Mental Toughness Life Skill #1 – Prepare Yourself to be the Aggressor (Part 12)

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(In part 11 on this series on how to get yourself ready for life’s problems, I talked about how sometimes we all lack motivation with our mental toughness training. When you catch yourself feeling laid-back instead of wanting to attack the WOD, you can use self-questions with negative outcomes to push you into action.  Like having an ace up my sleeve, these types of question have always inspired my clients and myself with much needed fuel when one gets lazy. The problem with having early success with this mental toughness program is that it can lead to complacency.  When that happens, you will be a risk at having a physical and mental regression if you get inconsistent with the training.  To prevent this catastrophe from happening, you must always be on the lookout for a lethargic mind-set. When you are less than inspired, go ahead and implement these self-questions with negative results.

If they don’t jolt you into action, you have no business being in this mental toughness program. )

For me, I always have to remind myself that everything I’ve earn can also be lost. The major point is that we can never forget how bad things used to be. It may not sound necessary, but we all need to remind ourselves over and over again on why we started this mental toughness program in the first place. I know for myself, I sometime forget my past life where I lived a weak existence. When I seemed to have forgotten my weak roots, I noticed that my training isn’t as intense. So even for a veteran toughness seeker like myself, I still need to be reminded of my humble beginnings during my morning prep work. When I do, I get an immediate boost in my enthusiasm for this training and reminder that I am not close to my final self-actualization project of mental toughness.  There is still much work to do. The morning reflection period always pushes me in the right direction. It is crucial you start off the day knowing that you are ready and have the capability to handle the pitfalls and booby-traps that are just waiting to explode in your face when you go work, next board meeting or as you pursue your dreams.

The biggest mistake most newcomers have with the daily self-questions process is that they ask themselves the questions, respond and then forget about them the rest of the day. On the contrary, you should be thinking about these thoughts throughout the day both consciously and unconsciously. It just doesn’t stop when the morning prep work is over. Your responses from the self-questions will continue to swirl in and out of your subconscious throughout the day. This does not mean you have to be obsessive with your response, but they should always be in the back of your mind. You want them to be available when the right time comes. That is, when the shit is about to hit the fan and you have the potential to go down because of it.  By priming yourself for the unexpected, you are way ahead of the game.  A huge part of being aggressive is making the first move before the opponent strikes.

What puts the average person in an uncompromising position when adversity hits them is that they are taken by surprise and not ready to battle. An unprepared person is already reeling when faced with a new adversity and giving the upper hand to the opponent. The common man does not prep himself to be a warrior like you how you do every day, so the average Joe will always be vulnerable to being toyed with. You, on the other hand, have primed yourself for the savagery of life. Even though the enemy has struck first, you still have the advantage. This does not mean you become a lawless vigilante and start firing back indiscriminately. Having an aggressive mind-set has nothing to do with aimless and careless actions. That’s just plain stupid and means you are not in control of your emotions.

Being aggressive means taking action and refusing to be a victim. That action can be immediately or might take several days to implement. Patience isn’t just a virtue, but in the art of getting over adversity, showing patience is invaluable. We all need time to come up with a plan of attack and not to respond back with berserk anger. That’s just a being mindless and a sign of being unstable. Once you lose your mind, you lose everything.

Mental toughness is not about being irrational, but about being methodical. Having a mind that is used to combat will help you come up with the best strategies for attacking back. This is how the physical training with the WODs will begin to payoff big time with how you live your life. Every WOD is a personal war for you that have won. By overcoming each WOD, you are beginning to discover your fighting capabilities.Now you must take this bold mentality outside of the gym and apply it to your personal life. The physical training is more than just about getting a super ripped body. It is all about what you are becoming. With this training, there will be moments that even you are afraid of your new self. Cherish those moments. They are signs that the mind is beginning to lead the body to do things that you never imagined that you could ever do. For many of you, that means fighting back with authority and without out any fucken guilt.  When you have lived a passive existence for a majority of your life, defending your livelihood and defeating your tormentors can be very frightening as you know now that the power is in your hands and it is you that can be harmful and dangerous to the injustices and assholes of the world. This is the aggressive mental transformation that I want to lead you to. 

