More tools


I wanted to do a follow-up to yesterday’s post on tools to maintain mindset. I didn’t feel like I had properly addressed the question. It’s an off day for the blog challenge but I had a video in mind that I wanted to post and was very excited.

The video was an interview with the man who placed 6th in the Crossfit Asian regionals Ben Thompson. Right after the entire competition was over and people were clearing the floor I hastily set up my rig and conducted the interview. 

Well apparently they’re right when they say that “haste makes waste” as I didn’t record the interview. I messed up and recorded the chatter before we started the formal part of the chat and the bit at the end where I’m thanking him for the great stuff he shared. Apparently I paused the camera during the interview. It’s all very embarrassing.

So... why am I telling you about this great interview that I can’t show you? Because THIS is when tools to help maintain a positive mindset are needed. In the real world, in real time, when we screw up and the mind wants to punish itself, what we do matters. I interviewed Thompson because his mental fortitude was apparent through the competition. Here are some takeaways... from memory. 

-Competition, like life, is about the “top two inches” Thompson said while pointing to his skull. He knew that he was a smaller athlete in this field and used his grey matter to his advantage. Knowing that everyone was sizing each other up, he focused on making his strengths look easy (he was chatting with the judge while doing toes to bar during one of the events) and his weaker areas look less painful than they were. He figured that if the guys who looked like monsters saw a little guy holding his own on the elements where they were meant to excel and breezing through the movements where they, themselves were struggling, it would give him the mental advantage. “Lot’s of guys are all show and no go” he said. 

-He also used an expression that is apparently common in his native New Zealand, “take a spoonful of cement and harden up”.  When talking about what’s needed to get over adversity. 

-He’s also funny and uses humour to his advantage. He wore a flash costume for his video entry into “13.5” a workout in the Crossfit Open. 

I’ll post a video the Crossfit organizers did with Ben at the bottom of the article. 

Other tools:

So, releasing shame when I make a mistake by not hiding it and then forgiving myself are two of the tools I use to maintain my mindset. 

Another is positive self talk. 

I have done affirmations and see some benefit in using them to program your unconscious mind but I like the direct approach as well. I read an article in Sports Illustrated years ago which said that pitchers who talked to themselves out loud are more successful than those who don’t or those who keep it all in their heads. So I tried it. 

The way I do it is to pretend like I’m my own best friend and come from a place of support. It felt really silly at first but I was surprised to find how easily I was able to maintain a dialogue with myself and how my mental self was willing to listen to my voiced self. I was able to alter thought patterns in response to the good suggestions put forth by this trusted voice. It is something I really have only done in extreme cases but it’s very calming and I have found it to be very effective. 

Another tool I use is tip I got from Tony Robbins which is simply that thoughts are state based. What this means is that you have to be in a certain state to have certain thoughts. The popular exercise to test this is to throw a giant fake smile on your face and to stand up with your head up and shoulders back and then to contemplate how awful things in your life are. It’s incredibly difficult verging on impossible. This is not a challenge by the way, just a reminder that we have the power to alter our state quickly through posture and by moving our bodies and our thoughts to a position where the likely outcome is a state that is beneficial to us.  

One exercise I picked up from Tony Robbins that I LOVE to have people do is to have them walk as though they were wearing a superhero cape. Fell the weight of the cloth as it’s picked up by the wind and pulled back feel how it forces your chest up and out and enjoy feeling awesome. 

Yet another tool that I love is one I adapted from something Wayne Dyer said. Do not remember where I read or heard this but he talked about two of the meanings of the word appreciation. One is “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something” and the other is “an increase in value”. He linked the two by saying that when we appreciate something, we ourselves appreciate in value. I maintain my mindset by stopping and finding things that I appreciate about ‘now’. 

I’ll end off here by saying that asking myself “If I was truly being a Life Athlete here I would...” is probably the best way I’ve found to maintain my mindset. Finding a place to anchor to, one that reflects the best of you, allows your thoughts, feelings and actions to flow from that place. Being in integrity with my vision for myself is the best way I’ve found to maintain my mindset. And now dear Life Athletes... what are some of your tools?