If you say you can’t do something, you have already decided it’s not going to happen. When you believe you can, you have opened up the possibility for yourself. Belief can be a strong catalyst. Once you project a goal into the universe, you will then do what it takes to achieve it. You will adopt the habits of a person who is on the path to success. I don’t believe I can be a billionaire (and that doesn’t bother me), and so my actions do not reflect those of someone who desires to make insane amounts of money.
When people who become successful reflect, you often hear them remember how they had a vision and plan to get where they are. At the time, they would have seemed crazy to those around them, but the people with crazy belief in themselves are more likely to succeed than those who do not think much of themselves.
You don’t have to have some ginormous lofty goal to reach unprecedented levels of success. However, whatever goal you have, adopting the belief of someone super-accomplished is helpful. Tonnes of people are over-weight but believe they cannot change this due to it being too hard, not having enough time or not having good genetics. This is a significant example of someone’s beliefs holding them back.
If you think you have a chance at getting a certain job, you will do your research, prepare and visualise the end result. You will start telling people what your plans are, and you must now live up to the expectations you have set. If you don’t believe you can get a certain job, you won’t even apply, and of course you won’t get it!
I want to deadlift 300kg next year. Until recently, I had never seriously said that to anyone. Now that I have, I strongly believe the likelihood of it happening has significantly increased. I feel as though it is part of my future, just like someone in university will think about the job they intend to do when they are done. I feel like I must now execute the actions of someone who deserves to pull 300 – get more sleep, nail nutrition, develop technique and work harder.
Yes, we are all naturally predisposed to be better at some things, and worse at others. However, to maximise whatever goal you are after, the process is the same – hard work and consistency. Yes, I will never be in the NBA. But if I wanted to be the best basketball player I could, the habits necessary to maximise my own genetics are the same as someone who was born destined to be in the NBA. There are people who could be elite, but their actions do not set them up for success.
“I will never be one of the top lifters”
I overheard someone say this. An intermediate lifter who was well built, but objectively not in the top tier in his weight class. All I could think was, why would you ever say that? At Strength Culture, when someone says they can’t do something, we reply “not with that attitude.” I am objectively not one of the best in the country. I want to be, and my believing that I can is a key first step. I believe it, and so I will do what the elite do to deserve to join them. If I tell myself or others that it is out of reach, it will be out of reach as I will not do what it takes.
“I have a poverty bench”
I used to think that benching 140 by the time I was 25 would be unreal. Now, after changing my mindset, I think of myself as someone who has the ability to have a strong bench press. And as such I want 150 sooner rather than later. Telling yourself or others you are bad at something (even if you objectively are) is a great way to have that become part of your identity. Forget what you currently are. If you want progress keep your eye on what you can become. You are not going to be infinitely successful at everything you do. However, if you want to be the best you can, give yourself the best chance to by believing in yourself.
The caveat – talk is cheap.
I don’t want what I have said to get twisted. If you talk about what you are going to do, but do not follow through with your actions, you need to take a hard look at yourself. Talk, believe, but most importantly put in the work. Promising yourself or others the world and not delivering is not on. We all know that there are no magical pills, just patience and dedication. That does not change. The point of this piece is to encourage you to control what’s going on in your head, to allow you to push your body past what you thought you could.