Did you ever dream of being a pro athlete?
What happens when your goal becomes impossible?
It seems like an uphill battle out there recently, and a new playing field, so to speak.
You really need an ally. You need someone who’s a comrade, someone who’s there.
And so often that’s just being there physically for them, but also just being that supportive force in the world of Doritos, Oreos, Facebook and all the rest of it.
It’s rough out there, so we need to prop each other up where we can.
And to help us out, today we’re here with David Nurse, an NBA life optimization coach, podcast host, worldwide motivational speaker, and bestselling author of “Pivot & Go.”
A former pro basketball player and coach for the Brooklyn Nets, David has helped more than 150 NBA players really succeed on and off the court.
You’re going to like this one.
On this show with David, we’re talking about:
- How to turn a strength into a superpower
- How to harness the power of visualization with your personal highlight reel
- Why it takes 10 years to become an overnight success
- How to get into flow through deep breathing
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with David.
David Nurse: Pivot & Go and Coaching in the NBA
Abel: Today with David Nurse, an NBA life optimization coach, best-selling author, podcast host and motivational speaker, a former pro basketball player and coach for the Brooklyn Nets, David has helped more than 150 NBA players on and off the court.
David, thank you so much for joining us here today.
Hey, I appreciate it man. Thank you very much for having me.
Abel: Absolutely. Well, looking around, it’s been a time of pivots and adaptation. And you’re the right guy to talk about it.
I love that you kind of pair it with confidence because if you’re just pivoting all the time, you’re going to get nowhere.
But if you make the right pivot and execute it well, you’re off to a good start.
So, let’s talk about yours, starting from your dream of being an NBA player.
Oh yeah, alright.
So I grew up in the middle of nowhere cornfields of Iowa and I was not that athletic, never could dunk a basketball, 6’2″.
And then my parents probably should have said, “Hey, play golf or tennis or something else like that,” but I had this dream I wanted to play in the NBA.
And I put everything into playing in the NBA.
Literally like everyday was getting out there early, staying late, putting extra film study and I got to play college basketball.
And then I’m playing overseas, fast forward over season.
I know it sounds cool like, “Oh, you’re playing professionally overseas.”
But it was more like the Will Ferrell, semi-pro type of a joke of a basketball league, to be honest. And playing in this second division team in Northern Spain, the Basque region, where they don’t even speak Spanish, and I got cut from this team.
So not only are all my goals and all my dreams and everything that I’ve put into my life playing in the NBA taken away, they’re taken away and they’re rubbed upside down in the dirt.
So, I’m cut from this team, and everything I put into it is gone.
I’m back in my parents living on their recliner chair in Kansas City, feeling bad for myself.
And my mom would always say these motivational and inspirational quotes.
And usually, it’s like, “Okay, Mom, whatever.”
In one ear, out the other ear.
And I remember she was doing dishes, and she said, “David, when 1 door closes, 4 open in an entire beach-front patio overlooking the ocean.”
And it stuck with me, and that’s kind of when it triggers like, “Wow.”
And I realized everything that I had put into playing in the NBA, all this attention to detail, all this extra work was actually not for me to play, but it was for me to have this knowledge to share with others to help others reach that goal, to help players get to the NBA.
That’s when I made my pivot.
And what a pivot is, it’s a basketball term actually. There’s players all around you, the defense is all around you.
You’re looking in one direction. You can’t see anything but you slightly turn, you slightly turn, you pivot and everything becomes clear.
And it’s the same thing in life, man, it’s the same thing that we’re all going through right now.
We feel stuck in some situation, but if we can just pivot just a little bit, look at this from a different perspective, it can open up an entire brand new perspective.
Abel: Yeah, and it’s a term to some degree or at least it’s used oblique angles in self-defense.
If someone’s coming at you straight on, just barreling at you, you could try to take it head on.
I’m too small to do that, I’ll get just blown down.
But if you take that small little step to the right or to the left and then you take them by the side, you have access to the temple, and these other just oblique weird angles and all of a sudden their balance is working against them.
And man, if there’s ever been a time like that, it’s now, because no matter what field you’re working in, it seems like an uphill battle and a new playing field, so to speak.
So, I was thinking about this when I was reading your book.
That, to some degree, it was probably your weaknesses, you described yourself as un-athletic.
I was listening to the podcast where your wife interviewed you.
And if you hadn’t been un-athletic in the way that you describe, then you probably wouldn’t have developed your shooting game to the degree that you could actually help other players who may be more naturally athletically talented or just faster or whatever.
You can actually get in there and help them with the exact specific thing that they need in your way.
There’s power to that.
How To Turn A Strength Into A Superpower
There’s super power in that, and that’s a great question and a great point that you made about the weaknesses.
Far too often, we focus on our weaknesses because the world says, “Hey, you have to improve your weaknesses. That’s what you’re defined by.”
But no, we are all given a strength, a God-given ability, a strength to be able to pair together with these other weaknesses which I call a complements wishlist. That’s how you make a great team.
You can’t have a team of all superstars. Everybody has to have different strengths.
And you’re right. That’s what I focused on, the shooting because I couldn’t do anything else really.
That was okay athletically, but not for NBA standards, so I focused on strictly shooting in.
And actually a guy that I grew up with, Kyle Korver, he’s one of the best shooters in NBA history.
Like literally, the guy can’t do anything else.
I’ve done workouts with him, he’s dribbling the ball off his feet.
