There is always an ultimate weapon, no matter what you are doing.
Fitness is no different.
For many years in the fitness game I was a proponent of the 3 pillars of a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and rest. I gave talks, wrote articles and constantly banged on about the 3 pillars. I firmly believed these are the keys.
And then a few years ago and after many others had discovered this, it dawned on me that I was wrong. Firstly I did a course in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and the power of the unconscious (or sometimes referred to the subconscious) mind and how it influences behaviour, our biases, our vocabulary and actually, a significant chunk of our lives.
It is what we think it is, we are who we think we are, things happened the way we thought they did – even if they didn’t. There are loads and loads of examples of situations that occurred that people witnessed DIFFERENTLY. Scenes of accidents are the most commonly misinterpreted events recorded (who recorded them?) because the trauma that occurred shaped perceptions and the subsequent recollections of events in those that witnessed them. The worse the event the more variation in the witness accounts. Quite likely because the brain decides to filter extremely traumatic events so we don’t have too many bad memories. True story.
The minds that men and women have are incredibly rich in storage capacity and creativity. When you consider the accomplishments of so many people over many thousands of years it’s clear that we are blessed with powers that I believe many have no idea how to activate – and I include myself in that category. The only thing about that that I wish to point out is this.
I built a fitness business worth multimillions of dollars (when I sold my shareholding) with only $10,000 of my own money and yeah I made a more than 100x return on that 10k plus I also helped a number of others (shareholders that exited) make a lot of money too.
I firmly believed that if I built a business with certain attributes it would be an unqualified success. In my mind there was no limit to what I could achieve because I was passionate about it, I was skilled in the area, I had business experience both as a senior employee and in running my own business and I was determined, very, very determined.
Crucially (it now transpires) I had also imagined what I wanted the business to look like. I had daydreamed my way to a vision of it in many facets of the business from who my employees would be, to how the business would be run and even on how I could successfully exit the business. These details were firmly etched in my minds eye and were coupled with passion and experience that I just knew would bring me and the team success.
The plan came together very nicely and after just over 7 years I left the business and moved country. Then the fun really began. I threw myself into learning. I didn’t ever really enjoy school, I thought it was boring and didn’t see a point to it. I did tertiary level studies for an engineering certificate which was a little more interesting and then a Masters in nutrition and exercise science which was much better in terms of knowledge gathering and interested me greatly.
And then I did the NLP studies and wow, did that open my eyes. The power of our minds is in fact limitless, it sounds like a catchphrase and probably corny too but it is so very true. What we believe to be our reality, is in fact just that and the way we can change a situation is firstly understanding we can change it and then secondly, going about affecting change.
Next time when you are in a sticky situation or one that doesn’t seem to have a path out, say to yourself, “imagine for a moment this situation has ended. How did it end, what happened to end it?” Let your mind run free with options!
This leads me to why be in a box, why attach a description to yourself, why act like you’re supposed to? How much of your life is lived because that’s the way you’ve been taught to live it? We have been conditioned from birth to believe certain truths that with closer examination do not pass even basic scrutiny. Our brains and minds are plastic and highly malleable!
Where am I going with this? Ok, our minds are very powerful tools, “whether you think we can or you think you can’t, you are right”. I find it remarkable that when seeing interviews of people that have completed some of the most incredible feats in business, human endeavour and sports achievements, these people almost seem to dismiss what they’ve done as not necessarily easy but almost like it was just another day at the office. They are in the position of stating that they were just doing what they do, what comes naturally. Look at Tiger Woods, I remember seeing him as a 3 year old on the American TV show, “That’s Incredible” with his Dad hitting golf shots and being so really good at a very young age. I think all of us have talents, not necessarily sports it could be music, acting, maths, writing, whatever. Woods’ Dad could have tried a bunch of things before they finally picked up a golf club. Look at Andre Agassi his father built him into a tennis player and Andre hated the sport but his father insisted. They created Andre maybe how Tiger was created. In the field of business, wealthy business owners groom sons and daughters for roles in businesses all the time and I am sure similar things happen in all walks of life.
All of us have much power and it is locked in our minds. We have to open the door to this power.
If kids can do it with guidance from parents, can adults do it with external guidance and internal fortitude? What’s the key component?
Belief. What drives this? A mind that can see an outcome? One that has an unbending desire and fierce determination to achieve their dream?
Therefore I decided there are actually 4 pillars, nutrition, exercise, rest and our mind game, our mental fitness. This last one, the newest addition, it’s more important than the other 3, period. It literally underpins the entire pyramid.
The gold level of our health is how we approach it mentally. The word hypochondriac describes exactly the opposite to what I am talking about, someone that spends an inordinate amount of time thinking they’re ill or sick. As much as this individual uses his mind to be sick we can flip this and use it to be in a mindset of great health. What about the placebo effect? Time and again in medicine we hear of people using their minds for beneficial medical outcomes.
Previously I have shared research proving that a test group during a strength training intervention did nothing but visualise doing the training and ended up with a significant increase in strength. In another study, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, US found that by simply imagining doing bicep curls over a period of weeks, strength in the arm increased by 13.5%. Mental imagery of successful lifting of weights has also proven to be highly beneficial in a research setting.
Our minds are immensely powerful and I believe most people only scratch the surface of their capabilities. Over many years I tried meditation with mixed success. I now use breathwork very effectively and this also works well with my visualisation that I have used frequently in my life. I encourage all my clients to use breathwork as I believe it unlocks a lot of possibilities for us.
Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t – you are right.
The glass is always half full, begin using your innate power and it will underpin significant success in your life!