Tarek Kareem Harris – Toolkits for Exceptional People #1

Tarek Kareem Harris
AI: Summary © The CEO of a performance coaching program discusses the importance of self-awareness in managing behavior and finding ways to enhance performance. They stress the benefits of self-awareness for personal success, reducing mistakes, and improving one's life. The importance of differentiation and standing out in a business system is emphasized, and the speakers suggest reducing probability of mistakes through tools and finding ways to help individuals create their own tools. The speakers also emphasize the power of biological factors and psychological priming, and the importance of understanding words and emotions to improve decision-making and accuracy in the field.
AI: Transcript ©
00:00:00 --> 00:00:24

Well, good morning or good afternoon or good evening, depending on which part of the world you're in. I can see we've got many participants from a number of time zones today. And I'm really grateful for your time and attention. And all who regardless to see Chicago, little cluster from the East Coast, just using the Geo Map locator thing. That must be you folks over at Harvard.

00:00:26 --> 00:00:37

Oxford, of course, where we're based London, few Londoners Germany, Iceland, one in Iceland, Estonia. Oh, that's you young. Thank you.

00:00:39 --> 00:00:59

And a few guys over in Bangalore Hello, now. Oh, and one in Canberra. Okay, so, look, I'm excited to be here. And I'm really grateful that you guys have shown up by invitation. And I am glad that you brought people who you thought would be interested. And this is really an information session,

00:01:00 --> 00:01:44

showing you if you'd like the state of the art of where we are with performance and neuro psychiatry, what I've been doing both voluntarily and commercially for the last few years, and to celebrate the launch of our latest thing that we're going to be offering to private clients now, outside of tech and outside of firms, which is the exceptional program. And that's really a question of, well, can we improve someone's decisions? And by that, I mean, can we get in at the cognitive and emotional level and improve the way someone thinks and acts, which is upstream of everything upstream of investments, finances, behavior, habits, friendships, relationships, all of it?

00:01:45 --> 00:02:15

And it's quite a big ask, but let's try and answer that question. I grant you it's quite a bold one. But let's, let's see how far we've got. And I hope you'll be suitably impressed by what we've learned and equally excited to support us in what we've got to learn yet. So let me introduce myself first, to those of you who don't know me that well, my name is Dr. TK Harris. I'm originally from the UK.

00:02:17 --> 00:03:05

But I grew up in Africa for a time and I studied medicine, and then business in Oxford, and practice medicine, as a consultant neuro psychiatrist for many years in the UK, and then branched off through the business connection into performance coaching and commercial coaching, helping lots of spin out companies and some some of the bigger tech firms around Oxford in the orbital, including some work with Formula One with you guys have written McKinsey finance firms and what have you. And the last few years, I've kind of tied that with my voluntary work, which sees me back in Africa most of the time, helping people who can't access good mental health to access it, and I write books, and create

00:03:05 --> 00:03:17

free media to that effect. But I've come back, if you like to where I started. And my latest book is about my performance coaching, performance consulting,

00:03:18 --> 00:03:24

discoveries and techniques, which I hope to share with you today. So

00:03:26 --> 00:03:28

yeah, where should we start? Okay. All

00:03:30 --> 00:03:44

right. Let's start by asking the question. And the reason why I'm think we should ask questions, because we do this interactively. Right. Today, I'm presenting to you and I need you to guide yourself

00:03:45 --> 00:04:28

as to what this presentation might do for you. And one thing we learned from people who fought perform exceptionally is that they know how to manage or concentrate their attention. And what's interesting is some of them know they're doing it, some of them don't. But the effect is the same consciously or unconsciously, they managed to hijack their attention, rather than let it hijack them. And they do so best when they seem to have a quest and urgent quest to answer some kind of vital question. And what's interesting is, if there isn't a question for them, they seem to make one and they feel that need to answer it, and that seems to pursue or enhance their efforts in their