He can’t move laterally, but he focused so much on his strength that he’s been able to play in the NBA for almost 20 years, and it’s just a testament to this understanding.
You’re given this gift, use this gift.
Don’t let the world say, “Hey, try to improve your weaknesses to a certain level.”
But just really focus on your strength because in the NBA, if you give me a player who is good in every area, they’re not playing in the NBA. But if you give me someone who’s great in one area, then they can have a long, long career.
Abel: Yeah, and a lot of times, if you really try to build out those specific skills in areas, you can’t help but have them cross-pollinate with other ones, right?
So, to some degree, I was realizing this talking to one of my music friends today, if CD sales, live music shows and streaming income hadn’t dried up five or 10 years ago, maybe even a little more than that for musicians, then I don’t know that I ever would have started my health thing.
I probably wouldn’t have because I wouldn’t really have needed to, I would have been over there instead of over here.
And how powerful is that because now I have more access to the music world and make more connections that way through the health thing because now there are two shared interests that we have with people.
It’s way more fun to be in a band with a bunch of health nuts to some degree.
And so that’s what you kinda start building when you work on those skills and allow them…
Allow yourself to learn from one skill set and then it can start to cross-pollinate into another, and that’s what you’re doing with your own career.
Oh, yeah, that’s a really good point, and it’s really relevant for right now as nobody can be in person together.
And I’ve been speaking to companies and do a lot of motivational speaking, and a lot of speakers will look at it like,
“Oh, the world’s shut down,” or “everything’s shut down.”
But no, this is a time that now we can just dominate the Zoom game, so when we come out of this, we’re back.
People are going to want to have personal interaction again.
But you’ll also be able to have this added piece, this added skill.
And that’s what I tell people during this time, and like you did when the music industry was going away from CDs, don’t be afraid to take shots, take big shots.
Sure, have your strengths, of course.
Focus on your strengths, but this is the time that, man, we’re in like an isolation chamber as it is.
You can develop a great skill like me if you’ve always wanted to play the saxophone, become a killer saxophone player, because, who knows?
In your business and your job, there might be a group of saxophoners that need sales for whatever you’re doing, like this is an unbelievable time to just take these shots, take these big risks, these big chances, these big goals that you have and come out of this thing so much better than we went in.
Abel: Yeah, and another piece of this is confidence. And one part I loved about your book, a little story you told, was Mark Cuban, who was out taking shots, and he’s just like not quite nailing home, and he’s like,
“Oh, I’m getting too old.”
But you realized that you had something to offer at that moment, so maybe I’ll let you walk through the story a little bit.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I’ll tell the story to you.
And thank you for reading though the book. You crushed it.
That’s one of the late chapters of the book, so you got through that fast.
Abel: I am a reader. I’m definitely a huge nerd.
Yeah. Yeah, so I was coaching with the Brooklyn Nets and we were playing down in Dallas.
And I love being the first person on the floor, just kind of like my ambiance, my aura, just to get my time out there on the court by myself.
And this time I walked down the court, there’s this other guy on the other side of the court.
Now, we know this is Mark Cuban going into this, but I didn’t know it. I never watched Shark Tank. And I’m like…
Abel: Oh really?
No, I’d never seen it.
Abel: I didn’t notice that part.
This is before it was really, really big and everybody knew he was.
He was just coming up. And I can never see it, know a celebrity, when I’m out here in LA anyways.
So I walked down the court, and he looks over at me and telling me the older you get the legs just go.
And being a shooting coach, I had to counteract that.
When you have this knowledge, you have to say it.
“You know, it’s not all about the legs, it’s about how you generate the power, the momentum.”
So I showed him a few things, and I’m thinking this guy is just some random guy.
I didn’t really want to get into a 15 and 20-minute lesson.
I just wanted this time by myself, but I had told myself prior, like I was going to… I was trying to live in the service mode.
I really wanted to just emphasize serving instead of just what I could have.
So I was like, “Okay, this guy, he wants this. I have this gift. I’m going to serve him.”
So I go through some drills. He’s making more shots. He’s loving it.
Now, the real players have to come out, start preparing, warming up for the game, and I was like,
“Hey, if you want more drills information, just let me know.”
And he’s like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
He pulls out his business card and hands it to me, so I’m going to send him an email later.
I go on my way, I get a little time before the game and I’m sitting there before tip-off and I pull out this business card, and that’s when it reads Mark Cuban.
I just helped Mark Cuban generate some inner power for something he was very passionate about.
And that’s when I realized that, “Hey, these breakthroughs, this confidence development, it all is based on your serving of others.”
Like If I just walked by this guy, I would’ve never had this opportunity.
So now Mark Cuban is in what I call my golden 15, which is genuine relationships that you build through giving and giving and serving others, not the networking, dirty term, LinkedIn type of thing, but genuinely building relationships.
Now, he’s my guy I look for business advice, and who better to have than Mark Cuban for business advice.
So yeah, breakthroughs happen.
I tell you, breakthroughs happen when you stop worrying about yourself and when you really fully embrace pouring into others.
Abel: And you can learn a lot from teaching and vice versa.
And one of the opportunities of this time, and I’ve kind of gotten into this relationship with people a lot in the past few months, and certainly the past year, is the ability to teach and learn.
So, one example from the podcast itself was James Lugo, who listened to my…
One of my shows like five plus years ago, lost 100 pounds, helped him really get his life back.
