Tony Schwartz: “The Energy Project” | Talks at Google

Tony Schwartz: “The Energy Project” | Talks at Google


>>WITTENBERG: Hi, everybody. Thank you for
coming. My name is Evan Wittenberg. I work in the leadership development and people management
group as part of Google University. And we’re very excited today to be introducing Tony
Schwartz as our next [email protected] lecturer. Tony has an interesting history. Currently,
he’s the founder, president, and CEO of a company called the Energy Project which deals
all about with how to manage your energy, not your time to be more effective and achieve
optimal performance in the workplace, at home, in life, et cetera. His background is really
interesting. He began his career as a journalist. He was a reporter for the New York Times,
associate editor at Newsweek, staff writer at New York and Esquire Magazines, and a columnist
for Fast Company. He also has a little dirty secret from his past, co-authored the number
one, international bestseller “The Art of the Deal” with Donald Trump. So if you have
questions about his opinion of Trump, you can ask him later. And more importantly, wrote
a book call “What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America.” What he’s here to
talk to us today about is what I alluded to you before, how we can be more effective by
thinking about our energy throughout the day rather than our time. And he’s actually piloted
his two-day version of the course here at Google that some people on the audience, raise
your hand if you’ve been through that course; a couple of people. So, you can look around
and ask them later if you want to know how that was and we’ll be announcing more about
that in the next few weeks. A couple of important things that Tony has asked, one thing that
you’ll learn about in this book when you read it, for those of you who got it, “The Power
of Full Engagement,” is that the brain is actually unable to multitask. So Tony has
asked to please close your laptops unless you’re actually taking notes about this because
it’s not possible to pay attention to both even though we fool ourselves about that all
the time. There will be time at the end for questions and I would ask you to please come
up to this microphone at the end if you have questions about the talk. Hopefully, Tony
will keep you engaged so you won’t be tempted to go back to the Blackberrys and computers
throughout the talk. And I think without further adieu, let me introduce Tony Schwartz. Welcome.
>>SCHWARTZ: Thank you. Thank you. Good morning. It’s great to be here with a wonderful day.
This work comes out of a passion of mine that began somewhere in my teens when other people
were doing things very different than I was doing. I was trying to figure out what life
was all about and what made it possible, what was it that made it possible, I guess, back
then to be a happier and more satisfied human being than I was growing up in a difficult
New York Jewish family. But over time that evolved into a passion around, what makes
it possible for a person to be all they’re capable of being. What makes it possible for
a human being to build progressively over their life a richer, deeper version of who
they are? And this work is about that. It’s nominally about helping organizations to be
more effective and more productive. It’s nominally about the difference about what it takes to
be a great leader. But I deeply believe that you can be a great human being and it may
or may not have any impact on–I’m sorry, you could be–yes, you could be a great human
being and it may or may not have any impact on whether you can be a great leader. But
you can’t be a great leader if you’re not a great human being. And so to me, the work
of leadership, the work of really being the most effective you can possibly be begins
with the work of yourself. And so today, I’m going to give you just a little taste of it.
You’re going to see that it’s oriented a little bit in the physical direction and that’s largely
because everything begins with the body. I want to assure you that if you choose to,
if you’re intrigued by this work that there’s a lot more to it and that we ultimately take
account of quite a wide variety of components that influenced your capacity to show up with
everything you’ve got in each part of your life. So, what is it that starts us off? What
is it that makes it possible for me to get folks interested in bringing me into organizations?
And basically, it’s this. It’s that we have developed a gap between demand and capacity.
So, here’s the deal. In your lives, what happens is when you’re born, you obviously have very
low demand. You make a lot of demands but you don’t have a lot of demand. And your demand
progressively goes up over time. And in the world we live in, it just keeps on going until
hopefully one day you drop off the face of the cliff and your demands in the most graceful
way possible. But in the meantime, what’s happening is that in the absence of a conscious
and intentional intervention on your part, the capacity you bring to the table is rising
no matter what you do. How many people here–well, I don’t want to ask that quite yet–the capacity
in your life is rising no matter what you do to your body, no matter what you do to
yourself. Your capacity just keeps on going up, but it hits a peak at a certain point
in your life in the absence of intervention. What age do you think that peak is?
>>MALE: Forty-five.>>SCHWARTZ: Unfortunately, it is 30 not 45.
Now, in this group unlike most of the groups I talked to, that’s not yet such bad news
for you because you’re not there yet. But guess what, even if you’re not, I promise
you will be. And what happens then is that your capacity progressively diminishes over
time most especially, most especially at the physical level. So for example, in the absence
of you’re doing anything to keep this from happening, from the age of 30 on, you will
lose one half pound of lean muscle mass every year for the rest of your life. That’s not
good news. And the reason it’s not good news is that demand is not only–how many of you
would say that the demand in your life over the last two or three years is as high as
it’s ever been in your life. Okay. And how many of you expect given that you probably
pushed yourself pretty damn hard to get to where you are today that over the next year
the demand in your life will finally begin to diminish. So, in other words, your demand
is the highest it’s been ever over the last three years and you have every expectation
that it’s going to continue to rise at a minimum not to diminish. Let me ask you this question.
How many of you think that along with your demand your capacity will rise systematically
to keep pace with your demand over the next period of time? Houston, we got a problem.
It’s this problem, it’s this gap, and that’s the game we’re in the business of trying to
address. So, the issue is that when it comes to meeting demand, the number one resource
most of us use, naturally use, instinctively use is our time. So, if you’ve got more demand,
you put in more hours. And I’m sure that many of you are putting in a lot of hours. And
in fact, organizations, even progressive organizations like Google, even if it doesn’t say it, even
if it has all sorts of wonderful things to give you an opportunity not to be working
does in fact value you to a considerable degree based on the number of hours it’s perceived
that you invest. Now, that’s great for a certain period of time. But when you reach the limit
of the number of hours you have available to invest, you’ve got a problem when it comes
to expanding your capacity, don’t you. How many people here would like me to stop, spend
a few minutes giving you some advice on how to use your free hours? So, we’re already.
