European Tour Day 61: Community work training in Middlesbrough

Day 61, April 29.

Back to work. This was an unexpected session for me. Originally I thought I was just going to meet with a team of people working in a community, but come to find out it was a full-blown 4 –hour presentation to almost 20 on community work from the inside-out.

Sue and Bernie had done a masterful job (as usual) bringing people together from all over the area in a city called Middlesbrough, some of whom had been exposed to the three principles and some not. There we were joined by Julian Freeman, who had actually arranged this leg of my journey in the first place.

We met in the Breckon Hill Community Center. I actually loved this presentation, because it was the first community presentation I’ve done on this whole trip, so it was real different for me. It helped that it went over really well.

A woman named Bec, who had been studying the 3Ps for over three years with Michael Neill and Jamie Smart, even told me it was the first time she really grasped the three principles. Warms my heart.

Jack Pransky with Steve and TonyThen Tony and Steve drove me from the northeast six hours or so all the way to Southern England where they live in Brighton. We drove in silence until we stopped for dinner at about the half-way point, which was perfect for me because I was talked out. We arrived in Brighton pretty late, and I go on again tomorrow evening.

An aside: Bernie had driven me from Saltburn to Middlesbrough that morning in a Nissan Note, and I fell in love with that car. I don’t think we can get those in the States. It got great mileage yet was big enough to even sleep in the back. I could see traveling around the U.S. in something like that.

In Edinburgh I also had seen a van Volkswagen makes that is about the size of the old VW Microbus (like Amanda had in Spain), and I’m pretty sure we can’t get those in the States either. Why not?

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Eight Myths of Athletic Performance

Here are the eight most glaring misconceptions of athletic performance that I’ve noticed over the past year or so. While, as most of you know, my concentration is on mental performance, I’ve included some important physical performance myths as well.

  1. Winning breeds confidence.

Nothing on the outside can make a person confident on the inside. Human beings feel confident when their heads are clear; unconfident, when their heads are cluttered. The more an athlete understands that winning doesn’t drive his or her feelings (including the feeling of confidence), the more he will win.

  1. Mental strategies or techniques raise performance levels.

Virtually everyone agrees that athletes perform well when they don’t have a lot of thought in their heads. So why don’t people recognize that the application of mental strategies or techniques—deep breathing routines, reciting affirmations, deliberate visualization—requires the athlete to think? Quite simply, no one can get to a state of mental clarity by adding thought.

  1. Correlations are the same thing as cause and effect.

If an athlete puts his left shoe on before his right, and then plays the game of his life, there is a correlation between the order he did this and his great game—but there is not a cause-and-effect relationship. To find a causal relationship to productivity, look inside: The clearer one’s head—the better one will perform.

  1. Outside factors impact an athlete’s feelings.

If an athlete feels anxious and looks to circumstance (amount of playing time, a demanding coach, playing in a rowdy arena) to figure out why, he will only feel more anxious and perform worse. Reason being, analyzing one’s circumstances requires thought, and human beings don’t feel good when they overthink. Remember: Feelings don’t come from circumstance. Feelings are directly linked to the amount of noise in one’s head at any given moment.

  1. Injuries are caused by overuse.

Injuries are caused by a bound-up mind—which leads to a bound-up body. They also occur (and here’s my foray into the physical side of sports) when an athlete is out of neurological balance. When an athlete is in neurological balance, or there’s an uninterrupted and even signal between brain and body, his muscles can absorb force properly. When he is out of balance, force is placed on bones, ligaments, and tendons. What’s more, resting only holds neurological imbalances in place. That’s why re-injuries are common after rest. If a light bulb keeps burning out, you must fix the wiring—not leave the light off or keep changing the bulb.

  1. Teaching proper mechanics prevents injury.

Another backward misconception. When an athlete is in neurological balance, his mechanics (his throwing, kicking, or swinging motion) will be natural and flowing, so he won’t get injured. An athlete who is out of balance is simply not capable of proper mechanics no matter how much coaching he receives or how hard he tries.

  1. Strength training prevents injury.

Do you want to know a reason why so many professional athletes are getting injured today in spite of all the training they do? Their training regiments contain unnatural exercises that disrupt the brain/body connection; preventing their muscles from absorbing force. In other words, what they’re doing to prevent injury is causing injury. Here’s why in many Eastern cultures elderly people are in such great physical condition: These cultures stress functional (natural) movement. Their training (such as tai chi) is all about function and not about how much they can lift or how far they can run.

  1. Performance excellence has nothing to do with love.

Let’s conclude by moving back to the psychological side of performance. In fact, most athletes don’t associate love with mental performance or productivity on the field. And they usually cringe when I talk about love. Yet, love is the epitome of a clear head or consciousness. Competition, at its root, is cooperation in disguise. So when all else fails, look to love—even toward your opponents. It’s a guaranteed performance enhancer.


There’s my list. I hope you find it helpful. As always, feel free to send me your comments and questions.


European Tour Day 60: Saltburn

Day 60, April 28.

I could not have been on the road away from home for 60 full days already, could I? It does not seem possible. The time has flown by. It makes me think I must have counted wrong, but it’s close, anyway.

Jacquie took me early to catch my train to Darlington, as she handed me some gluten-free snacks as I was running out the door—she is so amazing!

Lucky me, I had inadvertently reserved a seat on the left side of the train at the window and was able to watch the beautiful Scottish coast go by. I really like Scotland—have to come back someday.

And on to my next adventure in Saltburn, England with Sue Anderson and Bernie Parks, who, lucky me again, are also being visited by Tony Fiedler and Steve Adair.

