"Elite Minds" Book Review

I recently finished the book Elite Minds: How Winners Think Differently to Create a Competitive Edge and Maximize Success by Dr. Stan Beecham. While the book has a focus on athletes including both those in team and individual sports, the author does a good job incorporating other facets of life and various careers. He addresses business, workplace environment, and relationships as well.

I bought the book to learn more about the mental side of running. They say running is 90% mental and only 10% physical. Working on your mental game is just as important (if not more important) as practice and workouts. The book is a great motivator to work hard for big dreams of any kind and to cultivate an environment of success. I would suggest the book to anyone involved in athletics, both coaches and athletes. I would also recommend the book to people looking to achieve higher standards in their life and wanting to get out of their comfort zone.

Here are my favorite quotes:

  • “Goals that are not frightening are not worth having.” (page 62)
  • “No one has ever accomplished anything on his own. There is no such thing as individual performance.” (page 74) You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your parents and those who brought you up. You can’t claim you did something all by yourself because somewhere along the way you had external resources. Just a reminder to always make sure you have a positive support team and thank those who help make your dreams come true!
  • “There is no trust without risk and vulnerability.” (page 78) This is so important when it comes to relationships including those with your spouse, family, co-workers, pets, etc!
  • “The best kind of leaders create a culture with goals and awards that either everyone or no one achieves.” (page 82) This applies to both team sports and in the workplace. When you praise only one individual, it breaks up the team. Think about MVP and Employee of the Month awards – you’re highlighting one individual and none of the support that got them there. Similar to the quote above, no one ever performs completely solo. Help from teammates and co-workers has a huge impact in making things happen. Everyone should strive for the same goals and aspirations, and everyone should be rewarded for their successes. If you want a team to work together and have a uniform goal, you have to reward all together too or you lose that cohesion. 
  • “One’s belief system dictates performance. In order for you to improve, you must change what you believe is true about yourself and your ability.” (page 130) Everyone hopes to win or do well, but very few people expect to win. If you change your mindset, amazing things can happen.
  • “We all withdraw to a place of comfort… If you don’t believe you deserve it, it probably will not happen. Your expectation is the determinant – not your coach, your mom, of your teammates, but you.” (page 133) This made me laugh. Just because your mom thinks you can, it doesn’t me YOU think you can. You have to believe in yourself!
  • “Have you ever driven by a store and seen the sign: ‘Liquidation Sale – All Items Must Go’? That’s what every race should be – a liquidation sale. Everything goes. When the race is over, you should be empty. Spent. Done. Nothing left… The only way one cane be fully satisfied.” (page 152) I LOVE this for running races. It is so true. If you don't give it your all, it wasn't worth it. I will definitely have this quote in my head during my next race.
  • “You have to risk getting lost because chasing a dream will lead you to places you never thought were out there… Playing scared keeps you close to the porch, and no one ever got lost or broke a world record in their own backyard.” (page 180) Step out of your comfort zone. That’s were all your dreams will come true.

The book reminded me of a great quote from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”