THE CHIMP PARADOX BY DR STEVE PETERS

Posted in editorial, features on January 30th, 2013 by John Coxon

A must read !   (Illustrated Book Review – unsolicited ) from  Sports photographer & author John Coxon.

THE CHIMP PARADOX  is a remarkable book and could , if you’ll forgive the pun, be called a number of things , for example, “Ahoy  there!”Ahoy  as in Sir Chris Hoy, super cycling Olympian multi medalist.

This highly readable, easy to follow book  addresses its audience  in a voice that is  personal , that of  a friendly coach talking to one of their track cycling rider prodigies , and a Hoy because Steve Peters unique mind management model  helped and continues to help British cyclists like Sir Chris Hoy focus on their performance  through taking control of  those innermost performance inhibitors like self doubt and fear of losing ,and going for  success and fulfiment. It is   aimed at empowering readers  to achieve  their life and /or business goals, and that is  in any walk of life , not just in sports.

The Chimp Paradox

Life on the right track ?

We can all be justly proud of the remarkable achievements and the constant winning habit of so many of our Great Britain track cycling team and their  fellow athlete Paralympian cyclists especially in 2012. Their home base camp , The National Cycling Centre  , Manchester Velodrome is a venue in my area and  where I have had the privilege of photographing world class events a number of times. The professionalism, the dedication and the mental toughness, the  focus of these riders is self evident , creates an atmoosphere in that velodrome you could cut with a knife as they all chip away at their personal bests and go at it full tilt with  total head’s down commitment and I have seen so many world records tumble and so many medals won in that amazing atmosphere by our amazing riders.  I know a little about the state of the art equipment and clothing technology , the ruthless training  programmes , the exceptional coaching I and just how hard these people work to keep their edge.

Dame Srah Storey - crossing the finishe for gold but the smile is because she went out focused on one thing that event, to exceed her personal best a target she duly met.

Dame Sarah Storey – crossing the finish for gold but the smile is because she went out focused on one thing in that event, to exceed her personal best- a target she of course  duly met!

Winners and losers

I have ,from the sidelines,  photographed a wide range of sports and team games and from my personal observations and reflections , winning seems to be a habit with some but totally patchy for others or , in team games for example , any level, including internationals,  some players seem to be totally focused , others either losing the plot or letting their heads go down when the run of play is against them.  With my  strong interest in the psychology of performance and excellence, it is always curious to see two teams obviusly equally fit and skilled and yet one loses and often should not have? In summary most coaching tends to be skills and physical fitness based  where times are missed , goals are missed so clealry what is actually going wrong is something internal, in the heads of athletes and players. That condition has a cross over into everyday life and thus so do the systems , the Chimp Paradox model that works so well for performance athletes

want to get a(head) like our British cyclists ?

What set British Cycling in another league, on top of a ruthless pruning that took place as a new approach was adopted nationally not that many years back so that only people with a winning mind set got to join the squad , was the addition of one key extra ingredient and , that is best described as “head ” coaching and “head” training. This “formula” has consistently produced a stream of world class cyclists who perform to the an incredible level and keep on doing. I say formula in quotes because Dr Peters system isn’t a fix all to be slavishly followed but more , it seems to me, a series of techniques that each individual can tailor to their own needs and personal goals and based on the fact that you are solely responsible for success and failures.

 Get yourself rounder wheels! How not to do it. 

To outsiders, national teams that haven’t quite got it yet, this level of success is a mystery , invites suspicion and also penned a great joke which has become urban legend.  The French press had been unimpressed with thier own national teams Olympics and interviewed the mighty Dave Brailsford and he told French reporters, tongue in cheek,  that Brit success was down to having exceptionally round wheels!

Isabelle Gautheron, the director of French cycling , was looking typically not to their ownm mmethodology but looking for something to balme explain as I like to call it . there nust be something dodgy , somethong  special in the kit our riders use  and her questioning, while not going so far as sugesting some form of cheating  was  somewhat dismissive  of the riders abilities and their outstanding dedication and committment . It is risible though understandable that a person even in the governance of their sport should even consider that a mystery  ingredient could be bought as if success  can be ordered in  like a spare part!  I could have told her to look no further than within the contents of the rider’s helmet’s as that is where the edge starts and finishes, beyond the hat and skull and in the deadly GB winning mind set in which Steve Peters played a huge part in developing. Steve is a psychologist but also a pyschiatrist, the one explains , the other offers theraputic and helpful strategies to overcome issues . phobias and to help build self esteem and a sense of well being for those with the whole range of mental health issues.

