Westlaker “Dr Fat” Grant Schofield delivers 6 Brain Rules to Living an Awesome Life
Almost 500 mothers and sons gathered for the 2016 Annual Westlake Boys Mother Son Breakfast at school on the morning of Thursday 12th May. The Westlake Rowing mothers missed out on the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with their sons and instead, as part of a fundraising initiative for Westlake Rowing, they provided the inviting ambiance and an impressive selection of breakfast fare for the guests while their sons took care of the essential serving and waiting services.
The opening act of the morning was a poem entitled “Scaffolding” written and performed by Spoken Word Poet, Year 12 student Joshua Tan who observed that scaffolding is a fitting metaphor for the role mothers play in our lives. Click on this link and please take the time to read Joshua’s poem – it really is very special.
The second and feature act of the morning was provided by guest speaker, Westlake old boy Professor Grant Schofield, who delivered an informative and entertaining presentation entitled “6 ‘Out-of-the-Box’ Tips to Living an Awesome Life”. Grant’s mother Anne joined him for the occasion and mentioned that she enjoyed being back at Westlake after so many years.
Grant’s area of professional expertise is in the science of peak performance. Grant performed as an elite sportsman for many years on the international sporting stage competing in several world championship triathlon and Ironman events. He is currently Professor of Public Health and Director of the Human Potential Centre at Auckland University of Technology, and has recently added “successful author” to his long list of achievements after co-writing “What The Fat?” – a practical guide to living a high fat, low carb diet.
Grant’s academic and professional career has been spent studying the key “Brain Rules” for achieving peak performance and after 25 years of personal and scientific investigation, Grant has developed a list of 6 key Brain Rules that can be adopted by teens and adults alike … anybody wishing to live an awesome life.
Brain Rule 1. Move it
Grant’s advice: GOYA – Get Off Your Arse!! Regularly. Our brains need regular movement in order to work effectively. It is essential to move at pace regularly too …. something that gets your heart pumping.
Brain Rule 2. Eat More Fat
It turns out that fat is good for us and the infamous Food Pyramid that has been so influential on how we view food and what we consider “good” food was never proven. What is proven is that too much sugar and starch will make you fat and cause suboptimal brain development. Grant’s advice: Adopt an eating plan that features less sugar/carbs and more fat! For more on the science, the recipes and the tips – see Grant’s book, “What’s The Fat?” It can be purchased online here or as an e-book here.
Brain Rule 3. Rest
Active, problem-solving brains need good sleep. Good sleep is not achieved by brains that have been exposed to artificial light. Exposing your brain to the blue light of any screen is the worst thing you can do before sleep. Grant’s advice: Turn off that bright light and that screen! Let your brain wind down to sleep. Sleep when it’s dark, wake when it’s light.
Brain Rule 4. Do Important Things
Cognitive multitasking never works. Multitasking is an inefficient use of brain power and always leads to mistakes being made. A high performing brain needs a focused brain. Grant’s advice: Turn off the phones, the iPads, the laptops, the monitors, TV’s and any other distraction – focus on the task at hand and get it done!
Brain Rule 5. Do Cool Stuff
Whatever you do you might as well be really good at it so Grant’s advice – Be Strategically Lazy i.e. put your efforts into what you’re passionate about and believe that the resources will follow. Focus on what you’re good at and be careful not to fall into the trap of kidding yourself by confusing Strategic Laziness with Actual Laziness … there is no place in peak performance for actual laziness – actual laziness leads to uselessness!
Find what you love and work towards dedicating the 10,000 hours it takes to achieve peak performance.
Brain Rule 6. It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Make Them Feel …
The key to helping others solve problems and or feel better is to SHUT UP and LISTEN! Don’t tell people what to do. Don’t solve their problems. Just shut up and listen, reflect back to them what you’re hearing and pretty soon people will find their own way.
In closing, Grant informed us that willpower alone is futile – you need to support your awesome life by creating organised environments around you at home, at work or school and in your sleep. The frontal lobe of the brain is critical to peak performance and, in our teenage years, this part of the brain is still developing. It needs good quality sleep to develop optimally. Factors such as alcohol, drugs and lack of sleep will stunt brain development.
Grant’s final piece of advice: You won’t be awesome the whole time – don’t be scared of failure, it is essential on any journey of success.
The themes of the morning were wrapped up appropriately in a video of a Procter and Gamble tv commercial which, like Joshua’s poem, also oozed the “special” factor. The commercial, entitled “Thank You, Mom – Strong” was played to the whole school prior to Mothers’ Day last weekend. It portrays a selection of young 2016 Rio Olympic Games athletes and their mothers who had a defining impact throughout the athletes’ respective journeys to their ‘peak performance pinnacle’ upon the Olympic stage.
Deputy Headmaster Steve McCracken and Head Boy Antoine Ellis officiated during yesterday’s very enjoyable breakfast, which was expertly organised by Westlake Boys’ Events and Communications Manager, Christine O’Dowd.
New this year was the parent-initiated “Why my Mum deserves to come to the Mother Son Breakfast” competition, for which Westlake mothers generously donated tickets as prizes. We received some amazingly touching and heartfelt entries from students – congratulations to the boys who entered and those who won this treat for their Mums.
Our sincere thanks to Sanitarium, UP&GO, The Yummy Fruit Company, Spencer on Byron Hotel, Fuji Xerox and Ashley & Co for supporting the breakfast.
Special thanks to Westlaker “Dr Fat” Grant Schofield and to all those Mums and their sons who got out of bed early to come and be part of such an awesome Westlake morning! Special thanks also to event photographers Miss McKay and Yu Chen who captured some stunning photographs of our boys and their mums. You can find all the event photos in Flickr gallery located on the school website. The photos are also shared on the Westlake Boys Facebook page in case you would like to share them with family and friends.
Please feel free to contact Christine O’Dowd on [email protected] for a high resolution copy of the photos.