Eduardo Briceño reveals the fundamental factors that accelerate your growth and improvement.
- How focusing on performance actually hurts results
- The one feedback method that always tells the truth
- The five key elements that drive growth
Eduardo Briceño is a global keynote speaker and facilitator who guides many of the world’s leading companies in developing cultures of learning and high performance. Earlier in his career, he was the co-founder and CEO of Mindset Works, the first company to offer growth mindset development services. Previously, he was a venture capital investor with the Sprout Group.
His TED Talk, How to Get Better at the Things You Care About, and his prior TEDx Talk, The Power of Belief, have been viewed more than nine million times. He is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow, a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network, and an inductee in the Happiness Hall of Fame.
- Book: The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action
- Website: Briceño.com
- LinkedIn: Eduardo Briceño
- Organization: MindsetWorks
- TEDx Talk: The Power of belief — mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach
- TED Talk: Eduardo Briceño: How to get better at the things you care about | TED
- Previous episode: 316: Maximizing Your Learning and Growth with Eduardo Briceño
- Tool: Roam Research
- Tool: Otter
- Study: “Systematic review: the relationship between clinical experience and quality of health care” by Niteesh K. Choudhry, Robert H. Fletcher, and Stephen B. Soumerai
- Psychology: Goal Hierarchy
- Book: The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by the Dalai Lama
- Book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
- Book: The Clan of the Cave Bear: Earth’s Children, Book One by Jean Auel
- Past episode: 001: Communicating with Inspiration and Clarity with Mawi Asgedom
Eduardo, welcome back to How to be Awesome at Your Job.
Great to be here, Pete. Thank you for having me.
Well, I’m so excited to hear some of your insights and wisdom that you’ve captured in your book, The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action. But, first, I want to hear, talking about growth mindsets, wow, is it, in fact, true that you did not have any prior public speaking experience before you did your TEDx Talk?
That is true. And I would have never thought, I mean, becoming a public speaker, which I do now, it just didn’t even cross my mind growing up or in my young adult life, but I had started an organization, MindsetWorks with Carol Dweck and Lisa Blackwell, and a board member encouraged me to go out and have people get to know me and know who I was.
We were evangelizing growth mindset, and she thought that as part of that, I needed to kind of become a leader in the industry, and people needed to know who I was. So, I actually thought, “Hey, I don’t have time. I have so much work to do. I agree with you,” but when Carol Dweck was asked to do a TEDx Talk, she couldn’t do it.
So, then we decided, and I thought, “That would be a good opportunity to put a lot of work into 10 minutes. I can do 10 minutes. I can work really hard to prepare a great script and deliver it.” And so, I worked really hard with Carol and with others, and I was so nervous during those 10 minutes. I, the whole time, looked at the back wall and the lights and not at people’s eyes because I thought that I would just blank out if I tried to figure out what people were thinking.
So, that was my first public speaking experience was that TEDx Talk. And then that became pretty popular. It’s being over 4 million times now.
Absolutely. Yes, far more than the most TEDx Talks, and it’s featured prominently on the TED proper website. Well, it’s funny, I just rewatched that, and you didn’t look that nervous.
Yeah, I don’t know, that was surprising to me. I went on the stage, and I thought, “Okay, I’m prepared. I’ve done everything I can. And now, what’s going to help my performance is to relax. I know I’m not going to look at people, so I had a plan.” And that helped me be relaxed, and I was more relaxed than I would have thought.
And then, a few years later, four years later, I did another TEDx Talk that became a TED Talk, and that also has been viewed over 4 million times. And that was the basis for the book that I wrote, The Performance Paradox.
So, tell us, what’s the big idea in the The Performance Paradox?
The performance paradox is the counterintuitive fact that if we fixate solely on performing, our performance suffers. So often we’re really encouraging ourselves and others to just focus on executing, doing the best we know how, trying to minimize mistakes, and that hurts our performance. That is the counterintuitive fact, that is chapter one, is the problem, and the rest of the book is about the solution, how to overcome that problem.
And could you elaborate on the pathway? How is it that doing the same thing and trying not to make mistakes makes our performance worse?