When I arrived in Darlington no one was there to meet me, and I realized that for some reason this was the one place I had not gotten it down to the letter who was picking me up when and found out the telephone number in case anything went wrong. So I walked to the outside of the train station, sat down on a bench and was reflecting on what to do when Sue and Tony drove up. They had been caught in traffic.

We drove to the charming little town of Saltburn. Steve, Sue and I took a five mile walk on the beautiful cliffs overlooking the ocean. Then we all had a birthday dinner for Sue. Then Tony, Steve and I took another walk through a blossom grove, by an Italian garden and down by the ocean.

Among other things we talked about evaluating/researching 3P projects, and it gave me the idea that Tom Kelley and I need to do a workshop/breakout at the next 3PGC conference on how to use a common evaluation/research design for all 3P-related projects.

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European Tour Day 59: Being treated like a king

Day 59, April 27.

I have been blessed with the most wonderful hosts on this entire trip, but the way Jacquie and Jerry Forde have treated me is almost too amazing to be believed. It began early this morning with early Jerry taking me on a short hike up a steep hill overlooking beautiful Edinburgh. Then Jacquie joined us and they took me to the incredible Edinburgh Castle, which is big enough to have a little town in it filled with historical things, including the royal crown jewels. I got quite a Scottish history lesson, and Scottish history is very rich. I loved it, along with the old city right around the castle.

We stopped in The Witches Brew (or something like that), another place with great character, where they treated me to a great lunch.

And then the fun really began!

Jacquie had told me she had a surprise planned for me that afternoon, and come to find out she had gifted me with an afternoon spa session, complete with swimming pool and hour and a half massage. I couldn’t believe it!

There was no sense protesting with Jacquie because she wouldn’t hear of it.

So I took a 25 minute swim in a beautiful pool, then had to jump out of the pool a little early to get to my massage, which was very relaxing. By the time it was finished I just had a little time to jump into a luscious sauna. (Our lunch had taken almost an hour off my spa time, but I wasn’t complaining, that’s for sure.) The whole thing was absolutely luxurious.

They picked me up and took me to a section of the city called Leith, which looked like a tiny little Amsterdam, where they treated me to a scrumptious dinner in a fancy fish restaurant.

DumbiedykesBy the time we got out of there it was dark. But rumor had it that Syd Banks had grown up not too far away in a section of town called Dumbiedykes, so we had to check it out. Most of the old, rundown tenement buildings similar to those in which he lived had been leveled and rebuilt, so the area was completely changed, but it was great to experience it anyway.

When we got home it was late and I found out I was leaving pretty early the next morning, but I had noted Jerry’s short haircut, hoping he had a haircutting device similar to what I have at home, and he did, and my hair was starting to get out of hand. And before I knew it Jacquie was giving me a haircut because she always cuts Jerry’s hair. There is just no saying no to Jacquie!

They were just the most amazing hosts and I was so grateful to them for everything.

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European Tour Day 58: The Canny Man

Day 58, April 26.

In the bathtub yesterday, and again this morning, I had started to read Syd’s first book, Second Chance, again, which I never really liked that much, but now I suddenly wondered whether the book had changed. I really liked it this time. Very insightful. Just goes to show you.

Then it was on to do my Glasgow training. More than 30 people showed up—my biggest training yet on my trip—and I felt like a mini-celebrity because so many people there had read and appreciated my books and asked me to sign them. The training felt like it went great and people seemed to really get a lot out of it.

Then it was on to Edinburgh, with Jacquie Forde. First we took the long way there so she could show me Stirling Castle, where Braveheart made his stand—you could see the battlefield below—which was really nice.

Jack Pransky in the Canny ManThen Jacquie and her husband, Jerry, a double-bass jazz player when he’s not an engineer, took me to one of the best pubs I’ve ever seen, the Canny Man Pub. That pub was so wild it made me actually want to drink a Guinness or a Bailey’s, but because I didn’t want to not sleep, I resisted—barely.

Then we ate Scottish fish and chips. I’m getting fat again.

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European Tour Day 57: Appreciating art in Glasgow

Day 57, April 25.

Rodin's Another really nice, relaxing day, with Christian and Lynne. In the morning they took me to Pollok Park where we took a nice walk and ended up at the Burrell Museum, which was a private collection of amazing artwork that was since given over to the City of Glasgow. They had a few original sculptures by Rodin, my favorite sculptor, there that were just beautiful, and also some really good paintings. It was the most amazing private collection.

This trip has made me more interested in going to museums and galleries when I return, which my mother, an artist and history of art teacher, would have been thrilled to hear, because she dragged me to museums when I was a kid, and I was not that interested. But now, wow! A deep appreciation seems to have sunk in. The absolute talent! The ability to create beauty and evoke deep feelings out of a mound of clay or a blank canvas is just amazing to me.

Then we went back, I took a nap, I took another walk through a really nice park (Glasgow is loaded with nice parks), took a bath, and I went to bed early.

Christian has been such a great host, and she and Lynne have been great company.

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European Tour Day 56: On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond

Day 56, April 24.

Another really nice day with more new, really nice people. Christian McNeill and Lynn Robertson took me to beautiful Loch Lomond and into the nice little town of Luss.

We took either a healthy walk or a short hike (not sure which) up a hill to see the Loch from on high and then went for a walk around the Loch (not nearly all around it; it’s way too big) and ended up at an old castle in Bolloch that had beautiful grounds. Very peaceful. Very good conversation.

Capped off with a nice Indian food dinner. So nice to be in Scotland!

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