In most instances, being stubborn can be viewed as a negative trait. As much as I love my wife, when she gets into her stubborn state of mind, she can be very difficult to be with. I’m not perfect myself; sometimes I am terribly inflexible when it comes to getting myself in a cleaning state.
However, when it comes to mental toughness training, being a bit pigheaded can go a long way. It can make you resistant to quitting like how it did for Joe at the bottom of the hill. He just flat out refused to give in. I tried to negotiate and reason with him, but he wouldn’t have any of it. Not finishing was not an option with him. I don’t think he even considered it. Giving up would have been worse than the physical discomfort that he felt. Way worse.
Again, this may not be the healthiest attitude to have as for stubborn mules like Joe and me as we can push the limit too far and hurt ourselves. But, to be a relentless warrior sometimes you can’t baby yourself. You push yourself through the crap and ignore the pain because of fear. The fear that once you quit, you become vulnerable to giving up again and again.
For the obsessive mentally tough, this is our worst nightmare.
So when the temptation to take the easy way out, we must be “stuck in our old ways” and adamantly march ourselves to the very end. It goes beyond being ignorantly stubborn.
You must defiant to the very end.
In order to get to this “I rather die than quit” mindset, you must have meaning to the suffering. I can’t be just getting through a tough workout so you can have better abs or tighter buns. Superficial external goals are strong to only a point. Eventually, they won’t be enough to push you through over the top challenges. You need internal goals to help you get to the next level of super toughness.
For people like Joe, Olympic athletes, self-made millionaires, stage 4 cancer victims who are extremely stubborn to giving up, the pain they feel from their daily challenges are entirely symbolic. It labels them and defines who they are. Everyday, their daily obstacles are opportunities to remind themselves of who they are.
Tough SOBs that never give the fuck up.
It must be an honor to call your self this and be a part of this exclusive club. And once you have proven yourself over the course of time to have this uncanny ability to kick adversity in the ass, it is very hard to rid yourself of this title. For me, I don’t have a membership to this society of bad asses. However, I’m working my tail off to get in. Like wannabe showoffs that give themselves cool nicknames like “Rock” or “Rip”, I don’t think I have completely earned it yet. I have a checkered past of giving up way too much and falling apart during major turning points in my life.
Unfortunately, many times when I look in the mirror I still see failure in my manhood. As a result, I’m doing all I can to erase my past weak lifestyle by trying to emulate people like Joe when it comes to battling strong and overpowering opponents.
When I feel like waving the white flag when a WOD is nearly killing me or a personal obstacle that I don’t think I can overcome, I am learning to be defiant to the any possibility of quitting. I’m getting to the point with my self-belief in myself during the darkest of hours that I can always pull it together, no matter how weak or scared I’m feeling. This mental shift in perspective is huge because in my weak past whenever my back was against the wall, giving up was always the most logical and obvious choice.
Now, when I am barely hanging on to a rough WOD or difficult personal problem, my attitude is to go on. To push myself even a little to go further. To absorb the pain a little bit more and just go forward. By doing so, the choice to quit seems to vanish even under the greatest time of physical and emotional duress.
I am learning to be stubborn and unbeatable in the face of adversity.
If I can learn this invaluable skill, so can you all.
Now go train and find this in yourself.
10 hill sprints
Before you start today’s WOD, spend some alone time so you can reflect. It can be on your drive to the workout, during your mobility work or just sitting under a tree. Grill yourself with this basic question that you will ask yourself often during the training – “Why do I need to be mentally tough?” When I first started my mental toughness training, my strong purpose was because I was tired of being pushed around from people. Although this purpose changed slightly over the years as I found different nuances from it, this theme was pretty much the same for me. During the preparation process, it would only take a few minutes for me to ask my questions of purpose and needs and I was more than ready to deliver aggressive action against the WOD.
So today, let whatever emotions, feelings or memories rise up. Some of the responses may be painful, but try your best not to censor them. As long as they are honest and real, they can be implemented and used for ammunition for the upcoming WOD. You want to go into the WOD with as much motivation as possible because burpees and hill sprints are evil by themselves so the combination of them together is just a wretched experience. If you are unclear with your purpose and need, you won’t make it past the first two rounds. That’s how hard this WOD is.
Once you have stimulated yourself with these self-empowering questions and feel that your now in an aggressive state of mind where you are ready to battle, begin the WOD. Just be careful that don’t go full-blast at the first couple of rounds. You don’t want to start the workout like a screaming madman either. If so, you will burn out and won’t be able to finish the WOD. Nor do you want to pace yourself either and save your energy for the end. Being aggressive is a balancing act. With practice, you will find the medium. The important thing here is that you must always have aggressive thoughts roaming around in your head. When needed, you can apply as much action as needed from your aggressive mind set.
Trust me, with this WOD, there will be many moments where you will think that you can’t go on. When the treat of quitting becomes real, you must refer back to your needs and purpose. You must see how getting through the WOD will help you achieve your purpose and needs to be mentally tough. For example, for me when I felt like I was about to give up during the WOD, I would change my purpose statement of “I am tired of being pushed around from people” to “Getting through this WOD will stop others from pushing me around.” I have a client whose purpose was “I am sick of living in fear.’ For her, whenever she was trouble in the WOD, she changed her purpose statement to “Finishing this WOD and I won’t live my life in fear anymore.” By putting on your attention of how the WOD can help you attain your purpose and needs, you will able to endure the physical and mental punishment.
So in conclusion, you want to get in touch with your purpose and needs to becoming mentally tougher during your preparation period. By doing so, you will be motivated to become aggressive during the WOD. However, once you start you don’t want to forget about them either. You will refer to your purpose and needs several times during the WOD, especially when you are most vulnerable.
So ask yourself the hard questions before the WOD today. Let your feeling and thoughts simmer with you. When you are ready, go to it.
Destroy and annihilate your weak past.
Scaled back versions of this WOD
1. Do only 6 reps of burpees
2. Walk up the hill instead of sprinting
3. Do only 4 sets
1. You can run on the treadmill at the highest incline for 30 seconds.