Yeah. So, the best way to understand this is if we kind of step out of our everyday context and look at people who are fantastic at what they do, in domains where performance can be objectively measured, so sports, chess, performing arts, incredible acrobats. If you think about how an acrobat, for an example, what they do, when we see them perform, they do these incredible acrobatic things, they do it beautifully, and they rarely make mistakes.
And we tend to kind of have this vague idea that the way they became so good is by spending a lot of hours doing that thing that we are seeing. But actually, the way they become so good is by doing something very different from what we’re seeing. When they are behind curtains, at the gym or at the studio, they are making a lot of mistakes, they’re missing the timing a lot because they’re focused on what they haven’t mastered yet, they’re focused on the next level of challenge, and the show is always evolving.
And so, it’s the time they spend in what I call the learning zone, which is when they’re focused on improvement that allows them to build their skills and to be so excellent in the performance zone. Same thing in sports, if you’re playing a championship final, you’re having trouble with a move, you’re going to avoid that move during the match. But after the match, you go to your coach, you say, “Coach, I have to work on this move,” that’s a very different activity and area of attention than what we do during the match.
And what often happens for a lot of us is that we spend most of our time, if not all of our time, in the performance zone, just trying to get things done as best as we can, trying to minimize mistakes, and that works okay when we’re novices because we’re so bad, we don’t need great learning strategies to get better. But once we become proficient, we stagnate, we don’t continue to improve, and we think the reason is we can’t improve, that’s a fixed mindset, but the reason really is that we’re not engaging the learning zone.
That’s a really great distinction because I think some of the folks would say, “Well, of course, I’ve seen myself get better the more I do a thing. That’s sort of self-evident in my own experience.” And I love what you had to say there, like, “Well, yes, that works just fine when you are really clueless.”
Yeah, and it is amazing that we do learn that by experience. If I want to start to play tennis, I could go into the court and just play tennis with a friend, then I will get better. And so, we learn by experience that that’s the way to improve but then we stagnate once we become proficient, and then we conclude that we can’t get better. We develop a fixed mindset when we haven’t developed the skills and the habits in order to continue to improve and become excellent.
Like, if you look at an Olympic gold medalist, they’re the best in the world but they will then engage in deliberate practice to go beyond what they can do to continue to get even better. They don’t just play games and matches.
Well, Eduardo, in a way, this is really haunting, as I think from a meta perspective of just podcasting. I think that was accurate for, maybe, I don’t know, several hundred, I don’t know, 300, 600, some number of hundreds of episodes, I think I got better just by doing more episodes and talking to folks. And then I have had a little bit of a sense of stagnation here.
And I thought it was just in my head, and I’ve heard people say, it’s like, “Oh, wow, you were pretty good when we started, and now you’re amazing.” I say, “Well, thank you. I appreciate that.” But I have felt like, “I don’t think I’m actually getting better at this,” and that just makes sense. Like, “Well, before, just doing it more times was sufficient to help me get better. And now, that is no longer sufficient to help me get better.”
And so, to use your terminology, if I were to enter the learning zone as a podcaster host, interviewer, what might be some activities I do other than just simply do one more episode?
Well, I have some ideas I can share but you know a whole lot about learning. So, tell me, what do you think you might do to get better?
Well, I think it’d be closely listening to some episodes and making some notes in terms of what I might have done differently. I think it could be closely observing some of the finest interviewers around to see what they’re doing. Ask for feedback and perspective from either coaches or masters of the craft, or listeners, it’s like, “Hey, Pete, I’ve heard you hundreds of times, and I have some thoughts.” But email@example.com, lay them on me. Lay them on me, I’m listening. Thank you.
So, those are some things that leap to mind there.
Absolutely. Those are great ideas, and they are different than just doing episodes, and they don’t take a lot of time. And so, the great performers, whether athletes or others, they do watch their videos. Like, Beyonce watches videos of her performances after she performs, and identifies what to change and shares notes of that with her colleagues.
