Dr. Alan Watkins: Being Brilliant Every Single Day (Part 1) at TEDxPortsmouth (Transcript)

So how you think is really hugely influenced by how you feel. In fact these two things affect each other. Thinking affects feeling and feeling affects thinking. It goes back and forward in a loop. But the dominant factor really is feeling. So for a whole bunch of neuroscientific reasons we haven’t got time to explain. Actually if you want to change what people do, you’ve got to change their thinking. If you want to change their thinking, you actually have to change how they feel. This is a much more significant impact on that than the other way around.

So if you feel anxious, for example, it’s no good me saying to you, “Don’t worry.” You’ll have experienced that doesn’t work. Or I’m doing this exam. “Don’t worry.” “Oh, you know what, I hadn’t thought not to worry. That’s the answer then. Ah I’m not worried. Oh good, how much was that? There’s the check.” It doesn’t work like that. You’ve all experienced that if you feel anxious, you feel anxious and no amount of “don’t worry” is going to help you. In fact, it often makes you worse. “All right, you say ‘don’t worry,’ I’m worried.” So the real active ingredient is you’ve got to change this. Still not enough.

There’s something more fundamental driving how you feel and that is your raw emotion. So you’ve got to change the emotion in order to change the feeling in order to change the thinking. Now you maybe sat there wondering, “Well hang on a minute. Feelings and emotions, that’s the same stuff, isn’t it?” It is not.


So many people don’t realize, and particularly, many of my own friends in science and medicine, don’t realize that feelings and emotions are not the same thing. In fact, many people don’t even realize that feelings and thinking are not the same thing, particularly men.

So you ask many men to tell you how they feel and they tell you how they think because they don’t understand the question. You see most of the women in room nodding, “That’s true, that’s true. That’s been my experience.” And most of the men sat there going, “What? What’s he talking about?” These are not the same phenomena. Thinking and feeling are not the same thing. And feelings and emotions are not the same thing.


So if you want to change the result by changing the behavior, there are multiple levels. And even if you got to grips with the emotion, it’s still enough. There’s something even more fundamental. Down here in the basement of the human system is your physiology.


So the reason you get variance like Sergio did in his performance is there are multiple levels that Sergio Garcia hasn’t got control over. He’s just concentrating on his technical putting performance or the way that he drives the ball. And he hasn’t got a grip of any of this other stuff, even if he’s telling himself and rehearsing mentally, “I’m a good golfer. I’m a good golfer. I’m a good golfer.” It’s not enough because there are still three levels that he hasn’t got a grip of.


So if you want to be brilliant every single day, you’ve got to get a grip of every single level. And that’s how you crank out your A-game every single day. So let’s just work from the back to the top.


So if we start with physiology, what is that? That is just simply streams of data. That’s all physiology is. It’s data streams. So as I’m talking to you right now, most of you are getting streams of data coming into your brain about what’s going on in your body. So some of you had the cupcake at the break, and you’ll be getting a signal from your gut saying, “Oh sugar. We got sugar.”


And it’s coming into your brain telling your brain what’s going on in your gut. Some of you then are getting contractions around that cupcake, so you’ve got pressure waves being created telling your brain about what’s going on in your gut. So these are all just bits of physiology. These are just data streams. As some of you might write or type, you’ve got joint position sense going up the nerve channels into your brain telling your brain about where your fingers are. They’re just bits of physiology. So this is just streams of data, if you will.

So what’s an emotion? Well an emotion, if you take all the streams of data, whether it’s coming from your gut, or your joints, or your heart, or your lungs, if you take the data from all the streams, all the bodily systems, and it comes into your brain as electrical signals, electromagnetic signals, chemical waves, pressure waves. Take all of those signals from all of those systems, that’s what an emotion is. It’s simply energy, E, in motion. That’s all an emotion is.


So we all have that, even us fellows. We’ve all got emotions. Every second of every day there is an energetic state going through us. Because we’re constantly digesting, we’re constantly breathing in and out, our heart’s constantly beating. It’s happening all the time. So we’ve got energy in motion every single second of every single day. But we may not all have feelings. Feelings are the awareness in our mind of that energy. And that’s where the problem is. The energy may be there, but we just don’t feel it.

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By Pangambam S

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