My notes and other stuff


On Willpower

From Hockey Tactics 2023 - The Playbook by Jack Han, but clearly applicable to far more domains than sports much like the previous quote on the 80% league:

I learned a few things from David Goggins. They weren't necessarily what he taught me.

In the summer of 2019, the Toronto Maple Leafs invited Goggins to deliver the keynote speech to staff and prospects at Development Camp. The ex-Navy SEAL shared his experiences of growing up in a broken household and overcoming adversity to become a successful soldier and athlete.

Goggins surmised that most humans only tapped into 40% of their capabilities due to a lack of willpower. The Can't Hurt Me author has dedicated his adult life to not being one of those people. He signed up for SEALs training despite a crippling fear of water, lost 100lb after a couch-potato phase and brute-forced his way through his first ultramarathon by casting his battered ankles with duct tape. He wakes up at 3AM and then runs 10 miles. His catchphrase is "stay hard."

My colleagues were transfixed. Meanwhile I was mildly horrified at the physical and mental pounding Goggins willfully put himself through on a daily basis. I wondered if the players were getting the right message. The high-end athletes sitting at our tables were already well on their way to reaching their potential. What they needed weren't Goggins-esque feats of willpower.

When talking to future NHLers, I talk about the importance of thinking ahead and then working backwards.

What would it take for you to play in the NHL at age 40?" I ask them.

The question forces a young person to think about his sleeping habits (enough every night), eating habits (not too much) and long-term lifestyle choices. It's a more important question to consider than "how can you get drafted in the first round at 18" or "how can you play in the NHL at 20."

Rare are players who make it to 40 in the toughest league in the world. It is because of a lack of skill, a lack of will or a lack of health? Every story is different yet most end the same way. Picturing those outcomes forces a player to consider things from a different perspective than merely being the best they can be today. It teaches them to avoid shortcuts, to create positive habits and to let good things compound over time.

(emphasis mine)