At ClearChoice Dental Systems, they do dental implants. They have video cameras in their consult rooms so that the people who work there, when they’re interacting with patients, after their consult, for the patients that agree to this, that agree to be recorded for this purpose, they can watch the videos afterwards and go to a particular part of the conversation that they were working on and watch themselves, and kind of think about what they can do differently and how what they tried work or didn’t work.
And one thing that they say that I love is that…sometimes when we receive feedback, feedback is amazing, feedback, I think is the most powerful learning-zone strategy in the workplace but, sometimes, especially for some people, when we receive feedback, we might reactive defensively and think, “This person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or they didn’t really see what I saw,” but what they say is that video always tells the truth.
So, if you listen to your recording and reflect on it, and it doesn’t have to be the whole thing, it can be just how you started the recording, or how you end it, or a particular part of it, then that’s a fantastic way to think about, “Okay, like what can I do differently next time?” And one key thing, when we’re going about our work, is in order to improve, we have to change. Like, we can’t improve and not change.
So, if we do the same thing today than we did yesterday, we’re not going to get better, so we have to always be thinking about, “What is something that I can try differently?” And for that, like you said, we can observe experts, whether they are other podcasters, or we can read books, or listen to podcasts to get ideas, and identify, “Okay, what can I try differently?” and then feedbacking whatever form, like you said, is a fantastic, fantastic powerful strategy.
Another fun thing about that, the notion of that distinction there, is that when you’re new doing anything helps you get better, then you have to get precise. It seems like that’s analogous to what happens in physical training as well. It’s like when you’re out of shape, walking anywhere, lifting anything improves your fitness but then, at some point, that’s just not going to cut it.
Bringing the groceries from your trunk to the kitchen isn’t going do, and we need to get sort of more precise with a deliberate practice and learning in terms of, “I’m going to need to lift this level of weight this many times, in this kind of emotion in order to get an adaptation because the easy gains have already been grabbed.”
Absolutely. And there’s another benefit to that, which is that when we are kind of just doing and exploring an idea, an activity, and tinkering with it, just kind of doing it, we can play with it, we can try it out, we can see if we would enjoy it. And that is really important because it kind of doesn’t make sense to engage in deliberate practice and put a lot of effort into improving into something that we are not going to enjoy and that is not important to us.
So, early in our process, kind of trying an activity, playing with it, tinkering with it, is a way to improve but also it’s a way to explore whether it’s something we want to do and get better at.
So, I already love this stuff in terms of, “Yeah, ooh, what are some fun ways I could spend some more time in the learning zone? And what might I be doing while I’m there?” I suppose, fundamentally, in order for anyone to have any motivation whatsoever to spend some time in the learning zone, they have to believe that learning and growth is possible, and so you spend much time sharing the wisdom of the growth versus fixed mindset. For folks who are not as familiar with that, could you give us, like, the super quick crash course?
Yeah, absolutely. So, for those who have heard of the term growth mindset, I ask you to think about what it means to you. What do you think it means? Because when we ask what it means, even for people who have kind of been tinkering with it for a long time, people often say things, like, “It’s working hard or it’s persevering, or even is having a positive attitude, or is being open-minded.” And a growth mindset is none of those things.
A growth mindset is a perspective about the nature of human beings, specifically it’s the belief that people can change, that we can change and that other people can change, that our abilities or our qualities are malleable, that we can develop them. And the reason that’s important is that lots of research has shown that when we believe that we can change and that others can change, then we do the things that are necessary in the learning zone in order to improve, if we know how the learning zone works, which is another key component.
But if we don’t believe that we can change, then we’re never going to do anything to change, we won’t change, and we will confirm our fixed mindset. Similarly, if we believe that somebody else can’t change, we’re not going to share any information with them that they can learn from, so they won’t know to do anything, they won’t change, and that will create a self-fulfilling prophecy and confirm our starting belief.
And so, the opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, to believe that rather than things being changeable and growable, that, “Hey, you’re either good at this or you’re bad at this.” Like, “I’m just not a math person,” whatever. I’d love to get your perspective. Sometimes maybe I’m a little sleep-deprived, maybe a little stressed, and I’m interacting with something that’s tricky. I’m thinking like assembling furniture, and I get frustrated, and I feel like I’m stupid, or like I’m a loser, and I don’t like feeling that way.
