Discoveries, expertise, wisdom and mistakes

sent by Nick Grantham | 19th January 2021

"A tremendous amount of amazing discoveries were made by accident, not by plan."

Gary John Bishop

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In Gary John Bishop's book, Stop Doing That Sh*t, he tells the reader to "Try something, and if it doesn't work, try something else!". In 1988 I started work at Barclays Bank. I discovered a D in GSCE maths wasn't conducive to a career in financial services. In 1990 I switched to a job with Royal Sun Alliance. I found looking after people's pensions, and life assurance was dull! In 1994 I embarked on a sport science degree because I wanted to be a sport psychologist. By the end of the first semester, I figured being a physiologist was much more interesting. In 1998 I landed my first job as an exercise physiologist. After 12 months, the thought of taking blood lactates for the rest of my career filled me with dread. In 2001 I switched to become a strength and conditioning coach. BINGO! Wearing shorts and a t-shirt all day and coaching was the perfect fit. What's clear is that the path from Banker (insert your own've got such a dirty mind) to Strength and Conditioning Coach working in high-performance sport wasn't planned. It was a series of discoveries. Each step was a chance to realise what didn't fit and discover what it was I really enjoyed. We're told that we should have a plan for pretty much everything, but maybe there are times when we crack on and make some amazing discoveries that we didn't even know existed, rather than waiting for the perfect plan.

Source: Stop Doing That Sh*t by Gary John Bishop

"Yeh, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

The Dude

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Debates on social media have become pretty tiresome because most people on these platforms want to believe what they want to believe. As Tom Nichols says in his book, The Death of Expertise, "almost everything devolves into trench warfare, in which the most important goal is to establish that the other person is wrong." Unfortunately, not everyone is as laid back as "The Dude" when expressing their own confirmation bias, and it's not just the uninformed. Experts can be just as bad when it comes to social media battles! As highlighted in the Green Lights special FTW Newsletter, we need to stop thinking about right or wrong and start approaching a debate by trying to understand the other person's point of view.

Source: The Big Lebowski - The Dude

"You can be highly intelligent without wisdom."

Dr Marc Bubbs

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Acquiring intelligence (book smarts - knowledge, skills etc.) is, without doubt, an essential aspect of your development, but without wisdom (street smarts - experience, judgement etc.), you'll be leaving a lot on the table. Your ability to connect (empathise, motivate, communicate, resolve conflict) with athletes, coaches, and other support team members requires an equal measure of intelligence and wisdom.

Source: Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That Is Revolutionising Sports - Dr Marc Bubbs 

"To the really resilient learner, mistakes are friends, not foes."

Ric Charlesworth

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I spent a couple of years working with some of the best downhill mountain bike competitors in the world. They made mistakes. They crashed a lot. They probably crashed most days. They were, however, really resilient learners. They would learn from each and every one of those crashes to ensure that the next time they attacked a downhill run, they would select a better line, scrub off a little speed before entering a turn or send it a little harder over a gap jump. Mistakes were an opportunity to learn; they were their friends. It's easy to avoid stuff so that we don't make a mistake, but the mistakes are there to point us in the right direction, and if you embrace mistakes, you'll come out the other side as a resilient learner.

Source: Staying At The Top - Ric Charlesworth

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