That dance card is already full, isn’t it? That dance card is fall and the bottom line
is that time is finite. You’ve got 168 hours in the week. You’re never going to have another
hour and you already don’t have any free but I guess you’re–but I know that your demand
is rising. So, that’s not going to solve your problem if we are going to make it possible
to meet the increasing demand in our lives, to take account of the fact that we live in
a more complex world, what you’re going to have to do is you’re going to have to find
a way other than time to get more done. In other words, you’re going to have to get more
than in less time. And the only way that we have recognized that that really fundamentally
is possible is to go after a different resource and that resource is energy. And the reason
energy is a good resource to use is because energy unlike time is inside you. Time is
outside you. It moves by you like a train and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. But
energy is inside you and it can be systematically expanded and it can be regularly renewed.
So energy is a fabulous resource to put it in your disposal. But what is energy? What
is energy? Because it’s easy to say energy; there’s all kinds of energy and, you know,
it’s easy to get real soft on the idea of energy. One of the reasons that organizations
use hours is they’re very clear to calibrate, minutes, hours, days, that’s really easy to
calibrate. Energy is more ambiguous, more subjective. So what is energy? Well, it turns
out, actually, energy has been defined. Energy is the capacity to do work, that’s what you
go in your physics courses, right? Energy is the capacity to do work. So in other words,
in simple terms, if you have more energy, you have more capacity, don’t you? So in other
words, if I can help you to systematically build the reservoir of energy that you have
available, if I could put more fuel in your tank then presumably you’ll have more capacity.
We tend to focus on skills and competencies, that’s the life you’ve lived. You’ve all developed
an enormous number of skills, you’ve had all kinds of achievements around skills and you’ve
been measured by how many of those skills you have. You’ve got into Google because you
have more than most people, way more than most people. But here’s the problem in a demand-laden
world with focusing simply on capacity. I’m sorry, on competency. Capacity is underneath
competency. Capacity is what makes it possible for you to bring your skill and talent to
life. You can’t run on empty, although a lot of us try to do it. So if you are trying to
bring your skill and talent to life but you are, you didn’t sleep a lot last night or
you don’t eat the right foods, or you’ve got the wrong emotional state, or you weren’t
good at focusing your attention, or your level of commitment and passion isn’t all that high,
these are all components of capacity, then you’re not going to be able to do it. And
we all know people, and we all know times in our lives when you–despite your enormous
skill and talent, haven’t been able to deliver it, particularly under pressure. In a human
being, I’m sorry–in a car, you need one source of energy to get the thing to go, and mostly
it’s been fuel. Now it’s starting to change but it still going to primarily be one source
of energy. But a human being–a human being requires a much more complex set of energies,
energy in the human system is multidimensional. We need four separate sources of energy in
order to be able to perform at our best, each one of them is necessary, none of them is
sufficient by itself and they deeply influence one another. So you can’t get by–or I shouldn’t
say get by, you can get by using only one or two of them to any great effect but you
can’t operate at your best if you do that. So what are these four sources of energy?
So I’ve already said that, so I don’t need to repeat it. The four–the four sources of
energy start with the physical, why? Because the physical is the base, it’s the–it’s the
foundation on which everything else rests. If you don’t have sufficient physical energy,
is it going to influence your focus of attention? Is it going to influence your ability to manage
your emotion under pressure? Of course it is. So, we have tended to make this not performance
relevant or relevant to performance in the work place, we’ve discounted how important
physical energy is, and we haven’t systematically focused attention on it, and in fact increasingly
in schools for kids where we’re starting to do work we see that they basically dispense
with the physical dimension. They don’t pay attention to it at all. You know, if you’re
not on a varsity team in high school, then you’re not getting any attention to your physical
capacity. Physical capacity has four components. It’s the simplest of all the capacities because
of that. Number one, nutrition; you’re ability to move glucose and sustain glucose at a certain
level in your body, that’s number one. Number two, fitness; how well you transport oxygen
through your body. Number three is sleep; how well do you sleep, do you sleep enough
hours, do you sleep deeply enough. And the forth is, and this is the one that people
don’t pay much attention to is recovery or renewal; the day time equivalent of sleep
because the body is designed to sleep twice. The body is designed to sleep for a longer
period of time at night and it’s designed to sleep for a short period of time in the
afternoon. And so it’s also designed, unlike a machine, it’s designed to move rhythmically
between the expenditure and the recovery of energy. And so you need to, as you’ll see
when I get a little further into this description, you need to learn to value intermittent renewal
during the day in the same way that you currently, I don’t want to say in the same way that you
currently value sleep because a lot of you don’t value sleep very much. But in the way
you should be valuing sleep. Okay. So that’s physical energy. Then there is the quality
of your energy. The quality of your energy, that’s how you feel because how you feel profoundly
influences how well you perform, how well you lead, how well you interact with others,
there is a very specific set of emotions that are associated with sustainable high performance,
and I’m going to get to those and talk about those in just a moment. So we’ve got quantity
of energy, we’ve got quality of energy, and then we’ve got focus of energy. So that’s
the mental dimension. Focus of energy is what the Evan was obliquely referring to when he
said that I didn’t want you to be using your computers and Blackberrys. The reason I actually
didn’t want you to is because it makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like you don’t
care, like you don’t love me, and I have a high need. But the focus of your energy is,
the work we do around this dimension and the importance of it is that for thousands of
years it has been understood that we do our most effective work when we focus on one thing
at a time. That’s were the meditative traditions came from. We have lost that. Google is responsible
for a lot of that because of the number of opportunities it gives us to interrupt our
attention, but there are thousands of ways now that we get our attention interrupted
and it’s at extraordinary cause to your productivity. It’s also at extraordinary cause to the depth
of work that you do. You know that if you go out and try to take a run for example,
that the first two or three minutes or the first five minutes, how do you feel? You don’t
feel very good, you’re not warmed up, you’re not feeling like your muscles are warm, like
you’re loose, like you’re in your rhythm. Well the same thing is true mentally, if you
try to begin a hard task for the first three minutes, or five minutes, or eight minutes,
or whatever it is for you, you’re going to be half there and half not there. You are
slowly dropping down into a state of absorption. If you interrupt yourself frequently then
what you are doing is you’re interfering with that level of absorption, and on average,
the average person stays on task in an organization in an America today for eleven minutes. Eleven
minutes on a task before they go on to another task, but during those eleven minutes, they
interrupt themselves with something, an average of every three minutes. So you can see that
we’ve got a big interference with our ability to bring absorbed attention to the table which
is part of the energy equation. And then finally, there is the one that sounds as soft as in
fact probably the most important which is what we call the energy of the human spirit.