And I know from all this stuff, like, “Oh, Pete, it sounds like you’re engaging in fixed mindset-type thinking, a type evaluation of this stuff,” and I’d rather not. I guess I’m curious, if we’re generally on board, like, “Yeah, growth mindset, that’s real. I generally believe that,” and yet we find ourselves drifting into thought patterns that sound more fixed mindset-y, any pro tips for how we can, I don’t know, install the growth mindset all the more deep down in our operating system so it’s alive and well and kicking and dominating?
So, the first thing is to acknowledge that we all experience a fixed mindset some of the time, just like you described, and a fixed mindset is part of being human. We see sometimes some abilities as fixed, or some people as fixed, and that is normal. And the really important thing to do is to notice it, like you are, and saying, “Oh, I am thinking that I can’t get better at this right now.”
And we might react with an emotional response right away, but we can observe it, let it kind of put a little bit of distance, pause a little bit, and think about, “Can I get better at this?” or, “Can I examine my mistake, to learn from my mistake?” or, “What different strategy can I use? What learning-zone strategy can I use to get better at this?”
And so, pausing, noticing our fixed mindset, and thinking about, “What can I do in the learning zone in order to improve if that’s something that I want to do?” It doesn’t mean that we should try to get better at everything. It means that whatever we do want to get better at, we can figure out what strategies are effective for that and engage in those strategies.
So, if I’m assembling furniture and it’s not going well, I can choose to be, like, “This is not an area, an endeavor of activity or skill that I am going to choose to really invest big in and master. I can just let that go, and that’s fine.” And, at the same time, if it’s like, “If I feel…” Well, maybe this is a broader question for all sorts of learning activities. When you’re in the midst of doing something that is hard and not going well, and you’re screwing up, and you’re frustrated, and you feel dumb, what should we do?
Well, say that you’re in the situation you described, that you’re trying to assemble furniture, you’re getting frustrated. You said you’re sleep-deprived, you’re tired. You can think about that maybe in the moment, if you can, maybe pause. But, at some point, when we reflect, we can think about, “First of all, what is most important to me? Why am I assembling furniture? Is that important to me? Like, is it that I want to have a beautiful home? Or, is it that I want to kind of update my couch? And why am I trying to do that? Am I trying to foster a feeling of kind of calm in my home? And how can I get better at that?”
So, sometimes what happens is that we get frustrated with mid-level goals or low-level goals, like assembling furniture, that might or might not be important to you. Sometimes we can quit at those things if that’s a better way to achieve a higher-level goal, like achieving calm, or achieving an uncluttered space, if that’s important to you.
Or, sometimes that might be the right way. It might be, “I can get better at assembling furniture, and that’s something that I want to do. It’s going to make me feel good.” But part of the answer might be, “Okay, I am sleep-deprived. Like, should I be changing my sleeping habits? Should I be going to bed earlier? Should I approach my mornings differently?” So, what is leading to my challenge right now rather than only focusing on the immediate challenge, thinking about, “What’s most important to me and what are different ways that I could get better at that most important goal?”
Okay. So, in so doing, you’re learning about something. You’re making some learnings and improvements on a thing that’s even more important and broader-reaching.
Yes, sometimes people associate growth mindset with grit or being persistent, which there’s definitely a close association, but it doesn’t mean that we need to be gritty around everything we’re doing. It means we want to be gritty and most growth-minded about the goals that we most care about, and so we need to identify what are those goals.
There’s something in psychology called the hierarchy of goals, which is like a pyramid. And at the top is what we care most about, and at the bottom is our low-level strategies around the things we do. And so, to go up the pyramid, we ask why we care. And to go down the pyramid, we ask how. And we want to be most gritty and most growth-minded about the highest-level goals because, then, our answer and how we get better at those things might be different than what we’re currently attempting.
