Mental Toughness Life Skill #3– Using Positive Self-Talk and Visualization (Part 3)

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(Welcome to part 3 on this series on how drown out the negativity that has dominated your personal life. New year’s resolutions are a month away, so why wait to change your mind-set then? Start today.)

The problem with a dominant negative frame of mind is that it can blow the problem way out of proportion and making the situation way worse than it really is.  If this happens, one automatically expects to fail. Learning to calm down and not to overact is a skill you must learn. For me, I used to always panic when faced with a new personal problem. When this happened, my mind would race with negative thoughts and soon, it would spin out of control to the point that I knew I had no chance of defeating the problem. I psyched myself out before the battle ever began. All because I let the negativity take a hold up me and paralyzed my actions.

So, the next time you are faced with sudden crisis and feel a panic attack coming on, calm the fuck down. Just like how you learn in the WODs when you are about to give up or can’t breathe, you must retreat, slow down the onslaught of negativity just so you can think straight again. Once you are calmer, you can come up with a plan to help you finish the WOD. The key is coming up with viable plan and not giving up. This is all predicated on you being positive when you are feeling the shittiest. Again, it is not about being 100 percent upbeat all the time. This is unrealistic and extremely annoying. Nothing gets on my nerves more are those people have wear the badge of being a positive person whenever a crises arises. This are the same losers that are out of shape, broke and have nothing to show for their 24/7 positive outlook.

This training is all about forcing yourself to look for solutions when you are most down and out. So in a way, I’m somewhat saying it is okay to be a downer throughout how you live your life, but when the shit hits the fan and you are thrown to the ground,  you better be ready to strike back.

This mentality all starts in the physical training when you getting your ass kicked, but somehow manage to fight back and finish. Now you must do the same when facing a real life problem. So the mental toughness lesson for today is not to overact when the opponent throws the first punch. It’s going to sting and hurt, but shake it off. Don’t panic. Learn to relax and hold your emotions back and reel in the assault of negativity that is trying to defeat you before the fight even begins.

Mental toughness is all about how you think about a problem. Once your mind and emotions are in control and calmer, you can think clearer and become more creative as you come up with plan and solution to destroy your adversity. It is a misconception that this training is all about a being aggressive and throwing punches wildly. This is just being out of control and will lead to burn out and discouragement when the problem begins to eat away your soul and eventually beat you. Mental toughness is not about having a huge anger burst, but about being methodical and decisive. The best analogy sometimes is to have the patience and will of a hunter. Or better yet, a sniper. Both are cool when the pressure is on while they wait for the right moment to apply the kill. In the gym, you can act like a crazy psycho while you trounce through heavy weights, but you can’t bring the same external personality to a business meeting or when solving a crisis with your family.  Being calm is a huge virtue in the mental toughness by-laws. We all, including yours truly, have to work on improving on this trait until it becomes a workable skill when the your mind is pounding with negative thoughts and all you want to do is scream and drop f-bombs.

Learn to pull back. This is one the most effective ways to halt the negativity.  It won’t disappear completely, but you can neutralize it.. Again, view the skill of being cool as an attainable tool and not something you are born with. The more you believe that the art of being calm is a craft, the more likely you will be able to develop it.

Sometimes and especially when you first encounter the problem, you must be the opposite of being aggressive and just train yourself to not overact.Take a step back and don’t be like the average person who can’t handle pressure. Don’t be that guy. It won’t lead you to defeating the problem, but destroying yourself.

Just calm the fuck down.

(To be continued)

oday’s Litvinov WOD –

6 sets

Deadlifts – 6 reps

24 inch box jumps – 8 reps

Spiderman crawls – 20 yards (approximately). Here a good demo of what a Spiderman crawl should look like – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwWLTzooiNI

After one round of doing this Litvinov WOD and your confidence level will be crushed. You may still be somewhat positive about finishing this WOD, but deep down inside you will have some major doubt of actually being able to complete it. The thought of 5 more rounds of this agony will cause you great mental anguish.

Spiderman crawls are tough by themselves. However, when combining them with deadlifts and box jumps will only intensify an already difficult anaerobic movement. After each Spiderman sprint, I usually lie on the ground unable to move while clutching my heart. This is no exaggeration. Spiderman crawls mixed with deadlifts and box jumps are just this punishing. Seriously, five more rounds of this pain? No, thanks.

After each round, your confidence will dwindled even more as your shortness of breath will reach a point that you will feel very uncomfortable as thoughts of needing medical assistance don’t seem like a bad idea. As terrible as you will feel, you should have no doubt that you will finish this WOD. True, the thoughts of quitting will be greater as you go on, but understand that these mind games are part of your daily test when it comes to this training. You need this rush of negativity in order for you to become mentally tougher. Without the usual mind fuck to give up is a sign that you aren’t working hard enough.

Look at the onslaught of negativity as measure that you are working your ass off. As bad as you are feeling, you are working too hard to give up at this moment. If you quit now, everything will be a waste.

So when you get to the pivotal point of the WOD where you are about to quit, remind yourself that you have the uncanny ability to always act on your thoughts. This is what separates you from those who don’t have this training. The average person have a difficult time achieving what they are thinking. This is why ordinary people fail so much in life.

You, on the other hand, can always translate your thoughts into action. When the suffering gets too great from this WOD, you must think aggressive thoughts to move you forward. When you do, don’t hold back your actions any more with this WOD. Finish this fucker in the most emphatic and explosive manner as possible.

When you are done with this WOD, it will do wonders not for your positive outlook, but for your sense of belief in yourself. Being positive in the face of adversity is crucial, but believing in what you can do with your thoughts is a thousand time more important.

Defeat this WOD and you will make huge strides in your mental toughness development.

Scaled back version for this Litvinov WOD –

1. Do only 3 sets.

2. Omit the box jumps or Spiderman crawls.

3. Use a shorter box for the box jumps.  A bench is good substitute.

4. You can do jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds instead of the crawls. Also, you can do jump rope or run on a treadmill if you don’t have room to do the crawls.

Acceptable alternatives –

1. You can do bodyweight jump squats instead of box jumps.

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(To be continued)