Sir Chris Hoy, a picture of pure focus getting in the zone just before another remarkable preformance at the Manchester Velodrome, during the World Chmapionships

Sir Chris Hoy, a picture of pure focus getting in the “zone” just before another remarkable preformance at the Manchester Velodrome, during the World Chmapionships

Not one for publishing spoilers all I will do is explore the basis of Steve Peters innovative mind management model and the cycling references merely serve to underline his credentials and the Chimp Paradox model’s effectiveness . The team’s successes speak  for themselves. Steve Peters quotes on his  book cover , cycling track queen Victoria Pendleton  and she  confirms that Steve was the “most important person in her career”, and , on the strength of that endorsement alone, especially where Steve’s book the  Chimp Paradox was written for all, not just elite cyclists, it is going to have to be a must read, and like meeting and being coached by him, likely it is going to be life changing. It quite literally is.

According to victoria, Dr Peters was the most importan person in her glittering  cycling career

According to Victoria, Dr Peters was the most important person in her glittering cycling career

I have read widely from the various schools of psychology and the models various schools proposed from Janov to Freud, from Jung to Rogers  and  Script analsis theories , the “inner child” stuff , the raft of self help books, but also have been fascinated by the models which various psychology theories profess and then guide psychiatry treaments based on them. That psychology is   apllied to influence ,empower and or heal individuals to undo old habits and plant the seeds of new ones. All such theories have to have a vocabulary to make describing relevant factors posible so the indivual can internalise them, visualise them, even make friends  with them and recognise how the various bits and bobs of the psyche interact and affect us and our behaviours. We need to loose dependency on any interventionist and move forward and be self-regulating in my view. steve has built a reputation on supporting all his riders and giving them the tools to win and ovecome self-inflicted fails.

GBflagsaddle

 

As Brits we all live, most of us any way ,  in complex circumstances often stressful contexts with life’s pushes and pulls, ups and down and cope with failures and disappointments and those either teach us to change or make us ill. Normally  you would not seek professional help unless your symtoms got so bad that they reached the clinical level  and only then might you find yourelf , one to one with a “shrink.” This is GB where ,as yet , we do not visit  a psychiatrist as a kind of “Self ” indulgence  as a matter of routine like a trip to the hairdresser or the shopping mal as seems now commonplace  in another culture where the flag is also red white and blue!

I have yet to have the pleasure of attending one of  Steve Peters courses or public speaking engagements when he is in life coaching mode but I’d love to and it’s on my wish list but oh, how I would love to be a fly on the wall say when he had his initial dialogue with a newcomer to the cycling team. Normally a person sees a psychiatrist because they have relationship or mental health issues but my guess is that the Chimp Paradox model is usually delivered in a track side session in context, not with a client on a couch or in a chair at the normal  counselling furniture intimacy  mode  90  degrees  from the listening ear  practitioner but with the rider astride one of those Brit saddles.

Steve, I read does not do the unresolved conflicts thing and pyschiatric sessions to overcome such things take a lot of time and would be a bad fit for example for a rider with an event coming up or does he offer the sacred trinity of the inter relationships between your ego, you id and your superego  or do the heavy analysis thing as if  having been frightened a birth by a horse or unloved is the thing to resolve  although even an elite athlete may bring along personal baggage. But surely what fits at the trackside and in performance racing fits in the world of work and play. According to Steve’s model because it is all about you , what makes you tick and what may be stopping you achieving  your objectives and full potential. I believe everyone seeks what for them is the most important knowledge, self knowledge and that is the focus of Dr  Peters model and more importantly making that knowlegde work for you. There is nothing better for your self esteem that to be empowered take repsonsibility and control of your life and being successful  (and nothing more re-asuring than having a model in place to guide you when things, as they will, go wrong.)

If I read it right , the model is  an invitation to look at and respect your emotions and understand what Steve has delightfully dubbed the Chimp, the personification of that primeval part of us,  the  gut feelings and emotions which come from the motivation and simple choice that drives all living things, fear and the instinct to survive which means  making the choice between fight and flight, and we live those choices day in day out amny times even in simple work tasks .   Seems  you need to learn the language of that chimp within  as it thinks differently from that thinking rational brain of yours and  to  get to know and how to tame your  Chimp  and get it to dance for you and with you as you strive towards your goals.

chimp-228x300In Steve Peters Chimp Paradox model that inner dialogue is just that, a dialoogue not a monolgue. It is between your rational and your emotional self , i.e. your Self and that darn Chimp! You are generally  competent , self-assured, but when  asked to do something  with a challenge – your rational self says “no prob” but now and again the chimp interupts and the “emotion’s  voice”  ( because we translate feelings into words of thought to process them )  tries  to kick in and suddenly , if you can’t manage the Chimp you are in worry and self doubt mode and may begin to talk yourself out of being able to do it.

