Author Archives: MGrodski

Its Time to Get Out

Found this video in my Youtube suggested viewing feed of Daniel Mackler who was a US based psychotherapist explaining why he quit being a therapist. I highly recommend you watching at least the first few minutes, it may awaken you – as a patient – to the realities of what it is like to be a regulated health care practitioner and to the effects that these realities have on the health care you are provided.

Think about this…

This therapist who seems to have his moral compass pointed towards True North, who seems to have a high set of ethical standards, who seems to place his patients needs far above his own needs (including his own financial and personal needs to have a career that compensates him appropriately)… and this is a therapist who has removed themselves from the field of psychotherapy.

Which begs the question…

What sort of health practitioners are left in the system when you have therapists such as Daniel Mackler pulling out?

Now you may say that health care here in Canada is different.  As a regulated health professional I can assure you it is not.  In the past couple of decades the shift towards managing by spreadsheet has taken over… and revenues, profits, utilization rates, Rx per patient, everything is being managed in our health care system as if we were manufacturing widgets where the goal is optimize optimize optimize until the system is streamlined to the max.

Works when you are making widgets. This optimization does not work when you are dealing with human beings, because there are no two humans – even two humans with the same diagnosis – who are identical. There is a line between optimization operations when dealing with things, and when dealing with people… and in health care that line was crossed long ago.

This is why top health care practitioners are finding themselves unable to practice within the regulations, standards, and guidelines of the health care systems: because the demands of the system in many ways are now in complete conflict with the needs of patients.

Its not apparent at the top where decisions are made (e.g. by politicians, by Ministers of Health, by administrators of health care facilities or arms of the Ministry), but on the front lines it is… and that is where actual health care is delivered.  As much as politicians may want to believe that the government delivers health care it doesn’t… health care is not delivered on the level of a population, but on the level of the individual.. and that is what has been forgotten.


If we consider movement to be a language, then what is the alphabet, what are the words and phrases through which the language is communicated? How do we form words and phrases in order to ‘speak’ in the language of movement?

Wiki definition of kinesthetic learning:

Kinesthetic learning (American English), kinaesthetic learning (British English), or tactile learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.

In Howard Gardner’s Frames Of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner describes activities (such as dancing and performing surgery) as requiring great kinesthetic intelligence: using the body to create (or do) something.

Long long ago, children were allowed to be children, and being children, they took to learning, to progressing, to advancing, to being… children.  Without the dopamine triggering effect of device screens which radiate blue light, the only option was outside under the big blue sky. Children learned how to move because they played. There was a time when climbing trees was not prohibited, when scaling down ravines, wading through creeks and along river banks was not banned, back when children actually needed to be reminded to come home from being outside all day and playing. It was a time when children developed kinesthesia – the intelligence of movement – by playing in trees, in backyards of friends, on the street in games of 21, pick up, shiny, by riding bikes until the street lights came on serving to put everything on hold til the next day.

Legends of sport developed by taking play from a one-off experience to a purposeful daily pattern of practice… Wayne Gretzky, Rory McIlroy, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Chrissie Wellington, the Brownlee brothers, and so on.

In a tech obsessed world, where infants are baby-sat by the TV, toddlers by ipads, tweens and teens and adults by their smartphones, how will the language of kinesthesia be developed, let alone retained? It isn’t.  We are losing the ability to speak in the language of movement, and the rising toll is becoming clear (e.g. articles titled “sitting is the new smoking” reveal our growing awareness). We are losing our ability to move, we are losing a sense of ourselves, and the evidence is in the rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases.

Google definition of kinesthesia:

noun: kinaesthesia; noun: kinesthesia
  • awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body by means of sensory organs (proprioceptors) in the muscles and joints

Problem is that we take kinesthesia for granted. We accept that there is specific intelligence to math, to finance, to communication, but movement… there is a general assumption that the ability to move, let alone play a sport is more an issue of conditioning not an ignorance in movement.

A lack of conditioning, we can reconcile: having led a sedentary lifestyle, commuting for years, being a desk jockey at the office, and then again at home in front of a labtop or desktop, couch surfing, internet surfing, its easy to admit that we are out of shape. Admitting that we are ignorant in how to move, is just plain ridiculous. Who would admit that they do not know how to walk properly, run or bike efficiently? We can admit to being out of shape, to having a few extra pounds, to getting a little winded with a brisk jog for the GO train or subway or with a flight of stairs, but a lack of movement intelligence, no way! Our ego cannot take that sort of bruising.