That’s cool to get a broad perspective and not get too fixated on something that maybe doesn’t matter all that much. Okay. Well, when it comes to mistakes, you say these can really propel our growth, and you’ve categorized four kinds of mistakes. Could you lay these out for us?
Yeah. So, I think most of us have a sense that we can learn from mistakes but, first, most of us don’t realize how important mistakes are. So, when we are in our mid-20s, the way the neuroplasticity in our brain works changes. Before our 20s, our brain changes based on experience. We walk around the street, we observe things, and our brain is reconfiguring.
In our 20s, the brain doesn’t do that as much from then but the main way that we can drive our neuroplasticity and become smarter and more capable is actually by making mistakes, is by when the brain makes a prediction, and that prediction turns out to be wrong, that’s the main way that we can proactively elicit our own neuroplasticity. That’s how important mistakes are.
But, on the other hand, so mistakes are really important, but also, mistakes lower performance. Great performances are performances where we don’t make a lot of mistakes. Like, right now, you and I are having a conversation, it’s a conversation about learning so I’d be comfortable making mistakes but, in general, like we want to not say things that are not true and not make mistakes if we are performing for others, to try to add value to others.
And so, how do we reconcile that, that mistakes are valuable but, also, they lower performance? And so, I unpack four different kinds of mistakes. That’s what chapter five is about. And so, the first, there’s the stretch mistakes, which are the mistakes that we make when we are trying to do things we haven’t mastered yet, when we are in our learning zone. And those are mistakes that are super valuable, we want to be doing a lot of those mistakes. We want to elicit those mistakes, not by trying to do things incorrectly but by trying to do things that are challenging.
But we want to try those things when mistakes are not going to create a lot of damage. So, the second type of mistake is the high-stakes mistakes, which are the mistakes that would create a lot of damage. So, if we are driving a school bus, we don’t want to make a mistake. If we’re in charge of a nuclear plant, or if we’re packing a parachute, we want to do what we know works and minimize mistakes. And that’s when we’re in the high-stakes mistakes, we want to get into our performance zone and sometimes not worry about learning at all because the stakes are too high.
The third type of mistake is the sloppy mistakes, which are when we do things that we already know how to do, and we should’ve known better. And often when we make these mistakes, first of all, often they’re not that important or they might not be important at all, and I think these mistakes can bring kind of joy and humor to our lives. Like, if I spill a smoothie all over my shirt, and I’m home, I can either choose to get upset or I can laugh about it, and I can take a picture of it and send it to my family and friends, which is what I often do.
And so, I think mistakes can bring joy and humor to our lives, but sometimes sloppy mistakes do cause damage. And so, we can reflect on, “How can I avoid the sloppy mistake in the future?” And often, when we reflect on that, the answer is there are ways to foster more focus or to change our systems and tools in order to avoid those mistakes. I could change where in my desk I put the smoothie so that I don’t spill it, for example.
And the final kind of mistakes is the aha-moment mistake, which is when we do something as we intended but we then realize it was the wrong thing to do because we have an aha moment. So, for example, my wife might be upset about something, I might calm and try to console her, and problem-solve with her, and then I might learn that she didn’t want me to problem-solve. She just wanted me to empathize and to be there with her.
And so, I did what I meant to do but I realized it was the wrong thing to do. And aha-moment mistakes are precious. When they happen, we need to just learn from them, reflect on them, and extract their precious gifts, but we can’t proactively elicit aha-moment mistakes so much, although we can, by soliciting more feedback, but the stretch mistakes are really what we can proactively drive by doing things that are challenging and changing the way we do things.
That’s fun. And it is so true that the sloppy mistakes can bring joy and humor to our lives. In fact, I don’t think this Twitter exists anymore, which is a darn shame. But this theme exists, like, on Reddit and some places, that you had one job. And it’s just all about just ridiculous mistakes. Like, one of my favorites was the SpongeBob SquarePants episode description, like on Netflix or something, but they had this really dark murder mystery description, and then the caption is like, “Oh, I must’ve missed that SpongeBob episode.” And it just tickles me something special.