I thoroughly recommend this book and I am sure you will enjoy it from cover to cover .

 

Sarah Storey - multi olympic gold medalists  and one of the hardest working, determined  and most successful cyclists ever. We can't all get "head"  coaching personally but my guess is we can get this kind of focus she is showing here because we now have the book from the man whose model  inspired people like Sarah to achieve their dreams.

Sarah Storey – multi olympic gold medalists and one of the hardest working, determined and most successful cyclists ever. We can’t all get “head” coaching personally but my guess is we can get this kind of focus she is showing here because we now have the book from the man whose model inspired people like Sarah to achieve their dreams.

 

White Metal Magnetic Noticeboard Free– ( plus free “fridge” strip magnets)

Posted in E books, editorial, features, Photography Tips on January 28th, 2013 by John Coxon

How to Make a Free white metal Magnetic noticeboard – ( plus free fridge strip magnets ) in photos and easy step by step instructions. easy s

Here’s how  to save money and   make  your own  noticeboard from a recycled freezer or fridge door . (another  “how to”  E Book in pictures project from photographer and author John Coxon.

bookcover

Introduction

Working all hours on my photography  business at home in my office I converted from a small bedroom, I had been investigating the cost of a pin board to cover a space on the wall under the bookshelves I had made because the small cork board I had from a pound shot was too small for my purposes. The best material for pin board is called “sundaela” ; it was always quite expensive but I was shocked recently when my local timber merchant  told me it was now special order only  and £70 a board ! I thought of alternatives such as plasterboard with cork floor tiles glued on the surface.

Meanwhile, coming home from a brief trip to the local shops I noticed one of my neighbours had left a discarded and conveniently separated  freezer door, intact ,  outside her gate at the rear of her house. As it looked pretty close to the size of board I needed, I salvaged it.

WARNING ( If you are discarding old fridges and freezers there may be a potential hazard while waiting to be collected  to kids playing outdoors or to curious animals that may get trapped inside what are airtight compartments when the door is closed.  I know of at least one child who suffocated when he had been hiding in a fridge that had been fly tipped irresponsibly on waste ground near his home.  The grip of the magnetic seals on these doors is surprisingly strong and the little boy was unable to push the cabinet door freezer door up and open and  tragically lost his life.  Since then if getting rid of such items I either remove the doors or the brown magnet seals to prevent any accident s.

From previous experience salvaging for free thin metal sheets  I knew that so called household “white goods”, washing machines, freezers and fridges etc ar basically mild thin steel boxes with insulated sides and  doors which have  magnetically rubber like sealed doors .  I had reclaimed strip magnets from fridge doors seals many times for various uses including when I used to make wooden toys. I had   included some designs of fun fridge magnets in my first craft book published way back in 1987.

you'll need glue gun & glue sticks & "Stanley knife"

you’ll need glue gun & glue sticks & “Stanley knife”

 

also a cross cut saw, screwdriver and decorator's scraper . ( I used a cordless power screw driver ease of use & speed!

also a cross cut saw, screwdriver and decorator’s scraper . ( I used a cordless power screw driver ease of use & speed!

 

A discarded "combo" freezer compartment door showing magnetic seal in brown , side of the metal face & plastic inner surface. This is simple to deconstruct to make the noticeboard.

A discarded “combo” freezer compartment door showing magnetic seal in brown , side of the metal face & plastic inner surface. This is simple to deconstruct to make the noticeboard.

Having wiped down the door and gathered the tools I needed, (A1 ) “Stanley”  knife, cordless power screwdriver with Philips screwdriver bit ( or ordinary Phillips heads screw driver) scraper, hand saw  and , if you want to have some fun making fridge magnets , scissors, a glue gun and glue sticks . and a small dish or other container for saving and recycling the screws.

Deconstruction

Fridge and freezer doors are a sandwich of thin steel, insulating foam and a plastic backing, the later of which covers the foam and screws from the inside to the metal door. All around the door frame is a usually brown soft plastic or rubber seal which encloses long  lengths of magnetic strips which you can recover very easily.

cut between the door edge where the seal meets it.

cut between the door edge where the seal meets it

 

 

take care using the knife to slice into the rubber seal and cut all the way round the door edge.

take care using the knife to slice into the rubber seal and cut all the way round the door edge.

