‘There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.’
The purpose of the Smácht Bootcamp is very simply to inspire you to achieve better results in your business, career and life.
Results, ultimately, are a function of five related factors – stimuli; choices; rewards; routines; and habits.
At the Bootcamp I shared the story of how I nearly died of anasthmatic attack precipitated by twenty six years of heavy smoking.
It’s origins can be traced directly to the first dance I attended. I was offered a cigarette in the company of people I was eagerly trying to impress. (Stimulus)
I clearly had a choice of either taking the cigarette or declining it.(Choice)
Although the experience of those first five cigarettes that night was sickening and nauseous and revolting I came directly to associate the act of smoking with meeting a pretty girl. (Reward)
Although I never saw the girl ever again after that night I realised that I could replicate those feelings very promptly and clearly by smoking a cigarette. Psychologists refer to this as anchoring. I discovered that if I was feeling down I could induce a more empowered state by having a smoke. And if I felt great, a cigarette even made me feel better. I began to smoke after a cup of tea; at the cinema; in the company of my other friends who also enjoyed a good smoke. (Routine)
And innocuously, inexorably and invidiously I became hooked. (Habit)
I came second in the 100 metres freestyle in school later that month and failed to represent the school in swimming. That split second ofa difference between first and second saw me give up swimming shortly after and the victor would go on to represent Ireland in swimming and water polo. More worryingly I started to develop asthma which culminated in a potentially life threatening episode on Christmas Eve 1995. (Results)
And that, Dear Bootcampers, is the anatomy of a result.
In order to achieve better results in any aspect of your life it is necessary to change one or a combination of these factors.
There will always be stimuli. In fact, the more and better quality the nature of the stimuli, the better. The purpose of all the great speakers on Day 1 of the Bootcamp was to stimulate your mind to the possibilities available to you. That’s why I exhorted you to take notes – to enable you to return to those handwritten notes any time and connect with the richness of the ideas and experiences of those uber performers. One of the great takeaway quotes from the day is the one I borrowed from Jim Rohn which states that ‘you are the average of the four or five people you are surrounded by most of the time.’ The moral therefore is to get around great people at any cost and have them stimulate your mind to greatness.
Once stimulated, you always have a choice. Deepak Chopra, the Indian doctor and writer states that ‘Everything you are today is a result of choices you made in the past. Everything you will be in the future is a result of choices you are making today.’
The reality is however, that many of our choices are made unconsciously. Frequently we allow society or others to make choices for us. One of the great ways to begin changing your results for the better is to simply become more aware of the choices you are making. I heard the late Stephen Covey say in Dublin some years ago that one of the most defining paradigm shifts in his life occurred innocuously in a library one day. He happened to stumble upon a book and the page opened at a passage that said:
‘Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our
power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and
This concept was brought to life and given flesh by the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in his haunting book ‘Mans Search for Freedom.’ Frankl had endured the most horrifying of traumas in a concentration camp in Germany during the war that saw him witness the deaths of his daughter and wife. He yet refused to be either intimidated or persecuted by his captors. He conclude that
‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’
There is an inextricable link between results and rewards. And the two most potent motivators on the planet are pain and pleasure with the former being the more acute. What ultimately enabled me to give up cigarettes was to attach massive pain to not giving them up. All I had to do was vividly imagine and experience that traumatic night in A&E and it helped greatly to tip the balance against smoking.
A routine is defined as ‘a sequence of actions regularly followed.’Routines are the direct precursor of habits and ultimately results. By examining and adapting your routines you can change your life. All great performers follow clear and simple routines.
Brian O’Driscoll once told me when I asked him what he did in training that ‘I spend most of my time practicing passing, kicking and tackling.’
The writer William Somerset-Maugham was once asked if he only wrote
when he was inspired and replied ‘I only ever write when I’m inspired.
Fortunately that happens at 9am sharp every morning.’
Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in any sport. His haul
of twenty two medals would in the words of one reporter have meant
that ‘If he was a country he’d be ranked 12th over the last three
Olympics.’ Phelps, diagnosed with ADHD as a child, was once completely
unfocused. This would change irrevocably with the intervention of his
coach Bob Bowman. Bowman believed that for swimmers the key to
victory was creating the right routines.
He created a routine for Phelps called ‘watch the videotape.’ He had
Phelps mother read out a script each night that contained some
relaxation exercises followed by a visualisation of the perfect swim.
This one key routine has been attributed as the key success factor in
The lesson is to conduct a root and branch analysis of your key
personal and business routines and change them where appropriate
because routines are what determine your habits. The poet John
Dryden once said ‘First we make our habits, then our habits make us.’
In order to build a habit we need for a short period a quality called
discipline. Because many people baulk at the sound of the word discipline
I prefer to use the Irish word which is called Smácht – pronounced ‘Smocht.’
Smácht is the bridge between aspiration and accomplishment. And if you
can commit sufficient Smácht at the outset of building a habit you can then
let go of it because things become automatic. That’s why we encourage you
to immerse yourself in creating and building new routines over this twenty
eight day period.