So what happens?

One day after randomly standing on the scale and having to take a double look at the number, or after an annual check up with our doctor, or after a love one draws a line in the sand concerned about our health, or after a coworker (in better shape or younger) suffers a heart attack or stroke, we figure we need to get back into some sort of shape.

Then what?

If you follow the advice of the online health websites you have one of two options:

  • Join a gym and start doing a blend of cardio, weights, and classes (e.g. yoga, spinning), or
  • Pick an event (e.g. a 10k) and start to train for it.

See the issue?

There is nothing about gaining knowledge, increasing movement intelligence, its all about re-conditioning your body.

The assumption made, and the assumption perpetuated is that everyone is “kinesthetically intelligent” (i.e. knows how to move, and how to move well) and all that is missing is the physical effort to recondition the body. If that was indeed the case, then why do each of all of the online websites spend as much if not more web space on injury, injury prevention, recovery training, mobility aides, recovery nutrition, and so on?  If everyone is such a kinesthetic genius then why is there so much written about injuries, recovering from injury, over-training, burn out, illness, etc…?

If you were a varsity level athlete who had exposure to training, to cycles of returning to sport after an off season, building during the season, and preparing for competition, and then recovering in an off season, then the issue may be more of a lack of exercise, a conditioning issue but for how many does this apply? A small minority at most.

NOTE:  Dara Torres upon her return to swimming (the 1st time she was swimming competitively was in the ’90s) had to have her entire stroke reconstructed because she returned to the pool with the same stroke she swam as a teenager. Sounds obvious, but the point is… Dara Torres had to gain movement intelligence – kinesthesia – in order to return to competitive swim training. Dara went on to become the most decorated female Olympic swimmer… think about that (actually she is tied by Natalie Couglin).

Allow me to suggest an alternative…

If you do not have prior training or exercise experience then start simple. No bootcamps, no health club membership, no personal training, no fitness apparel shopping spree, nothing except you (and a loved one if available) heading out the front door for a walk. No devices, just you or the two of you. Take the time to hold hands, smell the air, enjoy the season. Make it a routine. It may start as a weekend routine, but I would encourage you to progress to it becoming a daily routine. Once you have re-accustomed your body to a daily routine of taking time to yourself, then you can start to really explore your potential.

When ready, I would encourage you to find a sport, not a device nor a machine.  Machines don’t teach you about your body, neither do fitness facilities, or health clubs. Find a sport, and find a coach who will start you at the beginning, with the ABCs of movement: agility, balance and coordination. Being able to bench press, snatch or run 5k is not where you need to start, you need to be able to bend, twist, reach, hop, jump and lunge quickly and with ease before you attempt anything complex. These are abilities and skills you need for life, and these are also the foundation for all complex movements such as running, swimming, cycling, and lifting… so why jump to the finish line when you have yet to cross the starting line properly?

If you make it a journey of discovery of your potential then you cannot be anything but enthusiastic.

If you make it a process of learning the language of movement – kinesthesia – you cannot get bored.

I’ve been swimming for as long as I can remember, and I am nowhere close to being bored of jumping in a pool. There is so much to master… how can anyone get bored with the complexity of technique of a Phelps, Dressel, Coughlin, Ledecky, Hosszú, or a Sjostrom?

Oh yeah… the reward.

You will develop a new language, kinesthesia, and with it you will not only start to enjoy your body, your body will start to reward you with freedom of movement, the ability to move quickly and easily, and then with speed, endurance, and power.

All the best in your journey.

Quantified vs Qualified Training

There is a plethora of gadgets, gizmos. and devices today which track everything and anything… heart rate, skin temperature, breathing volume, pace, GPS location, distance, speed, cadence, watts, calories, etc… etc…

This is quantified training; training which can be plotted on a graph, manipulated, compared and contrasted on a spreadsheet, uploaded to the internet.  Objective data provides outcome measures, but that is all that it provides.  It provides the what, but not the how, at least not when it comes to the quality of the movement, the ease with which power was generated, the calmness of the mind the athlete had available to them to meet challenges during the competition.

There is a problem with objective data, with a focus on outcome devoid of any other factor being relevant to deriving peak performance.  The ‘how’ fades to the background.  The ‘how’: the technique, the form, the posture, the mental and emotional state in which training is performed and the athlete competes becomes irrelevant, and with it the leveraging forces which take physical training from one level and elevate it to consistent peak performance are eliminated.

