One of the most overlooked keys to increased strength, flexibility, speed and endurance is how you picture yourself in the future.
Contrary to what so many schmexperts would have you believe, self-improvement ain’t got much to do with “self-talk.” It ain’t what you say when you talk to yourself. It’s what you PICTURE yourself doing; it’s what you SEE as possible.
“I’m so-so,” says the martial arts master to someone in a coffee shop who wants to know how tough he is.
Do these supposedly negative words hurt the master? Not at all. And the reason is because the master is picturing mopping the floor with you as he says it.
The master realizes that it’s “See Dick run; see Jane run,” that matters most – not “talk Dick run: talk Jane run.”
You can talk positive until your face turns green, and it won’t help you if what you see in your mind’s eye contradicts the words you’re saying to yourself.
“I am fit. I am lean. I now weigh 175 pounds. I am a stud,” says the proponent of positive self-talk.
And yet he is not fit, is not lean and weighs 325 pounds. He’s definitely not a stud. Not yet. Even if he SAYS these type of things to himself.
Facing the truth about yourself is what separates great athletes from everyone else.
An athlete knows that he can set a stopwatch to see how fast he really is. He can tabulate and record the evidence.
When the competition is real, others are present to keep statistics, take pictures and tell others what happened on the news.
Telling yourself that you already are where you want to be is a waste of time. It leads to a lack of motivation and focus. Telling yourself where you REALLY are while envisioning where you want to be is a whole different ballgame.
Years ago, when I was working with a high school wrestling team, a youngster sat with his back to a wall, taking an unnecessary break while everyone else was working. I began to enquire why he was sitting. Upon hearing his lame answer, I asked, “Don’t you want to be a champion?”
“I am a champion,” he replied.
The guy had never won a match, much less a tournament, and yet he was saying, “I am a champion.”
No, you’re a cockwomble. That’s what you are.
This morning I was doing a series of spiraling exercises that correspond with my martial arts practice. I zoomed across the mat from various positions. After doing so I examined the video I took. I looked at what I needed to correct as well as what I wanted to add into the mix. I pictured the future then I went back to work to make it become a reality. After another round I examined the video again to see if it matched what I had in mind.
Over the course of 15 minutes, my technique became more and more refined. None of this would have happened if I told myself I already was where I wanted to be.
Self-talk is folly. You can proclaim the future with words for a decade or more and nothing changed for the better. But when you use mental imagery, especially that which takes in where you are as well as where you want to be, some pretty freaking amazing shifts take place in your life.
Suppose you want to be flexible enough to do the splits or master the bridge. My Combat Stretching will teach you the technique. You picture it as you watch me doing it, then you begin to practice. You take in the corrective feedback, you make adjustments – and then you eventually find yourself doing what you were picturing.
You NEVER tell yourself you already are where you want to be. When you truly are where you planned on being, you’ll have plenty of time to say so… after the fact.
Here endeth the lesson.