Josh Waitzkin is an 8x US National Chess Champion, a 2x Tai Chi Push Hands World Champion, and a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He is the author of The Art of Learning (require reading to train with me).  Josh is now pursuing paddle surfing where I’ve been working with him for the last year.  He is the most positive, inspirational person I know and I’m incredibly thankful he agreed to come on the show.

Josh’s Core Training Principles –

  • Reduced Complexity (end game before opening) – training with less variables to focus on larger, high-level principles concepts.
  • Firewalking – learning from the experience of others using empathy and visualization.
  • Mental Representations – have a clear mental model for a skill your practicing.  Like modeling an Agassi forehand.
  • Growth comes at point of resistance – we learn the most when we’re outside of our comfort zone.
  • Living on the other side of pain
  • Train at the few to internalize the many
  • Finding your own way
  • Beacon of Quality
  • Depth before Breadth
  • Loving the storm
  • Have your compass on
  • Most important Question
  • The Downward Spiral – Usually it isn’t the first mistake that’s disastrous, but the first mistake tends to make the second more likely.
  • Philosopher vs. Philosophologist – We tend to study the work of those who study the experts instead of studying the experts directly.

Links –

Complete Show Notes –

  • Thanks to my family for the epic intro to the show!
  • Huge Thanks to Garrett Dutton, AKA G Love for letting me use “The Things that I used to do” for the theme music.
  • Introduction to the Progression Project, what this show is going to be about.
  • About Josh Waitzkin [2:00]
  • Interview Beginning [3:00]
  • On Josh’s Passion, early chess and love [4:10]
  • Transitions of Josh’s career.  Chess to Thai Chi, Thai Chi to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Jiu Jitsu to Paddle Surfing(receptivity) [6.40]
  • Breakthroughs, How/Why we can get though training plateaus. [14:40]
  • On self expression in sport [20:45]
  • Reduced complexity training principle [22:00]
  • How to maximize learning curve [26:00]
  • On coaching different personalities [27:00]
  • Josh’s biggest life crisis, chess coach pushed him out of his game. [29:00]
  • Discussion of Peak and Mental Representations . Skill representation vs. dynamic, decision representation [31:00]
  • Thematic mapping – Non-local habit creation map.  Which techniques are housed under which principle under which meta-themes. Train at technique to internalize principle to internalize meta-theme. [34:00]
  • External locust of control  [35:00]
  • Living on the other side of pain  [36:20]
  • On Loving Deliberate Practice  [38:30]
  • Firewalking [41:45]
  • On Finding Your Own Way [48:00]
  • What skills will be most important for children growing up now.   Beacon of Quality  [49:30]
  • How Josh trains, depth before breadth [51:30]
  • Cultivating passion [53:30]
  • “Most important thing about parenting is listening with your mind wide open” [54:00]
  • Training your weaknesses [56:00]
  • Balance of pushing growth edge vs. going to far and instilling fear  [57:30]
  • Fear vs. Risk [1:02:00]
  • Have your compass on . [1:04:30]
  • Most important question – MIQ [1:06:00]
  • The Downward Spiral  [1:07:00]
  • Philosopher vs. Philosophologist [1:08:00]
  • Greatest insight is right next to greatest blunder [1:09:00]
  • “We live our lives listening to the commentators” [1:12:20]
  • Role of conscious mind in learning [1:16:00]
  • mental models in investing  [1:18:30]
  • On Lifestyle, making decisions for lifestyle  [1:20:30]
  • Moving to the jungle [1:23:00]
  • Some notes from Erik.  Thanks to G Love for the music.  Profanity, going to try to keep it to a minimum so you can listen with your kids.
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