Watching age group and master athletes, listening to coaches today, the obsession with short term results, the compulsion to cause, force, strain, til an outcome is obtained reveals that we have taken sport too far into the scientific realm with all our metrics, and have forgotten that human movement in all its forms is equally art.

The Olympics, a World Championship event, any of the Tours in cycling or the Opens in Tennis display the gap, the widening gap between sports as performed by age groupers and masters, and those on the national and international level.  There are few if any athletes at the highest level which perform their sport with brute force, muscling, grinding their way to the podium.

Yet how many age group and master athletes and coaches train in a manner mirroring the desired outcome displayed on the international level?  No. Age groupers and masters seem bent on driving their bodies to deliver more power, more speed, greater endurance, but without any heed of how they move, the quality with which they move, whether their movement is fluid, and arises easily or whether it is constantly in a fight against inflexibility, stiffness, rigidity, both in body, in mind and in spirit.

Swinging entirely to the opposite end, where movement is entirely art is not the solution for sports either.  There are objective measures determining the level of performance in sport, so goals must meet these objective measures as well.

The solution is a balance between quantified training and quality training.

The problem which arises for most athletes is that quality training requires a coach, and not just any coach. It requires a competent and capable individual able to assess quality of human movement AND provide a solution appropriate to the skill level and capacity of the athlete; an individual with specific progressions from start to finish on how to modify and improve the quality of the athlete’s movement.

If you are searching for a higher level of performance, and quantified training has resulted in a seemingly inescapable plateau, then consider consulting or contracting a coach/health professional experienced in human physiology, biomechanics, and sport specific technique to evaluate your current level, with the goal of providing insight onto where and how your technique can be improved. You may be amazed at how much more there is to training than simply puking up data… splits, wattage, lap times, whatever.

On Doing No Harm

I highly encourage you to watch this video of UofT Psychology professor Jordan Peterson responding to an answer as to what advice he would give our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau…

Do no harm, or at least stop before introducing legislation, passing bills, before taking action hoping that harm will not result and actually consider the costs and consequences ahead of time… is the message.

Is this not the Hippocratic oath (or at least a variation) of the oath taken by medical doctors?

Indeed it is.

In fact it is the code of ethics that all health professionals are to abide by when interacting with patients… do not provide a therapy, or treatment, or ‘solution’ if the risk of harm is such that the value of the ‘solution’ compromises the overall or long term health of the individual.

Yet this is not what we do in practice, and it is not limited merely to politicians and health care professionals.  Today, it is do first, act immediately, for ‘doing nothing’ is considered worse than actually doing something even if it does result in harm, in the short or hopefully in the long term where the connection to the ‘solution’ is blurred by time.

In the fitness & sport industry its even worse… those posing as trainers, as coaches, as ‘fitness and wellness professionals’ dish out ‘solution’ after ‘solution’ without any understanding, any comprehension, any basis for being in a position to offer ‘solutions’. Having taken a weekend course all of a sudden they are proclaimed to be ‘professionals’ relating to all things health & wellness and are unleashed upon the public at health clubs, gyms and fitness centres proclaimed as ‘the’ individuals who will take you from fat to fit, from unwell to well… yet none of them even have a concept of what harm they are capable of doing.

This is what passes today for ‘solutions’ for our health & wellness.

Is should therefore be no surprise that our society has only become increasingly overweight, obese, anxious, depressed as it is taking advice from those who don’t have the slightest idea of what is health, what is wellness, nor of any harm that there ‘help’ results.

If you truly seek health and wellness, then it falls upon you to find an individual who is a true health & wellness professional. One who will stop and consider what harm is possible, what harm is likely, and the cost and consequences of the ‘solution’ before offering any advice.  One who has experimented on themselves first and has first found health and wellness before starting to experiment on everyone and anyone willing to subject themselves to their help.

The full video from which the above video is dervied:

Fitness vs Health

The problem is that we have equated fitness to mean health, and health to mean fitness, and neither is accurate nor true.

fitness-vs-healthFitness can be gained in a relatively short period of time.  The predominant research today in performance has nothing to do with health, its all about fitness. HIIT (Hi Intensity Interval Training) programs which are most heavily researched lead to quick gains, and in a society where yesterday is still too late, quick gains are a must.  Problem though is that fitness gains do not equate with gains in health. In fact the opposite is often the case… the results from intense training come at the cost of your health.  I ain’t making this up, the reverse J chart correlating cardio-vascular disease and training intensity has been shown to be both reliable and valid.  Therefore, athletes who suffer heart attacks, strokes, or die during competitions are not a genetic oops, but the outcome of an athlete straining to deliver a performance way beyond their capacity.

