(Hello Everybody! For the summer, I made it my goal to finally finish my book on mental toughness development. Been writing non-stop and hopefully, I will be finish by the end of the August. So for the next couple of blogs, I will be posting excerpts from the book. Let me know what you all think. Looking forward to your helpful comments!
The first excerpt is from the survival guideline chapter I have for upcoming mental toughness newbies. I have 10 bylaws that I’m sure will help not only rookies to this training, but veterans as well.)
Guideline #1 – Expect to be Alone
Self-discipline is the most important factor in your pursuit of mental strength. Self- discipline is about doing things when you don’t want to do it. It is about giving up something something temporarly rewarding for something that has a greater payoff down the road. You understand that hard work, pain and sacrfice comes now and the real rewards comes later.
With the demands of this program, there will be many days when you don’t want to train and go to happy hour with your out of shape friends and eat bowls of onion rings instead. You must be aware of the constant temptations and see them as weak behavioral choices. Unfortunately in this tenacity program you don’t have coach Lombardi or General Patton to yell at you when you go astray from the plan or act gutless. To those of us in the mental toughness club, giving up is associated with being a chicken. It takes a lot of courage to begin this program, but even more autonomy to get through it. Expect those around you not to understand your need for becoming grittier. Others may even be jealousy of your ambition. If anybody stands in your way of you reaching your goals, you must hold them in contempt. Redirect the negativity and push yourself to train harder than ever. I’m sorry if I sound too cut-throat, but this “take no prisoner” attitude is a must for you to succeed in this program and in life. I take away my apology.
You have to attain a mental toughness caliber by yourself and can’t hinge on others to support you. The problem most of us have is that we relied too much on others to help us get through our hardship. As you recall, I made this mistake when created the “Hill workout social club.” Accept the fact that you created your own problems so only you can fix them. You must be your own watchdog and have the determination, responsibility and bravery to make it through this program on your own.
When the occasional solidarity arises, I suggest you find joy in the training. I know a lot of what you do in this toughness system is probably as fun as inflicting needles in your eye, but the process can be very enjoyable. If that is a stretch, at the very least, the training is very rewarding, especially after a hard day at work with that spineless boss of yours. You may not like the pain associated with “Fran” or with her brother “Murph,” but you’ll love the feeling you get when you’re done defeating them. You may not like going to the gym to do a big workout, but I have no doubt, you will like yourself a little more, when you get through that last pull-up rep. You may not be in a crowded bar surronded by hot wannabes, but getting through a difficult WOD is exponetional more rewarding.
Again, this training isn’t therapy, but it sure feel great to vent out some anger at a poor old innocent medicine ball or running sprints in front of a gorgeous sunset. When you do discover the positive perks of brutal training, it is extremely addicting and something which you will look immensely forward to doing. I have no doubt, you’ll get hooked to this culture like how I’ve seen many have. A good day of training will make even a shitty day, a great day.
One of my favorite clients is this guy that I trained to get into the LAPD police academy. The only problem is that he needed to lose about 100 pounds to do so. My friend is also Mexican and if you know the Mexican heritage, food is a huge part of its culture. The biggest obstacle my friend experienced is that he felt ostracized by his friends and family when he made healthier food choices. He’d go to a family outing and bring his own organic meals; he would skip late night partying so he could go to sleep early. Some in his family were offended by his new eating habits and and sometimes made him the center of jokes, calling his dreams of being a cop unrealistic.
By not caving into the peer pressure around him, he learned to solidify his mental discipline in his personal life. Unfortunately as he got more fit, the invitations from his inner circle for social events diminished. At first he felt isolated and a bit lonely, but he turned his energy to his training. He was able to lose 75 pounds and is the envy of his friends and family. Now at events he gets bombarded with questions about how to lose weight and sees friends and relatives following his footsteps by eating healthier. Being a role model has made my friend proud of himself. We trained the other day. He’s working out harder than ever, and I know he’ll reach his goal of losing 100 pounds very soon and an officer of the law. My friend is another example of how limitless one feels when one see positive physical changes and having a stronger, disciplined mind.
You must apply this solo thinking mode that you do with the phyiscal training with how you approach your personal obstacles as well. Remember everyting you do with the WODs must translate to your life. This mental toughness program is predicated on what you do in the gym and outside of it. Remind yourself of this double goal often and daily and especailly when a big old obstacle jumps out in your personal life.
Just like how some folks won’t understand your need to get fit, they won’t respect your desires to work on your life goals and dreams either. But, in order to get what you wish out of life, you have to make sacfricies. Unfortunately, you have to do most of the work on your alone. For example, when your social friends see you passing up on getting drunk and fat with them, they may snicker at your sacrficies. However, don’t let their negative comments pull you down the slacker’s road with them. They may seem angry at you, but deep down inside they are envious of you. They wish they had your superiour sense of discpline and self-control. Seeing you do what they secretly wish they can do makes them feel unworthy. These are the same people that watch you make things happen and then years later, wondered what happened to their own unsuccessful life. Your work habits forces them to confront their own inadequacies. Serious, instead of being mad at you for not joining them, they are really down on themselves for being lazy slobs.
This is why they will try to make you feel guilty and suck you into their sloth lifestyle. This may be an unconsicious motiviatio or not, but regardless, expect your social group to try to sabatage your efforts. Don’t le them do it. Stay focus on what you want in life and map out your plan. Foresee the rewarding outcome while at the same time, anticpate any upcoming ostacles. Design some “what if” strategies to do so you can circumvent the potential setbacks.
You have to give up something to get something. If that means ditching those around you that don’t support and respect your ambitions, fuck them. Trust me on this, the rewards down the road are greater than hanging out with a bunch of drunks and these rewards last longer than a round of drinks.
Your pursuit of your goals is not a hobby. You don’t do it when you feel like it or when you have a temporary moment of inspiration. If you depend on being in the right mood or from a fleeting jolt of motivation, you will never get anything done in life.
The only thing you need is yourself.
If you are just starting off with mental toughness training, you may not believe this statement, but in time, relying on yourself will be your greatest insight in life. It is the ultimate weapon you have against personal adversities when the odds are clearly against you. Once you begin to enfuse this belief in your pursue of you goals, nobody or no obstacle will every hold you back again.
(More from my book next week)
WOD of the day. Dealer’s choice. Go through my file of WODs and pick one that suits you. If not, you can always go to CrossFit.com and find a formidable challenge there.