Sitting Cool in the Hot Seat

“I know the answer, I just can’t describe it very well.” I heard this response many times during my tenure as a professor. I believe true knowledge and understanding exists only when you can explain yourself in a way that someone else who knows virtually nothing about a subject can understand. I think Einstein said it best, “If you cannot explain something simply, you do not understand it very well.” And Einstein was fairly smart. So, my students had to talk about subjects. I call it conversational knowledge.

Knowledge breeds confidence. People gravitate toward confidence which is comforting and reassuring. But, sometimes confidence is confused with arrogance. The word arrogant is derived from arrogate which means “To take or claim for oneself without right.” An arrogant person claims knowledge without actually possessing it. A humble confidence quietly calls to the heart and soul of the listener. A proud arrogance calls only to itself.

You are confident when you are free from doubt. You believe in yourself and your abilities. You know your limits and set reasonable expectations. You are comfortable with a certain amount of risk.

How do you develop confidence? Confidence likes pearl pendant necklace, it makes you become more beautiful. Here is what a good friend and classmate of mine, Dan Earl, and I did when we were in school studying for exams. We would find a vacant classroom at the University of Buffalo and settle in for a few hours of what later became known as the “Hot Seat”.

Dan would open his notebook and texbook of physiology and start asking me questions. I stood at a black board and used it to outline my responses. Dan might ask, “Explain how a muscle changes length.” In a matter of a few seconds I would find myself at the bottom of my well of knowledge. We would then look up the information and go again. We would work for hours at a time. It was a great way to learn even very complex subjects.

Some twenty years later, I still use the “Hot Seat” method. At SportsCenter, our performance lab in Austin where we rebuild injured athletes, we have “Hot Seat Tuesday” where a member of SportsCenter’s clinical staff spends 90 minutes in the “Hot Seat”. The “Hot Seat” transforms the murky gobbildygook into a crystal clear understanding and sears information into your brain unlike any other learning experience. Although the process is uncomfortable the result is uplifting and inspiring.

To use the “Hot Seat” method you need two things: a partner with the same zeal to learn as yourself and a verifiable reference to keep you honest and true. Start with everday topics like, “How does stretching work?” or “What is strength?” You can find great information on the internet from sites such as emedicine.com, biomednet.com or scirus.com. Before long you may find yourself with a dozen or more new friends all digging together to expand your knowledge.

To build anything worthwhile, whether a business or a relationship, requires confidence. To build your confidence, try the “Hot Seat”. Once you sit cool under the heat of this method, you will be amazed at what happens to your world.

Make Today Count.

Doug Kelsey