“Your mind is your greatest power. Use it well.” ~Unknown
Sometimes during a workout or race, our minds start to have this internal banter with themselves…it’s like the devil is sitting on my right shoulder screaming negativity in my right ear and the angel is sitting on my left shoulder whispering positive come backs in my left ear.
D: “You don’t really want to do this workout, so just don’t do it.”
A: “You will feel so much better after you complete the workout, so get it done!”
D: “This is hard. Just quit.”
A: “This should be hard, but I will be stronger. Don’t quit.”
D: “I am too slow.”
A: ” Keep working hard and I will get stronger and faster.”
D: “I can’t hold that power/pace.”
A: “Yes, I can. I am strong. I am tough.”
D: “I’m hungry. I need to stop.”
A: “I can survive for just another couple of minutes and then I can eat.”
D: “Why am I doing this?”
A: “I love to play and swim/bike/run is my playground! I feel AMAZING when I’m done.”
D: “I’m tired.”
A: “I should be tired, but I am strong enough to get through this workout.”
D: “You should just stop because these stomach cramps are BAD!”
A: “They will go away eventually. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Thanks to my mother for this constant reminder…)
How we deal with this internal banter can make us stronger or weaker. I hear the devil, but choose to listen to the angel. I try to make sure that I have a positive comeback for every negative thought that creeps into my mind. Sometimes it takes me a while to twist the negative into the positive, but that is what I focus on until those negative thoughts float away and positive ones take their place.
I have learned to expect the chatter to show up while training and racing. The devil voice in my head has tried to lure me to a more comfortable situations and environments. It often tries to undermine the angel. At times, it is my own worst enemy. But this voice has also made me stronger, tougher, resilient, more persistent and determined. It has taught me to better identify and manage what is pain and what is discomfort. It has taught me how to overcome obstacles and adversity. It has taught me to believe in me. When I embrace the chatter, I take control of the things within my control and let the rest go.
The key is to acknowledge the devil, but only listen to the angel. I have to rise up above myself, my doubts and my fears. Learning from the negative devil is key to my success. I expect to have moments in my journey that are awesome, but I expect to have even more that challenge me and push me to become a better version of myself. I know the devil will be screaming the loudest when I am at my weakest and am the most uncomfortable, but I have the ability and control to overcome those moments and outlast them. Eventually they will either dissipate or I will outlast them by completing the workout/race.
I’ve found the best way to manage the chatter is to keep moving forward toward my goals or the end of the workout/race…whichever comes first. If you keep moving forward, you might just surprise yourself with what you accomplish. Anything is possible if you quiet the negative chatter!!
Who do you listen to more during your workouts and races…the devil or the angel? How do you turn the negative into the positive?