00:04:28 --> 00:04:59

performance. So there's two questions which I think you can use to hack this presentation. Right? First of all, can your decision making processes be made to be far more apt? Accurate, consistent, efficient and robust? And that's to do with thinking your behavior, your emotions, your appraisals, your communication with others? And secondly, how would you use such a thing and where would you use it? What grabbed you as

00:05:00 --> 00:05:31

A place where you could really benefit from such things. Could it improve life in a real sense, rather than just in a laboratory somewhere? Could it make you wealthier? Could it improve your relationships? Could it improve your specific performance measures in things like sport and finance? Could it improve friendships? And can it even address the sort of lofty things like can it improve character, kind of give a person purpose in life? So in order to answer this, let's, let's break it down a little bit. And the first thing we need to look at is self awareness.

00:05:32 --> 00:06:06

To be able to work on your own mind, you're better off knowing what's already in it, how it works, in particular, your own cognitive styles, your own biases, your own strengths, and so on. This is why self awareness is so important. It's quoted by leaders as the most important personal quality that they need. What am I capable of? What do people see in me? What effect do I have on my environment, the people around me, my health, my business, my friends, and so on? And how do those things affect me?

00:06:08 --> 00:06:49

What's interesting is that most people's perceived Self knowledge is very poor, CEOs and high net worth individuals have among the highest disparity between their self perceived self awareness, and their actual self awareness measured when you check the difference between how they perceive themselves versus how others perceive them, when they're asked privately. Most people have no idea where they might really thrive, which never mattered very much in conformist societies in the 20th century. But it's actually the main key to success in the 21st century. It's all about your niche. It's about how you differentiate, and it's about how you can stand out. So this leaves us with a

00:06:49 --> 00:07:03

great learning need with which institutional education has not really caught up. Many investors fail to realize it, you're doomed to make the same mistakes as everyone else. And you're doomed to follow the herd, if you use what you're taught.

00:07:05 --> 00:07:53

That's not to say everything you're told is wrong. But it all it does mean that you need to focus on the things that make you stand out. There's a book by another chap, who was at Oxford is a fellow there, his name is Nassim Taleb and he wrote a book called anti fragile. And that's all about how true strength is in how a system like your decision system or natural system can individuate its decisions. It's something which actually nature gave us and it's closer to the natural state of affairs anyway, because nature doesn't just remain resistant to assault or trauma, nature actually gets stronger by being assaulted, traumatized and attacked. And these are strong words, but I really

00:07:53 --> 00:08:25

do mean them. Because as we will see a bit later, we have to understand the nature of difficulty if we're going to become our strongest or most refined selves. So would you like to start thinking and acting in a way that gives you the presence and confidence in your abilities that's only seen in those who are perceived as thought leaders, to follow a thought leader means you're immediately a thought follower, which is kind of literally the opposite of what you should do as a successful differentiated investor or sports person or competitor.

00:08:27 --> 00:08:57

So would you like to think and act and behave in a way that reduces your error rate. And that's kind of what we're, that's what we're talking about you to make decisions that are more thoroughly resolved, more likely to be correct. And to have a better longevity. Can we make less mistakes, and I'm talking about making four times fewer mistakes. When you put the research down on the improvement of decisions using these methods, you make 75% less mistakes, which is four times three of mistakes, make one quarter of the mistakes you're used to.

00:09:00 --> 00:09:28

And those are upstream from everything else in what you choose to do, what you choose to pay attention to what information you use to make decisions. Can you see why that sort of stuff is really important because it leads to your appraisal and decisions and actions and everything else? So let's ask that second question. What would this improved decision consistency and correctness do for you in terms of your life? Where would you use it

00:09:29 --> 00:09:59

depends where you prioritize and where you want to grow and where your strengths are. But some people might want to use it in wealth to increase their passive or active income. Others want to use it in their relationships to be better at them. Others want to find a purpose to decide what they want to do with themselves. Other people might be trying to improve their mental health, physical health, and just those ordinary daily decisions. They want to be improving their habits or getting rid of bad habits or

00:10:00 --> 00:10:05

Also people need to appraise the risks they take, especially for people who are

00:10:06 --> 00:10:27

given to taking risks in business. The error rate is often way too high for them to tolerate, but they can't be. But they can't help but be drawn to those risky situations. Can we help them to reduce their error rate? And all sorts of other things about their choice of allies, your treatment of uncertainty? Where do you want to make the greatest gains.

