How you define Stephen Duneier depends on how you came to know him. Some define him as an expert institutional investor, while others know him as a large scale installation artist, avid outdoorsman, professor, decision strategist, coach, business leader, mindfulness extremist, author, speaker, daredevil or Guinness world record holder. In his talk, Stephen explains that what truly defines him aren’t titles, but an approach to decision making that transformed him from someone who struggled with simple tasks to a guy who is continuously achieving even his most ambitious dreams.
How many of you believe you could replicate this image of brad pitt i’ve just given you the skills necessary to become a world-class artist. has far less to do with possessing some magical skill or talent, in 2011, he became the number one ranked men’s tennis player in the world, what he does control are all the tiny little decisions by taking a look at the percentage of
Points that he wins. the typical point involves one to maybe three decisions, so, back when he was winning about 49% of the matches he was playing, but maybe one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but the type of marginal improvements that i’m talking about from kindergarten, all the way through to my high school graduation – and so, from kindergarten straight
Through the 2nd year of college, and i’m going to stop being a spectator of my decision-making that i would suddenly be able to settle down and focus on things if i would get an assignment, let’s say, read five chapters in a book, that would require me to focus for just five or ten minutes at a time. i would do that and when i was done with those five or ten minutes, but just
To another task that required just five to ten minutes of my attention. it then led me to be global head of currency option trading global head of emerging markets for aig international. like to all those big ambitious goals i have for myself? an hour and a half a day, seven and a half hours a week, i picked up the first 33 cds in the pimsleur german language program,
I’d switch away from the language and go back to the music. and i went to berlin for a 16-day intensive german course. there is actually nothing amazing about what i’ve just done. (german) und jetzt, ich spreche ein bisschen deutsch. so what other big ambitious goals i’ve been holding onto, and i knew that going that route rarely results in the outcome you desire.
And i thought, can i make just a marginal adjustment to them where i’ve been walking an hour and a half a day for the last seven years, the types of decisions that need to be made correctly along the way putting in just a little extra time at the end of a day. and in that moment, make the decision to put it down. you walk to your car, get in, drive to the trailhead.
Every one of those steps that i have just described now, when i say i want to hike 33 trails in the front country, there is no decision that occurs at the top of the mountain. ambitious for a guy who still, to this day, cannot settle down it’s not about reading a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence. if you read one word, you’ll read two words, three words; where i did 12
Charitable things that didn’t involve writing a check. so anyway, i’ve also had these 12 learning resolutions, and i’ll be honest, i wasn’t all that passionate about knitting. that’s 2.6 miles up the cold spring trail in santa barbara, in los padres national forest at the top of the mountains. which culminates in a project that is currently at tmc, here in tucson, i was
Curious what’s the world’s largest granny square. if you make it ten meters by ten meters, we’ll create a new category, and i am now the official guinness world record holder and i remain a guy who possesses no special gift of talent or skill. to pull some of those ambitious dreams that you have for yourself and start pursuing them by making that marginal adjustment to your routine. (applause)
Transcribed from video
How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals | Stephen Duneier | TEDxTucson By TEDx Talks