In the past we’ve talked plenty about mental toughness! We’ve talked anywhere from making the small decisions that later turn into good habits, practicing self-talk to get you through that tough workout, or focusing on things you have control over and letting go of things you don’t have control over. But today I wanted to talk a little bit about story telling. Story telling, not in the sense of a children’s book or a funny story you tell your friends, but in the sense of what is going on between the ears.
First off, story telling in the sense I’m talking about refers to what we associate with a specific experience, about what is going on right in front of us, or what is about to happen. Essentially it’s that voice inside your head telling you something is bad or good. Telling you that was hard or easy. Telling you that you can’t do that or you can because you don’t have the ability to. Or telling you what to expect before something’s already happened. Subconsciously, the stories we tell ourselves about any given experience or situation has a direct effect on how it makes us feel or pursue things afterwards. For real, take a step back next time and ask yourself what is going on or what story you’re telling yourself at any given moment. But check it out, the stories we tell ourselves in between the ears is exactly just that…a story! That story isn’t reality, it’s something that is being manufactured inside your head…what’s happening in front of you is real, THAT is reality. The sooner we can realize that the story is just a story in our heads, the sooner and more efficiently we can address what is really going on in front of us (or reality).
So let’s relate this to some gym stuff. Here’s the scenario, you come in on clean & jerk or snatch day expecting to hit a certain weight. Or you remember the last time you were in, you hit a specific number and you have to hit it again. Or we re-test a workout like “Nancy” and you have to beat your previous time. There’s your story right there! You haven’t even touched a barbel, re-tested the workout, or warmed up yet! Then you come in, and reality sets in, maybe you’re a little tired from work or sore from the previous day. Maybe you haven’t eaten as much as you’d like because you’ve been busy and are a little low on energy. The numbers aren’t really there today and then we associate the session as non satisfactory and then we’re sad….QUIT THAT! Lose that story (or here’s a better way to look at it…unrealistic expectations) and deal with what is happening in front of you at that very moment (there’s your reality again). What I’m really trying to get at is, a lot of times it’s easy to get caught up inside of our own heads and miss out on what is happening right in front of us or see the opportunities because we are so preoccupied with our story. Guilty here! This could be an opportunity to dial in your technique, practice a new skill, work on pacing, or help someone else out!
Learn to let go of that story and be open to reality, try making your decisions based off of what is happening in front of you rather than what it is that you’re telling yourself inside your head before anything happens. Even the positive stories you tell yourself! Where we can get carried away there is when we create this story in our heads or create this ideal expectation of something that hasn’t happened yet, similar expecting to PR before even coming to the gym. Then it doesn’t live up to that expectation and we associate the experience as not good anymore. When in reality, it could’ve been something great! Opportunities missed!
What I’m hoping to accomplish by this post is bring awareness or consciousness to our subconscious actions, such as story telling. Being more aware of what is going on on in reality is an ideal way to approach situations, expectations, and experiences. If not in a more fulfilling way. I hope I was able to do that with some of you all today!
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