And it was about a year ago, then I’m just like,
“Man, you know what, I feel like I need to work on my voice.”
I have this low, deep, slow voice, and I can do certain things, but I want to get up high and I want to sing like Chris Cornell, and I want to do these impossible things.
And he’s just like, “Yeah.”
He was a coach on American Idol for years.
So he can do that, that’s his wheelhouse.
And that him teaching me, gives him confidence that he needs to nail his next workout.
And that gives me more access to him to bring that accountability that he needs.
And vice versa for me, he’s just like, “Well, yeah, you’re still doing all this other stuff, but you have to keep working on your music career and your art and your creation and your craft.”
And so that becomes really powerful.
And you don’t have to exchange money with people necessarily, but you can seek out almost any teacher right now, almost anyone out there who’s in a public figure type space.
You have more access to them than ever, not perfect access, but I can’t believe how many connections we’ve made without ever… Including this one. Right?
Abel: Without ever actually meeting each other.
It’s crazy and I’m going to give people a little secret here, literally everybody checks their Instagram direct messages.
Even if people say they don’t, if you really want to take a shot and I’m all about it.
Hey shoot somebody a message. You never know.
Because when I was coming out… That’s I love that story, man.
And when I wanted to be, when I made that pivot to become, I want to be the best shooting coach there was.
So I looked up who’s the best shooting coach, and this is one of the steps in confidence, this is what I call confidence through comparison, and now people think comparison, they think, “Yeah. The Instagram likes.”
Not that way, but seeing somebody who is where you want to get, someone who’s already paved that way, then you compare yourself to them.
So, I found the Shooting Coach for the San Antonio Spurs, best guy in the NBA.
I email him, I call him, I handwrite him letters, I even travel out to Las Vegas so I could meet him in person at NBA Summer League, and he saw that I put in, he’s like,
“Wow! This guy really wants it.”
Took me under his wing and then I had him in my genuine network and people…
We can do that even for when I made my next pivot, becoming an author, still working with NBA players, but hey, I was like,
“Hey, I’m going to become an author.”
And nobody ever thought, “David Nurse, Author.” No. They just thought, “David Nurse, basketball, NBA.”
But I started speaking it into existence, and speaking into existence and I was like, “Who’s the best Author, Motivational Speaker? John Gordon is one of them.”
So now John Gordon is one of my best friends and a mentor to me.
You can absolutely do this, but you have to do it.
The key is through pouring into these people, through giving and giving and giving, without expecting anything in return.
And that’s when… That’s when this relationship with you, this is going to blossom to an amazing relationship, because it’s just… You’re in that same mindset.
Abel: Totally, and part of that is honoring the relationship.
If you get advice, then you probably put it into action. Right?
You can’t take music lessons from one of the top jazz cats out there and pay a bunch of money and not practice.
You can’t do that, maybe you can take one lesson.
But you won’t get access to these people at the highest level unless, like you said, you’re really willing to put in the work on yourself, on the relationship, on the people around you, but there’s nothing…
Having brushed shoulders with a lot of people and been through a few things ourselves, it’s like there’s nothing better than meeting a person coming to the table, just new and fresh with passion.
It’s obvious, it’s obvious, and I can’t believe how many people over the years we’ve hired, we’ve partnered with, we’ve just made great relationships with, for no reason except for that.
Yeah. That’s so good and that you hit on an amazing point, and I could talk to you all day about this, but…
Yeah. It’s passion. No one hires somebody off a resume. It’s literally, “Are they passionate?”
And that’s where it all has to start. It all starts with the passion, your Why, your purpose.
And now I love the purpose and the Why as in assignment cynics and that stuff, but even more so is the How.
I want some actionable tools, because people will say they want to do something, but how do you actually get there?
And I love giving people tools. So I’ll give your listeners a few tools.
Here is set up a goal, you have to have a specific goal, something very, very specific, not,
“Hey, I want to improve my health or I want to be successful.”
That’ll never happen. That’s way too vague, but have something like,
“This is the day I’m going to lose 10 pounds, I’m going to work out three times a week.”
And it’s going to happen on this exact day, and that way you have something that you’re building towards.
And then it’s about building what I call the 1% steps, looking at things like, “Hey, I’m going to improve 1% daily.”
And the most powerful thing in life is the compounding effect, momentum builds momentum and you continue to stack these days together, and that’s why in the book that I wrote, Pivot & Go it’s based on 29 days, 29 day mindset blueprint.
28 is the generally accepted number that builds a habit.
Habits are awesome, routines are awesome, but we want to make it a lifestyle like literally where it becomes a rhythm that is so second nature to you, you are absolutely just living in this flow.
So that’s one of the tools.
And when we’re talking about, just going back on the relationship building piece, one of the best things that I’ve ever done is I decided I’m going to message…
I’m going to make a video message or a text message to three people every single day just to encourage them, just to check in on them, just to encourage them, no reason in particular.
And I’ll tell you, there is such power in doing that, just showing people that you care for them and you’re there for them.
So building relationships, that’s the best way to do it, I would say.
And then setting your goals super high, figuring out the blueprint of these 1% steps you’re going to take there and really, really having that…
That gives you a lot of confidence like, “Hey, now I step out the door, I got all these tools in my pocket, I can actually make this goal happen.”
Abel: Yeah. That… It makes me smile when you said that, because just the other day I was having a rough one.
It was just one of those days, it was kind of rough.