The energy of the human spirit is the energy derived from the sense, from the experience
of purpose and from an alignment between what you say is important in your life and how
you actually live; and the better that alignment, the more powerful the source of energy available
to you. In fact, this energy drives, this is the “Why,” the others of the “Hows.” This
“Why” energy drives your behavior at all the other level. So, it’s an additional source
of energy, emotionally, mentally, and physically when you’ve got it in place. So four sources
of energy, if you got all those four sources of energy happening for you, if you’ve got
that full reservoir of them, then you could fire on all cylinders. How many of you got
those nailed, those four? Let’s find out. You got a pencil, or you got something that
you can write on? I’m going to take you through a little energy audit; that’s what we call,
a little energy audit to give you a sense of how you’re doing in terms of these four
dimensions of energy. How much energy do you have available to you in each of these four
dimensions? This little audit is designed around what we have determined, and it’s very
strongly research-based. If you go on our website, the energyproject.com, you will see
a database for everything that I’m talking about. So I’m not talking about these things
because they occurred to me as good ideas. This is our gathering of the research. So,
what I want you to do in each of these questions, I’d like you to answer, I’d like you to just
make a check mark on your paper if the answer to the question is yes. That’s all you have
to do. And then at the end we’ll add up the “yes” answers. Bad news is this is one of
those rare test where getting a “yes” doesn’t serve you well. Number one, I don’t regularly
get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired. Number
two, I frequently skip breakfast or I settle for something that isn’t particularly healthy.
Number three, I don’t workout enough, meaning, cardiovascular training at least three times
a week and strength training at least once a week. If you don’t do both of those, you’re
a “yes.” Number four, I don’t take regular breaks during the day to renew and recharge,
and I often eat lunch at my desk if I ate lunch at all. Number five, I frequently find
myself feeling irritable, impatient, or anxious at work especially when demand is high. Number
six, I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them I’m
not always really with them. Number seven, I take too little time in my life for the
activities that I most deeply enjoy. Number eight, I rarely stop to express my appreciation
to others or to savor and celebrate my accomplishments and blessings. If you don’t do both of those
things, you’re a “yes.” Number nine, I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time,
and I’m easily distracted during the day, especially by email. That’s a “yes” for all
of you. Number 10, I spend much of my time reacting to immediate demands rather than
focusing on activities with long-term value and higher leverage. Number 11, I don’t take
enough time for reflections, strategizing, or thinking creatively. Number 12, I work
in the evenings and/or on the weekends and I rarely take a vacation free of work, if
I take a vacation at all. Number 13, I spend too little time at work doing what I do best
and enjoy most. Number 14, there are significant gaps between what I say is important in my
life and how I actually live; I say that my girlfriend, significant other, wife, husband
is important, but I don’t spend much time or energy on that. Number 15, my decisions
at work are more influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of my own purpose.
And finally, number 16, I don’t invest enough positive time and energy in making a positive
difference to others in the world. Total them up. Okay. All right. There’s what?
>>MALE: Cursing.>>SCHWARTZ: Cursing. So, how many people
have eight or more “yes” answers? Eight or more “yes” answers. Look around, the good
news is you’ve got company. The bad news is, you’ve got company. Eight or more. How many
people—you’re going to hold it up or you’re 12? How many people have 12 or more? How many
people who have 12 or more? Okay. How many people are happy about the number of “yes”
answers? How many? Five. And by the way, five is extraordinarily low. Five is extraordinarily
low, but not of those five is something that you are glad is a “yes,” right? Right. So,
here’s the interesting thing. I don’t want to get into this too deeply because of the
time limitations, but just at the most simple, simple level. If you have eight “yes” answers,
think of it as 50 percent of the potential capacity available to you that is currently
available to you. That’s enormous. What is this all about? Why does this happen? And
I will submit to you that the reason this happens is because we don’t make capacity
important, because we take capacity for granted. We assume that if the demand goes up, our
capacity will expand naturally to meet it. But that’s not the way it works, and it takes
a toll not only at the level of productivity but it takes a toll emotionally, it takes
a tool spiritually, and it takes a toll physically. So what really happens is that we go numbed
to this reality. We tend to not notice this. Once I put this up and you look at these answers
and you say to yourself, “Oh, my god. These are central things in life that are dead obvious
that I should be doing and I don’t do them.” You have a hundred stories you can tell me
if I let give you the time about why you don’t do them. But the reality is it’s not doing
you any good not to do them and it’s getting in the way both in your professional and in
your personal life. So once I raise it up into consciousness which is step one, now
you can say to yourself, “Okay. So what do I do about this? What do I do about this because
Tony…” And this is the story part that begins: “I am working really long hours. I got a long
commute. I got obligations with my family. I’ve got other things I’d like to do. I can’t
do all these things, so get real.” All right. Well, I want to look at this because the real
issue for you once you’ve got this up and you’re looking at it dead honest, and when
you walk out of here, I hope you will. In fact, anybody who would like me to send you
the energy audit, I’d be happy to send it through Evan and he will send it to anybody
who wants it. So give me your card at the end and I’ll get you the energy audit so you
can keep track of how you’re doing as the future unfolds before you. But what I want
to look at now is I want to look at the consequence of your having whatever level of capacity
you have. And the way I want to look at it in a very simple form based on the understanding
that we have four different energy states that we can find ourselves in in the course
of the day. But only one of those energy states serves us best. And those energy states are
fed by each of these dimensions that we’ve already been talking about by how much capacity
you have in each of these four tanks. So I want to look at the practical result of your
having those relatively frightening scores that most of you have. And this too can become
a very simple way. I’d also be happy when it’s done to send you this slide. This too
is something that you can keep as a barometer or as a measure of how you’re doing in the
course of the day. So let’s take a look at it. We call this the energy quadrants, okay.
