by Henry Gould – Sept 20th, 2019
Positive thinking is more than just a catch phrase. Often times we doubt ourselves and our abilities, and we give up before we’ve really, truly pushed ourselves, or before we’ve exercised all potential options in front of us to achieve a goal. Whether this is at work, at home or at play, having a particular mindset established when you hope to complete a goal is a huge factor in whether you do it or not.
I’ll give a personal example: in the last 12 months I’ve been training every week with Ilan, Shawzo (and occasionally the godfather, Jeremy Martin @ Loaded Athletics) learning the ropes of olympic weightlifting. Outside of my 10+ years playing rugby, olympic weightlifting is the hardest physical activity I’ve ever done. Not only is it physically demanding, it is incredibly mentally demanding. For each lift (i.e. clean and jerk) you are working within a small threshold of the maximum weight you can physically lift, all the while thinking about correct form, posture, and above all else, trying not to drop 100kgs on your head.
Countless times Ilan or Shawzo has loaded the bar with a heavy amount of weight, and I fail. Usually, it’s because there was a creeping sense of doubt in my mind that I couldn’t do it. But, more often than not I will try again, and once I’ve taken a moment to regroup – perhaps also getting some encouraging words – I will eventually make the lift. I didn’t get stronger in between each lift, I just had to focus, think through everything, and trust that I could do it.
The power of positive thinking can transfer to any aspect of life, but is particularly interesting with physical pursuits. After all, professional athletes constantly rely on sports psychologists to help them get in a strong head space before a game or competition. Self doubt can be one of the most negative influences on an athlete, whereas positive thinking and visualization of winning can be the most powerful.
Below is an article about the Canadian World Junior Team, and the sport psychologist who worked with the team the entire tournament enroute to their Gold Medal win.
We were also lucky enough to receive a great piece on the Power of Positive Belief (and the inspiration for this blog) by longtime Yard Athletics client and resident psychologist, Dr. Debbie Samsom. Debbie is running a marathon in a few weeks, and felt inspired to pen the below from her longtime hero, Terry Fox, whose annual run we celebrated on Sept 15th, 2019.
“The Terry Fox Run is happening all over the world this Sunday. This run has been an annual event since 1981, the year Terry died. That 1981 run was the first 10K I ever completed. I have been running ever since.
Terry is my hero. Every year as the Terry Fox Run approaches, I reflect upon his incredible fortitude, grit, and indomitable spirit. He ran a marathon a day for 143 days, with a prosthetic leg and in constant pain. He only stopped when cancer spread to his lungs, ultimately resulting in his death. How did he do it? He achieved this because he believed he could. Simple as that. Belief is the most powerful tool that we have to help us accomplish our goals – physical or otherwise.
I am running a marathon in a couple of weeks. I know it’s going to hurt (it always does). I know that with about 10K to go, negative thoughts will start entering my brain, telling me to stop running (Who cares if I walk? Why continue to suffer? ) I will fight these thoughts, and Terry will help me. It’s just one measly marathon. If Terry can do 143, I CAN DO THIS.
So what do you believe you can achieve? Not because it’s easy, or comes naturally to you, but because you are willing to dig deep and give it everything you’ve got.”
“I just wish people would realize that anything is possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try” – Terry Fox