A lot of stuff was coming at me. I felt like I was out of gas, and I checked…
You know what, I think it was my Instagram, instant message, direct messages from Shaun T.
And we keep in touch but he sends me a message just out of nowhere, and he’s just like,
“Sending you lots of love, man. I’m so glad you’re using the voice… The way you are right now, and I just want to say, hey, and that we miss you.”
That just made my whole day. That made my whole day and there are…
You can do that for yourself as well. Right?
And one of the important things that you bring up in your work is giving yourself a minute in the morning before you’re barraged by all the emails, the texts, the technology, and all the rest of it.
So let’s talk about starting right there, because everyone can do this.
Everyone can do this small thing in their day and it will become bigger, but let’s start with this one.
How do you protect that time and what do you do with it?
Yeah, that’s awesome. It all starts in the morning, whether people want to say it or not.
Your morning can start at a different time but you have to have that time to ease in to the day.
If you literally think about it, if you start and you’re checking your messages and your emails and everything right upfront, from the get-go, like it just, it’s overwhelming.
So I do a thing that, every night, I call them my big three, and it’s three things that I want to first attack in the morning after my morning routine.
So I know they’re going to be there and I don’t have to worry and stress about,
“Okay, what am I going to do today, how am I going to take this step forward?”
I’ll write them down at night, know that they’re going to be there in the morning, and I’ll also, anything that’s on my mind.
I found this very powerful for sleep optimization, anything that’s on my mind I will also write out knowing that,
“Hey, I don’t want to carry this into sleep with me. It’s going to be there in the morning, these problems whatever it might be will be there in the morning, but now they’re out, away from me.”
So I make sure, yeah, that I’m able to protect my morning and I’ll go…
And I have my phone on airplane mode.
I don’t want any type of just notifications or anything coming in, and I spend my morning, the first thing I do when I wake up is I take a 3-minute ice cold shower.
Now, the reason I do that is, is what I call mental dictatorship.
And I’m sure people probably heard “eat the frog” and stuff like that, but I’ve tested it through myself and through NBA players for years and years.
Just put a stopwatch literally going into workouts when I knew they didn’t want to work out, hitting that stopwatch and once you start the mind on average it takes 17 seconds for you to kick into this mental dictatorship and then you know, “Hey, 17 seconds in, that’s not too hard. Now I can overcome that.”
So doing this cold shower the first 17 seconds, man, they suck, but after that it’s easy and it also gives me that confidence going into the day that,
“Hey, anything that comes my way I’ve already been through something difficult.”
Abel: And it gives you momentum too.
Yeah, exactly, momentum and it’s, I mean, sure it’s got a lot of health benefits too as well but…
And then I go for that and then also for my mind and I’m really big on affirming, just positive affirmations to yourself because we all wake up with self-doubt, we all do.
We all have the impostor syndrome, something that creeps into us.
I call it “the foggy mirror.”
So, when we wake up, that self-doubt fogs up our mirror.
Now we have the choice, a superhero power of choice that we’re given, that we can wipe away that foggy mirror.
So I’ll walk over to the mirror after the shower, after the shower and I’ll do this just wipe, just this symbol right here, wiping with my hands reminding myself that there’s no self-doubt.
I have this gift, I have this true confidence and my self-awareness of who I am, that I don’t have to live into the world’s expectations or whatever, whatever success is termed by the world, that I have this knowledge of that, “Hey, I am good enough.”
So I’ll start with that cold shower for the mind, mental dictatorship and I’ll wipe the hands clean, the foggy mirror, and of course go have great coffee.
I gratitude at my prayer time, but it’s like 30, 40 minutes and then I’m just like, “I’m so ready to get the day going.”
But those days that I don’t get there, and you know it too, it’s really, really, really hard to find your rhythm.
Abel: Yeah, and for whatever reason it puts you in this frantic mode and then the way that you want to do your work, or you’re practicing even and working on your skill sets, is frantic, and all about intensity but not in the right way.
So what I mean by that is, if you go and shoot basketballs for four hours once a week, you’re going to get nowhere.
You might even get worse. You’re certainly not going to get better.
But even if you just imagine shooting 30 jump shots or foul shots every morning consistently, you’re going to get better even if you only do it in your mind.
That’s how crazy this world is, so we have to play long ball and really a lot of work ethic.
What people see they imagine it’s this suffer fest and a lot of intensity, but really it’s a lot of consistency.
Harnessing The Power of Visualization
Yeah, that’s so good because I talk to my NBA players we all have what I call the personal highlight reel, and I do it for myself every morning too.
I visualize my best moment where I was speaking on stage for Nestle when I was just flowing and just crushing it, like I put myself into that mode for my NBA players it’s their best game they ever had.
they watch it every single morning, so you live in that highlight zone, in that visualization power that you’re talking about.
And I’ve been blessed to be able to learn from some of the greatest mental coaches like Michael Jordan and Kobe’s mental coach.
And something that they did every game, before the game they literally watched the whole game in their mind, they visually sat there and saw it all unfolding.
Now, you have a lot more confidence when you’ve actually done the…
Think about if you went in and took a test in high school and you’ve taken it 2000 times, you do so much better.
You can do that in your mind.
People don’t understand the true power of visualization, because once you actually see something, that is what you can live in.
It’s not fake, it’s real and that’s the power of the personal highlight reel too.
Abel: And it’s so interesting having talked to and met with a lot of coaches for NFL players, NBA players and other sports.
I’m just desperately waiting for this crazy sexy advice about what all the players need to get to the max level and almost all of them say,
“Breath and mindset,” like that’s it.
They say, like, “That’s what I work with my players with, breath and mindset.”
It’s like, “What? Come on, it’s got to be more sexy than that.”
But not really, right?
It’s definitely not. That’s the thing and it is all about… You hit on it earlier, consistency.
I call it relentless consistency, meaning you’re showing up every single day just doing these one percent steps day after day, focus on the consistency of it.
It’s not about going in one day and doing it for four hours, but every single day, you take those steps forward and…
An example of that is to, one of my favorite quotes is,
“It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.”
Everybody’s probably heard of that.
And it really means, it’s really true.
The 10,000 hours and everything, you’re never going to reach your goal that you want, unless you put in those daily pieces of work.
And a quick story for you.
My uncle is the head coach of the Toronto Raptors and they just won the NBA championship last year in his first year as head coach, and everybody’s like,
“Oh man, lightning struck in a bottle. This guy’s so lucky. First year head coach.”
No. He’s been a head coach for 27 years, coaching in small colleges, countries you don’t even know play basketball.
I’ve been over in England watching him tape players ankles, popping popcorn in half time, but the thing is, he lived in the notion that he was an NBA champion coach.
And I want to talk about affirmations. I do this too.
I personally have a picture of myself on the fridge with my head cut out, pasted on, speaking in front of a 100,000 people like a huge, huge arena.
So, that speaking that into existence, that’s going to happen, whether it’s to Zoom 100,000 people right now or real life, but he did this with an NBA champion…
As an NBA champion, he coached when he was 22, and then he lived every day like he was going to take a step towards that.
Twenty-seven years later, it actually happened, but that’s the biggest thing, it’s consistency, because far too often, if something doesn’t happen quickly, we give up.
And we are our biggest enemy or in basketball terms, we are the biggest full court press on ourselves.
Abel: Yeah, now I have a selfish question for you David, this one…
How to Shift Gears Post-Injury
Abel: So I had… This is about shooting basketball.
So, I’m just kind of coming back from an injury.
So, I had a nasty thumb injury and then surgery years ago, and they kind of had to recreate the joint.
And ever since, my wrist has been very stiff, the thumb as well.
And so, when I’m doing jump shots or doing some physical things with like that flick of the wrist, it’s slower than it should be, it’s just kind of like more of an air ball than on target.
How do you come back from that sort of surgery or that sort of imbalance in the way that your hand or body works?
Yeah, then it’s tough because you’ve done something one way for your whole life, and that’s the way you think it’s going to work, and that’s the way you think it should work, but now that you have this imbalance, you have to make an adjustment.
Now, you have to figure out where that comfortability factor is.
Maybe it’s shifting like for a basketball player, it would be shifting their elbow out a little better, putting their hand in a different placement, and it feels weird.
So, anybody going through an injury or something that they’re not able to perform at the level that they had expected to and they had been in the past, and they build all this muscle memory up in, that’s okay.
That’s all still there.
But you just make that, which in a perfect set up, a little pivot of what that set up needs to be, and then you go in that direction.
Abel: And what would you say is the biggest biomechanical mistake that a lot of people make when they’re trying to shoot a basketball or throw something.
We don’t always naturally do it the correct way, right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. There’s a ton of…
I’ve seen so many shots over the years, and the main thing with shooting or an athlete is just their fluidity.
And a lot of times when I work with players, and you hit it earlier too, is this take a breath. People are holding their breath, they’re so stiff and they feel so much pressure that they have to do it the perfect way the first time. Just relax.
There’s so much power, and I have to work with my NBA players on breathing techniques just to stay relaxed in the moment.
Because especially in games or whenever you’re trying to learn something, it’s going to become frustrating, it’s not going to go the way you want it to.
But you know, if you can take… I happen to take seven just deep, deep breaths.
So, if you can take these deep breaths, you’re going to be back, you can kill, you’d be so much better off than before.
Getting Into Flow
Abel: So you also kind of want to think, or at least I do, when I’m watching NBA players at that level of mastery or not, but usually, that they have this kind of encyclopedic knowledge of everything that’s going off in their heads, which might be true for NFL quarterbacks or something like that.
But for most people, what I hear you describing, it’s more of a state of flow where you’re getting out of your own way.
You’re getting out of your own head, and that’s how you really start making shots.
Spot on. And that is exactly getting out of your own head, and when players just play on feel, instead of over-thinking things, that’s when these great highlight reel moments happened.
It’s funny you say that, because I’m literally going through a player with that right now, in the bubble, who’s a great player.
But right when he came back, he’s thinking about his missed shots.
I see him putting his head down as miss… I can tell it’s in his head.
And I was like, “You just have to literally cut that out.”
So we don’t focus on any results like he missed eight shots that he should have made, but I was like,
“Hey, you’ve got to these shots. You got exactly to the shots that you want to take. That’s what we’re going for. We don’t care if they actually go in. We don’t know that’ll happen.”
And when players are able to detach the results from the process, that’s when they really get in their flow state.
But when they’re worried about what the results are, the stats are, then it’s a constant struggle.
If you miss a shot, you negatively feel this connotation on you, and it’s another thing that I do with players in confidence is– redefining vocabulary.
Affirmations & Redefining Failure
So, let’s say a player is going through and it’s powerful, everybody in life.
Let’s say player’s going through a shooting slump, and I’ll always ask them, I always say, “Hey, when was your last shooting slump?”
And they’ll be like, “Yeah, you know, a couple of games ago, I couldn’t make a shot. It was miserable.”
And then I’ll say, “Hey, when was your last shooting hippopotamus?”
And then they’re like, “David, what are you talking about? That’s what?”
But really, what that is, as we hear the word slump and we’ve just been so trained in our subconscious over growing up that that means something bad, something bad is happening.
So, we can pivot these and redefine these terms of vocabulary. Man, it’s just like failure.
Failure is what? Everybody says it’s something bad, and then you say, “Hey, it’s a way you can learn.”
It’s not a way you can learn, it’s the only way you can learn.
There’s not an option. You have to fail to be able to learn and grow.
And people say, “Yeah, I want to be rich.”
But, okay. What does rich mean to you?
It can mean something to somebody else, but… It’s not about money.
If you just continue on, “I want more and more, more money,” you’re going to continue to want more.
It’s going to drive you nuts.
Be rich in loving your family, be rich in your relationships with your friends.
Look at these terms that the world is saying you have to be, and then pivot them. Define them in your own terms.
Abel: Yeah, that is so powerful. Words are programming you.
Whether you realize it or not, the words you say, certainly the words you hear.
That’s another good reason not to check social media and a lot of messages in the morning because it puts you into that reactive state.
And, you know, that type of messaging is meant to make you feel empty.
It’s meant to agitate you.
It’s meant to put you in the wrong mode of thinking, so it’s very powerful.
You try to get a handle on that and also recognize that that’s what you’re up against.
So, giving yourself that time, and perhaps I know this is a big part of what you do, David, having some sort of spiritual practice or some practice around what your life means can be really powerful there.
Because it can be something, an excuse to give yourself affirmations in the morning, because a lot of people just won’t sit down and do it.
So, having some sort of organized way, also aligning with your partner on that when you can is really powerful.
I did want to ask you, what’s it like to be married to an artist-actress as more of a sports guy? That’s got to be a trip.
Yeah, it’s… She’s way, way cooler than I am. I think that I get to do cool stuff, but she’s awesome. She’s…
Abel: My wife, too. Yeah, for sure.
Yeah, but see, we’re swinging way above our averages.
But she’s amazing, and it’s really cool. She’s from this…
She’s an actress, and acting is the epitome of rejection, of hearing no.
I’ll see her pour days and days into a script and really getting into character and just… It’s amazing.
And then you’ll go into the audition and you never hear back.
It’s really, really hard. But to see her be able to bounce back from that and be like, “Oh, well, I got the next one. It’s not my… It’s not the right one.”
She’s a full super believer. We’re both…
Our everything, it comes from Jesus. Our God is who we believe in.
Where we put in, you talk in your purpose, that is our purpose.
And we know that no matter what happens, the plan… He’s got the best plan.
It might not happen on our timing, it probably won’t happen on our timing, but it will happen.
And that’s a lot of… If you want to give yourself peace, knowing that you’re not doing this for yourself, you have Jesus with you on your journey in control.
That is the ultimate peace, man, and… You know, she’s just…
Literally, she understands the craziness of my schedule and the work because she has the same type of thing.
And it’s just super, super encouraging.
So anybody, if you’re married out there, the best thing you can possibly do, read the love languages, The Five Love Languages.
And then just fully always just give, give, give and support your wife or your husband.
How To Succeed with 1% Steps Daily
Abel: Yeah, that’s powerful advice. What… You really need an ally.
You need like someone who’s a comrade, someone who’s there.
And so often all that is just being there physically for them, but also just like being that supportive force in the world of Doritos, Oreos, and Facebook and all the rest of it.
It’s rough out there, so we need to prop each other up where we can.
But what have you noticed, if anything, in terms of the people who really succeed in the NBA or in their field, and what you’ve learned from your wife and maybe some of the people in her sphere of influence, how people succeed there…
There are probably some similarities.
Yeah, definitely. And the key combination, like literally the formula…
I’m going to give you the formula right now, is your strengths, so your God-given abilities, whatever that is, and add it with, wait for it, hard work.
Consistently, hard work. Consistently. And that’s really it.
You see the best players in the NBA, LeBron James, very talented, obviously. But man, he puts in the work.
He understands sleep, he invests 1.2 million dollars in his body for recovery, nutrition.
It’s the ones that have the talent and then put the relentless, relentless work into it.
And then also, man, it’s also about all these different mindset tools.
If you could just take one tool and understand that it’s going to take time.
If you have something you want to become, it’s going to take time.
Don’t worry about it. It will happen, but you have to prepare.
It’s why I get so passionate about the 1% steps.
It’s not a big thing that if you have… If you look at that huge goal and you just try to get it right away, it’s overwhelming.
But if you’re like, “Okay, I’ll just take these 1% steps daily, I’m going to get there.”
And then when something bad happens to you, embrace it.
Be like, “Yes, this isn’t how I’m going to learn. This is the only way I’m going to learn.”
And not only that is, hey, this difficult situation that happened to me, or this really, really bad thing that happened to me, somebody else is going to go through the exact same thing, and now you can help them along.
So it’s… There’s so many things, wins in looking at all these difficult situations and being able to pivot them.
So basically, the people at the highest level, they have the talent, they have the consistent hard work, and then anything that comes their way, they pivot it and use it for their good.