Put another way… you may be fit enough to finish a marathon, but not healthy enough to deal with the strain of the effort. Sounds paradoxical but it isn’t.

That’s the problem when two different metrics – fitness vs health – are confused and substituted for one another as if equal.

Unlike fitness, health cannot be gained or lost quickly. Why is it that despite not exercising for a decade (typically in the mid 20s for most) we do not suffer any real health setbacks or diseases? Because the health of our youth manages to hold on. We lose the health of our childhood over decades, not a weekend at Bernie’s.

Equally health takes a long time to regain once it has been spent. Yes, spent. Not keeping up proper sleep, proper eating, proper exercise over one, two or three decades depletes our health asset column. Once our balance sheet inverts and our health liabilities grow larger than our health assets, disease should be no surprise to anyone… you should predict and be able to predict that you will end up injured, chronically in pain, fatigued, or end up diagnosed with a disease simply because you no longer have the assets to keep your body operational.

Balance sheets are used to identify the ‘health’ of a company, well it ain’t any different for you and I.  If our life balance sheet is overleveraged, with a few our of assets depreciating to the point of becoming impotent, then why should it be any surprise that your health fails? There will be no foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings when it comes to health, there is simply impairment, then dysfunction, which leads to disease and finally death.

By our mid to late 30s, once our health asset column is coming close to our health liability column it starts… aches, pains, nagging niggles that won’t go away. So what do we do? We pop an anti-inflammatory, take a few pain killers, get a massage, an adjustment, tape over the injury, fill a prescription for a medication that will reduce our signs and symptoms. Because the signs and symptoms are managed, we interpret it that we are once again healthy, that our health asset column has been restored and off we go.  We sign up for an obstacle race, start to train for a half or full marathon, or take on the immensity of an iron distance triathlon. The fact that we are not cured nor healed of our aches and pains matters not, as we simply progress to stronger and stronger ointments, potions, pills, and treatments, to continue to manage our ills.

When we really start to breakdown, when medicine no longer has a cure for us… all of a sudden we wake up and realize that the years of neglect and then the years of leveraging the remaining health assets using a variety of health care instruments to prolong our denial of dwindling resources hits us like a 2 by 4 in the back of the head.

Is that what you are waiting for? A reality check from a hospital bed?

Do you need heart palpitations in your 40s, arrythmias and a pacemaker in your 50s, TIAs or a full blown stroke or early onset dementia in your 60s or will you wake up today?

For your sake, for the sake of your spouse, your kids, your family, your own life, I implore you to wake up! Stop buying what everyone is selling you desperately as a quick fix solution, and start to reinvest in your health, in you, in your vitality and your longevity.

The fitness craze is only that… a craze of protein powders, HIIT workouts, compression clothing and gym memberships designed to make you look healthy, but fail to actually make you healthy. If you want health, you have to pursue health, not fitness.

Health is a different form of fitness, its not tolerance, its capacity.

Working Out vs Training

Ever hear athletes complain how they took a few days off, or were sick for a few days, or went away on a vacation and didn’t get many workouts in and… how they lost fitness?

Ever hear athletes complain how they cannot let up, cannot rest or recover fully, because it feels like they are – literally – losing fitness with every passing idle moment?

This is the difference between working out and training.

To work out is to exercise muscle. Problem with exercising muscle, is that muscle is stupid.  It does not learn, it does not retain anything. But muscle is excellent at one thing: and that is responding to stress.  Stress muscle with strength workouts, and muscle responds almost immediately. They grow in size, increasing their physiological activity to be better at meeting the new level of demand. But muscle is a one trick pony… that’s all it does.  It only responds to stress, so when you stop stressing it, it remodels itself to the level of stress that it is experiencing.  Take a few days off, end up in bed because you are sick, and without any stimulation, muscle starts to remodel itself weaker as quickly as it remodeled itself stronger.

As the saying goes… “easy come… easy go”

To train is to exercise the brain. Training and working out are as different as muscle tissue is to brain tissue. Whereas working out is entirely focused on stressing muscle to cause it to respond in a manner which builds tissue, that approach does not work at all when you want to exercise the brain. Exercising the brain is best called: learning.

