Sullivan employs a chapter-long analysis of how Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the highly publicized Battle of the Sexes tennis tournament in 1973 to summarize the clutch principles. He calls the tournament a double-clutch situation because King was playing not only to win the match, but to challenge the conventional thinking about women in sports.
The three principles for avoiding choking, which are described in part two of the book, are included to help the reader steer clear of the behaviors that cause people to fail to meet their goals in high-pressure situations. The principles are taking responsibility for your role in the situation; not allowing overthinking to take you out of being present; and ensuring that overconfidence doesn’t stop you from putting energy into focus, discipline, and living in the moment.
People who master clutch are really mastering the amygdala, the part of the human brain that responds to stress and that can sometimes seem to take control of us when we are in pressure-laden situations. Sullivan thinks we are all capable of creating stress-resilient maps that can enable us to traverse these toughest of territories. Clutch is a good place to start drafting such a map.
Beyond Carrots and Sticks
Reading Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink’s newest book, can be depressing, especially as you realize how large a role extrinsic rewards and punishments play in our lives. That’s because the most prevalent means of motivation are what Pink calls if–then transactions: If you do this, then I’ll give you that.
These incentives for changing behavior are based on the assumption that motivation is extrinsic — people will do more of what you want if you reward them for it (the carrot) and will stop doing things if you punish them (the stick). But Drive suggests that we should limit our use of “currencies,” such as bonuses and fines that try to externally motivate people, and instead engage their intrinsic motivators, especially three paramount human needs.
These needs are autonomy, the freedom to make choices and determine our future; mastery, the ability to learn and grow our expertise; and purpose, the quest for meaning in our lives. They are wired into our brains, according to Pink, who supports his thesis by drawing on four decades of scientific research. When we do not satisfy these needs, we can fall into depression and lose our reason for being.
Pink singles out several companies that have put intrinsic motivation to work. He takes us inside 3M Company, where William McKnight, who served as the company’s president from 1929 to 1949 and its chairman from 1949 to 1966, came up with the unusual idea of giving employees free time for what he called experimental doodling, a practice that yielded Post-It notes, among many other new products. Pink also points to Google’s policy of allowing employees to devote 10 percent of their time to projects of their choice, which has produced services such Google News, Gmail, Google Translate, Google Talk, Google Sky, and more.
Pink explores the wide gap between what science teaches us about motivators and how companies actually seek to motivate people. For instance, one of the most prescient bodies of research presented in the book highlights the negative impact that extrinsic rewards have on productivity over time. This research found that extrinsic rewards narrow our focus to attaining the promised reward itself at the expense of everything else. As a result of holding this myopic view, companies such as Enron produce toxic environments and flawed decisions, as well as unethical and even criminal behavior.