And, yes, that is fun, and we can celebrate that. And, particularly, I think that learning zone/performing zone distinction is so handy there in terms of, “Oh, yes, we’re learning now. and, boy, that is goofy and hilarious.” Well, you and I, we’re both friends and fans of Mawi Asgedom. Shoutout, episode number one. And I remember we were trying to name a company that we had started together by just combining words. And I think one of them was so just goofy, Dolphin Secrets, so I just made these memes out of that because it’s goofy, and that’s okay.
And I think, well, you lay it on me, is it fair to say that when we can laugh and be relaxed, and take joy and humor and lightheartedness about mistakes, will that actually help us learn faster and better?
Yeah, because we can observe them better, we can talk about them better, we can also avoid kind of getting triggered and having, like, a fear, an away-reaction from them. So, absolutely, in general, positive emotions help us learn. Like, sometimes, stress can be helpful, too, especially if it’s not chronic or like super high, but positive emotions can help us engage in the learning process.
And, at the end of the day, again, what is the highest goal? I think, for me, a highest goal is, like, happiness, fulfillment, and appreciation. I want to appreciate life. I want to enjoy life. So, not only is laughing about mistakes helping me learn, it’s also helping me enjoy life, which is even more important.
Okay. Well, anything else when it comes to learning that you want to help distinguish, clarify, myth-debunk, things that we should know when we’re in the learning zone to get the most out of it?
Well, there are a lot of things we could talk about. One is that sometimes we think about growth mindset or learning zone as something that is about the individual quality, is about us fostering the beliefs and the habits in our brain and in our bodies to be motivated and effective learners.
And there’s a lot of truth to that but we are social beings, and so we need to build cultures and teams and relationships where we can engage in the learning zone together because, at the end of the day, these beliefs about whether people can change are highly influenced by each other, by the people who are around me. What messages are they sending? What behaviors? Are they acting like lifelong learners or are they acting like know-it-alls? That affects my beliefs and it affects my habits.
And so, we need to kind of talk about these things with our colleagues, and think about, “Is the learning zone something that we’re doing well or not doing well? Can we get better? What do we want to work on?” and do it in collaboration because, at the end of the day, we learn a lot better in collaboration with others than on our own. More brains think better than one brain. We have different experiences, different skills, different tactics, different tools, different perspectives, we can see things from different angles, we can give and receive feedback.
And so, what I would encourage people to think about is what habits can you work on as you’re on your own, but also can you bring others into your process and build relationships that are going to lead to better learning and better performance.
Fantastic. And can you walk us through the growth propeller concept?
Sure. The growth propeller are the five elements that each of us can think about continuing to develop in order to become fantastic learners and performers. So, picture a propeller with three blades, and in the center of the propeller, the axis, there are two components: our identity and our purpose.
And in terms of our identity, sometimes in terms of a fixed mindset, we might see ourselves as fixed in a particular way, like, “I’m just a natural parent,” for example, “And that’s part of my identity,” “I’m a flawless athlete,” or, “I’m a natural athlete.” And that can get in the way of learning. But what we can do, and what’s most important around the identity, is to develop the identity of being a learner, being somebody who evolves over our lives, and it’s always continuing to change. So, once we can incorporate that into our identity, we’re a lot more effective as learners.
In terms of purpose, having a reason why we do things, why we care about improvement and performance, is really important because both learning and performing involve effort. And so, why are we going to spend that effort? Why do we care? So, developing that purpose as an individual and with our colleagues is something that is necessary in order for us to become great learners and performers.
The three blades are, one is our beliefs, the other ones are habits, and the other one is our community. So, in terms of beliefs, a really important belief that we’ve talked about is growth mindset versus fixed mindset. Another belief is transparency. We learn and perform a lot better when we make our thinking transparent to others because, then, they can give us feedback, they can learn from what we’re thinking.
And so, the fact that transparency is something we want more of, and we want to share more of ourselves, is something we can kind of think about. Also, agency, “To what extent do we have influence over our world rather than are we victims of the world?” is something else to think about in terms of beliefs.