You can take time to learn to do anything… you can learn a language, you can learn to play the piano, you can learn to code, and end up writing a software program, and so on.  The great thing about learning is that you never un-learn anything.  If you stop learning the piano, yes you will get rusty, but with a bit of practice the skill level you had will return quickly.

As the saying goes… “its like learning to ride a bike… you will never forget”

Amateurs work out.

Pros train.

Thats the difference my friends, thats the entire difference. Pros do not have more hours than you in their day, they do not have access to ‘better’ anything, be it equipment, training facilities, or gear.  In fact, some of the top athletes in the world have come out of countries which have no training facilities or at best, broken down training facilities. The best of the best athletes often did not have access to sport nutrition products, sometimes not even a comprehensive healthy diet until they made their mark in sport and earned their first podium and paycheque.

So where’s the disconnect?

The disconnect is that Westerners spend more time watching media in all its forms to “learn” what it means to train, to exercise, to be healthy. Westerners form their narratives of what it means to be on trend by following influencers (who typically are not Olympians or World Champs in any sport), following headlines of magazines or sport websites, or what their tribe of friends defines health and well-being. Talk about the ignorant leading the masses!

In other parts of the world, poverty separates ignorance from reality.  East African children do not even concern themselves whether or not they are training, they simply run 3, 4 or 5 km to and from school, day after day, year after year.  South American and European children do not concern themselves with the aerodynamics of their equipment they simply ride up and down mountains whether it be to school, or for fun with friends. After years of swimming, throwing, jumping, hopping, skipping, running, cycling… these kids just “show up” on the international stage and clean house.

Why? How?

Once again we leave it up to the ignorant media with their equally ignorant experts to educate us… “its natural talent”.


10,000+ km of running before the typical rural East African child finishes high school and you are going to disrespect their years of training by denouncing their effort as simply a genetic gift!

Its bullshit, and those that repeat this bullshit are ignorant fools portrayed unfortunately by the equally ignorant media as ‘experts’ because they have a Ph-D in sport science or exercise physiology or some other degree which has prevented them from ever stepping out of the lab and coming into contact with reality (of training, not working out).


Dreitz & Lange

Its what happens when you are coached by a coach who fails to study and improve as a coach.

Its what happens when you are coached by a coach who doesn’t adhere to the same expectations that they place on their athletes… improve day in day out, progress everyday in some sense… be it physically, mentally, emotionally or all of the above.

If your coach relies on training philosophies from when they were an athlete, or are dependent on stealing race tactics and strategies from other coaches in order to have something to teach their own athletes then what can you possibly expect to always be coming in second?

If your coach is relying on last years playbook in coaching you to try and win this year… then you are both living in a fantasy.

Case in point…

In 2016 I wrote the blog titled “Is Sanders Stuck?” Undoubtedly Sanders is stuck based on his results in Kona in 2018, but that’s not the point. The point from that blog was about how fellow Canadian triathlete Kyle Jones trained with Simon Whitfield ahead of the 2012 London Olympics anticipating team tactics to come to play.  Kyle was to wait for Simon after the bike and since drafting is legal in triathlon in the Olympics, Kyle was to lead out Simon for as long as possible so that Simon remained as fresh as long as possible into the race.

In 2016, I asked… how long before team tactics come to iron distance triathlons, how long before team tactics come to Ironman World Champs?

I also asked whether in 2016 Kienle and Frodeno ‘worked together’ while on the run (perhaps not a premeditated cooperation, but cooperation nonetheless)? It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to ask whether two Germans would work together… why not. Kenyan runners do it all the time in international competitions to ensure that Kenyans stand on the podium.

Well, now we know the answer… it took no time at all because the moment the rules were rewritten, those who study the sport, those who truly seek to excel, to outperform, to win… saw the opportunity when it arose, seized it and won.

In 2012 at the London Olympics, an evolution in the sport of triathlon was demonstrated for all to see. Evidently few took notice – with the exception of Dreitz and Lange or their coach Faris Al-Sultan – as this year they introduced the world of iron distance triathlon to team tactics.

What happens when you are first with an idea? The ‘discussion’ starts with you being accused of cheating, bending or outright violating the rules. That’s what happens when you train and race using last years playbook, when you depend on a coach who doesn’t study the same way you as an athlete trains: when you are caught mid-race with your bib-shorts around your ankles.

Today – ignorantly – asks the question whether Andreas Dreitz and Patrick Lange “violated rule 2.02” (click to link to the article) as in, did they cooperate as teammates where Dreitz sacrificed his race in order to be Lange’s lead on the bike, with the intent of delivering Lange to the start of the marathon fresher than any competitor?

