Tag Archives: Performance

The Tool That Changed Surfing (and a Takeaway to Enhance Your Performance)

Teahupoo is a wave zone off the coast of southwestern Tahiti. But, it isn’t just any kind of wave. Described with phrases like “the grinding eye of doom” and “liquid napalm”, Teahupoo boasts a handful of nasty features.

To start, the wave moves in a unique pattern, “detonating laterally, producing a barrel that has accurately been compared to the Lincoln Tunnel,” writes Stephen Kotler in his book Rise of Superman. Add in the fact that it breaks in extremely shallow water with sharp coral reef sitting just below and you have an absolute monster.

The issue with riding Teahupoo isn’t so much finding someone crazy enough to catch and ride the wave; there are plenty of those in the surfing community. Rather, it’s being able to catch the wave in the first place.

Waves like Teahupoo and other giants that tower 60 feet and higher move much faster than any human can paddle. Previously, this limitation forced surfers to top out at 25-footers. That is until Darrick Doerner and surfing legend Laird Hamilton set out on a mission to tame Teahupoo in 2000, a ride that would change the game of surfing forever. 1

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How to Force Yourself to Improve

Gary Cohn owes his first job on Wall Street to a cab ride1.

Cohn was twenty-two and working as a salesman for U.S. Steel in Cleveland. On one particular day, he found himself in Long Island and decided to venture down to Wall Street. While he was there, he decided he wanted a job.

The only problem? Cohn didn’t know anything about finance.

Since he had no connections on Wall Street and little experience that would qualify him for a job, he couldn’t pursue the ordinary route of handing in a resume. So, he went after a different angle. He stood outside of the commodities exchange until he overheard a well-dressed man catching a taxi to LaGuardia. Without missing a beat, Cohn asked if they could share a cab ride.

This gave Cohn an hour in the car with a higher up in one of the top brokerage firms on Wall Street.

Throughout their conversation, Cohn discovered the firm was entering the options business. However, the higher up didn’t know the first thing about buying or selling an option. He asked Cohn how much he knew.

Malcolm Gladwell recounts Cohn’s response in David and Goliath:

When he said, ‘Do you know what an option is?’ I said, ‘Of course I do, I know everything, I can do anything for you.’

That, of course, was a lie. Cohn knew nothing about options trading. But, he was able to score an interview. He spent the next few days reading books on options trading and landed the job.

Cohn knew the best way to improve is to commit to action before you’re ready.

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