Mental Toughness Life Skill #2 – Making a Strong Connection with your Will (Part 5)

images never give up 5When life has you cornered, you must have a strong will to get you out of the mess.

(This is part 5 is this continuing series on how to bring your will into your daily life. By now, most of you are discovering how empowering your will is through the physical training. What will get you past a lung busting WOD is not a big muscles, but a will that refuses to quit. Now you must transfer this unbeatable determination to your personal adversities. Remember your will can not distinguish what your challenges are. It can’t decipher if the obstacle is an ass kicking WOD or a major problem at your work. Your will doesn’t give a dam if you are in the squat rack or the boardroom.

The goal of your will is to wipe out all obstacles and doubts that get in the way of your success and accomplishments.

Let’s take another step today in the development of your will to the real world.)

The major difference between facing physical challenge in the gym and a personal problem at home is the time factor. In the gym, there is usually a time constraint that you are up against such a 20 minute time cap. However, in life overcoming obstacles usually take more than 20 minutes. Some personal adversities can take days, weeks and even years to overcome.

So when applying your will to go against your personal obstacles, you must be focused yet patient. You still need to be aggressive and relentless and prepare yourself with a strategic plan. If not, the adversity will spin out of your control and become more of a monster to deal with. In the past, when the situation got worse, you probably quit and caved in the adversity because of a mediocre will. But, with this training your will is going to be harder to be killed. Way harder. Instead of quitting, the physical training from the WODs will teach and prove that your will is resilient. Your will has the ability to absorbed the blows and bruises and more importantly, dish it back with some attitude behind your efforts. Now instead of letting the adversity claim victorious over your soul, you want to extend the battle.  You want to lengthen the time frame of the war. By creating more time for yourself with the adversity, you will continue to pursue and attack it until you finally overcome it.

In some way, you are prolonging the misery by refusing to quit, but you are also containing the fight. With our personal adversity, the ability to keep on fighting is all you want to do. Without a set time limit, your will can handle more mental punishment that you ever have in your life. At the same time by refusing to quit, you are moving forward and getting your closer to defeating your oppressor. The end has yet to be writing. It must be up to you when there is final closure.  Now you have the power to decide when the fight is over and that decision will be made with you have defeated your opponent.

Learning how to be patient was very difficult for me. In my past, if I couldn’t defeat my adversities immediately, I would get so frustrated that I would give up. Thinking back on some of the problems that I failed to overcome, they weren’t that bad. It wasn’t the obstacles that were the problems, but instead was how I reacted so weakly to them when things didn’t go my way.

I was mentally so fragile back then that any sort of setback and I would emotionally fall apart. Instead remaining aggressive, I hid and ran. I just didn’t have the will to continue the fight.

So a huge aspect of this mental toughness training is developing a will that refuses to be had. The WODs will have no mercy on you to show you that your will can tolerate high levels of physical pain. The problem with this concept is that in real life unless you are a professional athlete or going through chemotherapy, the adversity is rarely physical. I will contend that dealing with physical pain is a hell of a lot easier than emotional distress. Nothing will eat at you more than major disappointment and rejection.  I’ll take a broken arm anytime over a broken heart.

So this mental toughness training is more than teaching you how to tolerate physical pain. Its aim is take you to another level by making you an expert at handling the bullshit from life. When the bullshit arises, having a strong will can help you plow through your emotions that have the potential to derail you.

You must show patience and refuse to let the mental drama in your head get the best of you. Being mentally tough is about being methodical. You are not taking your time, but using time to help set you up to be in the best position to defeat your enemy.

(To be continued)

Today’s strength day WOD:

Work towards a one rep max in the following movement:


Push press

Back squats

Incline bench press

Since the theme in today’s blog is about being patient, apply it towards your training today. A lot of the metabolic WODs in this mental toughness program, I have encouraged you to minimize your rest periods and go at it hard without being fully recovered. There’s a lot of CrossFit satire on youtube as you can see how spastic and manic some CrossFitters can be with their lousy form. I cringe when I see some of this videos because I know my form goes to shit when my goal is finish the WOD as fast as I can.

So today, pull back on the ADD hyperactivity and the herky-jerky movements. Rest and be fully recovered before you attempt your one rep maxes. The goal today is perfect form. Since I am usually one of those high strung CrossFitters that have a hard time sitting down between sets and is always on the “1-2-3-go” mode, I know how difficult it can be to be patient. As a result, I sometime rush through my sets, compromising my form and miss the lifts because I’m not fully recovered. So today, make it conscious effort to get your breathing back to normal before you begin your next attack. Unlike metabolic WODs where there is a time limited, this WOD is not on the clock. So use the time wisely to help gear yourself up for your big lifts. Visualize yourself going through the motion and making that heavy deadlift and big back squat. When the doubt starts to seep into your mind, counter attack the negativity by redirecting your focus back to lift. Think of one coaching cue or technique aspect that will you make the big lift.

Last week while gearing myself up for a PR in my sumo deadlift, my usual rush of fear started to fuck with me. Instead of letting my fear destroy me, I focused my attention on getting my shoulder behind the bar. I began to visualize myself from different angles with the correct positioning. At the same time, I repeated this technical mantra of “shoulder behind the bar and I will make the lift” over and over again. Sometimes when it comes to heavy lifts we get too much in our head with an over abundance of things to think about. For me, using and focusing on just one key thing helped me stays focus and counter the fear. And by the way, I made the lift.

So today, be patient before you lift big. Use the recovery time wisely and strategically as you begin to prep yourself up for a successful lift.

Good luck today and smash your PR numbers!

Looking forward to hearing about your success and new accomplishments in the gym today.