An aside… after this article, if I was Lange, Dreitz or Al-Sultan, I wouldn’t give a chance at an interview ever again.  Its simply rude to tear down an honest winner with an article written solely to steal limelight (especially when written as a smear campaign). is sensationalizing the issue because rule 2.02 was re-written BEFORE the Ironman World Champs this year, so there was no violation. Below is the rule as it was in 2015 and how it stands now and was prior to 2018 IM World Champs.

Rule 2.02 in 2015 (re: an athlete receiving Outside Assistance)

(a) An athlete may not subordinate his/her race ambitions solely for the benefit of another athletes race ambitions. The penalty for this will be disqualification of both athletes; (DSQ of both athletes).

Updated Rule 2.02 (in place prior to IM WC in Kona 2018)

Click here to download the IM competition rules

(a) Assistance provided by Race Referees or Race Officials (including official Event volunteers) is allowed, but such assistance is limited to providing drinks, nutrition, mechanical and medical assistance, and other necessary assistance (as may be approved by the Event Director or Head Referee).

(b) Athletes competing in the same Race may assist each other with incidental items such as, but not restricted to: nutrition and drinks after an aid station, pumps, tires, inner tubes, and puncture repair kits;

(c) Athletes may not provide any item of equipment to an athlete competing in the same Race if it results in the donor athlete being unable to continue with his/her own race. Such equipment includes but is not restricted to: shoes, complete bicycle, frame, wheels, and helmet. The penalty for this will be disqualification of both athletes; and

(d) Unless otherwise preapproved by the Event Director or Head Referee, no athlete shall intentionally cause the physical forward progress of another athlete on any part of the course during the Race. The penalty for this will be a disqualification. goes on to ask: “is Ironman turning a blind eye to team tactics?”

I suppose those who write for live under a rock, because apparently they have no idea that sport evolves and that is the responsibility of those ‘in’ the sport to stay up to date with rule changes, changes to the WADA list, etc.. Thank goodness is not in the business of coaching triathletes, as that would be downright embarassing… not to know that the rules of the sport have been rewritten, yikes! Actually, its equally embarrassing for a writer who claims to be know and write about all things triathlon not to be up to date on what is undoubtedly the biggest event in triathlon in the West.

Congratulations to Patrick Lange, World IM Champion who now is also proud owner of the Hawaiian Ironman course record going sub8 hrs for the first time in Hawaii.

Considering no-one picked him to repeat as World Champ in a survey, and with Holly Lawrence throwing him under the bus as a one and doner… his win is even sweeter.

Behaviour Patterns for Extreme Success

26 May 2015
By: Robert Frank
Published at

3 secrets to the billionaire personality

There is no formula for becoming a billionaire. To paraphrase Tolstoy, each billionaire is a billionaire in his or her own way.

Yet a growing body of statistical and qualitative surveys provide some common patterns among billionaires that offer clues into the “billionaire personality” and what it takes to make extreme wealth. The latest comes from UBS, which released its UBS/PwC 2015 Billionaire Report on Tuesday.

UBS and PwC researched 1,300 of the world’s billionaires through surveys, case studies and academic research, and interviewed 30 of them to find common personality traits.


The report said there are three personality traits that are “essential” for entrepreneurial success and reaching a 10-figure fortune.

  1. Smart Risk Taking
  2. Instinct for asymmetrical opportunities
  3. Recovery from failure

Read the full story here.


Isn’t it interesting how this article could have been written about peak performance in sport. Smart risk taking is required in every competition: from planning pre-race a strategy to address the strengths of competitors and opportunities to take advantage of their weaknesses, to real-time decision making during the competition in response to a surge, an attack, or from the fatigue visible in the body and face of a rival?

Fascinating isn’t it that if recovering from failure is key, that failing is therefore expected, that a straight line from start to finish without obstacles, setbacks, or mishaps is not the expectation. The exact opposite is expected – failure – but that that is not an end point, merely a new starting line offering the opportunity to recover and be smarter.

Athletes are entrepreneurs and like business entrepreneurs mindset is critical to success.  As in business, the venture of athletic competition is to engage within a marketplace (i.e. a competition), against competitors (no different than in business), and using training (i.e. a business plan) to execute a strategy while maneuvering around failures, and responding to attacks from competitors.

Extreme success requires extremes in personality.

To be epic you must explore your potential to the nth degree.

