How to Focus Like an Elite Athlete (In Everything You Do)

How to Focus Like an Elite Athlete (In Everything You Do)
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    Tucked within the training programs
    of many in athletic discipline
    is a particularly challenging type of workout called
    the AMRAP workout.
    Standing for as many reps as possible,
    these types of workouts challenge athletes
    to do a specific move as many times as they possibly can
    within a set amount of time.
    These types of workouts are intense
    and they can be a great way to track the progress
    of your fitness over time.
    In fact, the climbing gym that I go to
    actually uses the AMRAP format
    to test our fitness in their general exercise classes.
    But aside from its benefits in the gym,
    the idea behind the AMRAP workout
    can also help you become more productive as well.
    This is an idea that I learned about from Jason Khalipa.
    An athlete and successful entrepreneur
    who competed in the Crossfit Games eight times
    and actually won it in 2008.
    Among other feats, Jason has backsquatted 450 pounds,
    deadlifted 550 pounds and done
    a single set of 64 pull ups,
    which makes the 13 that I did for this video's opening shot
    look pretty pathetic by comparison.
    In addition to being an elite athlete though,
    Jason is also the owner of a successful gym business
    with six different locations.
    And his ability to manage that business
    along with his athletics and his family
    stems from a concept that he calls the AMRAP Mentality.
    I first learned about this concept
    when I listened to Jason's interview on The Tim Ferriss Show
    which is one of my favorite podcasts.
    And ever since, it has been a very helpful
    mental tool for me which is why
    I wanna share it with you today.
    To start, I wanna pose to you a question
    that Jason brought up in that interview.
    Are we more productive today than we were 20 years ago?
    It's tempting to jump to an immediate yes
    since we now have access to vastly better technology,
    information, and automation than we had
    back when A Bug's Life came out.
    But is that actually a good thing?
    Sure, I can now tell a robot to put things on my calendar
    which is admittedly pretty cool
    but all this technology also makes it
    so much easier for us to constantly
    pull our attention away from the present.
    And this becomes habitual.
    How many times have you been out to dinner with friends
    and had the urge to check your phone for text messages
    even though you're literally sitting
    across the table from people you can talk to in person?
    And how often do you feel your attention
    being pulled away from your work
    because you just have to know
    what the best selling Godzilla movie is?
    It's become easier than ever
    for us to spend almost all of our time
    in a distracted, unfocused state.
    However, in these modern times,
    there is still one situation where you almost
    never find your mind wondering from the present.
    As Jason points out in that interview,
    when you're in the middle of an AMRAP workout,
    when you're trying as hard as you can
    to raise your chin to that bar just one more time,
    that's when your mind is completely focused
    on the task at hand.
    The level of sheer intensity involved in an AMRAP round
    makes it impossible to focus on your weekend plans
    or that video game you played last night.
    And this leads to the core idea
    behind Jason's AMRAP Mentality.
    Channeling that intense focus,
    that present mindedness that you experience
    during an intense workout and applying it
    to the rest of your life, whether it be your homework
    or the time you spend with friends and family.
    Jason breaks the process of using this mentality
    into four steps.
    First, you need to work to identify your areas of focus.
    Ideally, you should only have a few of these
    and each of them should have what's called
    a strong internal why, a compelling reason
    for why you're focusing on them instead of something else.
    And this part of the process might also involve
    abandoning certain areas of focus
    or at least putting them on the back burner
    if you have too many.
    Remember, you can only spin so many plates at once.
    Actually I can't spin any plates.
    Anyway, the areas of focus that I've chosen for myself
    include one, creating videos with a specific focus
    on the writing process and filming process
    now that I have an editor.
    Number two, my athletics, specifically training
    in rock climbing and figure skating.
    Three, spending time with my girlfriend Anna
    and four, working on a talk for a conference
    that's coming up in a couple of weeks.
    Now before we move on to the second step in the process,
    I wanna mention that you should be doing this
    on a more micro level as well.
    These are all macro goals that I just outlined
    but everyday I also try to write down
    a list of the things that I want to accomplish
    by the end of the day.
    And for each item on the list,
    I ask myself, does that item have a strong internal why?
    Alright, so after you've chosen all of those areas of focus,
    the next step is simple.
    Choose one area, focus on it with all of your attention,
    and work hard at it.
    Or in other words, AMRAP it.
    In one of his talks about the AMRAP Mentality,
    Jason gave this concept weight
    by using the image of a bicycle.
    When you're riding a bike,
    your only focus is on where you're going,
    it is not you're probably going to crash.
    And if you wanna get where you're going
    with any amount of speed, you're gonna have
    to crank those pedals hard.
    And this metaphor was especially fitting for me
    just a couple of days ago because over the weekend,
    I decided that I was gonna ride my bike
    from my place in Denver over
    to a friend's place in Boulder and then back.
    The total distance of that ride is 70 miles
    which is actually the longest
    that I've ever ridden a bicycle.
