Hey everybody, Ritchie Yip here. Today I’m going to talk about Daniel Pink’s ‘A Whole New Mind’. I’m going to talk a little about the book and also I’m going to talk about how the book has helped me and helped my business and how I run my business based on a lot of the concepts from this book.
It’s really interesting in the sense that, what Pink has done is that he has taken the whole idea of right brain and left brain and really steered it towards how the modern economy works. Left brain thinkers are very logical. They are analysts. They are information based thinkers. Right brain is more conceptual, more creative, more artistic. The way Pink explains right brain versus left brain is that healthy individuals use both. You are probably very analytical at times, but as well you are very creative. Because of the world as it is now – information is cheap. You can get this book online. You can get it as a free pdf if you want to read it off of your smart phone or laptop. You can get summaries, like the one I’m doing. But what I’m doing is that I am taking this book and basically creating a story. I’m crafting a story in how this has helped me. Hopefully you will find this more interesting. That’s basically what Pink says. Information is cheap. You can go and hire somebody in India. You can outsource. You can get somebody who has a Masters degree in law, and you can get them to do your legal work for you for a fraction of the price than if you hired somebody locally. He’s saying that the way the economy works, information is just so much cheaper, and what you need to focus on is this new economy where it’s more focused on right brain, more creative.
To specifically talk about how this has changed my business. I have a martial arts school. I teach martial arts. Martial arts has never been more accessible, because of youtube. You are probably watching this through youtube, and on youtube you can watch endless jiu-jitsu instructional videos. There’s so many, and they are great. They are wonderful. There is so many youtube instructional videos on jiu-jitsu that you can’t watch them all. How do you capitalize? How do you go and monetize being a great jiu-jitsu instructor? For me, what I have been focusing on, is to provide an outstanding sense of community in my school. You cannot get that online. You actually have to come to a place.
In A Whole New Mind, Pink describes this in six distinct attributes. Let’s talk about the very first one. Design. Design is a right brain creative aptitude. How has this helped me? Right away, I think my school is gorgeous. I’m in my school every day. We have two facilities, I walk in, I think they are palatial. They are beautiful. The colours on the wall. How clean it is. The equipment. How everything is set up. It is aesthetically pleasing. We have flowers in the bathroom. It is a place that looks inviting. That was really important to me. Jiu-jitsu? Kickboxing? All you need is a space. I’ve taught classes outdoors. I’ve taught kickboxing in a park. I want to go and create an environment that is aesthetically pleasing. That’s important. Design? Even our website is aesthetically pleasing to me. The pictures are professionally taken. The pictures, I think, are stunning. The website design is just very friendly. It flows. There is a certain movement to it. It is engaging. That is a part of crafting the community. That’s a part of the school.
Pink also talks about story. To create an engaging story. Now, I’m not just giving a summary. I’m providing a story. This is the story about how this book has helped me and my business. Furthermore, when I teach a technique, I don’t just go – step one, step two, step three – because that is boring. You can get that from anybody. A lot of times, I’m in there, I’m teaching the class and I tell a lot of jokes. Some of them are funny, or at least I find them funny. Some of them don’t get a lot of laughs but it doesn’t matter. I do my best. Probably pretty corny, but it’s a part of the story. Also, I’ve been doing martial arts since 97. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve done a lot. I’ve got a lot of goofy crazy stories about training in martial arts. Usually when I teach a technique, I’ll say something like, “You know, the very first time I saw this/did this/had this done to me, it’s usually a really weird, wacky story that my students find interesting. It just colours the technique, as opposed to a bunch of steps, a bunch of moves that they have to memorize. It just becomes more lively. It becomes more engaging. You want to craft a story, and that’s what Pink talks about. Using your right brain aptitude to be creative and engaging.
Pink also talks about symphony. Symphony is bringing a bunch of disconnected elements, and bringing it together in a fluid manner. There’s a certain concert in which way things are executed. Certainly teaching martial arts. Things are taught in a combination. Jab, cross, hook. Now you could go and bring things into combination, into concert, and make it very boring. For me, as a teacher, I like to make things as entertaining as possible because if you are bored, you are just not going to learn. What do I do? Well, I may teach the jab cross hook, but I may teach a jab that is countered by a hook and then re-countered by a left hook from the very first person. Jab, you throw the cross, I’m going to re-counter with a hook. Suddenly, it becomes this parable. Suddenly, this set of techniques becomes alive because we are having this conversation, and it’s a combination you have probably never seen before, even if you have been doing boxing of kick boxing for a long time. I try to go and cleverly bring things together in a symphony that you haven’t seen, that makes it more engaging, that makes it more fun to learn, and ultimately more fun for me to teach.
