Weaponize The Mind
When it comes to “mental toughness,” you’ve only learned how to play defense. You’ve been taught to react when it came to challenges around you. For example, you were told to, “Suck it up” or stay after practice and run extra sprints if you wanted to be tougher.
It’s time you stop reacting. It’s time you take control of situations before you’re forced to react. It’s time you start playing offense.
While “mental toughness” is on defense, “weaponizing your mind” is on offense. And the ability in which you adopt this new mindset hinges on two components: Setting Your Sights and Killing the Critic.
Set Your Sights
Weaponizing your mind doesn’t come from harder training sessions or longer days at the office. Weaponizing your mind comes from setting your sights on those things you can control. Recognizing what is out of your control, and then letting go, is at the heart of this tactic.
If you’re on a Zoom call for work during quarantine and your toddler unplugs your wifi connection, do you complain to your spouse about your kids being around?
If you are going stir crazy because you can’t be with friends and family right now, do you blame the government for shutting everything down?
If you are gaining weight because you can’t go to the gym right now, do you make excuses about being inside all day?
It’s as simple as recognizing what is and isn’t within your control. In the example of the wifi connection, you can choose to place something in front of the outlet so the same thing doesn’t happen again in the future. If you’re going stir crazy from the lack of social interaction, you can choose to contact your friends over social media or FaceTime your family. If you are gaining weight, you can choose to not buy junk food at the grocery store so that it’s not in the house.
I recognize that this is easier said than done. But setting your sights on what is inside and outside your control is the first step to weaponizing your mind.
Kill The Critic
Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. And your habits become your destiny.
Your thoughts are your worst critic. And your ability to reframe the voice of that critic will determine your future.
Last weekend, Karli and I went up American Fork Canyon to have a bonfire with some friends. We had to hike up a steep hill with loose rock and then cross a stream – two obstacles that were difficult to navigate while the sun was shining.
We didn’t camp that evening because Karli is eight-in-a-half months pregnant. There was no way she was sleeping on the ground with a sleeping bag. So around 11:00 p.m., we packed up and headed back to our car alone.
“Crap!” It dawned on me that we needed to cross the stream and then get down that steep hill again. I asked Darren for his headlamp so we could navigate the terrain with some kind of light.
Before we reached the river I looked at Karli and said, “I know you hate my guts right now for bringing you up here – but I’ll make sure you get down safely without falling. All I ask is that you don’t complain until we get to the car.“
Off we went. We stepped on all of the wrong rocks in the stream. Karli slipped once but I caught her. Our pants and shirts were coated in dirt as we slid down the steep hill with Zeke (my three-year-old) in my right arm and Karli on my left arm. We finally go to the car but needed needed to change our clothes before driving home. Rinsing off our arms and legs hurt from the cuts we received.
30 minutes later, after the eventful trek back to the car, Karli and I got in the car, looked at each other, and started laughing. Instead of having a dramatic and frustrating experience, it instantly became a funny memory – a memory not worth reliving.
We played offense by killing the critic. Reframing our thoughts to focus on the task at hand totally changed our experience.
Becoming proactive is the goal. As the world is happening around you, you must set your sights and control what you can control. Then, you have to kill the critic by reframing your thoughts.
The best way to summarize this offensive strategy is our prescription here at RxFIT: Never whine, never complain, and never make excuses.
If you can do that, you will stop playing defense and successfully implement the proactive, offensive strategy of “weaponizing your mind.”
Today’s blog post was inspired by Ben Bergeron’s TedTalk he gave last December. Bergeron is a Coach and Entrepreneur in the CrossFit space.