    Now I made pretty good time and I ended up
    arriving in Boulder around 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon.
    But since I stayed and hung out
    at my friend's place for a while,
    I didn't start heading back until around six p.m.
    And before I even hit the halfway mark
    on the ride back, it started getting dark
    which meant that I had to spend about 20 miles
    riding with my bike's headlamp.
    It was a perfect example of the AMRAP Mentality in action.
    The dark forced me to concentrate intensely
    on where I was going and my surroundings
    and the fact that it was getting darker and darker
    motivated me to pedal quickly even though
    the previous 50 miles had already worn me out.
    I was, in a word, AMRAPing the entire way home.
    Putting in focused, intense effort
    until the job was done and I was ready
    to switch to something else.
    Which as it happens is the third step
    in the AMRAP Mentality.
    Switch gears and do it deliberately.
    And of course when this happens,
    you then go right back to step two,
    right back to focusing intensely
    in working hard at that next thing.
    The idea here is that mentally,
    switching from your math homework
    to say hanging out with a friend
    should be exactly like going from an AMRAP set of pull ups
    to another AMRAP set of push ups.
    Your focus calmness switches to a new thing
    and then all of your attention becomes fixated upon it.
    Lastly, the AMRAP Mentality requires
    frequent periods of reevaluation.
    You need to sit down quite often
    and ask yourself, do my areas of focus still make sense?
    Ask yourself if there's still
    a strong internal why for each one
    and whether or not there's still room
    in your life for all of them.
    And Jason gives a great example of this
    in his interview on The Tim Ferriss Show.
    After competing in the Crossfit Games for eight years,
    Jason sat down and realized that his business
    was growing, his family was growing,
    and the competition in the games
    was getting tougher and tougher each year.
    So after reevaluating his priorities,
    he decided to stop competing
    so he could be a better father
    and husband and business owner.
    He realized that if he wanted to excel at these things,
    there wasn't enough room in his life
    to also be a serious competitor.
    And this act of reevaluating is something
    that you need to do as well.
    Especially during periods of change in your life.
    Even though the AMRAP Mentality will enable you
    to be more productive, you always need to keep in mind
    that your time, attention, and energy
    are all limited resources.
    So to recap, the AMRAP Mentality involves
    one, identifying your areas of focus
    and defining a strong internal why for each one.
    Two, choosing a single area of focus,
    working to remain mentally present the entire time
    you're doing it and going at it hard.
    Three, switch gears deliberately
    and have a good reason for doing so.
    Don't just jump back and forth between focuses.
    And four, take time to reevaluate your areas of focus often
    especially when you go through a life change
    or you decide you wanna start spinning another plate.
    Now the steps outlined in this process
    might seem similar to other concepts
    that I've shared in the past but there's a reason
    that I wanted to share it with you now.
    Namely that it's been a very useful visual metaphor for me.
    As an athlete, I often do AMRAP workouts
    as well as other high intensity forms of training.
    I'm well acquainted with the all encompassing focus
    that comes with trying to do as many pull ups as I can
    or trying to do a difficult bouldering problem,
    or trying to climb a big hill on my bike.
    And when I remind myself of what it's like
    to be in those situations, I find it easier
    to slip into the flow state with my work as well.
    In fact, I've actually started writing AMRAP
    at the top of my daily to do lists.
    I am a huge believe in the idea that visual metaphors
    can be strong motivators.
    When I'm out on a long bike ride,
    I often picture the pistons in a car engine moving
    which helps me regard my own legs as similar machines
    that won't be influenced by whatever complaints
    my brain wants to throw up about them.
    This type of visualization is powerful
    and many elite athletes actually use it before competing.
    So even if you already known
    that you should be focusing intensely
    or switching gears deliberately, ask yourself, are you?
    If you're not currently doing as well as you'd like,
    well maybe give the AMRAP Mentality a try
    because you might find it just as helpful as I did.
    Now there is one last thing we need to talk about here.
    A lot of you have readily admitted to the fact
    that you watch my videos as a way
    to procrastinate on your work.
    And while I'm flattered, and while it's definitely
    a better way to procrastinate than watching
    baby otter videos, which I did yesterday,
    you need to get back to work.
    Now I know what some of you are going to say here.
    But Tom, I'm completely stuck on my homework.
    I've got a bunch of problems,
    I worked as hard as I can but I can't solve them
    and my professor doesn't have office hours until next April.
    Well, if that is you, then one app
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    With that being said, I wanna give a big thanks
    to Chegg for sponsoring this video
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    and as always guys, thank you so much for watching.
    If you found the ideas in this video helpful,
    maybe give it a like to support this channel
    and you can also subscribe right there
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    You can also click right over there
    to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades.
    Click right over here for one more video on this channel
    or follow me on Instagram over @tomfrankly.
    Thanks for watching and I will see you guys in the next one.
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