00:10:29 --> 00:11:13

And this leads me to a story. I had a patient once who came to see me he was troubled and mournful about what he called his obsessive fixing problem. He's very bright X Cambridge, and he landed himself a job in a fast track associate scheme at a big investment bank. But after a year, he got fired, ostensibly not for not attending to his duties and not being a team player, or somesuch. And in the confidential envelope of our appointments, he told me that he was fired because he kept doing things that weren't his problem to fix. And as far as he was concerned, he thought he showed them up, and he was angry at them. In truth, it turns out, he was not himself troubled by his fixing

00:11:13 --> 00:11:16

tendencies. Although he thought they were a problem.

00:11:17 --> 00:11:58

He couldn't see what he'd done wrong. And therefore he couldn't even apologize. He came across defiant and unmanageable, because this was just a defensive front. In truth, he was quite confused and bewildered. Yes, maybe he wasn't told exactly what to do. But in his view, he fixed problems which are actually more persistent, more real, rather than just being given these toy problems that a graduate trainee might be given. So his first few sessions with me were filled with this kind of brutal mask of self importance, venting about how people were so hypocritical and that sort of thing. And I could have given him a quick diagnosis of being narcissistic or having a poor sense of

00:11:58 --> 00:12:45

self, or even being obsessive compulsive. But that would have been wrong. I just remained steadfast. Because I saw that there was a skill or strength that he had, it was just misplaced. He wasn't quite willing to tune in to how people really behaved, despite what their appearances were. And He sniffed out glitches and delays and heavy handed software processes. And he ironed them out without being asked without actually asking for permission. And they invariably benefited, but he wasn't supposed to do it. And it made him look strange, and it made them look slow. Anyway, fast forward a year, and he wasn't interested in becoming normalized. And frankly, neither was I in truth. So we took another

00:12:45 --> 00:12:48

track, we said, Let's enhance your niche.

00:12:49 --> 00:13:31

What you do is you refine and rationalize software systems. So we're going to build you up in that respect. And we're going to build you up in terms of your interpersonal skills, and your business skills to support that niche. And by aligning and refining his personal skills around his niche, we accelerated the ascent to his own individual niche that would have potentially taken years to realize had you just remained in the bank graduate recruitment scheme. And the end of the story actually would be a punch line, if it wasn't the truth. The bank that had fired him was now his client. And he was charging them 12,000 pounds a day, to do the very things that they'd fired him

00:13:31 --> 00:13:33

for only a year earlier.

00:13:34 --> 00:14:17

So he was there with two of his sort of colleagues or people that he employed, and he was addressing the problems that he had corrected before. And even at this price, he was a bargain. Because the money and downtime he saved them equated to many multiples of his fee. He was saved from a lifetime of overwork or making mindless PowerPoint slides and having to say yes, and not to his managers, and his social skills also bloomed and his personal life bloomed, he became a better fit with himself. Now, why have I told you this story, because it demonstrates that this stuff actually can work. But it depends on how you use it, and where you focus it. And these stories catch your imagination,

00:14:17 --> 00:14:58

because they're both surprising, but also very obviously true. They tell you something about another way of being something that you felt has been there, but you've never quite been confident to find the shape of all we did with this person was adjust the way that he saw the world. And that made him more successful than he could evident. had he taken every course or obtained every degree and had every mentor and done everything he was supposed to do. Why? Because we were able to guide his attention to where his individual skills could benefit him. Not in an ideal world, but in the chaotic, unfair, unpredictable dynamic world of today.

