Todd Herman | The Power of Negative Thinking (Episode 401)

Todd Herman (@todd_herman) explains why high performers think differently — but not in the way you expect.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather become a man of value.” -Albert Einstein

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Are we meant to be in the zone all the time?
  • Do high performers battle depression more or less than everyone else?
  • How Walt Disney knew if he had a great idea or a crappy one.
  • Todd Herman explains why goals beyond 90 days are useless.
  • What is the biggest myth in society today?
  • And so much more…


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The power of positive thinking has become mega-popular lately. But is that what really separates the high performers from everyone else — their ability to think positively? Not according to Todd Herman, our guest for this episode.

Todd is a high performance coach who works with elite athletes, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. He joins us to talk about the power of negative thinking, why alter egos are vital to your success, and how to do negative prep today on the 401st episode of The Art of Charm.

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When Todd Herman says he’s a high performance coach he isn’t joking. He’s considered one of the foremost authorities in the world on crafting high performance. He has trained some of the elite athletes of the world including professionals and Olympians. He’s also worked with the royal family of Spain!

And one thing he’s discovered about high performers may surprise you: they are prone to depression and are not positive thinkers. However they are positive expecters. What does that mean? It means they think, see, and anticipate threats, weaknesses, and other potential negative situations.

But they don’t stop there as many non-high performer people do, they take those negative possibilities and evaluate them. They ask how will I overcome this IF it happens? Or how can I mitigate this for the least impact? This way of thinking and these questions are what Todd calls the positive power of negative preparation, and it is one of the thought processes of a high performer.

Another thought process high performers use, and something Todd coaches people to use, is the alter ego. A great example of this is Bo Jackson, the only athlete to be an all-star in two professional sporting leagues: the NFL and the MLB.

As he once said to Todd: “Bo never played a down of football in his life.” What Bo meant by that, and what he went on to share with Todd, was that he constructed an alter ego who played football and baseball. Bo didn’t have a mean bone in his body; he was kind and would never want to hurt anyone in any way.

But that personality wouldn’t serve him on the field and Bo knew that. So he constructed an alter ego who was gritty, nasty and the toughest guy on the field. Todd explains some of the key components of creating this alter ego for yourself in this show.

Todd also explains how to get in the zone as your alter ego (and why you don’t always want to be there), what the two weeks sprint is and how to use it to reach your goals, plus how to overcome the “I’m a fraud” mentality and why thinking that thought is actually a positive sign! Check it out on today’s episode of The Art of Charm.


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AJ Harbinger - author of 1161 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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