My experience as a former Olympic Strength and Conditioning Coach has taught me that when athletes pessimistically think about their weaknesses, failures, fears, or injuries; are intimidated by their competitors; or have the slightest doubt in their performance abilities, or chances, those athletes will validate what they’re thinking about... and fail.
These failures — which I’ve seen more than I care to admit — prevail even when athletes have a superior win-loss record and more advanced physical attributes in comparison with their opponents.
All champion athletes and coaches will tell you that when it gets down to the wire, when they’re consumed in the heat of fierce competition and everything’s on the line, their chances for success rely on a very predictable performance ratio between physical ability and mental fortitude. In fact, after many months and years of training, on competition day, when only winning counts, the ratio requirements for the mental aspect of performance is claimed to be as high as 90%.
Just because an athlete has inferior physical abilities in comparison with his or her competitors doesn’t always mean the athlete is sure to lose. We see it all the time, especially now in the fastest-growing sport in the world, Mixed Martial Arts. A champion fighter gets into the cage, surging with adrenaline and testosterone and sporting a win-loss record that’s splattered with a string of KOs. But just seconds after the first-round bell rings, the fighter gets clobbered by his inferior opponent and is knocked out cold.
One of the greatest sporting examples of the underdog prevailing over a superior opponent was the Ali vs. Foreman Rumble in the Jungle. The majority believed — including the Ali camp — that Foreman was the stronger, tougher, superior opponent. Ali, however, had his own opinion, believing he was the more talented athlete. Ali maintained that mindset until the referee counted Foreman out.
Ali had enormous determination. His will to win at all costs, coupled with his focused mental attributes, allowed Ali to prevail when he wasn’t supposed to. Ali was physically victorious because he was mentally superior.
Strong, steadfast belief in oneself enables a person to greatly improve him- or herself into acquiring an imperative psychological characteristic for success; i.e., confidence, or that for sure attitude. Confidence is a basic trait needed for success and achievement, and it’s also an essential attitude that must be maintained during times of challenge, struggle, and failure — tough times don’t last, but tough people do!
Consider the person who’s fueled with confidence and also benefits from the physical and mental conditioning strengths to face any (and all) challenges. During challenging times, we discover the superhumans among us — those who are successful by being courageous, brave, and judicious.
Flexing Your Mental Muscles
The brain is composed of millions of individual tissues. Exercising the brain is often compared to exercising one’s biceps. If our muscles don’t receive proper exercise or nourishment, they become unstable and weak. Lack of focus, doubt, confusion, frustration, thoughts of fear and failure, and all forms of negativity can be considered mental toxins that destroy the integrity of the brain and its thinking mind.
However, when the brain is given adequate exercise and nourishment, it does strengthen. Thoughts being intangible elements of energy facilitate potent influences on brain chemistry, and all cellular tissues, in extraordinarily profound ways, and that chemistry travels to and greatly controls every other cell and organ in the body. Depending on what and how one thinks determines the health of the chemistry inside one’s brain and body. That said, to create healthy, strong, positive, and successful consequences, all one simply needs to do is upload healthy, strong, positive, and successful thoughts into one’s head, and keep those thoughts there, no matter what.
The Technique of Exchanging
Those of you who have a copy of Vital Living from the Inside-Out™ are well aware of the psychological technique I refer to as exchanging. This remarkable Brain-Training™ method can be implemented immediately to assist anybody in turning a negative into a positive. Yes, it’s simple, but like other self-improvement techniques, it requires discipline and patience. Here’s what you do:
When a negative word, thought, belief, or memory enters your mind, it’s your chance to play the exchange game and think of something positive. Just perform the switcheroo to nullify that negative energy’s influence over you. To arm yourself with an arsenal of power weapons in your attack against negativity, sit down and write a list of words and phrases that contain only healthy, strong, positive, and successful energy. This directory of self-professed words and phrases will give your subconscious mind quick and convenient accessibility to positive exchanging options. Include words like strong, courage, happy, money, dynamic, attractive, charismatic, patient, confident, sensational, competitive, healthy, loving, happy, rich, tolerant, successful, peaceful, and others that will serve as your updated vocabulary.
You can also rely on modern technology for assistance in your brain-training process with another simple technique. All you need is an inexpensive digital audio recording device to record your own personalized motivational audio (PMA), just like the ones you’ve purchased right here at Nightingale-Conant featuring a high-powered motivational speaker — instead, this time, you’re the motivational speaker!
Simply press the record button and start talking to yourself. Use the words from your list, or simply recite scenarios that you desire to actualize in your life. Assume the roles of your own coach, motivator, and disciplinarian and, above all, your own best friend. Encourage yourself. Defend yourself. Support yourself. Challenge yourself. Correctly critique yourself. Push yourself to strive more ambitiously toward all your goals and to accept struggle as a conditioning tool the universe throws at you to become a stronger, more well-adapted person. Persuade yourself that you can handle, and defeat, any challenge, and that you are always strengthening all of your characteristics. It’s up to you to convince yourself that you’re a success that’s always progressing.
Above all, respect and love yourself. If a friend or loved one ever came to you in need of support for an extreme challenge, I would bet that you’d respond by acting like a motivational powerhouse. You’d share your best passionately charged advice, and strive diligently to see that person relieved of his or her trepidations. So why not use this same technique on yourself?
After you record your own PMA, it’s time to rewind and listen. You can listen attentively, focusing on every word and statement that you recorded; or you can attend to other tasks, not really paying (conscious or focused) attention but, nonetheless, allowing your (self-recorded) words to be uploaded into your subconscious mental hardware. Either way, a constant influx of these words, and the energy they provide, will reprogram and recondition your brain. And I’ll be bold enough to “promise” that you will realize positive shifts in all directions in your life.
The trick to continuously improving with PMAs is to always speak to yourself from a first-person perspective. You are talking to you with an “I have” or “I am” perspective, never with an “I want” or an “I will” one. For instance, don’t ever say, “I want to be rich”; instead say, “I am rich.” Speak only in the present tense, as the subconscious mind believes everything it’s told, down to the minutest detail. And make sure you verbalize these words and phrases out loud with passionately charged feelings, as the tonality and emotional feelings coming from your voice deliver a very special meaning as well.
And since change does happen, you MUST periodically erase and rerecord new PMAs when you reach higher levels of accomplishment. Older recordings will become outdated and can hold you back from further progress because they’re littered with passionately charged advice that was intended for a less mature version of yourself.
I’ve successfully used PMAs as an extension of my one-on-one motivational work with athletes, businesspeople, and everyday folks who need a constant influx of motivation. This technique is useful for improving all aspects of our lives because the consequences we experience are often the direct cause of our choices and decisions of the past. Change the thought; change the thing!
To bring you up to date, the new Nightingale-Conant release, The TOP 2%, is brain food to the max. I highly suggest you get a copy of this system, as it combines the best brain-enhancing and confidence-inducing insights and strategies over the decades from the vast Nightingale-Conant library. This is one program you must invest in!
As I always say: Your results are not only possible, your results are inevitable™. Stay consistent to your own self-betterment. Become your own “head coach.” Expect, without any doubt, that you will continue to improve. Things and experiences are always the result of preceding thoughts and actions. If you’re a Nightingale-Conant devotee like me, you will succeed! Now I challenge you to prove it!
I wish you the VERY best of success!
John Abdo is a former Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, International Award-Winning Health & Fitness Authority, Author, Speaker, and Inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Excerpts from this article have been taken from Vital Living from the Inside-Out™; Nightingale-Conant and John Abdo.