Mind over matter…

Athletes Don’t Have a Lock on “The Zone”, from LA Times. I was lazy and was asking Steve, from ChristianRunner.com, to summarize it for me. In his own way, he told me to “stop being so lazy, get off your butt and go read that article”. Well I unlazy myself, registered and read the article.

In short, it talked about the importance of training the mind when for athletes. I remembered listening to Gordo‘s interview on enduranceradio.com. He mentioned that the Top 10 people were within two minutes in the Escape To Alcatraz. What does this mean? Well, in a tri race, 2 minutes is not a lot. This means that the physical aspect of the top 10 triathletes are very close to each other. Then the competitive advantage lies in mental strength.

My first interest in the mind aspect started when I read a bit about Anthony Robbin‘s work a few years ago. Here is a motivation speaker who started from nowhere, became famous. Then went broke and build it all again. What he was really good at is his ability to control his thoughts, especially the bad ones.

To be honest, I am not very well at this. I have days where I let the negative thoughts overwhelm me. This morning would be a good example. On the way to the pool, I thought about all the problems at work. The result can be seen when I hit the chlorine bath. My stroke was off. I felt like I was not grabbing air. I felt like I want to quit. I also start leaning the soreness from snowboarding as an excuse (realistically is about 1/2 reason 1/2 excuse but i felt the whiney side too).

The only thing holding me back is that I need to put money in the bank. Invest now and withdraw it on race day. I am meeting my swim coach this Friday. There is no way I want to see him with no improvement. I also tell myself that I didn’t went to the pool this early for nothing. If I left, it would be a waste of time. Lastly, on morning swim, my mom would drive the car to her work place and I picked it up. It was a short walk and if I don’t swim, I would waste all the time sitting around doing nothing. Oh, forget it. Sitting around is more painful than swimming poorly. I went to my change room, grabbed my fins. Did some drills. Went in the hot tub and stretch.

I am going to write another post..probably tomorrow. There is more I want to talk about. I really like this topic b/c it is so powerful. Once you can control your mind and emotions, instead of having it control you, you can do anything….(even registering LA times and read their article :D)

On the job front..today I got a call from a head hunter. She saw my resume on workopolis. Woah, I can’t believe posting your resume online worked :D. Anyways, we talked a bit and during the conversation I asked her the location and it turned out to be an hour drive one way. I was quite interested in the position. I will be working on a company that turned IPO. The IT team is small so there is a lot of chance to grow. But after finding out the lcoation of the work place, I lost concentration. While the lady continued to talk about the job description, my thought was that it would take too much time to commute (and less time to train). I went back to the reason why I need a change of job. 1) Close to Home 2) Time to train (no OT) and 3) Average Pay. This job only fits the average pay.

So I turned it down. I asked her that if there is any position around my city, let me know. That phone call changed my mood throughout the day. I realized that my resume is quite good and not as bad as I thought. :)…


  • WOW! you must have a good resume… i never got called from workopolis! or maybe i was on some other site… hmmmm

    i got part way through one of anthony’s earlier books… i should finish it someday, he’s brilliant 🙂

  • Congratulations on the job offer, even though you wisely decided to wait for another!

    And good job on the mental work. I tend to let myself get overcome with negative thoughts, too.

    Ever read Norman Vincent Peale’s “Enthusiasm Makes the Difference”? A very “up” book. Probably out of print but the library could get it if they don’t have it.

  • I think part of mental toughness is recognizing that we may have a lazy side at times, and pushing through that inclination. Clearly you have mental toughness by getting in the pool when you felt tired and sore. Way to go.

    Congrats on the job offer, even though it wasn’t the one for you.

  • Yeah my last job I got from the internet. It’s the wave of the future.

    Yes mental training is an important aspect. I have been more aware of this the last few months. Just like everything else, it takes practice to be able to toe the line and think of nothing but the race in front of you.

    Stick with it and watch it pay off!!!

  • I’m with you on mental toughness right now.

    I’ve identified this is my major weakness in triathlon and am finally starting to really think about it and focus on the positives.

    I’ll watch you for inspiration!

    That’s cool about the headhunter, you got some skills L)

  • For me, getting the most out each work out starts with the plan and knowing what the point is of that work out, and what the goal is 2 months, 1 year, 2 years down the road. Autopilot is deadly.

    Vision is so important.

    Mental toughness is something I’d like to read more about.

    I wonder if Anthony is broke again?

  • Way to hold out for something that works better for you and where you are in life right now. Most folks would jump in with both feet then regret it soon after.
    The right one will find you…you’re on the correct path.

  • My current job is as a result of a contract position that I got from listing my resume on “Monster.com” prior to that I never thought listing my resume on-linemight work …

    There is no doubt that mental focus makes a tremendous difference in all aspects of life …

  • That rocks Cliff. I’ve never had a call from a head hunter from having my resume online. You must be special! Great job on standing your ground and waiting for the right job.

  • Taking control of your mind is also a process to learn, but I think as long as you’ve been working out you are close and on the way to get it. The thing is that sometimes you get to some point and just see the next forgetting about the overcome ones.
    I bet even people like ARobins have had negatives thought the point is to tranform them always, as you do!
    Great feeling when you received that call!

  • Negative thoughts definitely can ruin a performance. It’s definitely mind over matter. When negative thoughts creep in, I start feeling angry and naseous. I actively push out the thoughts by concentrating on the rhythm of my footfalls, cadence, or breathing. I pretend all the negativity is being washed out of me in waves. And I concentrate on letting go and thinking of nothing until I reach a calm, meditative state. Meditating when I’m not working out also helps.

  • I think mental “toughness” comes from not fighting yourself. When you have all of your “arrows” pointing in the right direction; focus comes almost naturally. With the job turndown, it sounds like yours are definitely aligned!

  • You got it right on the money. I think the hardest thing about training is getting past the mental part. It’s one of those “keep work at work and home at home” type things, can’t drag your feelings from one situation continue to drag down the rest of your day. But then again, it’s easier said then done.

    Glad to hear the interview went well even though it was too far. Sometimes I wish I could just train and race for a living…would make things a lot simpler.

  • “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body also will rest secure.” Psalm 16:8-9

    Dude, it is all in the “inner man”, remember that Jesus is your Lord, coach, training partner and friend and don’t these those negative thots shake you. Of course, easier said than done, I forget this myself all the time. 🙂 But as we pray and train, we will get better!

    As a IT person myself, I share some of that feeling of “being just another of the lot”, but the fact that a headhunter called is testimony to your unique value, don’t lose sight of that. It is very encouraging for me to see that you have decided to hold out for what’s best for you.

    God Bless!

  • I experience nagative thoughts sometimes and it does have an effect on what I’m doing. Most times i can control it but it takes a lot of effort. Well done with continuing with the workout.

    Also well done with your resume and response, even if you had to refuse the offer. I’m sure there will be lots of other offers.

  • I remember when I used to live in London, I would get a call from a headhunter at least once a month – it got really annoying, because for years I didn’t have any intentions of leaving.
    Once we decided to move to Ireland, it took me half a year to get one single job interview. Luckily I got the job, I might still be looking otherwise ;-).

    So, well done on the interview, and even better for turning it down because it didn’t suit you. To not change just out of principle takes discipline, too.

By Cliff

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