Talent: Real or Illusion [2]

The truth…

Adults who could not and still cannot commit to anything, who have failed to dedicate themselves to stick to something, anything, through the rough times, through the challenging times, adults who because they couldn’t motivate themselves to pursue their goals with abandon… become sports commentators who spend their lives trying to convince the world (but mostly themselves) that no one, especially and most definitely no 6, 7 or 8 year old could develop laser-like focus to start and to stick with a sport (or a performing art, or an instrument) and train hours and hours and hours, month after month, year after year to end up at the Olympics, Worlds, at international level competition.

To validate their failure, these adults diminish and disrespect the work that these athletes (and the sacrifices and equal commitment that their parents put in) by spewing bullshit that the athletes we admire were “born that way”, are “naturally gifted/talented”… that at birth by magic wand they were bestowed with uncanny athletic ability.

The alternative is unsavory, unpalatable, unacceptable… accepting that these athletes succeeded where these adults failed. Those athletes, those children could not have persevered, they could not have possibly stuck through the rough and challenging times… they could not have. Rationalized as: since I didn’t, then no one else could possibly.

Or could they?

Or did they?

Guess what…

They could.

They did.

Sorry to burst the bubble but Lady Gaga was wrong… they weren’t “born that way”.

That you as an adult still fail to have the guts and courage to honestly self assess, to truly look into the mirror and appreciate that you too are capable of more, but… you gave up, you still give up, you quit, you refuse to believe long enough to stick long enough to see the fruits of your labour.

This post is not for those adults because they will dismiss that there ever was an alternative to quitting, just as they have for decades.

This post is for all those dreamers, children who are dreaming about representing their country, children who dream of walking into an Olympic stadium, children who dream of excelling at a sport to the point that they are able to stand on a podium… your potential is not determined at birth by magic wand, by hocus-pocus, the heights you can climb are not a result of natural talent… its determined by the consistency and mindfulness of the work you put in hour after hour, month after month, year after year.

A note to all adults…

Just because you cannot motivate yourself to go to the gym, just because you are an adult and believe that somehow are superior to youth… let it be known… there are children up at 5am and 6am going to the gym to train for 1-2 hrs before school, and then after school return to the gym to train for another 1-2hrs before its home for dinner, homework and bed. There are children who are literally kicking your ass at life (even if they don’t drive a Benz or B-Mrrr… yet).

It is blatant disrespect to diminish their effort as “born that way”. Let’s see you wake up at 4:30am to be in the gym, on the field, the track, the pool by 5am and put in consistent training for YEARS and see how you like having your dedication dumbed down to “talented from birth”.

Just because you flop on the couch at the end of the day and stuff yourself with crap and drink yourself stupid… doesn’t mean that the rest of the world lives that way, believes that that is all there is to life.

I’m tired of hearing and watching adults stomp, kick, and browbeat dreams and goals out of children. If you are one of those adults… wake up… and consider what you are saying and who may be hearing it, who may be listening and watching you. If you are one of those adults… consider if you were one of those athletes who dedicated a lifetime to a singular focus, how would you feel having your life diminished to getting lucky, to being privilege, to hocus-pocus.

Talent: Real or Illusion

One phrase I heard over and over during the Rio Olympics from sports commentators to explain the speed, the power, the endurance displayed by an athlete was “talent”, namely that an athlete’s “natural talents” explains their abilities and their success. Repeatedly, the term talent was used to imply that the capabilities of athletes are not obtained through training, but by random acts of the universe bestowing upon athletes the ability to win, effectively choosing who wins, who loses.

The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus.
Bruce Lee

If Bruce Lee was serious, then that means he could not have believed that he was born a martial art grandmaster, that he was born “talented”. Instead, he would have had to believe that he decided to become a grandmaster, that he started out average but with a laser-like focus became un-average. In so doing – because many do not believe that his level of ability could be learned through training – Bruce Lee became a “natural talent” in the martial arts instead of being respected as a student with the unnatural desire.

According to Bruce Lee’s perspective, anyone, absolutely anyone and everyone is capable of becoming a successful warrior. It is for us to decide, to train, to train to change, to become.

Herein lies the problem…

If the decision is mine to succeed or not succeed, and if I have not succeeded, then what does that say about me? It would suggest that I have failed to decide to succeed, or worse, have decided not to succeed. Who wants to be looked upon as having decided to fail in life? Who would accept that they have decided not to succeed? No one. At least, I hope no one.