Pink next talks about empathy. Empathy is just basically being able to feel what the other person is feeling. Being a great teacher demands empathy. I want to do my very best in reading the group, in making sure everybody is having a good time. If I am losing some of the students, maybe I will demonstrate it again. Maybe I will change the technique. But I want to feel what they are feeling. That’s the service I provide. I’m not just there to spit out information. I’m there to make sure that they are having a good time. Also, this sounds kind of strange, but I actually teach empathy too. How do I do that? Well, in my classes, everybody is partnered up. You need to learn martial arts with another person. You are fighting with someone, you need someone else to train with, to fight with. What I say is that you want to be engaged, you want to be empathic, you want to non-verbally communicate with your training partner. From there, not only will you become a better teacher, because all of my students are teachers. I teach all of my students to teach, because that is how you become a better person. In life, hopefully, no one will ever need to go and do an armbar from the guard on the middle of Main Street because some jackass is trying to steal their wallet. Hopefully that will never happen. But, in your lifetime, you will probably have to teach somebody something. Whether you are a parent or a coach or a manager or whatever. To be able to teach somebody something in a caring manner, you need to be empathic. Now, when you are empathic with your training partner when you are sparring, when you are training with them, you will be a better fighter. It’s strange, but you will, if you can feel what they are feeling. Are they anxious? Are they tired? Are they angry at you? You can feel that, and you can use that against them. But developing empathy is huge, if you want to be a better person, and you want to have more people like you. It’s really, really critical. And it’s critical for your business as well, and important if you are in sales.
Play. In A Whole New Mind, Pink talks a lot about play. My group classes are fun. That is super important. In the hierarchy, the very first thing is, I want everybody to stay safe. Martial arts in inherently dangerous. It’s important that everybody stay safe. I put a lot of safety procedures in my classes. So number one is safety. Second thing is fun. I want everybody to have a good time. It’s good for business if people are laughing and having a good time doing martial arts. That means they’ll want to come back. And then, third thing is that, if you learn something, great. That’s awesome. I want them to have a good time, to get in great shape, get a good workout in. If they learn something, awesome. But that’s kind of third, that’s kind of third in the hierarchy. What Pink says, and I thought this was really interesting, is that a lot of people think that ‘I work hard, I play hard’, so that means the opposite of play is work. The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression. You’re depressed. “I don’t care.” I want my students to care and I want to care about my students. Nobody has more fun in my classes than me. I tell corny jokes, I have more fun. At this stage in my life, I’ve probably taught at least ten thousand classes, probably more. And I will teach ten thousand more, hopefully more than that, in my lifetime. I’m doing so many classes, I should be having the most fun because I’m always in my class. Play is critical. Play is critical. And play is critical for your business as well. You want to make sure that your clients are having fun participating in whatever service that you are providing.
Last thing that Pink talks about is meaning. Like, why? Why should I consume your service? Why should I purchase your product? Why? What is the meaning of it? For my business, it’s about a sense of community. This is something that you cannot consume through the internet. When you walk into the class, and there’s all these people here, sometimes there’s multiple classes going on at the same time. The music is pumping, everybody is hitting pads, jiu-jitsu class is going on, you can feel the energy. You can see people smiling. When the bell goes and people are ending the round and they are starting up the next round, people are high fiving and they are fist bumping, that sense of community, I think, is priceless. That is the number one thing. That’s the number one thing I’m trying to cultivate as a whole. That’s what I talk to, that’s the issue I try to discuss the most with my instructors. When we have our instructor meetings, we’re talking about community. “This person will be a great addition to the community.” “Wow. Great class last night Blair, or Migo or Tom,” just the sense of community, the sense of comradery is just awesome. That is what I talk about. That sense of community is what I’m trying to craft and that is the meaning of what we are trying to do. It’s not about teaching people how to armbar, teaching people how to throw a perfect side kick. That’s irrelevant. It’s irrelevant. It’s about everybody hanging out. That’s the meaning of our business. To build a community. That is something you can get from my business, but you can’t get from learning a side kick off the internet. Because there is lots of great instructional vids. Type into youtube right now if you want: How to do a sidekick. Great. Go find a friend, buy a kicking shield. They are cheap, sixty bucks or whatever, you can do it in a park. But you need that sense of community, and that’s what we provide.
A whole new mind. Daniel Pink. I read this a couple years ago. Loved the book. Pick it up. Hope you enjoy it.