Now, the vertical axis refers to the quantity of your energy from low to high. Okay? And
then the horizontal axis refers to the quality of your energy from negative to positive.
So, therefore, we end up having four quadrants, four different kinds of energy. So let me
ask you this, if I ask you, “How do you feel? How do you feel when you’re performing at
your best?” I’d like you to just throw out some adjectives at me. I’d like you to throw
out some adjectives that define how you feel when you’re performing at your best.
>>MALE: Aligned.>>SCHWARTZ: Aligned. Happy.
>>FEMALE: Satisfied.>>SCHWARTZ: Satisfied. Aligned. Happy. Fulfilled.
>>FEMALE: Energized.>>SCHWARTZ: Energized.
>>MALE: Excited.>>SCHWARTZ: Excited.
>>FEMALE: Exuberant.>>SCHWARTZ: Exuberant. Okay. Which quadrant
do those go in?>>FEMALE: High positive.
>>SCHWARTZ: High positive. The upper-right quadrant. There’s absolutely no question that
those are the adjectives that you feel. Those are the feeling you have when you’re performing
at your best. This is a no-brainer. This is a no-brainer. And no matter how many people
we’ve asked this question to when we begun our work 25 years ago with professional athletes,
and we were told that, at that time, the prevailing view in sport psychology was that what, a,
athletes felt when they were performing at their best included a mild amount of anxiety.
So, we started asking people, you know. Is that what you’re feeling? You feel of mild
anxiety, the answer was a 100 percent, no. They answered just the way you answered. What
we feel are positive emotions when we’re performing at our best. Maybe before you perform, you
are feeling a little bit anxious in a performance demand. But, if you’re feeling anxious when
you’re actually performing, be guaranteed, you’re not going to perform at your best.
So, there it is, that’s–how many of you have learned something that you didn’t know by
seeing that those are the emotions associated with high performance, nobody, right? Nobody,
that’s no big surprise. Here’s the surprise, if you’re not feeling this way, you can’t
perform at your best. Why is that a surprise? Well, because I have to ask you this question.
Is this the way you are feeling at work, energized, focus, passionate, confident, exuberant, the
vast majority at the time? Are there times when you’re not feeling this way at work?
Is there anybody who sometimes doesn’t feel those emotions at work? So then, the question
becomes, so when you’re not feeling this way, how are you feeling and what’s the consequence,
right? Because we need to know in the cost-benefit ratio if you aren’t fueling yourself with
the right emotions, what’s the cost, what’s the consequence, so I’m going to start here
on the upper left because it’s the only other zone–energy zone that has energy in it. An
absent energy or significant energy, absent energy, I don’t care whether it’s negative
or positive, you’re not going to be very effective in work. So, when you look at this, we call
this the survival zone. Now it’s interesting, the only reason in any of these zones exist
is because there is some circumstance or circumstances in your life when it’s appropriate to be in
this zone, otherwise, from an evolutionary perspective, it would be naturally selected
out, wouldn’t it? It only exists because there’s a value in it. In other words, there’s a time
in your life when it makes sense to be in this zone, it serves you best to be in this
zone, when is it?>>FEMALE: When you’re threatened.
>>SCHWARTZ: When you’re threatened. Here’s the problem. If there is a large mountain
lion coming at you, being in the survival zone is a good thing. The reason is because
you will have a physiological shift from your parasympathetic nervous system to your sympathetic
nervous system from your prefrontal cortex testing your limbic system. And what it will–the
consequence of it is that you will be able to move more quickly. Your limbic system picks
up threat more quickly than your prefrontal cortex does, so it’s really good when your
life is in danger. If there’s a fire at the back in the room right now, I don’t want you
to be asking yourself, “Let me see, how much longer can I listen to this talk before that.”
What you want to do is you want the body to say to you, “Get the hell out and get out,”
or take water and put it on the fire, fight or flight, right? The problem of what you
said is that survival is not necessarily always a true threat to your life. So in other words,
you can feel a sense of threat and you can feel a sense of danger in your life, but it
might not actually be a threat, but the same physiological set of responses happens if
you feel threat. What happens? Well, your vision narrows; your heart rate increases;
your muscles contract; and most important in some sense, the blood rushes from your
brain into your extremities. Therefore, the blood is no longer in your brain. That’s not
a good thing, if you have to think. Is there anybody here who spends any time during the
day thinking? That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s not a metaphor I’m talking about,
it’s literal. The prefrontal cortex in true fight or flight when adrenaline and noradrenaline
and cortisol flood through your body shuts down because you don’t want it to be thinking.