The stip magnets we want to save for later are enveloped insite the soft flexible seal – you can feel them –  cut between the magnet and the door face all the way around the door. Then run the blade all the way round underneath the seal and ease the entire brown lengths away from the door and put to one side .

Once you have made the two cuts ease the seal away from the door.

Once you have made the two cuts ease the seal away from the door.

Next  from the reverse side with the plastic of the inside of the door facing you, undo each Philips screw, keep the screws together in a dish for later use, and separate the plastic inner from the white spray painted steel door .

unscrew all the phillips head screws which hold the plastic inner door face in place - keep the self tapper screws in a container to reuse another time.

unscrew all the phillips head screws which hold the plastic inner door face in place – keep the self tapper screws in a container to reuse another time.

 

Free small self tapper phillip's head screws  to add to my tin of reclaimed screws of various types and sizes for other projects.

Free small self tapper phillip’s head screws to add to my tin of reclaimed screws of various types and sizes for other projects.

 

Depending on the design, the foam may simply lift off but in this case it was stuck to the back of the door and proud of the edges of the door by about an inch so I needed to remove it.

cut deep into the insulalting  from downwards flush with the exposed sharp metal inside edge of the door

cut deep into the insulalting from downwards flush with the exposed sharp metal inside edge of the door

To remove it I made cuts with the knife all round the perimeter into the foam at two angles , to leave me a neat edge but also to give me purchase to detach the foam.

Next push the scapper edge down, flush with the metal door edge right to the hitl - do this all the way round the door. this makes sawing easier and the deep cut helps keep the cut straight.

Next push the scapper edge down, flush with the metal door edge right to the hitl – do this all the way round the door. this makes sawing easier and the deep cut helps keep the cut straight.

Next I pushed down with a scraper into the underside of the foam against the metal of the door, again all the way round.

Saw down steadily starting with the top corner of the foam furtherest away from you.turn the door when  the saw has gone as far as it will go and repeat the process untill the foam comes away.

Saw down steadily starting with the top corner of the foam furtherest away from you.turn the door when the saw has gone as far as it will go and repeat the process untill the foam comes away.

 

Taking a hand saw I then simply sawed , cutting flush with the sharp metal edge until the foam came away in one piece. I was left with foam  I put that to one side as insulation for another small project I am planning rather than throw it away.

the insulating foam will hold board pins - see if you can thonk of a use rather than throw it away - I saved it to insualte a small pet project I am working on.

the insulating foam will hold board pins – see if you can thonk of a use rather than throw it away – I saved it to insualte a small pet project I am working on.

The edges of the thin metal when contructed into a door don’t offer a hard but when deconstructing be careful  lest you get a cut from what are very sharp edges and I got cauight today I am ashamed to say.

thumb knucle cut

 

when you have sawn off the prominent foam you should be left with a level surface of addtional foam and thos can be covered by sticking a sheet of recycled cardboard over it - i decided to remove the foam using the  scraper.

when you have sawn off the prominent foam you should be left with a level surface of addtional foam and thos can be covered by sticking a sheet of recycled cardboard over it – I decided to remove the foam using the scraper.

With the two lines of cuts down to the metal it was easy to use the scraper again to ease the remaining foam away from the back of the door surface and those chunks I did actually dispose of.

the remaining foam can be neatly removed using pressure on the decorator's scaper to  edge it off. the initial cuts you made ensire a neat edge

the remaining foam can be neatly removed using pressure on the decorator’s scaper to edge it off. the initial cuts you made ensire a neat edge

Door plus the plastic inner face which is like a large tray - I saved it for later use in the garden as a pot tray.

Door plus the plastic inner face which is like a large tray – I saved it for later use in the garden as a pot tray.

This is the door minus the foam. You could tidy it up by gluing recycled Large piece of cardboard to the back but since this was going to go against my office wall there was no need.

Recovering the strip magnets.

Feel for the flat hard face of the long strip magnets and run the knife blade along the middle the full lenght of the brown seal. do this for all four pieces you should have.

Feel for the flat hard face of the long strip magnets and run the knife blade along the middle the full lenght of the brown seal. do this for all four pieces you should have.

 

Turn one length of the seal you have separated flat an run the knife along its length and then prise it open and remove the length of magnetic strip – repeat for all four length.

