352. Cognitive Scientist Sian Beilock on Why We Choke & How to Prevent It

May 10, 2021 | Interviews, Podcast

YouTube video

Sian Beilock is the President of all-female Barnard College in New York City. She’s a cognitive scientist, and recently wrote the fascinating, “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To.” We’ve all had those choke moments — whether it’s standing in front of a room or popping up on a surfboard — when we know what to do but we just can’t bring ourselves to do it. We cover what to do when you choke and how you can stop it from happening again in the future.

In This Conversation We Cover:

  • [03:59] Growing up in Berkeley in the 80’s
  • [04:47] What happens when we choke
  • [09:11] Why great athletes often make bad coaches
  • [13:28] Famous moments of people choking
  • [15:34] How your identity and your intention affects whether or not you choke
  • [24:20] How Carol Dweck has inspired Sian’s work
  • [28:12] Being the President of Barnard College


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Ciao! We’re Rob & Kim. Over the past two-decades we’ve lived by one motto, “Excuses are over. it’s time to live!”

In August of 2021, we put our motto to the test, sold everything and moved our family to Italy.