It will interfere with your action. The problem is that when that happens, all sorts of other
things happen too. So if what’s happened is your boss has yelled at you or your–maybe
you’ve got a problem in your work that you can’t solve and your worried about meeting
a deadline or you feel too much demand in your life or you’re negative because you’re
exhausted, any of those, the problem is that it means that you’re in not a position to
do a number of things. When you’re in the upper left quadrant, here or some of the things,
if we had time, I’d get you to tell me, but you would know this, I promise you; but the
first thing is you perform worse in upper left. That’s the first problem, because you
don’t think well, because you can’t be imaginative, because you aren’t reflective, so you don’t
perform as well. The second thing that happens is it’s terrible for your health. Cortisol,
the hormone cortisol is very important for you in certain situations. When it circulates
for very long in your body, it becomes a toxin, a poison and it leads to virtually every,
it has an impact on virtually every major illness and disease we know. So to spend time
in that zone is very costly to your health, it’s very costly to your performance. And
because energy is contagious, it’s very influential to other people. For those of you in this
room who have responsibility for other people who are leaders, your energy is disproportionately
contagious by virtue of your position. And so you have a significant influence on other
people. If you have any doubt that energy is contagious, when we’re finished with this
talk, let’s go down together and walk in to the local Department of Motor Vehicles and
see if your energy changes. Energy is very powerful on your emotions. And so, if you
think if you think of the impact of your energy, it’s not just that negative energy is affecting
you, it’s that it’s affecting other people. And you’ve had that experience. You’ve had
the opposite experience of what I’m talking about at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
You’re going to a store or you show up on a line in an airport and somebody is in a
great mood and has got a smile on their face and is relaxed and is exuberant and saying,
“Hi, how you’re doing today? You look beautiful. I bet you’re going to have a great trip.”
Does have an affect on you? Huge, it’s unbelievable of what the impact of that is. That’s what
a great salesman is. A great salesman is a person who is great at generating the energy
that makes people want to buy. It’s about energy. Okay, so we’ve got all these costs
with the survival zone, and the most significant energy cost is what of being in a survival
zone. What’s the cost of being in a survival zone from an energy perspective? It drains
it faster. It’s like a gas guzzling car. And if you spend too much time in the high negative
zone, you end up in this zone. How many of you come to work feeling that way pretty often?
No, you don’t, because it’s not acceptable. Rachel, put your hand down. It’s not acceptable
to be in that zone, is it? So if you were in that zone and you weren’t Rachel, you wouldn’t
admit it, right, because it’s not culturally acceptable. To be in the upper left zone is
culturally acceptable to some extent. It’s okay to be anxious. It’s okay to be frustrated.
Though it shouldn’t be, it is. But this zone is unacceptable. The reason is because this
zone is the worst place from which to perform, okay? All right, so, we’ve got these three
zones. We know the best zone. We know the two negative zones. The other zone, what do
you think we’d call the other zone?>>FEMALE: Maintenance.
>>SCHWARTZ: Maintenance is one word. Resting is one word, any other words? Because we got
to come up with a name for it, otherwise, it won’t be parallel. We need four names here.
I need some help. Okay, it’s the recovery zone, right? Now, if I were to ask you, “Where
is it that you spend most of your time at work? Where is it then you spend most of your
at work when you’re not in a performance zone?” How many people would say, “Oh, I spend my
time in the recovery zone. I’m just chilled out, relaxed, kicked back?” How many people
would say it’s the survival zone? How many people would say it’s the–a burn out zone?
Okay, we’ve got 8 answers and a hundred people in the room. How many people refuse to answer?
The answer in most of your case is by, simply by elimination, it’s going to be that upper
left zone. It’s going to be somewhere in that upper left zone when you’re not in upper right.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that you’re not spending significant amounts of time in
upper right, I hope you are, but I also know that the likelihood is in the face of all
the things you face that you have to deal that you’re not spending all of your time
there and there are probably a significant amount of times you’re not. Now, that means…
>>Well, are we in the right most…?>>SCHWARTZ: Where are you right now? Well,
everybody here is way up in the high positive because you’re listening to this. I don’t
know where you are right now but I’m hoping against all hope that you are here with me
in upper right. I know I’m there and I’m the person who’s the–I’m the person who’s generating
the most energy. So, it would be hard for you to be depressed with me running around
like a chicken with my head cutoff trying to entertain you. So the recovery zone is
not a place where you spend much time, is it? Because the recovery zone from your perspective
is the sign that you are a slacker, that’s where people go to slack. When are you supposed
to be in the recovery zone? Vacation, no, never, never. That’s the modern world, never.
Who goes on vacation? How many people here went on a vacation in the last year and didn’t
answer email during the vacation? Well that’s pretty good so–but that’s only 6 percent
of the room and that’s probably about accurate, right? Okay. So the recovery zone gets no
respect. The recovery zone gets no respect and the biggest–the biggest insight in some
ways that I’m going to be able to share with you today is an insight that has to do with
shifting the locus or the movement that characterizes your day in terms of energy states. So right
now what we know is–right now what we know is that in the course of the day, depending
on what happens, you end up being pulled reactively into this zone by certain events. I’m I–were
we on that page together? Okay. So all day long depending on how well or badly the day
goes, you have some movement between these two zones that it gets overwhelming, you end
up down in this zone. This zone is off limits. It’s never even existed here at Google even
though there’s plenty of reason for it to, you know, there are plenty of opportunities
for you to live there. Very people are spending a whole lot of time there. You laughed when
I said it. Now, what I’m going to suggest to you is a paradigm shift, a profound paradigm
shift in how you think about performance because what we learned is that the best movement
for you to be making in the course of the day is intermittently and intentionally between
upper right and lower right, because we are not designed as machines, we are rhythmic
beings and we are designed–we need to intermittently recover energy if want to sustain energy at
the highest level. And that brings me to the second principle that in order for us to sustain
performance, we need to learn to balance the expenditure of energy with the intermittent
renewal of energy. That’s a pretty radical notion. Nobody is thinking that it really
is performance, valuable for your performance to build true renewal intermittently throughout
the day. We learned it. I’ll take your question when we’re done. We learned it from athletes.
