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More on mental discipline.

Friday, October 14, 2005 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I wanted to elaborate a bit more on the same subject as yesterday’s Daily News Update. This topic came up on the forums yesterday, and what I’ve written below is kind of an amalgamation of a couple of posts I made in that discussion, along with some new thoughts.

My friends, family and numerous people who visit JSF have told me on more than one occasion, “If you could bottle your drive you’d be a millionaire.” Obviously packaging my drive is an impossible task, because that has to come from within. Sure, external sources can motivate and educate, but I’m talking about true passion and the kind of mental toughness that becomes a part of who you are. No one can give that to you, you have to find it in yourself. When you find it, you have to nurture and cultivate it. Nothing worth having comes easy.

While I can’t bottle whatever it is that makes me tick, I can share my thought process and mindset with you. Perhaps something I say will be the catalyst that helps you tap into your own power, or perhaps you’ll just roll your eyes because I’m too over-the-top for your liking. Either of those responses are equally valid, and I mean that sincerely.

I strongly believe that if something is worth doing, it’s worth giving it your all. That’s just the way I am. If I decide that something is worth my time, then I’m going to maximize that time. Life’s too short to half-ass it. I don’t care if it’s lifting weights or doing the dishes – yes, I’m going to give my all and I make no apologizes for it. I don’t expect everyone to do this, but people seem to want to know what my “secret” it. Well, that’s it in a nutshell.

I’m talking about mental toughness. When I say “mental toughness”, I’m don’t mean “doing your best”, “trying really hard” or “not doing your worst”; I’m talking about pushing past what you think your boundaries are. We are capable of so much more than we think. Our mind is so powerful that it can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Tapping into that power takes work, but you have an opportunity to practice every time you are faced with a challenge: you can take the easy way out, or you can exercise self-discipline and control.

I know all about both sides of the coin. I know about laziness and sloth, and I know about hard work and mental toughness. When I started my transformation back in 2003 I went over six months without a single cheat meal. I went over six months without missing a single workout. I didn’t work up to that level, I simply decided what I wanted to do and I refused to back down. I’m not a superhuman, I didn’t do anything each and every person reading this can’t do. I just set a goal, got my mind in the game and treated each opportunity to quit as a direct insult to my ability to control my own actions.

There’s something extremely powerful about pushing past our perceived limits. It’s all about having the courage to face a challenge, suck it up and overcome whatever is in our way. Once it’s done, you feel almost invincible. The next time you’re faced with a challenge you remember that feeling. You grow stronger each time you overcome. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Do it enough, and overcoming challenges becomes second nature. Backing down from challenges, likewise, becomes habitual.

I apply these principles to all areas of my life, not just weight training. Working out was just a starting point. Fitness changed my life, but it has not become my life. I spend no more than 2 hours a day working out, preparing meals, updating the web site and planning my meals/workouts. Often I spend less than an hour a day doing those tasks. How many of you who just thought “TWO WHOLE HOURS??!” spend that amount of time watching TV or playing video games without batting an eye? Yes, a lot of you. I lead a very full life: I have a full-time job, friends, a family, hobbies such as astronomy, film, gardening and guitar. If anything, taking time each day to focus on my health and wellbeing has increased the amount of time I have to spend doing the other things I enjoy. I’m no longer tired and sick all the time, and I have regained my passion for life. Fitness is an investment, and my life is overflowing with the returns.

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