Episode Synopsis:

A jam packed episode full of great advice to achieve success from Jamil Qureshi, a performance coach and psychologist of some of the top professionals of the world. He discusses the importance of taking breaks for motivation, working on your strengths not weaknesses, and finding the right environment to be yourself, in order to reach your maximum potential. And some very important parenting advice to get the best out of your children.

He believes everyone can perform better as long as they cultivate a mindset for success. To behave differently, to think differently. The conversation dived right into the deep-end with the current talk of the world right now, the England football team. The pressure on the 3 young players who unfortunately missed the penalties have caused a major uproar of racial abuse. Consistency of mind gives you consistency of play Jamil says. He believes pressure is all relative and these boys are exposed to such pressure regularly. They’ve grown into the notion of pressure from a very young age. The key idea is to focus on the execution of the task and not the outcome. Jamil says racism isn’t about football, but rather about society and people. It’s a little like putty, if you squeeze it all, it will come out in another area. So banning the racists from social media doesn’t solve the problem. Because they’re still going to behave racist in other places. The idea is to appreciate diversity through better narratives of how we are better together. At the end of the day, if the players have been picked as a national team of 11 out of the millions of people who play football in England, it should quantify how good they are; and this is not necessarily determined on the strength of one penalty.

The highest performers Jamil works with, be it astronauts, professional footballers, fighter pilots, formula one drivers, they all take really long breaks and build recovery into their schedule. The paradox is to take more time out in order to get more work done. But as a business person, we aim to try get more done in less time. This doesn’t allow us to create better levels of self awareness or better levels of personal introspection. All for the greater good to create better opportunities. Jamil, who actively looks for constructive criticism to develop his growth, says the key is not to stop the crisiticm from stinging but rather use it for betterment. It may still hurt but it’s what we get out of it. Obstacles don’t obstruct, they instruct. So whatever rejection you get and however you get it, is not there to inhibit you but rather an opportunity to be better. You can fail but it doesn’t make you a failure. Perspective is key! A sustainable and competitive advantage is to learn faster and better than your competitors. We can’t do that unless we put ourselves out there and receive feedback and use it to adapt to a better version of ourselves.

Faisal asks Jamil how important it is to understand yourself first before you even begin to think about how to grow? Jamil replies that the best way to move forward is to know which way you’re facing. We don’t need to go deep into the roots of our foundation as children, and the thoughts behind our actions; because actually your past doesn’t equal your future unless you allow it to. He has worked with people first hand who became number one in the world, he found the common thing in all of them is to have good self awareness and personal introspection. The thing they worked on to enable them to be better, was something they were already good at. Turn the volume up on your strengths rather than trying to work on your weaknesses.

There are three factors that Jamil advises us to think about when making decision. Firstly – all decisions are investment decisions. We invest something every time we choose one thing over the other. Even if it’s the choice between tea or coffee. We invest in how happy or sad things will make us. The return is what we’re most interested in. Secondly – once we’ve made a decision commitment is key. Procrastinating by thinking one decision is good and the other is bad is completely the wrong approach. Neither decision is good or bad, it is what you make of it. Being in the moment is also part of that key. Enjoy life by the bull to fully get the most of the choices you make. And thirdly, just get the chips and the rice and dip into both – why not, hey?

Faisal wanted to know if the relation between feeling motivated and cultivating a mindset over a lifetime, and how does one make sure they fall into the latter category? Jamil responds that motivation does dip. Especially in current situations where we’re working from home and we cannot rely on people to lift our spirits. He tells us that we need to ask ourselves, given how you’re feeling at the moment, what would be the next best thing to do? Do the easy tasks when you’re less motivated and tackle the trickier ones when your motivation is high. So instead of managing your time, you’re managing your energy. Targets and objectives will make you successful. But your purpose, your reason for being, is attained on a daily basis rather than being achieved. This is why the most successful people out there keep working. The end is never achieved.

The balance of understanding you’re great but learning to approach it with humility is probably the nature of one’s character. But it can also be learnt by being part of the team. Understanding that success doesn’t happen in isolation. The success of yourself is dependant on the success of the team. Talent is not enough by itself. It’s great, but the ability to use that talent in the right context, for example in a team, is the real brilliance.

Jamil views success as self expression. Being a good colleague, leader, and entrepreneur is not about seeking to impress. It’s about seeking to express and to be ourselves in the workplace. To bring your weekend self is very important. But not a lot of people are allowed to, due to the environment of their work. But the world will actually reward you for being yourself. If you were to feel motivated on one day and not so much on the next day, that’s who you are. The important thing is to find the environment you flourish in.

Faisal ended the conversation off with a very good question. He wanted to know what are the ways parents can enhance their children from an early age to have a high performance mindset. Jamil mentions the first thing is that it’s really important to praise the activity not the outcome. So when your child draws a great picture, make sure you credit the effort by noticing they worked really hard and they’re very creative. So you’re praising the activity not the result. And secondly, be careful of comparisons. We become more critical as the child grows. So instead, celebrate the individual and not look at comparatives. Success is relative to the individual. And once they’re self aware of what they’re good at, they’ll grow with that.