We learned it from athletes because we consistently found that the greatest athletes understood
something called work-rest ratios. They valued the recovery of energy as much as they valued
the expenditure of energy. They–that’s what interval training is all about. That’s what
periodization is all about. It’s the recognition that you need to, in order to be a great performer,
train your capacity for recovery as systematically as you train any skill that you have in your
life. Recovery is performance specific. It affects your ability to perform at a high-level
and to perform at a level of high-quality. Now, the current style in which most of us
operate is this style. We go between flat out and flat out. We’ve got two gears and
we don’t spend anytime in either one. We get to this gear when we’ve gone flat out for
so long that we simply collapse. What I’m suggesting to you is that we want to build
a very different movement into our lives not only for the purposes of performing well but
for the purposes of having a life. Now, here’s the counter-intuitive notion. Imagine the
Indianapolis 500 for a moment and the drivers who were driving and then I ask you this question,
is the driver who wins that raise, the driver who drives the fastest for the longest the
most continuously? And the answer, since I have gotten it immediately in time in short
is no, no. The driver who wins is the driver who drives the fastest for the longest when
he’s driving and recovers the most efficiently when he’s not. What is recovery? It’s a pit
stop. What do you in the pit stop? In the pit stop, you refuel the tank; you do maintenance
on the car. If you’re effective at that, that’s a key ingredient and being able to be successful
in the raise. The average amount of time changing four tires in the pit and changing sometimes
the windshield wipers, filling the gas, how much time is that spent in the pit on average
for a driver? Fifteen seconds is about right. Because these people have trained recovery,
the pit crews are in fabulous physical shape. They are geniuses at ensuring effective recovery;
the higher the demand in your life, the more the need for renewal. If you are driving in
a high-performance car, you’ve got to drive, refuel and maintain that car more frequently.
If you are a high-performance human being, you need to refuel and maintain more quickly,
I mean, more regularly. But here’s the deal, it’s not the quantity of your recovery that
matters, it’s the quality of your recovery that matters. It’s how well you recover not
how long you recover, just as it’s not how many hours you work, it’s what you get done
in the hours that you work. That’s why we want to train recovery. This is the way we’re
currently recovering, “I try to keep my coffee buzz going till the Martini buzz kicks in.”
We use artificial stimulants to push us up. We use artificial stimulants to pull us down.
If you could take control of this, it would give you a quality of energy and a quantity
of energy that was very different. What we want is the performance pulse. And that’s
grounded in this notion that we are oscillatory beings in an oscillatory universe. Why do
I say that? Because I like the way it sounds. That’s what it is. It means we have rhythms.
What are the rhythms of our body? Which organs are rhythmic in our body? Which bodily systems
are rhythmic? The heart. Heart rate goes up and down. A great measure of your heart health
is what’s called heart rate variability. The ability to move flexibly up and down in heart
rate depending on the demand, what else? Breath. Your lungs and your heart, your muscles are
meant to contract and then after the stress is over to relax if they don’t, you get back
pain, and neck pain, and knee pain and all those things that you come up with structural
explanations for that have nothing to do with anything except the fact that you are not
creating the right rhythm in your life. You said the right answer. Every system in the
body pulses starting with the cells, every system until somebody shows it’s not through
pulses, but we try to live linear lives. We tried to live a life that goes in direct opposition
the way the body is meant to function. What we want to do is create an alignment with
our own rhythms, not with the rhythms of the computers you are using. They’re designed
to spend energy in a linear continuous way but you are not. So, not only–it’s not only
true that–it’s not only true that you have a need to recover but you have a need to recover
in a very particular way. The circadian rhythm is this 24-hour rhythm and by the way it’s
another rhythm of day or night that exists in the universe. At night you’re meant to
be asleep. In the day you’re meant to be awake. You’re meant to move between the expenditure
of energy and then the recovery of energy. We all know about that even though we violated
at great cost to ourselves. Because I can’t go into the fierce costs of not getting enough
sleep in this talk, I invite you again to go on our website where we put on the homepage,
the 60 minutes piece about sleep that ran two or three weeks ago. It that doesn’t shock
you into sleeping more, making sleep more important, nothing I say will be able to do
it. Having said that, it’s also important during the day. At night we’ve got a thing
called the basic rest activity cycle which means you sleep, you go from a light stage
of sleep, rapid eye movement, down slowly into a deep delta sleep over a period of 90
to a 120 minutes all through the night. If you go through that cycle completely, you’re
getting a good period of sleep. If you get woken up in the middle of it, it interrupts
the quality of your sleep. Now, what’s so fascinating is that exist during the day too
at a higher stake of physiological arousal? In other words, every 90 to 120 minutes we
move from a high state of physiological arousal slowly down as you’re moving right now into
a physiological drop. At the end of 90 minutes, 120 minutes if it’s a really high, if you’re
in a low demand situation, but in that 90 to 120 minute window, your body is screaming
at you, give me a break. But you override it. You override it with coffee; you override
it with diet coke; you override it with most of all cortisol, adrenalin, and noradrenalin
with your body’s own speed. You override it by going into the upper left quadrant. You
override it by forcing stimulants through your body that are not serving you well. So
what we really want to do to perform at our best is to build a rhythmic relationship throughout
the day where when you’re working, I’m sorry, when you’re engaged, you’re truly engaged;
and when you’re disengaged, you’re truly disengaged and you’re not living in the gray zone in
between. Because when it comes to recovery, the more you train recovery, the better you
get at it, so it’s not a notion of 90 minutes on and 90 minutes off, right? Fitness is defined
as the speed of recovery. The fitter you are, the faster you recover. The more you train
yourself to recover, the better you get at it, the quicker you will recover. We’re talking
about sustainable high performance. We’re talking about the ability to meet very high
demand. These are the scientific well-researched pieces of core evidence that suggest what
it takes to show up everyday here with all that you’ve got. I’m going to skip that slide.