The morning prep work is to remind you each day to take your fighting spirit to the real world. The WODs are wicked, but they are no comparison to the cruelties of life where there are no rules and full of the worse kind of animals just waiting to do harm to you. They may have beaten you before, but this time, you are waiting for them and cannot wait to go to war. When history repeats itself, the results will be different this time around with you getting the last laugh.

By preparing yourself to be just as aggressive in your life as you are in the gym, you will seek the destroy your problems. Average people hope and wish things go their way. When you are the aggressor in life, you take the lead by implementing an action plan against your adversity. Once the fight begins, there is no hesitation from you. If your enemies can look into your eyes, they will see that the intent to claw and scratch back is clearly in you.

There should be no doubt to you or your competition that you are not a person to be fucked with.

(To be continued)

Today’s barbell complex WOD –

6 sets of 5 reps each

1. Thrusters (squat to a press)

2. Good mornings

3. Bent over rows

4. Back squats

5. Barbell roll outs

One minute of jump roping

If you think the last barbell WOD was rough, this one’s going to be even worse. Adding the anaerobic aspect of jumping rope, just takes this barbell complex WOD to another level of misery. Your ability to endure the upcoming suffering will be tested here. After you do the complex movement and drop the bar, the sight of the jump rope will begin mind fucking you. Understand that it is coming and prepare yourself for it.

During the WOD, you must constantly remind yourself of one of the basic beliefs of being mentally tough – just  because the body is tired does not mean the mind is. The mind can summon the body to regenerate itself, even when the body is feeling at its weakest. In order to do this, the mind must rebel against the body when it is urging you to quit. Normally when the body is exhausted, the mind acquiesces to it and gives in. To be mentally tough, you must go against to what the body wishes. During the WOD repeat to yourself over and over that the mind is in control and not the body. It is the mind that decides to continue to go on or to give up. In order to do this your thoughts must be oppositional to how the body is feeling when it is most fatigued.  In other words, your thoughts must be the opposite of how the body is feeling. For example, whenever my body is feeling like it is about to collapse, I have contradicting thoughts like  – My legs are hurting, but my mind feels no pain…My body is feeling weak but my mind is getting strong….I don’t want to go on, but my mind will push me forward….

Also, I remind myself over and over throughout the WOD that “Just because the body is tired, does not mean the mind is.” By shifting the emphasis from the body to a more powerful energy source, a proactive mind can always re-energize a tired body. Does this mean, one can literally get stronger and faster when they have their energy zapped out of them? Sometimes yes, but most of the time no. Most likely you will feel most tired during the end of the WOD, so you will probably move slower and with less force, but what is important is that you didn’t quit and that you kept on going. By reversing your actions from almost giving up to finishing strong is the ultimate sign of toughness. This ability to mentally turnaround your energy level is what you are trying to achieve with this training. Continuing to fight when you are at the highest state of fatigue is in my opinion the greatest of strength. This is where I am trying to take you and where you must be in order for you to get over the worst of the worse adversities that you will face in life. In order to get to this harder to kill level, you must first learn to work when you are physically at your most weakest. In time, this mental toughness training will teach you how to transfer this feeling of invincibility to your personal life. But, for now you must discover the fighter in you with each WOD, especially when you are close to being knocked out.

With this brutal WOD, you will have more than the opportunity to going from feeling dead to feeling unstoppable. So prepare yourself with oppositional thoughts before you go into the WOD. The more connected you are with strong statements on how powerful the mind is regardless of how fatigue the body is, the more likely you will finish the workout with authority.

Prepare yourself for war and now go destroy the enemy.

Scaled back version of this WOD:

1. Omit the barbell row outs.

2. Do only the barbell complexes and omit the jump roping.

3. Do only 3 reps per movement.

Appropriate alternatives:

  1. Run for a minute on the treadmill instead of jumping rope.