paradox, and the author of The Science of Running. Collectively his books have sold more than half a million copies in print, ebook, and audio formats.



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