Mind over mediocrity.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Mind over matter”? This cliche is more profound than some may realize…
Maybe you are thinking your are too old or too young to achieve your aspirations, dreams, and goals. Maybe you think you are too obese, too skinny, or too uncoordinated to get fit and stay fit, or to accomplish that athletic goal. Maybe you think it’s too late in life to accomplish that goal of building a business, achieving below 80 on the golf course, a black belt in karate, hike that trail, be in the gym 4 to 6 days a week, or lose those pounds of weight? Maybe you think because of an injury, illness, or financial status you can’t achieve something spectacular?
I wish to express to you from personal experience, and experience with working with and alongside others, that those ways of thinking are you nearly believing lies, and are often self defeating excuses. Time to uninstall self doubt. Please do not get me wrong, a person should always check with their medical doctor before proceeding into an exercise program, diet, or changing a eating habit. That is wise. However, a person can achieve the spectacular, at least often more than they thought they could initially achieve with the right mindset, and attitude.
The challenge with the average human psyche is that we tend to self talk ourselves out of a change, or challenge when either we think it may be too difficult or when it does become difficult.
The thing a challenge is called a challenge for a reason. It’s not meant to be easy to achieve. It is supposed to be tough. It takes hard work, discipline, and diligence over time. Look at it this way if you are over weight, did it happen over night? Did it happen in months? Most likely it was over a year or more, why would you logically think losing that eight could be done in months, or sometimes even a year? If you have not worked out in the gym in months to a year, or jogged those miles in that amount of time as well, why would you think you could build muscle, stamina and strength in such a short time? That is not reasonable, nor logical.
If it were impossible to achieve financial success, a high level of fitness at an older age, or after an injury or illness, then why are people achieving it, including myself?
May you fail? May you have a setback? Most likely, but that surely is no reason to not try, or give up. Besides, you do not truly fail unless you do not get back up, and learn something from it. Most if not all of your top producing professionals, CEOs, and famous athletes failed more than they succeeded. Look at their true biographies and authentic interviews. Granted some genetics does play a role, or coming from a family of wealth. However, that is not the majority, it is the minority. Most of these high achievers had these actions and characteristics in common;
Guts, Resilience, Initiative, Tenacity (G.R.I.T.)
They had a dream, developed goals, wrote out a plan, and worked that plan with determination, diligence and discipline. You can do this too.
However, you cannot do it if you keep making excuses, pointing fingers, or blaming others for not achieving your aspirations, and goals. The finger is on you. If you fail, so what? As shared most, if not all of your top producers, and athletes failed many times, but they learned from their failures, and mistakes. They got back up, got back at it, even if they had to revise their plans and take more time. They also did not stay stagnant once they reached their goals, or reached the top, they did and do what it takes to remain successful, or fit, or being a top athlete. They made good practices and good habits a way of life. Many also taught it to others as well.
If I were to list out all of the most famous people, higher achievers, and top athletes that persevered through adversity, against many odds, setbacks, injuries, and illnesses, this article would be nearly a long novel of pages. However, since you are reading this article this far, let me share a bit of my own personal story being a man that didn’t come from financial wealth, or superb genetics.
I have had failures, setbacks, possibly similar to many whom may be reading this article. whether from financial set back, illness, and injuries. I have had near death experiences, several injuries, and in a wheel chair for months to where doctors have told me I may never recover, and that at my age and incurred injuries my days of working out in the gym, or going back to karate training and karate teaching may be over. I have had financial set backs so severe that I wondered where I may reside, or how I may be able to not only meet my obligations, but to afford meals. My heart has been broken from divorce, plans shattered, and faith rocked to it’s core from these adversities and life events.
Have I ever wanted to give up, of course I did, and you may have too. However, I realized there is no giving up in life, and I already knew from my parents, is that no one owes me anything. A person earns hat they have and that failure and setbacks are a part of life. You must treat them as learning experiences and grow and become wiser from them. You must also realize that goals are meant to be set in small steps, not gigantic unrealistic leaps. And once you hit each step of these goals, celebrate them and strive to accomplish the next step.
In addition, after a few heart wrenching, and large setbacks I decided to do some deep self reflection, and self discover of who I am, what I am about, what I do, why, and to whom I serve. I took classes, researched, read many books, studied high producing respectful mentors, did a new Meyers Briggs Typology, discovered my Love Language, met with Life Coaches, got a certification and then set new goals. I changed my circles of influence, developed a plan and worked that plan. Most importantly I celebrated victories, developed good habits, and made much of this plan a way of life.
So what does my plan look like you may ask? well here is just a brief outline of what it is and what it looks like;
I strive to think positive every day.
