Pressure builds diamonds

Another TED talk…

I listened to this talk while I was resting yesterday evening. I guess not so much resting because I was taking notes at the same time. I thought what this TED talk had to say was really helpful – with advice I will endeavour to apply to my own life.


Dr Ivan Joseph is the Athletic Director at the Ryerson University and head coach of the Varsity soccer team. Dr Joseph has a BA in Physical Education and Health from Graceland, a MS in Higher Education Administration from Drake University, and a PhD in Sports Psychology from Capella University. He is a  sought-after speaker on leadership and confidence development.


Dr Ivan Joseph
Dr Ivan Joseph


In this 13 minute talk he give pointers on how to build self-confidence.

Here are the take home messages:

1. Repetition, repetition, repetition
the 1000 hour rule
success is best achieved when the skill or task is not novel;
“Pressure builds diamonds”
Do not accept failure

2. Self-talk
stop the negative self talk
Instead use more positive phrases
“I am the greatest”
“I am the Captain of my ship and the master of my fate”
If you do not say it nobody else will

3.Get away from the people that will tear you down

4. Catch them while they are good
Praise the positive behaviour that you want to reinforce
focus on the good things
No one will believe in you unless you do

5. Self-confident people interpret feedback the way that they want to
Focus on the good

I am very good at writing things down and taking careful notes – I am not sure how good I am at applying these things when it comes to taking personal action.


I guess I can start with stopping the negative self-talk. That does not help and in fact is probably egoistical in its own way. I remember my one of my educational supervisors when I was a trainee told me that I needed to “get over myself”. Perhaps I will not be saying “I am the greatest” just yet – I would actually have to achieve something – but I might stop with catastrophizing and take it from there.

As for the interpretation of feedback – being a doctor seems to come with a high degree of self-criticism. We are competitive, we always want to be the best. I completed my 360 appraisal (needed for revalidation) in June this year and received the feedback in July. It was all good but their was one comment that irked me and that I focused on to the point of distraction. It probably was a valid point and I thought about how that person might have come to that particular conclusion but it made me forget about the 9 other positive comments. However it also made me think and be more mindful about how I pitch things to parents of my patients.

The repetition part – probably I would apply to my teaching. Once I start I am fine – and quite frankly I love the sound of my own voice! However I get nervous to the point of sickness, abdominal pain and headache before I have to speak. This less so when I have practiced what I want to say.


People that tear me down? Not sure there are too many and I guess I do not take too much notice because I am too busy listening to my own voices in my head! I guess the general principle is to spend time with your own personal (but realistic) fan club / cheerleaders, people that have your back. I have one of those – I have known her since 2005 – a fellow paediatrician – she is my biggest source of encouragement but she also know my flaws and frailties well, which provides an excellent balance.


So:  “I am the Captain of my Ship – the Master of my Fate, I will sail boldly on to uncharted waters!”

 Or something like that

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