“There are three principle means of acquiring knowledge . . . observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.” – Denis Diderot

Chapter 3 Takeaways:
  • Drive vs Motivation
  • Conflict as the Catalyst
  • Task vs Personal Conflict

Drive is long-term. Motivation is reactionary. If the author says that he won’t go in too much detail of the science behind the biology of drive and motivation, then I will certainly steer clear. In condensed form, this chapter created scientific imagery detailing what parts of the brain generate deeper purpose behind our actions versus emotional responses.

“The interplay between this emotional center of the brain and the prefontal cortex, or the “thinking brain” – which is in charge of handling higher level processing tasks such as decision making, personality expression, moderating social behavior – shapes what we do, how we do it, and why we do it, as well as how we perceive, remember and interpret events around us.”

What’s the point?

“Purpose is a performance-enhancer, and it’s our job as coaches to help athletes find theirs.”

Conflict as the Catalyst

I thought this content was the best part of the chapter. Not because I go looking for fights, but I think a lot of tension created in locker-rooms stem from non-constructive issues. Or as a former employer used to ask, “Is it revenue-generating?”

There were two types of conflict mentioned: task conflict and personal conflict.

  • Task conflicts refer to philosophical disagreements or conceptual differences related to practice, games, lifts, or exercises.
  • Personal conflicts exist from interpersonal issues, largely inconsequential to skill or sports development, that are perceived as incompatibilities.

“Conflict often leads to conversations that become catalysts for organizational, team, and personal growth by opening up the opportunity for different perspectives and views to be voiced.” 

It is in those conversations that separate corrosive conflicts from revenue-generating issues. Within those conversations can come compromise, innovation, or perspective that has the potential of transcending the course of an individual or team direction. Or, those conflicts can remain personal through stubbornness, ego, or immaturity that stifles progress for an indefinite period of time.

“People of all ages seem to participate in the rational equivalent to “hyperbolic discounting,” in which they would rather sacrifice a greater long-term gain for the short-term satisfaction of being right or gaining the temporary edge.”

Coaching Application

How has conflicts and conflict-management changed over the course of your career?

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