Bound by your thoughts

“Whether you think you can or you can’t – you’re right”

– Henry Ford

Have you ever felt trapped inside your head? Shackled by your doubts and insecurities? One moment you’re on the verge of doing something new or outside your comfort zone – whether it is getting started on a goal or spontaneously attempting a ride a wave, you feel motivated and your adrenalin is pumping – and the next moment you feel like you’re being smothered. A menacing laugh thunders into your ears and doubt pours hard. When the storm is over, the aftermath is infinitely worse, that voice you’re all too familiar with, vehemently chides you “give up now, you’re useless and you will fail” – that voice belongs to you. You are drowning in your own doubt.

Your mind can be your greatest ally, propelling you forward or it can be your worst nightmare – a hostage taker trapping you inside your own head. You do not have to be a believer of “the secret” phenomenon to know that if you believe you can’t do something – you will not be able to do it simply because you will not try. However, if you believe that you can do something, you will do it, sometimes not instantaneously – but you will work towards it.

When my best friend coerced me into joining the gym with her, I was uninterested and demotivated. Then, after a year I noticed gradual changes in my body and I was inspired to work harder and see bigger improvements. I was much stronger and confident but when I attempted to try something new, I froze. I hated the treadmill, I referred to it as the “dreadmill” and running had always been a challenge. So how on earth did I run 15km in the bush?

Running, and more specifically, trail running intimidated me, “you will not be able to keep up, you will fall and embarrass yourself, and you will finish last.” My dark passenger refused to let me try. But I did not succumb.

I bluffed.

I told myself, quite unconvincingly at first, that I can do it. I affirmed over and over again until I truly believed I could, so all I had to do was attempt it.

I did, and after a gruelling 5 minutes, wanted to quit. I bluffed again – just 5 more minutes. Every muscle in my legs awakened and they were pissed off with me, my legs burned. My chest ached and I fought for each breath but I succeeded, 2km first, then 5km and eventually 15km. It may seem like a small feat, but it was my biggest lesson. Your body can do whatever your mind says it can, so train your mind to be your ally.

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