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Archive for July, 2009

Adding PassionTakes Practice

It’s one of my favorite times of the year – The National Football League is getting ready for it’s season. At the end of a disappointing season last year, Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Wade Phillips vowed that he would change his approach and be less passive. He’s apparently also trying to be more passionate. During this year’s “State of the Team” speech, Phillips said, “It’s football time” and then slapped the table twice.

While I applaud Phillips’ attempts at being more passionate, his table slapping was mis-timed and had no effect on his vocal intonation.  The effect was that he sounded artificial and insincere in his attempt to be more passionate; his gesture of table slapping was an afterthought. Many of the local sports talk show hosts here in Dallas have been poking fun at Phillips weak attempt at emphasis.

This is a good lesson for anyone who delivers presentations. If you want to be more passionate when presenting, your gestures should precede the words you want to emphasize and you should practice your delivery, instead of just winging it!

Changing Your Thinking and Your Body

If you’re like me and most people who exercise, you’ve probably followed a similar routine for several years. You run, walk, or do resistance training similar to the way you’ve done it for years. Recently I’ve started hearing about a new approach to exercise that is actually faster and more effective. It’s called “burst training.” Burst training is a wonderful example of one type of creativity.

Burst training is a series of short, maximum effort exercises followed by recovery periods. For example, one day this week, instead of going for my 50-minute walk, I did four all-out (as all out as a 50-year old can do) sprints of about 40 to 45 seconds. After each sprint, I rested about 2-3 minutes to get my heart rate back down below 100 beats per minute. Then I did another sprint. All told, my workout lasted about 12 minutes!An easy way to think of this is the parable of the race between the tortoise and the hare.

Research about this approach to working out was first popularized in the mid-1990s in Canada and has been repeated several times in the past few years at McMaster University (published in the Journal of Applied Physiology), and Southwest Missouri State University. If you want to do a little research on your own, Google “Burst Train” – there’s a video of some Dallas Stars hockey players going through an intense workout.

Sometimes making an improvement to something starts with throwing out the old ways of thinking! Such is the way with creativity too!