Our minds control what we can and cannot do. It’s a powerful tool.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett an Irish novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
When my best friend was laid off in 2008, he lost his dream job. He spent most of his working life striving for this professional moment, and in one brief meeting, he was looking for his next employment opportunity. Out of work and a single father to his nine-year-old son, he would have to get divergent in thought. His background was working in spa and fitness centers. He held a master degree in exercise physiology from the University of Toronto and was a son of a physical education teacher and a rugby coach. Almost every day he would host ball games on the family’s front lawn. He understood hard work and how to teach.
His father always advised him about “momentum shifting.” Momentum shifting is the act of focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t. While he went through this period of transition, he decided to teach yoga in his spare bedroom. In a few short years, with the help of partners, a Hatha focused yoga studio was born. It’s now a world-renowned studio. Losing his dream job, forced him to cultivate another one.
Besides “momentum shifting,” he focused only on what he could control and never allowed his negative inner voice to take control of his life. He blocked out those negative thoughts that could have set him back. Our inner voice becomes the leading competitor in our life, often preventing us from achieving the results we want and the life we desire. That internal dialogue might say, “You cannot do this,” or “You had enough; it’s time to quit.” The constant negativity that enters our life, from the morning until night, affect us subliminally. To counteract the streams of adverse distractions and messages that flow from our reading, observing, and listening habits, we all need to follow this simple advice.
“I know from experience that you should never give up on yourself or others, no matter what.” – George Foreman.
What my friend did was adopted the 40% rule by David Goggins to counteract negative thoughts. When your mind thinks about giving up, know there is forty percent more you can achieve. The 40 percent rule is mostly backed by anecdote, there is some scientific research to support it. A number of studies have found that the placebo effect has a big impact on sports performance. That is, if you think something will improve your performance, it probably will. That suggests that a good portion of your strength and toughness is mental, not physical. For example, a 2008 study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience found that when you give people a placebo pill and tell them it’s caffeine, then have them cycle, they can ride significantly further.
Each day you can craft the conversation you have with yourself. Our minds control what we can and cannot do. It’s a powerful tool – one that has made simple, everyday people, successful. It will work for you as well.
The thoughts we spend our days on becomes how we spend our lives. Follow the words of Samuel Beckett above today, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.“
We can always do 40% more!
By Brian Nadon
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