Every one has bad days, bad months, and bad years for that matter. However, most often you can discover something positive and good in your days, months, and years. I count my blessings, sometimes say them out loud or write them down. Rising each morning the gift of a new day is something to be positive about at any age. I also strive to take a logical, and less emotional approach, to some things such as realizing there are things I can control, and there are things I cannot control. I cannot control what people will say, think and often do. However I can control what I think, say, do and how I influence others. I prefer to influence others positively.
I am eager to learn, and really enjoy learning and then teaching it to others. It is said if you listen to something you may learn a little, if you listen and write it down you may learn more, if you listen, write it down, and teach it to others you will learn a lot. I have a saying in a reply when people ask me, “How are you doing?”, my typical reply is, “I am living, learning, and serving, because if you are not learning and serving, then you aren’t truly living.”
I have tightened my circles.
I have a very small inner circle for several good reasons. First of all it is not about the quantity of good friends, it is about that quality. Remember this statistical fact that you become the average of your five closest friends. So I strive to choose wisely.
Besides times is the most priceless thing there is. You cannot get more time back, and you certainly cannot buy more time. Once it is gone, it is gone. So by investing your time wisely for what you do as a career, what you do to take care of your body, mind, and soul, and what you have for family and friends is only so much. Spreading your time in actions, activities, and behaviors that are not productive, healthy, and conducive to those above, is not only unhealthy, it is unwise. No one on their death bed will say I wish I spent more time in the shop or office; or on binge watching TV, or sitting on the couch and in the recliner. I personally strive to give me employer my best for the 8 hours a day they compensate me, my health in regular exercise and diet, my loved ones my attentive and engaging time, and my top goals the due time that is needed to accomplish them. with that, there is not a lot of time left over for too many “friends” that may not be true friends, or unhealthy, and unproductive activities.
So what does my typical day look like you may ask, and how is good physical, mental and spiritual health achieved? Here is a good brief summary of my day:
- I typically rise early in the morning. The first thing I try to do is thank God for the gift of a new day. I then crank up some inspirational music, eat something light and healthy such as egg whites, ezekial toast/oats, or a fruit smoothie with a good cup of fresh coffee. I then get in a brief devotional and try to get 30 to 45 minutes of exercise even if it is just a walk outdoors, on the treadmill or set-ups/push-ups/burpees/leg raises. I do all of this before my work day starts at around 8am.
- I give my employer my best and leverage all of my knowledge, skill sets, and experience to achieve high results. I help others at work when asked and always encourage those who work for our with me. Then once my work day is done, it is done, unless I get an urgent pressing call that requires me to address or resolve it. After my work day is done, it is family, friends, and me time.
- I work out 4 to 6 days a week. So before dinner I work out for at least 45 minutes, and often with my son and/or with a friend. I use a progressive over load system for strength building and cutting. I training in karate and/or the treadmill/HIITs/bicycling 2 to 3 days a week for cardio.
- I strive to eat what I call, “The Mediterranean way”. It is basically the Mediterranean Diet to where I have made it a way of life to where it is pretty much the way I have been eating since January 2020.
- I strive to get .80 to 1 grams of protein per pound of weight, and take well researched, good supplements, and vitamins. I would like to get to 1.5 grams of protein to 1 pound of weight. So I often eat 4 times a day, but keep my calories in a deficit to lose weight. My maintenance calories are currently about 2800, so I am typically below 2300 to 2000 calories a day on average.
- I invest my free time in addition to exercise with loved ones, reading education/self-improvement books, research fitness, watch good movies, work towards another certification, or finishing, or writing another book.
- I strive to go to bed at a reasonable hour to get 8 hours of sleep. I have always struggled with getting enough sleep. However, I have improved and now reaching nearly 7 hours of sleep a day. Proper sleep is good for you. It is required for muscle recovery, healthy weight, and improved mental health.
So you may ask what has this daily habit achieved for me since I started this plan since January 1st, 2020? Here is a brief summary:
I have lost about 40 + pounds. Gained 10 lbs in muscle and gained 1" to 3" in muscle size. I lowered my resting heart rate by 20+. I am down at least 4 or waist sizes. I sleep better, and feel better. In fact, I feel similar as I did in my mid to late 20s. I gained another black belt, and should have a new book published early next year. My relationships with my inner circle, and loved ones are deeper and stronger.
So, can you do all of this? I would say first check with your medical doctor, but then I would say you may certainly be able to do this and enjoy the process to make it a way of life. I can say with confidence, “It’s better to attempt the spectacular, and possibly fail, than become an expert at the mediocre.”
Prove the doubters wrong, including any of your own negative self talk. If people doubt you, or talk about you negatively, whether to you, or behind your back, well that’s not your people. Remember, you cannot control what people will say, think or often do, but you can certainly control what you say, think and do while possibly influencing others for the good.
I will close with one of my one personal sayings, “The good life is not about how many toys you have, or money you make, it’s about how many lives you touch, and good your create.” And remember that good, is also the good you create for yourself.