“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind” – William James
I have been wanting to write on this subject for some time now, but I wasn’t sure how to approach it. I guess I was also concerned that I wouldn’t really come across as sincere. I mean how can you truly motivate others if at times you question your own levels of motivation?
Humans are simple creatures. Yet how we perceive our place in the world can often be over thought. The burdens we place on ourselves on a daily basis can lead to failures. These small setbacks can add up and soon all we are doing is sabotaging our own dream.
I have no doubt there are countless books on how to motivate oneself in life, even in the field of sports and to a lesser extent the ‘gym’. Instagram is filled with ‘fitness’ accounts where everybody is a fitness model with a shredded six-pack and tips on how to get that ripped summer beach body.
However, it is not as easy as that, is it? Because if it was, we would all have it wouldn’t we?
See, the simple truth is that it really is that easy – I’m serious. OK then Mike, if it is so easy then where has that six-pack gone you had last summer? My answer is, it just wasn’t as important to me as other aspects of my life. Is that the truth? I like to think so. In many ways I do believe this. My position in the world has changed. Where I see myself and my priorities have shifted. Basically that means that in my current mode I don’t want to (not can’t) but don’t want to, commit the resources to achieving that six-pack. The key here is that if you want it, it has to be your priority.
I hear you thinking… you can say it. “I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve been eating well, I’ve been sleeping more”. But have you?
I’m just in the midst of an experiment that is half way completed. This is not unique. I picked two people, one is a friend and a client of mine, the other is a cousin of a friend and both had a similar goal, they simply wanted to fit their clothes better. Now that doesn’t mean lose “weight”. I’ll say it again, they wanted to fit their clothes better.
So, they had to show me every meal or drink they took on a daily basis – we used Whatsapp. If it was a poor food choice then I said no, find something else and suddenly the picture became clearer for them. Oh, I actually do tend to consume a lot of soda, up to four small cans a day in fact! Or I’m just eating because I’m bored, or because everyone else is. Oh, it is not unusual for me to go two days without eating any vegetables (note: both were very different, but they began to see the patterns that had created in their lives). The challenge was to break these habits. Quite quickly they began to stop making the poor choices. But it is never that easy, is it? Well, yes it is; easy to say, harder to do, because soon comes the cravings, the “I’ve been eating well for three days now so let’s just have this poor food choice, or this sugar-filled drink”. When they wanted to “relapse” I simply asked them why they would want to do that, after all the hard work. When asked what was the most important thing they had learnt in seven days, one of them replied “that a healthy lifestyle boosts my self-esteem, and now I feel like I’m making a change in my life and I’ve already seen the results, especially with my attitude toward everything.” By the way, after seven days all of their clothes were fitting better.
Honest effort is success, if you truly want it, you can achieve it!
Now I am lucky enough to know several athletes of reasonable caliber in Kuwait. I also grew up and worked alongside athletes at an international level. I can tell you now that all of them at some stage didn’t think they were good enough, good enough to make it to the next level. Some didn’t even believe they were good enough to be at the level they were at.
Shadows exist, in our world and in our selves. That doesn’t mean we allow them to blind us to our potential. Self-doubt is normal – I think healthy. But you have to believe in yourself. We all know that anything worth achieving is achieved through hard work and surrounding yourself by the right people at the right time. One of my athletes recently had a series of difficult events happen to them. To remain positive during this phase is a huge task. But with the help of their friends and an incredible work ethic they made the best of the situation. They realized the truth in a quote by John Wooden that states “do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do”.
To most of the problems in our own lives, we are the solution. Whether you are trying to fit into your favorite jeans or win the next competition. For humans to achieve all that is demanded of us then we must regard ourselves as greater than we believe.
Mike Campbell is the GM and Co Founder of Inspire Pure Fitness. For further information please email: