063. Dan Edwardes: Motivation, efficacy, and storytelling

Episode summary

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Dan Edwardes explains the value of playing games, and unpacks what motivates him. He discusses the struggle of choosing where to spend your time and energy, and the difficulty of distractions. Dan shares his insights on parkour’s relationship to self efficacy, and the power and importance of storytelling.

Super fights (0:28)

History with Andy Fisher, game for fun, ended up on the Heroforge podcast. Teaches problem solving, critical thinking, interpersonal, great debate tool.

Motivation (7:09)

motivated by stories and reading growing up, led to interest in heroism, self training and skills, martial arts. Always has a continuous desire to learn, so training is never a question. Trains general practical competence, with tangents in various areas he considers useful

Competence (13:28)

Who is the first person you think of for ‘competent’: character… Batman – games as theoretical training, flexible mindset

Current struggles (16:55)

Working to manage time, effort, energy to do what you want to do, while filtering against distraction. Smart phone as a useful tool, but also dangerous. Choosing and deciding how to spend your day, and creating systems to help you, developing time management skills. Smart phone management skills and tips, Leo Babota, Zen Habits. Creating small changes, learning and challenging, parkour philosophy

Storytime (27:05)

Mini martial arts back story, leads to the importance of sweeping, cleaning the dojo, and why and how it’s a part of the training. Jozef Frucek (fighting monkey), story of cleaning, how you do anything is how you do everything

Storytime application (33:00)

Understanding the story; why do we care about being a good mover? Physical vs mental/value training, fitness is the byproduct. The reason to be fit is to live a good life, physical and mental fitness… what will you do with your health, fitness, life, what meaning will it have? Search for meaning in what you do –

Self efficacy and parkour (38:40)

With parkour, you can’t deceive self, can’t hide; it’s a mirror , ruthless in a sense, but objective. A way to understand yourself, who you are and what you can do; helps control your reactions to the world. Parkour as an opportunity to learn efficacy, a transformative practice

Storytelling and narrative (43:48)

There is nothing but story, we perceive the world through story as humans. Storytelling is always present in training (overt or not), creating a profound experience, being a part of others stories, how you affect others stories as a coach

Recommendations (49:21)

being a writer, here are books about story telling: Story , by Robin McKee, Into the Woods , by John Yorke, and Save the Cat , by Blake Snyder

3 words (53:12)

Craig : And of course, the final question. Three words to describe your practice.

Dan Edwards: I’m going to use the three words that I think also describes the learning structure of the human mind, which we teach when we’re doing ADAPT in terms of coaching theory and stuff. Which is effectively, explore, challenge, adapt. And I think that’s also a pretty good definition of how parkour came around. But that really is the learning structure of the human mind in that you basically explore, you go out and you find things. You experiment with things. Those things challenge you because you can’t do them, because they’re new. And then you have to create an adaptation to deal with that challenge and to solve it, to solve the problem.

Dan Edwards: In other speak, it’s action, feedback, iteration, I suppose, in coaching speak in that do something, get some feedback and then iterate using that feedback. It’s a structural thing, I suppose, which is again a storyteller thing, I suppose. And I think it’s good because it summarizes really probably where parkour came from. It’s just the idea of exploring the world, finding challenges and then creating adaptations to overcome them or solve them. And then starting again and then exploring somewhere else and then exploring somewhere else and exploring somewhere else. And that cyclical thing is as long as you’re doing that and you’re training, as long as you’re following that open feedback loop, because that’s what that is, I suppose, then your training’s going to lead you to good places.

Dan Edwards: The problem comes when you have a closed feedback loop, obviously. Then that means you’re not doing any of the exploration. Then you’re going to have limitations as to what you can achieve. So I think I’ll probably go with those few words, yeah. Explore, challenge, adapt.

Contact and further info

To learn more about Dan, or to get in touch with him, you can visit his website.