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Remove the Mindset to Fail

Far too many people allow failure to rule and define them. Society is generally geared towards the idea that if you fail that is the end of it. You move onto something else and likely fail at that too. Perseverance is the key to success. As long as you don't quit you are still in the game and thus have more opportunities to finally succeed.

The amount of skill you have at a given topic takes you about 20% of the way to success. The rest consists of your mental capacity, your drive to succeed.

possible and ableA good example of this is sticking to your weight loss goals. I've been injured to the point I can't train, to the point of preventing me even going to the gym to watch. This is a huge mental issue for me as I spend 6 days a week training, so I have ample untapped energy. I also use my training as an outlet for stress from work and the minutia of life such as bills. Without that outlet I get cranky. When training it is easy to stay focused on my goals. I can eat some of the wrong foods knowing I can burn it off with a hard session. But with being injured I can't do that. It is easy to fill empty time with eating a block of chocolate or a bag of chips. When attempting to drop weight that is a bad thing and a failure.

It is easy to fall into the trap of eating a row of chocolate, realising you failed and thus go back for a second row... and a third. You allow this failure to continue as you tell yourself "I've already failed today so I'll fix it tomorrow and eat right then". This is a mistake.

Train your mind to accept the failure and aim to improve upon it immediately, not tomorrow. You will feel the urge to eat that second row of chocolate but when you do, grab an apple instead. This minor victory not only avoids failing, but it already starts the road to success for tomorrow several hours early. You have a head start, and tomorrow will be easier to maintain momentum from your first step today.

Attitude

Your attitude is one of the most important things to help you succeed. You need to be persistent, willing to take action, have a desire to learn and grow, be adaptable and curious. Without the right attitude you will fail to achieve your goals.

Take competition as an example. You train hard and perform well, but for one reason or another you lose on the day. Your attitude will determine how this affects you. A poor attitude will see you moping, may make you want to change everything in your training schedule and you may even question the skills of your coach. A good attitude will see this loss for what it actually is: a blueprint for areas you need to work on.

attitude icebergYour opponent has given you training gold in the form of areas you are lacking or can improve upon. Training at the gym with friends can only go so far. Full competition with a stranger doing everything they can to win pressure tests your skills. Even victory is a learning experience. Guaranteed there are several areas your coach saw where you could have done better. That is what you will spend the next sessions tightening up.

There are a lot of things to help improve your attitude, but let's stick with the basics. Confidence is massive and can't be underestimated in your path to success. Gaining confidence starts with repetition. If you can perform the techniques with your eyes closed and without thinking, then you can be confident in utilising them when under pressure. Your coach should be setting times to pressure test them along the way, so by the time competition arrives you know you have ample skills to rely on.

Steer clear of negative people. Too many people will keep you down with statements like "you're too old for a sports career" or "you won't make money from that". Get rid of them, or simply ignore their advice. If they are family, tell them your reasons for doing the activity and inform them you want their support. If they can't do that then ask them to stay silent. Many people want to give advice but are not successful themselves. Why would you take advice from someone that doesn't know how to get the results you desire?

Focus

Directing your focus is critical in success. Putting time, energy and attention towards building your skills, and mitigating anything that will hold it back is key. First, look for opportunities where others see obstacles. If you can't push through an obstacle, look for ways around it.

Second, focus on the goal you want to accomplish and don't let negative advice deter you. Treat your focus as a laser, burning away anything negative that gets in its path.

Third, mitigate risks and overcome your own fears. Focusing on your goals, finding obstacles and understanding risks to success will place you in a strong position. This in turn removes any fear as you have developed strategies to overcome anything that gets in your way.

My age may be seen as a road block to some, but I see it as an opportunity to prove my worth. As a senior student at the gym I am in a position to guide younger people towards their goals. As such I take the time to learn how to teach, how to lead, how to improve myself in all areas and share it with others. I may not become a pro fighter, but I can walk the path towards it and make it easier for others to follow, and eventually overtake me. My focus is to be the best version of me I can be, and to guide my team mates to be the best version of themselves they can. Nothing will get in the way of that.

Even if I diverge off the path with a pizza break, understanding how I get back to the path is a formula others can follow.

Beliefs

This is belief in yourself, in your coach, in your team mates, in the path you have chosen and in your ability to succeed.

Without believing in yourself you will second guess everything you do. Many people look at their team mates that might be further along the path and think they are under-performing or could never catch up. This is focusing on the wrong thing, and I guarantee that other person has had similar thoughts. So what if they are out performing you? How does that impact your training or your goals?

As new people come into the gym I generally share in teaching them the basics. I assist the head coach guide them into the correct training mindset and help with perfecting techniques. There have been a few that made exponential gains and began catching my progress quite quickly. I see that as something awesome. I want people to catch me, that means I know where my holes are and can fix them before it becomes a problem. If I have a bad day and someone gets the better of me at the gym, great. They showed me I lacked focus, or allowed something to get in my way.

I can think this way because I believe in my own abilities and am secure in my skills. I know my coach believes in me. I remain respected at the gym and take that seriously. Without personal belief I couldn't do these things and I wouldn't have even be able to start this blog.

Summary (TL;DR)

Mental ability is more important than any skills you may have in a chosen field. Having a positive attitude, laser focus and belief in yourself are the most important aspects you can have, not only in sports but in all areas of life.

Once you have the mental aspects sorted, you will have the confidence and drive to ramp up your skills, and reach far greater heights that you initially thought possible. Tune your goals into building the 80% of what's required to succeed, and the rest will follow.

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© AJ Watson