Abel: And another piece you have in your book, I love this story about how…
I don’t want to tell it for you, but basically developing your talent isn’t just about shooting basketballs really well.
Sometimes there’s more of a spiritual drive to that too, where you actually want to help share love with the world through the development of your talent.
Man, that’s so good.
And it’s literally why I do what I do with NBA players, and with speaking, and being an encourager to others is because I know it’s for a bigger purpose.
And that’s why I really feel driven. I never think of what I do as a job or as a career.
It’s a mission, literally a mission I’m on to help people be encouraged to find their joy and honestly, I hopefully see Jesus through it.
That’s the way I think that it is to joy and…
Yeah, whatever you have is your platform, whether it’s the NBA or whether it’s a huge, awesome podcast like yourself, you have it for a bigger purpose.
And I know you feel that and being able… No matter what situation you’re in, if you can look at it in that direction and not worry about,
“Hey, well, this guy’s helping a million people. I can never get to that level.”
Just help one. And just help one. You never know, that person could go help a million people, so basically you helped a million people.
But if we could all live in that type of mindset, knowing that what we’re doing is not just for us but it’s for something so much more…
Man, life would be just beautiful.
Abel: Yeah, there’s another myth I’d like you to touch on to, and that’s that…
You kind of mentioned it a little bit before, but that high achievers in the NBA with people doing what we do or whatever, day in, day out, there’s this myth that they’re always in the game.
They’re always winning. It’s always going well when in fact, in my experience, and you mentioned this in the book as well.
A lot of the time, we’ll wake up feeling like the last thing we want to do is work.
The last thing we want to do is the thing that we actually want to do.
That’s where your 17 seconds of state change really comes into action.
And this can be implemented in almost every aspect of your life.
not like… This whole day of recording and meetings, I didn’t want to do it when I woke up. That’s what usually happens.
When I played music shows, I would act weird all day because I knew I had a show that night and I didn’t want to do it.
And then after I do it, I always feel better.
Almost 100%, maybe 110% of the time, I feel better.
I have more energy. I feel like we exchanged real value with each other and real stuff happens.
So anyway, I’d love for you to just touch on that a little bit.
Man, that’s so true, and it’s so real. I love that vulnerability that you show.
People might see and like, “Oh man, he just wakes up just loving to do this,” or, “David gets to go work with NBA players, just love it.”
No, there are a ton of times I wake up and I do not want to go to the gym, or I do not want to get in front of this company and speak.
And the real confidence in that is knowing that, that’s okay.
Everybody experiences, that is totally okay.
And one of the biggest detriments I see is when people feel this or people… Let’s say they take a step back.
They fall off the horses and they just give up.
It’s going to happen.
In your knowledge of knowing that you’ve done it many times where you thought, “Man, I don’t want to do this, I don’t feel like doing this.”
But every time that I do it, for some reason I feel so much better.
I’ve learned. Maybe I’ve gained a new relationship, and so I’m going to do it.
And it’s the understanding, yeah, that people don’t go through it because everybody…
Man, even the most confident players in the NBA will have self-doubt.
I’ve seen, I’ve worked with All-Stars on developing their confidence.
You would think these dudes are at the top of the top, but it’s self-doubt, so real.
It’s why you need to continually be building these habits and routines of wiping away the self-doubt to make it the lifestyle you live.
Abel: Yeah, and give yourself that momentum because when you don’t want to do something, a lot of times that’s because it’s another form of energy.
It’s anxiety, but you can channel that into being more hyper-vigilant or really listening well or really playing.
Time kind of slows down, right, when you’re in that.
So one thing that I do that’s really powerful is, I imagine myself, I’ll just use workout for example.
I’m probably going to do big lifts after this, even though I don’t want to.
I’ve been recording all day, I don’t want to, but I’m probably going to do it because I know…
I imagine myself afterwards covered in sweat, with a good muscle pump, beast mode, because that’s what happens after I do it, even if I don’t want to.
And it’s really, like you said, I didn’t really think of it this way until I got that 17-seconds thing from your work, but it’s that first set.
It’s that warm-up set that makes me want to do it, that gives me the momentum to get through the rest of it.
And then it just pretty much feels good. You’re in cruise mode after that.
Yeah, and think about how powerful that tool can be.
And it might be a little bit longer for some people or even shorter, but just knowing that it’s just that first set of just getting started and once you start, you can finish it.
But man, I love what you say. You visualize yourself at the end, beast mode sweating.
That’s such a key for people to have is like, what do you want to have happen?
To see that happen, and then it literally can happen, but you just have to, you have to do it.
You have to get started, and it’ll happen.
Abel: You’re a living an example of that.
And we’re coming up on time here, but before we go, I would love to hear you talk about where people can find you.
And also if you have any dirt on Sisson, because I know you go to dinner with Mark Sisson sometimes.
You have any dirt you’d like to share. Or Max or any of our other mutual friends, you can share that, too.
So, let’s see. Max, Mark, Aaron Alexander, all great friends and I’ve got a lot of dirt on them, if anybody wants to hear this dirt, you find it in my book.
Gonna go. Set-up? You like that set-up? No, they’re all great.
Abel: I see what you did there.
Unbelievable people, man. It’s just been a blessing to get to know them and just getting to know you.
Today is the first day we have actually talked, and I feel like I’ve known you forever. And I’m not just saying that in a cheesy way, but…
Abel: Right on.
Where To Find David Nurse
And if anyone would like to sign up for my 1% Course, you can grab it right now for just $10.