00:14:59 --> 00:14:59

It's like

00:15:00 --> 00:15:43

Mind is a factory. And the product of that factory is your decisions. If you have amazing education, incredible tools and great technology, but you're looking at the wrong thing, then your information is bad. Your raw material is bad, bad raw material means bad products, it doesn't matter how good your factories? Where are you getting your information from? If it's what's just in front of you, how do you know what is in front of you? Is it something that your mind has just decided to focus on? And can you separate yourself from your unconscious biases? Can you separate yourself from the fact that your mind tends to jump to look at things which it decides to pay attention to, but they

00:15:43 --> 00:16:26

may be the wrong things? Can you? Can you be sure that you can disconnect from those biases and biological factors or psychological priming that skews you? And it's a very powerful effect. Like I've said in other talks, look, when people looked at parole committees, granting parole to prisoners, and meeting for a full day, they were turned out, you know, they've got lawyers and judges and all kinds of very qualified people on board. But it turns out that the most powerful influence on their decision to let a prisoner go out on parole was actually how recently they'd had tea and biscuits. Isn't that interesting? Right? Expertise means nothing. When we understand that

00:16:26 --> 00:16:34

our purely biological nature, our own biases can I can override our intellect without our even knowing.

00:16:35 --> 00:17:18

So what I do, or like tend to do how I work with people is I kind of select to invite those who want to introduce quality control to their factory. Now in the minds of factory, how can we improve the quality of the decisions, we look at the information, the processing and the output, it's for people who want the factory to craft its products for very different sets of circumstances. So you're not always using the same processes depending on where you are at home at work, or whatever. And it is quite a extensive refurbishment, it's about completely letting go of your expectations. But interestingly, what brought me to this line of work was because when I looked at the world of self

00:17:18 --> 00:17:28

help or personal development, I found that a lot of it was rather misleading, sometimes benign ly in sometimes it was just made up by people who wanted to make a career out of it.

00:17:29 --> 00:17:35

And it's astonishing that people fell for it. Why? Because well, there was nobody else presenting other options.

00:17:37 --> 00:18:23

But we repeatedly fall for these sort of things. If you've heard of things like Barnum statements, or the for effect, or if you know that NLP was invented by people who weren't clinical scientific at all, then you'll understand what I'm all about. Yet, we're still sure that people do want some kind of help, and people will make up systems will go to meet up systems, because they believe there's some sort of mystical power that they can't quite access otherwise. In India, they say millionaires use financial advisors, but billionaires use astrologist, but surely that can't be right. What's it about? Here is why the sort of pseudo sciences or these sort of self development systems have their

00:18:23 --> 00:18:48

power, these other factors, there's unpredictability, you don't know what this person is going to say. Because if they don't have a system, then you're gonna have to believe exactly what they say about how that system works. There is a connection, what these people can do, or what these systems do is they forge a deep connection between you and the system, or you and the sort of great person who's running this system. They're charismatic, they're convincing, they're compelling.

00:18:49 --> 00:19:32

And they seem to have a might and a presence about them or charisma. And they've got a following and, and, you know, they've sold so many books, and they seem to have a sort of authority over these things. They, I began to understand this in more detail when I looked at actually very functional technical teams. 10 years ago, I was at a trackside in Formula One and I saw the a highly funded team descended to the kind of crisis that stretched high performing people in ways that separated the best from the rest. They were mired in real world issues that were both softly defined and destructive. Here's the problem. exceptional people face unusual problems, chiefly among them, the

00:19:32 --> 00:19:59

fact that they're not conformist. And the fact that their performance can be inconsistent, and conventional methods of development and coaching don't seem to work as well for them, if at all. And they're very high achievements are often interspersed with periods of dramatic failure, which they can't understand. And you can see this in some of the highest performing people who seem to resort to superstition and the sort of gurus because you

00:20:00 --> 00:20:12

If you can't access or don't know how to access your best performance, you're going to reach for things which seem to have some kind of role or effect. But those things are merely spurious, they're superstitious. How do we help that team?