And I’m going to say to you that we want to move between currently what’s happening in
our lives. If you wanted to take away a visual image to remember, moving all day, as I said
just a few moments ago, between this upper right and upper left zone, reactively in the
face of demand. One of the reasons we move there is we ran out of energy. When you get
more tired, you get more irritable, you get more frustrated, you get more anxious. What
you really want to do in your life is you want to move to this intentional way of managing
your energy so that every 90 to a 120 minutes, what you’re doing is you’re renewing energy.
This is the paradigm shift. Right now, you live life, most of you, as if you’re in a
marathon. Meaning, there is a long race out ahead, there is no end in sight and so either
consciously or unconsciously you pace yourself. You pace yourself by not fully engaging at
any given time in almost anything because if you try to push yourself as hard as you’re
capable of pushing yourself for an expanded period of time, you drop like a stone. So
instead of doing that, you find ways to cheat on the engagement and expenditure of energy,
sometimes aware that you’re doing it, sometimes not. I’m suggesting to you a really radical
idea. Reinvent yourself as a sprinter. What is a sprinter? A sprinter comes up to the
line, gets down in the crouch, looks down to the end of the race, a 100 yards, 200 yards,
400 yards and says, can I fully expand, can I bring a hundred percent engagement to this
race. And what is the sprinter answer? You bet your life, why? Because there’s an end
line, because there’s a finish line, because they know that they could do it for a finite
period of time, stop and recover. The same is true for you if you make it so. You’ve
lost the finish lines in your life. You’ve lost the boundaries. You’ve lost the stopping
points. You live in a state of perpetual and I’m accusing you, I apologize for that, many
of you do. Many of you do and we’re all inclined in this way because everything is pushing
us in this way. So, we live in this state in which we are never setting stopping points.
And instead the very things that allow us to be connected all the time make it virtually
impossible to be disconnected ever; and you know what I’m talking about. Here is the deal,
how many people in the room would say that based on what I’ve said so far, what I’m saying
as a way of thinking about how you operate, about how you perform makes fundamental sense
to you? It makes sense. Okay, how many of you based on what I’ve told you would say
that you’re going to walk out of this room and starting today, based on what I’ve told
you, you aren’t going to fundamentally make some changes in your life that are in accordance
with everything I’ve said and please be honest? So, we’re at two or three, okay? So why not?
It’s not my fault. Let me tell you that first. It’s not my fault. The reason that you’re
not going to is because we’re creatures of habit. Because what you did yesterday is what
you’re going to do today and do again tomorrow. We are remarkably automatic creatures. We
need to take this into account when we’re making change in our life. We need to recognize
that our prefrontal cortex, our conscious thinking is not the best way to make change.
What we need to do instead is we need to co-op the autonomic nervous system. We need to co-op
the part of our physiology that gets things done automatically by training our self through
regular repetition to do the things so that it shows up without our having to think about
it. That’s the final energy management principle. To manage your energy more optimally, you
have to build what we call positive rituals. These are highly specific behaviors that become
automatic over time. So what I’m suggesting to you is that you think about, when you leave
here today, you think about one of those answers on that energy audit that upsets you, that
makes you recognize it’s incurring or creating a really high cost in your life. And think
about what could I do to ritualize a change of behavior that would make it possible for
me to get a “no” answer to that question I have a “yes” answer too. So, if were something
like working out for example, I want to give you a very simple example, and you said to
me, “Tony, I’m so inspired by what you said, I realized that working out would not only
be good for my physical energy but it would be a great thing for my emotional and my energy
and for my focus. I’m all with you. I’m going to start doing it tomorrow and I’m going to
do it three days a week from now on.” What are the odds you’re going to succeed? Very
low, why, it’s not specific enough, it’s not precise enough. When are you going to do it?
You’re not going to do it if you don’t set a time because you’ve already got tons of
things to do and you’re going to default right back into them under any kind of pressure.
The only way you’re going to do it is if you take something out of your life that is currently
in that slot by designating that time as surely as you designate important meeting here at
Google. So, if you now say to me, “Tony, I’m going to work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
7:00 a.m. I’m going to wake up at 6:45. I’ve got a gym down the street for me. I’m going
to set out my clothes the night before in order to do that. I’m going to do cardiovascular
for 30 minutes on Mondays and Wednesday. I’m going to do strength training for 30 minutes
on Friday.” Now, you’re talking turkey. And here’s what happens, you know, it’s a ritual
when you’ve done it for long enough that when you don’t do it, it feels worse than it does
to use the energy to do it. And any of you who is–who are working out now, regularly,
know what I’m talking about. That–it isn’t necessarily easy to work out and there are
many times when you might not feel like working out, but if you don’t do it, you feel worse.