So we have a decision to make: either deny that the decision is indeed in our hands and develop a narrative to explain away the success of others, or decide that there is no such thing as “natural talent” and agree that success is a decision, a burn-the-boats decision, but a decision which is fully within our scope. With the polarity distasteful, the reality that the results we have are the results we decided to have, the alternative is to create a compromise which gives us an escape for giving a half ass effort, allowing us to put on a display of having tried, but failing in our attempt to ensure that we get a good at-a-boy pat on the pack.

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this:
You haven’t.”  Thomas Edison

Instead of challenging our narratives, confronting ourselves honestly on our decision not to succeed, we defer to a half truth (i.e. a full lie)… we agree that training is necessary for success, but we disagree to the extent that training leads to success. Hence the ideal escape clause is created. Having earned our at-a-boy pat on the pack for giving it a good ole try at success, we decide to believe that there is an element of “talent” required in order to truly succeed.

I do not believe in talent.

I do believe in generational momentum which can set an expectation of success, but like Bruce Lee, I believe that laser-like discipline, dedication, commitment and focus are the pivot points.

I believe that what is called talent is nothing more than countless repetitions performed in training day after day, month after month, year after year, with abounding enthusiasm, eagerness, and focused energy.

The problem for many though is that this explanation is far too simple.  Success cannot be that simple, because if it was… the assumption goes…  we would all be “successful”.

Simplicity is no guarantee nor indicator of ease.

We prefer complex explanations.  We want DNA samples, a thorough analysis of our genes, a comparison of power to body weight, arm length to torso ratio, lung volume, max heart rate, lactate threshold, and VO2 values in order to identify who can be an athlete, who should be an athlete, and who shouldn’t. Meanwhile, 2x Tour de France winner Chris Froome’s simultaneously high VO2 and high lactate threshold (i.e. high aerobic efficiency) confounds exercise physiologists as their theories preclude both in the same athlete. Yet instead of tossing out theories that do not reflect observation, we are bent on retaining theories bending observations to fit our theories. The result is that we learn nothing, and prove nothing in the process, in fact it can be argued that we dumb down science by doing so, and dumb our own understanding of our potential.

What I have found reading and studying the lives of consistent peak performers that Bruce Lee is right: we are all born average, with the equal right to become un-average.

Consider a pattern found amongst top track and field athletes, specifically runners:

  1. David Rudisha – 2x African, World and Olympic Champion in the 800m, David Rudisha is a Masai tribesman whose culture involves repeating hopping, bouncing, and jumping as part of ritual dances.
  2. Jackie Joyner Kersee – is ranked amongst the greatest female athletes as a result of her athletic career as a heptathlete and long jumper which spanned 4 Olympics, yielded 6 medals of which 3 were gold, plus another 4 gold medals at Worlds because as a child she jumped from the porch of her house for hours daily. Why? Because it was fun. To see if she could jump farther than yesterday.
  3. Andre De Grasse – is a rising Canadian track sprinter, who won Olympic bronze in the 100m, and silver in the 200m at the Rio Games, played basketball in high school, entering the sport of track and field by racing a 100m sprint in basketball shorts and shoes on a dare from a friend, only to clock 10.9secs and catch the attention of a developmental track coach.

Now consider the number of sprinters who excelled as long jumpers:

  • Carl Lewis won Olympic medals in the 100m, 200m and long jump between ’84 and ’96
  • Tianna Bartoletta doubled in the 100m and the long jump in Rio
  • Tori Bowie won one of each medal in Rio across the 100m, 200m and 4×100 and in college competed equally in the long jump
  • Florence Griffith Joyner’s 100m record of 10.49secs still stands today, even after the Rio Olympics.  She too started her track and field career as a sprinter and long jumper.

To the masses who want to believe that success is complex, suggesting that the repetition of simple activities like hopping, skipping, bouncing, or jumping has anything to do with becoming an Olympian is laughable.

To suggest that simple childhood activities are the basis for Olympic performance would relegate science to the backseat, placing play, fun, and games on the front seat simultaneously destroying the ego of exercise physiologists, biomechanists, sport psychologists, and coaches who have taken to believing that it is their expertise alone which transforms shapeless clay into a world champion.

To all those who believe like Bruce Lee, that success is a decision, that success is the result of laser like focus, that success is the byproduct of simple day-in day-out repetition with unending enthusiasm, then this pattern should motivate you.

Success is tangible, real, and is available to anyone who decides to be successful. Best of all… it says that the journey to success can be fun, provided you make it fun by hopping, skipping and jumping all the way.