And you’ll be on the show crushing it very soon.
Abel: Can’t wait.
Yeah. That’s pretty much it.
Abel: David, thank you so much for taking the time.
We could obviously talk all day, but I really appreciate our conversation here.
Hey, you’re the man. I love your energy, love your positivity and just keep being the light you are.
Before You Go…
Here’s a note that came in from Nat in the UK, who says…
“Firstly, I want to say love what you guys do.
Initially I was unsure but wow, you’re so spot on with what you do, and independently which is just fantastic.
There’s so much I want to say, but imagine you get so many emails so will keep short.
I’ve just started growing my own and wow, to be able to walk into your garden and pick your own fresh lettuce and spinach as and when you want it, 100% organic, is amazing and I am turning more of my garden over to grow even more and got clued up on what I can grow in autumn and winter.
If you can do any shows on this topic that too would make great listening.
Knowing what I know now about big corporations and the pharmaceutical industry and the poisons we are also subjected to has really opened my eyes. Please never stop doing this, it truly is fantastic.
I live in the UK and tell everyone about Fat-Burning Man, not because it’s a diet, but it’s about giving your body what it needs and understanding the importance of what we put into our body and what rubbish is really on the shelves.
Our view of “health” today is so warped and I for one am sick of the ignorance folk have.
As a wife and mum to two young girls, I am teaching them the importance of food and where it comes from. Getting the younger generation is key in my opinion.
Keep it up guys! Respect and love from the UK!”
Nat and family
Oh, Nat and family, love to you from the Colorado mountains.
I love getting notes like this. Because, you know, especially when you get kids involved, there’s no better way to teach than having a garden in your backyard.
That also brings up a great point.
Right now, money is super tight for a lot of people, including us, and if you get that garden going, all of a sudden, those organic veggies that look way more expensive in the store become quite inexpensive because you’re growing them yourself.
And hopefully at some point at the end of the season or mid-season, you have a whole backyard bounty.
That’s the way that we grew up in New Hampshire.
My parents have a wonderful garden going and my brother has his own farm.
And it’s been in the family, we’re doing our best even to grow some things up here in the sandy soil at 8,000 feet in Colorado.
So especially if you have kids, you have family, you guys are trapped at home, there’s almost nothing better than enjoying a freshly picked cuc or strawberry from the backyard.
I remember that as a kid, I remember the taste and the feeling of almost all those things that we tried, and it’s one of the reasons I’m standing here doing this here today.
So good on you for passing this on.
I agree that getting the next generation on board is really critical to righting the ship, so to speak.
Another quick note, too, thank you for sharing our work.
That’s one thing, if you’re a listener out there, if you want to know how you can support us, and even if you can’t support us monetarily, just sharing this show, our website, my emails, my books with somebody else and getting them on board through word-of-mouth is critical right now for us as small independent creators.
Because the technocrats and the big platforms and the social media networks and even Google, they’re all trying to bury us.
Not just us, but a lot of people in alternative health who are doing great work.
A lot of people I’ve known for many years, it’s happening to a lot of us, we don’t know exactly why, we don’t know what we did wrong, but we do know that we’ll get through this by helping each other out, supporting each other, having each other’s back.
Especially in the age of ridiculous algorithms on all these platforms, it’s getting absurd.
So we’re doing our best to have your back.
If you have any questions for me, if you want coaching, if you want a free taste of our meal plans and some of our cookbooks, just sign up for our free newsletter.
We’ll send you some freebies, a lot of exclusive discounts and other fun things like that.
You can find over 300 free episodes of this show with full transcripts and all the rest of these goodies here on FatBurningMan.com.
Also, we’re on Patreon now, so if you’re available on that platform, if you’re looking around for other people to follow, you can join our Coffee Club, and we started up a chat forum on a Discord server called “The Wild Guild.”
So, we have some good conversations going on in there.
Just look up Abel James on Patreon or go to fatburningman.com/tipjar, and you can find it all there, too.
I don’t want to ramble on too long here, but another quick way you can support us and also get some of the best quality nutritional supplements out there by visiting us at wildsuperfoods.com.
It’s only in the U.S. right now, we’re looking at expanding in the future, but it’s just kind of essentially our own family run business, our own mom and pop shop, where we’re selling the very supplements that we’ve been taking and trusting for many years.
We’ve invested most of our life savings getting to where we’re at, and we’re so proud of the products that we’ve been sharing with you. Don’t forget to leave reviews. 🙂
We’ve got a couple new products that we recently launched that you may not have heard about.
The first one I’ll mention is called Adrenal Stack.
If you feel like all of this stress and anxiety is getting to you a little bit, sometimes certain nutrients can help.
I’ve been taking this particular formulation in Adrenal Stack for a few years now. And boy, it’s stressful recording all day in this environment where you’re held accountable for every word, where people are trying to cancel you and whatever.
So Adrenal Stack is one of our hedges against that.
It’s one of my favorite supplement stacks that I take. It’s a combination of vitamin C, B vitamins, ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola, licorice and much more.
And then we also have a very delicious tasting protein powder, hot or cold. It’s called Collagen Cocoa.
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We’re running launches, discounts, giveaways, and all sorts of fun stuff over at wildsuperfoods.com.
When you sign up for Subscribe & Save, you even get included as your subscription access to our coaching program.
So we’re doing a lot of fun stuff over at wildsuperfoods.com. Don’t forget to check that out.
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