00:20:14 --> 00:20:58

It turns out that their car, their f1, car had 32, onboard computers. And they've probably got even more now. Yet, none of those computers made any difference to the performance of the most important computer of all that have the driver, the human mind. That's where it begins and ends, I had to emphasize this issue to the engineers and the team members, because that helped them to crystallize the idea that it is all to do with performance, and consistency. But you're looking in the wrong places. Focus on how to make your mind make better decisions. Putting aside your biases, and your expectations. And looking at the truth. Human Performance is the first principle of every decision

00:20:58 --> 00:21:14

of every achievement. It's the original and the most important source of successful decisions in all the situations that we've ever faced as a species. And that's kind of why I like doing what we do. Nothing is out of our scope, when we find ways to access our finest cells.

00:21:15 --> 00:21:40

So this led me to various adventures. Beyond that. People like the Indian Institute of Technology, which is very well respected one of the top institutes in the world, and the tech companies that surrounded a sufferer of brain drain to the USA, it's almost like a norm in Indian middle class societies to have your son or daughter get a job in Silicon Valley. And this is slightly I'd argue slightly selfish of the USA,

00:21:41 --> 00:22:26

but also slightly misplaced, because you get a lot of guys who go there and they feel demoralized, or they feel the performance doesn't show up the way they'd like it to. So what are the issues that help a person to function? And what are the things that we could do to help stop this brain drain? Or at least make people think a bit more rationally before disappearing to the USA being promised? Lots of money? Is it more than money? Is it more than morale? What makes a person really want to work, to stay at work to apply themselves beyond what a paid job would ask them to do? Can you manufacture or manipulate what's going on in their mind, in the minds of people who's whose actions

00:22:26 --> 00:22:39

kind of dictate the success of your future. And we're not talking about brainwashing, we're talking about how to help them to feel at their best in your place of work or in in a in an effort where you are conjoined with them.

00:22:40 --> 00:23:31

So it's kind of work has no boundary, because it is so upstream from everything else. I remember working with an American company, in fact, an entrepreneur who was heading for an IPO. And he was interested in trying to raise the value of his company perceived value, so that, you know, he would obviously get more families IPO. And we use things that were beyond the sort of normal toolkit of economists or financial analysts, we looked at the acquisition more as a hunt. And we use rather more primitive, instinctive, powerful things that actually people who want to buy shares or acquire companies seem to use more reliably. You know, the idea is, you don't sell you get bought. But and

00:23:31 --> 00:24:13

so the people who buy you need to feel that they're under control, they need to feel that they're hunting you. So you just make yourself more hunt worthy, right, that's a kind of clue about the various things we did to help raise their value. So all of this, your decisions need not be as much of a roll of the dice. But we can help to predict that actually, your dice, when you roll them are more likely to be between one and three, rather than a four and a six, right? So it's reducing probability of error. It reduces risk it and that has effects all throughout your life because you feel more confident more in command. So it improves your well being it frees up your time, because

00:24:13 --> 00:24:58

then you're not so preoccupied with trying to correct your course. It also improves your risk appetite, because then you become more masterful about the kinds of things that you're going to look at as far as your own portfolio of decisions is concerned. And so it proves your flexibility and in your dynamic range of where you might choose to focus your efforts. And these two kinds of tools are more empowering at a fundamental neuro psychological level. It's about as upstream as I could possibly get you. What is more upstream than influencing directly how the cells in your brain choose to partner and cooperate and handle information. Can it be done well,

00:24:59 --> 00:24:59

the great

00:25:00 --> 00:25:38

Discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. And that was written by William James, back in the 19th century. Fast forward to Martin Seligman, who's a big name in in psychiatry, and now in performance psychiatry, and he's a psychologist based in Chicago. And there's, I encourage you to look up his work at the school that they're doing them. And he's one of his quotes that I like is habits of thinking need not be forever. One of the most significant findings of psychology in the last 20 years is that individuals can choose the way they think.