 

Separate the magnets carefully by pulling sideways of the cut  and ease the magnets out. Discard the brown seal covers only if you are unable to recycle different types of plastic.

a13

I noticed that the edges of the door were untidy through wear and thus trimmed the two longest strips to cover the  entire length of the long edges on both sides having left the brown plastic cap and base cap in place  and the strips made a tidy finish , and a good way to store them for future use when necessary.

DSC_3119

 

DSC_3120

 

a24

The strips can be carefully broken into length or simply and easily cut to length using ordinary scissors.

 

Making “fridge” magnets.

Essentially if you have a heat glue gun like this you can stick a cut piece of strip magnet to a whole range of items which you might like to make to decorate your board or existing fridge or freezer. I’m a fan of animation and especially this Gromit dog charater and his expression. Here is how I turned him into a magnetic dog.

one side of the strip magnets is grooved, the other smooth. Apply glue with the glue gun to the groovy side!

one side of the strip magnets is grooved, the other smooth. Apply glue with the glue gun to the groovy side!

Simply wait till the glue gun heats up and a clear bead of glue appears at the tip. Squeeze the trigger and pipe the glue onto the reverse of the magnet strip you have cut with scissors to size. Uusually strip magnets reclaimed from fridge doors are smooth on one side and grooved on the other so glue the groovy side and attach that the the back of what you want to be magnetic. apply the glued magent piece to the back of the object you want “magnetised .”

 

a variety of small objects can be turned into"fridge" magnets this way - here is a favourite animation character I like getting the magnet treatment

a variety of small objects can be turned into”fridge” magnets this way – here is a favourite animation character I like getting the magnet treatment

I had a plywood cut out of my first name I hand cut out with a hand held fretsaw and thought it would be fun to make that magnetic . I also wanted to make a couple of small spring paper clips to hold postits and help with the organisation of my notice board.

for larger objects apply two small peieces of stip magnet so it doesn't slip when in place

for larger objects apply two small peieces of strip magnet so it doesn’t slip when in place

 

Taking care to keep the hot melted glue away from your skin squeeze out a small amount of glue onto the side of the strip magnet that is grooved. Press onto the back of the object and allow to cool.  Here are a couple I made  attached magnetically on the actual noticeboard just made  plus a little corner “parking” spot  for some short off cuts of strip magnets I cut to the useful size I’d need  on the   board when in place.

home made fridge magnets

the spring paper clip handy for gripping and keeping organsised for example a  series of “post-its”

the finished board in place , actuall held in place by my printer.

the finished board in place , actuall held in place by my printer.

 

Here is the finished board in place actually virtually exactly the right size for the gap here completely by accident  and I wouldn’t advise trying to cut down a door skin because to the sharp edges but also because it is hard to cut painted thin metal without denting and distorting it.

home made frid

The small spring paper clip with green post its sticks by magic – in fact I located a powerful magnet on the reverse side of the door where I wants the clip to stay. My calendar is suspended on a powerful small magnet which has a hook screwed into it.

Here are some designs of simplee fridge magnets I have designed and made, cutting out with a hand held fretsaw and using food  colouring pains and dyes for decoration,

simple drawing directly onto birch plywoord and cut out by hand with a fret saw.

simple drawing directly onto birch plywood and cut out by hand with a fret saw.

 

john coxon photographer , author and hand  tool craftsman.

 

nikon pro

 

I remember making this life size  macaw for a proposed second book, a sequel to my first, and that included a range of unique originals designs , like my first book, . the prswident of Sterling International declared my first effort ,50 unique wooden toys to my own design, the “best how to book he had ever seen” but I decided back then , even though I had designed and made fifty new toys not to take up his offer as I  felt that the percentage take by the publishers didn’t make it worth while so I still have it on hold. I intend now to publish it myself in Ebook parts so watch this space ! (The macaw was cut by me, by hand, using a hand held old fashioned fretsaw, my favourite hand tool  and  various simple , easy to learn, techniques and I used food colouring to get the colours.  I was  professional special educator for 25 years working in inner city schools hence eyars of experience using desk top and other skills to nake effective learrning material in plain English.

 

Here are a number of the original photos I took having  designed another  fifity  original toy items them for a proposed second book on the subject illustrating  the range of fresh ideas I come up  with:-

Easy to Make Wooden Toys  2 – new designs reasy for my s econd book on the subject in my Flickr based slide show here   Book Two

 

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