- William James
It’s that time again. Every four years, we find ourselves glued to the television, mesmerized by Olympic contenders performing gracefully on the balance beam, or piercing the air at odd angles during mat work. Or perhaps it’s the agility of that swimmer, or the strength and courage of that diver that taps into your own dreams, athletic or otherwise. “They made it. So can I ,” you think. What then follows? A barrage of rebutting thoughts that it’s “too late”, “not the right time” or “isn’t ever going to happen.”
It won’t if you don’t believe it.
It won’t if you don’t work at it.
What intrigues us about professional athletes? Certainly they remain the epitome of health: well-defined “traps” and “quads,” whittled waistlines and nearly sub-zero BMI. Their strength amazes us (you try heaving your entire body weight hanging from a bar—it’s hard enough to sustain that arm position with ground under feet long enough to replace a light bulb!). But what really enthralls us is their perseverance and discipline. They haven’t just been lucky. They’ve sacrificed. Slept little. Dripped sweat. Felt pain. Almost quit. But kept walking forward anyway.
We all know you can’t finish if you don’t start or if you quit. Believe it or not, success is more about the mind than it is about the body.
Important Ingredients for Success:
- Desire: First, you must want something bad enough to work for it. Wishing and hoping are pie in the sky thinking. They’re passive. Nice ideas, but without authentic action, they’re nothing more than pipe dreams. You must desire your dream enough to do something about it, day in and day out.
- Goals: Pick a long-term goal, and then break it down into shorter ones. Go for a six-month goal and then break that down into monthly goals. Pare the monthly goal into specific strategies to move you forward. Commit them to writing, keep them visible each day, and share them with your support team. Make them realistic, and don’t let yourself off of the hook. Make them manageable enough that you will complete them every day.
- Support: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Don’t make the mistake of sharing your dreams and plans with those Negative Nellies (and yes, “Nellie” can be a man or your best friend whose name is not really Nellie!). Some people aren’t big thinkers, and they’re naturally skeptical. Your drive and potential success may highlight their own short-comings or failed efforts, and they may subconsciously work to sabotage yours. Research studies demonstrate that when you have poor self-control and you surround yourself with people that have mastered the art of discipline, it rubs off on you, and vice versa. Ask yourself: “How many milligrams of joy can that person I’m thinking about sharing my dream with, handle each day? “ Some people max out at very small doses. Next! Don’t let them deflate you. Share it with someone who can handle it and support you instead.
- Practice: Both physical and mental practice remains crucial in order to determine potential obstacles and identify strategies to succeed. Mental rehearsal entails repeating in your mind over and over the actions and techniques required to achieve success. Visualize a time when you were successful, even if it wasn’t with this particular goal. Tap into that warm, satisfied feeling. Now transfer that emotional memory to your desired dream, while visualizing yourself succeeding at it.
- Belief: Simply resist the feeling that you are too tired or have to slow down. Instead, concentrate on increasing the intensity of your effort. Talk back to that little “Doubting Debbie” voice ringing in your head. Stop her mid-sentence and refuse to hear her out. Distract yourself by doing something if you have to–count to ten, listen to music, repeat a mantra, like “Nope, not going there. Now where was I?” Push through pain and don’t give up at the first opportunity to do so. Tell yourself you’re the best. Then prove it.
- Fail Forward: No success comes without “failure.” Failure helps you dig down deep and figure out where you went wrong, how you can overcome it, and how you can prevent the same in the future. Don’t view failure as terminal. It’s a stepping stone for success.
Now, c’mon! Get on with living! Existing is safe and convenient. Living requires action and effort, but also brings intense gratification and fulfillment.
You choose: safe and small or dream big?
- Author Unknown