00:25:39 --> 00:26:20

Choose the way they think, the very business of how one perception, one thought, some emotion or another, some words, some memories, or how someone else appears to you. All of that can be stopped, questioned, redirected? Well, you could do what I did and spend 25 years learning everything you can about it and applying it for the benefit of patients and clients. You can make your own toolkit from bare iron, right? Or you can go to the shop and buy the toolkit for yourself, get an expert help you, for example, that's why people come to me, I guess, either way would be good. And it depends on what you can spare, and how enthusiastic what kind of appetite you have for this effort. If you've

00:26:20 --> 00:26:30

got a lot of spare time, then use the first option. Dig in, and it will be a really rewarding journey, get a toolkit, have someone assist you in how to do this thing?

00:26:31 --> 00:27:18

Why do exceptional people think differently? Well, there's trauma and difficulty, we need to we need to understand the power of that exceptional people also notice what other people don't notice. They're almost trained, if not naturally inclined, to not pay attention to what other people are trained to or where they normally focus. And one other important thing that exceptional people do is they make more of what they have, whether it's good or bad, they seem not to be interested in whether a quality of theirs has some kind of moral or societally normed judgment, good, bad, destructive or whatever. ruthlessness can be good or bad or useful or useless, depending on how it's

00:27:18 --> 00:27:19


00:27:20 --> 00:27:25

Let's look at the story perhaps, you know, of Michael Phelps, he had

00:27:26 --> 00:27:33

ADHD, which is a very troublesome condition. It makes him very restless and unable to focus and physically

00:27:35 --> 00:27:37

find it very difficult to sit and stay SAT.

00:27:38 --> 00:28:36

Let's look at this picture. This picture is actually a demonstration of how people with natural differences. This is back when I was dealing with people who are newer psychiatric problems, but how they found a way to thrive both in spite of and because of their particular differences. There are differences things like dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, anxiety, OCD. And what this shows us is that these sorts of abilities are these sorts of habits are indeed made on the basis of someone's choice. Some people will be ground down by the traumas by the perceived lack of resources, but other people seem to sort of thrive on them. And it's quite an accident as to what attitude they chose.

00:28:36 --> 00:28:53

Why would it matter? Well, look at the world today, the world is turbulent, it's unpredictable and rare events are becoming far more frequent. There's economic crises wherever we are, there's economic unpredictability. And these rare events, black swan events are becoming the rule

00:28:54 --> 00:29:39

is the rise of wars in Eastern Europe, the rise of right wing politics as inequality, inflation, and even the basic financial order of the world is being threatened in terms of crypto and digital global currencies and that sort of thing. So what is the formula? How do we help a person to improve their ability to make good decisions? And just as importantly, how can we scale this up so that more people can access it? It's expensive to do this one to one. And as part of our sort of general mission to bring truth and evidence to a greater numbers of people, we spent a lot of time nearly a year developing a way to do this. For 10 years, we've worked exclusively with elite level clients,

00:29:39 --> 00:29:52

but and now we want to bring it to greater numbers of people with the same effect so we can reduce the cost while keeping the advantages and it's time to show you how so tomorrow.

00:29:53 --> 00:30:00

Tomorrow is about the toolkits we use. How can we improve decision predictions and accuracy by up to a factor

00:30:00 --> 00:30:39

For how can we improve communication style? Even people like sales or lawyers? How can we I think in some cases, the impact was increased by up to nine times. And we also examined some things of why people don't learn from therapy or coaching, why the brain doesn't learn how to fix that. And we'll be looking at applying this in a real time situation, how can we take somebody to give them real effects on their lives? How can they make more money? I mean, people are interested in that. How does it make money when other people lose it, and so on. So I look forward to seeing you. If you have questions, then I'll take them now. If you're in the live session, if you're not in the live

00:30:39 --> 00:31:06

sessions, what we'll do is we will be listing this video as a kind of pre recorded live session on another platform. So I hope you've got access to that. And if you've got questions, and you're on that platform, then just put them in the space underneath the module and we'll address them either in the next session. If you're on time, or otherwise, we will address them in a more general way, if not in the course itself. Thanks again and see you next session.


Share Page

Related Episodes