It Takes What It Takes | Trevor Moawad

Summary of: It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life
By: Trevor Moawad

Introduction

Embark on a journey to learn the power of neutral thinking, as outlined in Trevor Moawad’s book ‘It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life’. Discover how to bounce back from setbacks, tune out past mistakes, and conquer negative thoughts that may hinder your performance. Explore diverse examples ranging from athletes like Russell Wilson and Fred Taylor, to the Apollo 13 mission, demonstrating the potential applications of neutral thinking in diverse contexts. By focusing on the present moment, keeping emotions in check, and adopting positive behaviors, neutral thinking can propel individuals to become champions in their chosen fields.

Neutral Thinking: The Psychology of Champions

Russell Wilson demonstrated the power of Neutral Thinking during the NFC Championship in January 2015. Despite playing poorly and making mistakes, Wilson maintained a positive and focused attitude, yelling at his teammates, “We can still win this game! Let’s go!” This is an example of neutral thinking, a psychological strategy that helps individuals tune out past mistakes and negative thinking. By staying neutral, Wilson was able to ignore his disappointment and focus on the task at hand. In doing so, he led his team to two touchdown drives and won the game. Neutral thinking is a powerful tool for unlocking a set of behaviors that can turn also-rans into champions and champions into legends. By concentrating on one play at a time and refusing to dwell on past mistakes or negative thoughts, Wilson exemplified the importance of neutral thinking in achieving success.

The Art of Neutral Thinking

In life, acknowledging our mistakes is essential, but dwelling on them can be detrimental. To prevent negative setbacks from consuming us, we need neutral thinking. Comparing our brain to a car, we need to pause in neutral to reset. During a game against Stanford in 2018, University of Southern California quarterback J.T. Daniels threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. While taking full responsibility for the results, Daniels bounced back and credited neutral thinking for his flawless performance a couple of weeks later. Similarly, when the University of Georgia football team played poorly in the first half of a significant game, coach Kirby Smart adopted neutral thinking during halftime. He told his players to understand that their poor performance didn’t mean it would continue in the second half. By embracing neutral thinking, Georgia won in overtime. Neutral thinking neither denies reality nor ignores our mistakes but helps us move forward and perform better.

Neutral Thinking in Space

When an oxygen tank exploded during the Apollo 13 mission, the astronauts’ ability to use neutral thinking was crucial in their survival. Positive thinking would have led to false confidence, and negative thinking would have been disastrous. Instead, they focused on the moment at hand, avoiding anxiety and doubt, and tamed their emotions by concentrating on specific behaviors. By replacing feelings with actions and avoiding judgment, the trio managed to stay alive. This story shows how neutral thinking can be a valuable tool in high-pressure situations, even in space.

Russell Wilson’s Champion Mentality

Wilson’s response to a Super Bowl loss highlights his graceful acceptance of defeat and champion mentality. Despite a last-gasp interception, Wilson chose to take responsibility for the loss rather than blame others. He knew that being a champion required taking calculated risks and accepting potential setbacks. Rather than dwelling on the defeat, Wilson focused on becoming a better athlete and person. His response contrasts with that of Cam Newton, who struggled with defeat in a post-game press conference. Wilson’s mindset of not living in the past defines his character and sets an example for others to follow.

Vince Carter’s Longevity Secrets

Vince Carter, a legendary NBA player, had a successful career in part because he made healthy lifestyle choices and sacrifices. He stopped consuming junk food and soda, drank more water, stretched, and avoided unnecessary dunks that could hurt his knees. Carter also worked out after games instead of partying. He embodied the saying, “It takes what it takes.” The importance of making productive choices was illustrated through the story of NFL quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who failed despite his talent and a significant contract due to poor lifestyle choices. This passage highlights that making the right choices is not always straightforward and requires discipline, but it can pay significant dividends in career longevity and success.

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