In terms of habits, sometimes we think about growth mindset as something that is about learning from mistakes. So, when we make a mistake, “Do we learn from them?” That’s a very reactive or responsive habit. What I would encourage people to think about is, “Can you develop more proactive habits where changing is the default?” So, what are you doing every day in order to drive your own change and your own evolution?
And, for me, an example, a very simple example that is really powerful for me is, every morning, I remind myself of what it is that I’m working to improve, and that just primes the growth mindset. I am looking for opportunities to do that throughout the day, and it’s super powerful. And then, in terms of community, we need to build trust, we need to build a sense of belonging, and we need to work on collaboration rather than competition in order to both kind of learn and perform.
And so, the growth propeller is chapter seven, and it talks about those five components. And so, the part of the community blade is about the relationships we have with others. So, part two of the book, chapters eight through twelve, is about how we do that in our workplaces, how we build teams in organizations, that make learning the easy default.
Okay. Well, Eduardo, tell me, anything else you want to make sure to mention before we hear about some of your favorite things?
Well, I would just mention I really appreciate your podcast, Pete, and just your focus on learning, the workplace, makes the world a better place. It’s awesome to be on the podcast a second time. So, thanks for all you do.
Well, thank you. And could you share now a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?
Yeah, the quote I have at the bottom of my email is, “The self is not something one finds. It’s something one creates,” by Thomas Szasz.
And could you share a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?
Sure. There are many. One is, there’s a meta-analysis from Harvard that looked at 62 research studies that looked into, “How much medical doctors improve in their patient outcomes the more years of experience they have in the profession?” And what they found is that, on average, medical doctors got worse over time. Their patient outcomes became worse because they were so busy in the performance zone, seeing patients, diagnosing, prescribing, and most of them, on average, don’t engage in the learning zone on a regular basis.
And so, as a result, they forget information that’s relevant to infrequent diagnoses, for example, and that decreases their performance. But, of course, there are some doctors that do get better over time. But this points to the difference between experience and expertise. Experience is something we just get by doing an activity a lot. And expertise is something that we build through the learning zone, and that can happen at any age.
All right. And a favorite book?
Favorite book, Mindset by Carol Dweck really changed my life. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama changed my life as well. I’m reading a wonderful book right now, it’s called The Clan of the Cave Bear, which is about prehistoric humans. It’s super interesting.
All right. And do you have a favorite tool, something you use to be awesome at your job?
I love Roam Research. It’s a second-brain tool, whereas my knowledge management system tool, there’s a lot of other second-brain tools now. And I also love Otter. When I listen to podcasts, I download the MP3 and I upload it to Otter which transcribes it, and I listen to it through there. And what I love about that is that I can highlight kind of gems in the conversation. And after I listen to the episode, I can kind of do something with that. Either put it in my knowledge management system or send it to somebody else who would appreciate it, for example.
Oh, Eduardo, that is walking the talk. That is hardcore and I love it. Thank you. And a favorite habit?
Well, I mentioned one of reminding myself every morning of what I’m working to improve. Before that, the first thing that I do every day is my most treasured habit, and it is just expressing gratitude for the things that I deem most important, which is life, health, love, and peace. Noticing one of those things that are in my life and in the world just puts me in a great emotional state and makes me grateful to be alive and for what is.
And is there a key nugget you share that seems to really connect and resonate with folks; they quote it back to you often, they retweet it, etc.?
If we fixate on performance, our performance suffers. That’s the performance paradox.
All right. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?
So, my monthly newsletter is on my website, which is at Briceño.com, my last name, dotcom. I’m also active on LinkedIn. And my book is called The Performance Paradox: Turning the Power of Mindset into Action. I worked really hard the last three years to write all the things that we talked about today. So, that’s another way to learn more about my work.
All right. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks looking to be awesome at their jobs?
My challenge would be to, “Can you engage in the learning zone a little bit more with others? Could you start a conversation with your colleagues about whether you want to continue to progress in your learning zone habits together and what you want to work on next, that you can bring other people into collaboration with you to learn and perform and accelerate that over time together?”
All right. Eduardo, this has been a treat. I wish you much good learning and performing.
Thank you so much, Pete. It’s been great to speak with you.