The longer I train and teach others, the more I realize how greatly our personal beliefs and attitudes affect our results.
“Do you know the story of the four-minute mile? For thousands of years, people held the belief that it was impossible for a human being to run the mile in less than four minutes. But in 1954, Roger Banister broke this imposing belief barrier. He got himself to achieve the ‘impossible’ not merely by physical practice by constantly rehearsing the event in his mind, breaking through the four-minute barrier so many times with so much emotional intensity that he created vivid references that became an unquestioned command to his nervous system to produce the result. Many people don’t realize, though, that the greatest aspect of this breakthrough was what it did for others. In the whole history of the human race, no one had ever been able to break a four-minute mile, yet within one year of Roger’s breaking the barrier, 37 other runners also broke it. His experience provided them with references strong enough to create a sense of certainty that they, too could ‘do the impossible.’ And the year after that, 300 other runners did the same thing!”
Everyday I hear people recite their excuses, all of which are limiting beliefs, generalizations or even biases about what they can’t and can do. I have been doing this long enough to notice a pattern. The people with the limiting beliefs have limitations. The people with the empowering beliefs get stronger, more successful, and find and a greater sense of what they are capable of. Disempowering generalizations about seniors and women are being broken left and right. The old dogma that once we reach the age of fifty, we need to slow down and allow ourselves to die is no more. This is the same for women. Women are no longer told that they are weak and should not train in a gym as men do. This was a great way to keep women the servants of men for thousands of years. Now we are finding that women and seniors benefit from strength training with less injuries in sports, an increase of bone density and slowing down of the aging process. Hulda Crooks ascended Munt Fuji in her nineties. She took on the sport of mountain climbing at the age of seventy.
Just the other day, a lady said something to me about how women are weaker than men. I have seen this belief get in the way of women’s results for so long. Women simply won’t lift a heavy weight for fear that it will make them manly or because they simply believe they can’t. At the same time, the complain that it is easier for their husband or male friend to get results (obviously because they are not afraid to challenge themselves). I challenged this woman’s assertion and told her that I lift just as much as most of the men in the weight room. She said that I was different. I told her that I’m different because I don’t buy into that crap. And that is just what it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or that you just aren’t as good as so and so, no matter who you are. If Rosa Parks let people tell her that she didn’t deserve to sit in the bus just because she was black, how would history be affected? Truth is, we still don’t know what the human body is capable of. People have told me that it was physically impossible for me to spin a fifteen pound quan do behind my back because I only have two working fingers in my left hand. I proved them wrong. I type sixty words per minute with those two fingers and I can do ten unassisted pull ups in a row (good full range of motion pull ups), regardless of other people’s assertions that women can’t do pull ups (let alone, a woman with only two working fingers). Our minds have figured out how to make flying machines and complex computers. Athletes break records left and right which leads me to believe that there are no limitations except for what we place on ourselves.
I’m not saying that women aren’t the weaker sex and that we can be just as strong as men in every way. I’m just saying that we aren’t a “weak” sex. Believing that we are weaker is no excuse to only lift five pound weights for the rest of your life. We aren’t that weak! But I’ve seen people use all kinds of excuses for not applying themselves. I’ve even seen men say that they don’t have the genetics.
Examples of Disempowering Beliefs:
Once you have kids, you just get fatter and fatter until the day you die
Exercise is torture
Healthy food tastes terrible
Woman can’t fight.
Men aren’t flexible
You can’t be strong and have great cardiovascular fitness at the same time.
I’m out of shape because I’m old.
I can’t change.
I don’t have enough time.
This is too hard
Examples of empowering beliefs:
Fitness has nothing to do with how many kids you have, but on how consistently you exercise.
As we get older, we just get better and stronger as long as we believe in improvement.
Exercise is fun.
Healthy food tastes fresh, natural and gives me the energy I need.
It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, results in athletics depends on how hard and consistently you work.
We all have the power to change and be successful. We just have to believe in ourselves.
If we are passionate and love our work, we will make time for it.
This is an exciting challenge.
If you find yourself telling yourself that you can’t–for any reason, check and see if you are using an excuse or a disempowering belief that may or may not be listed above. Then replace it with a countering empowering belief. For example: If you find yourself saying, “this is too hard,” replace that affirmation with, “this is exciting and challenging.” You’ll see a difference in your attitude and energy level. Studies have shown over and over again that mind cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality. If we imagine success, we will get it. If we imagine failure, that is what we will get. So free your mind of any belief that is going to hold you back.
“It is the mind that maketh good or ill, that maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.”