That is what the ritual is about. I wish we had the time to be able to, actually, build
in this room some rituals but we will have this workshop that will intermittently be
offered at Google and you’ll have the opportunity to really come in and do this work if it interests
you. For the moment, what I want to suggest is that you take a shot at building a ritual,
because you can have your first experience without me and without much more description.
Take in the next hour, because if you wait more than an hour, your motivation is going
to go down. So if you take it in the next hour, and look for a way to define a ritual
that’s highly specific in time, highly specific in the behavior itself, and that is doable;
that is biting all something you could chew. If you’re not working out at all, for example,
don’t build in five workouts a week of 30 minutes of running. Walk, Monday, Wednesday,
and Friday for 15 minutes in the middle of the day. That’s also a recovery break. Here’s
the deal, it’s about taking control of your life. You think that your life is, you’re
at the mercy of a lot of other forces but you have the capacity to seize it back. And
that’s what I want to leave you with the message to do, to begin to seize it back because it
belongs to you. Thank you very much.
I would be happy to take a few questions.>>WITTENBERG: We have time for a few questions,
if anybody has something, come on up to the mic. You’re all too busy in time for your
rituals?>>SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
>>WITTENBERG: Would you mind walking up to the light?
>>FEMALE: Could you give us some examples of rituals?
>>WITTENBERG: An example of a ritual.>>SCHWARTZ: An example of a ritual, well,
I gave you an example to physical ritual. An example of an emotional ritual that we
found is very powerful is what do you want to do emotionally? What you do want to do
emotionally is you want to drive as much positive energy into your reservoir as you can because
we default to negative emotions. It’s the way we’re constructed biologically. So, the
more, the more positive energy you have in the system the better off you are. So what
behaviors could influence your ability to have more positive emotion at you’re disposal
particularly under the pressure? Well, an example–a couple of examples we have are,
writing a note of appreciation to someone in your life who you think deserves a recognition
they’re not getting enough of turns out to be something that as a remarkably, powerful
effect on the other person but also on you. And so, one ritual might be, to take once
or twice a week where you write a note to someone. A second emotional ritual might be
to, to take it at the very end of the day before you go to sleep or as you’re about
to leave, to take a little inventory, maybe in a journal or a notebook of what’s right
in my life. What are three things that are write in my life right now? Because it’s a
technology of injecting the right fuel into your life. A mental ritual might be something
like, doing the most important thing first in the morning. Making the first 90 minutes
of you day everyday or the first 60 minutes an activity that is, from your perspective,
the one that would provide or create the greatest value over the course of the rest of the day,
and making that the most important thing you do, instead of, answering your email first
and being in reactive mode, being at the mercy of somebody else’s agenda, making that the
most important thing. Making it specific in time, planning it the night before is what
makes it possible to move from an intention into a habit.
>>MALE: Sir, I just wanted to see if you’d share the example from your book about your
work with the tennis players, about trying to find the difference between the top few
tennis players in the world…>>SCHWARTZ: Yeah, I’ll tell you this very,
very quickly. It’s the slide I skipped. God bless you. You can’t get away with anything
at Google. What we discovered, when we really discovered the power of renewal was when we
were watching tennis players, trying to understand what made the difference between the great
players and the next set of players because we were working with many of the top 200.
And it was very hard to see from when they were playing what the difference was. One
day, we were watching–my former partner and I–actually, my former partner was watching
the top–he was watching two top players on the same court and what he’d noticed was,
a man named Jim Layer, what he noticed was that between points, these two players were
doing the exact same set of four sequenced activities. Neither of them was aware that
they were doing it themselves much less that the other one was doing it. What they were
accomplishing and what you were asking about was renewal. What they were doing was they
were systematically using the 20 to 30 seconds between points to refuel their bodies. They
were doing it by first, turning away from the net so that they left the point behind
them, switching the racket from the dominant to the non-dominant hands so they allowed
the arm to relax, starting to play with the strings of the rackets so that they could
keep their attention narrowly focused on the task at hand, and walking in a way that we
came to call the “peacock walk” which is to walk like this. Because how you hold yourself
influences how you feel. So if you feel better, obviously, you are in a position to perform
better. So, those four sequenced set of activities led to heart rate drop when we started measuring
it of somewhere around one heartbeat per second. So, the great players were getting 20 to 30
heartbeats of recovery between every point and the players who weren’t doing this sequenced
set of recovery activities were getting virtually none.
>>MALE: So, your points are very well-taken. But somewhere along the line you made an assumption
that I don’t quite agree with. You’re assuming that we’re oscillating between the high energy,
between positive and negative feelings whereas I think we’re actually–I find myself oscillating
between the high and low energy. So I’m going to go to lunch afterwards, and after lunch,
I’m going to have this post-lunch low and I’m not going to feel negative feelings towards
people. I’m just going to feel, sort of, tired and wanting to sleep.
>>SCHWARTZ: Yeah, and–you know, I can tell you that if you learn to manage your energy
more skillfully and build recovery periods starting an hour and a half after you first
get to work, and work intensely, and then, consciously and intentionally recover effectively,
the recovery will mean that you won’t come out of lunch with the afternoon law. How do
I know that? I know that ’cause it doesn’t happen to me. I know that because I used to
be dead tired in the afternoon. Now, you can’t overcome the core physiology so you are going
to be more tired at 2:30 or 3:00 trying to do a task than you would at 10:00, which is
why you ought to be doing the high demand kinds of activities, the really complex activities
earlier in the day or pass that circadian trough. But, I will promise you that you will
get a much more even availability of energy if you more regularly and intermittently build
in periods of recovery.>>WITTENBERG: So, that’s all the time we
have. Tony will be up here for questions after and we’re also going to go to lunch. So anybody
who’d like to join Tony for lunch, please come up here afterwards. And let’s thank Tony
so much for his time here.

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