PROPOSAL: Mind Over Matter

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Mind Over Matter: The Mindset of a Bodybuilder, is a blog about how the mindset of a world champion can help you to achieve greatness. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods are a few examples of how such a mindset can help you reach inconceivable levels of success in life. There is a pre-conceived notion that bodybuilders are nothing more than “muscle heads” with small brains, and large, aggressive egos.  My goal is the break that stereotype by showing that the intelligence and benefits of such a mindset are not only intuitive, but help create balance by removing the noise that often stands between us and our goals.

My first interviews will be of Nick Townsend; a personal trainer, and close friend. After doing some initial research on LIRN, and on the web, I found that his philosophy nearly exactly mirrors that of pro athletes, namely professional bodybuilders.  For example, professional bodybuilder, Kai Greene, in a motivational video stated, “if you walk through life with your goals clearly in front of you and at every chance of failure, you push through your fears and past your demons, you can achieve greatness” (The Best Motivation, 2011). Nick preaches this philosophy daily.

During the development of the blog, I plan to interview Nick Townsend in and out of the gym as well as film professional bodybuilders in the bay area, their workout sessions, and source additional relevant academic text and video. To note, there are several motivational videos available on the web of professional athletes that have used this concept and their experience to succeed outside of the gym. Additionally, there are several bodybuilder centric gyms in the south bay where I live and I plan to source footage and content across as many of these venues as I can fit in.  By going outside of my own surroundings, I hope to give a more accurate representation of the bodybuilder mindset at work rather than just show my limited experience.

Personally, I have learned a lot from the bodybuilder way of thinking. I hope sharing what I have learned can help people achieve their goals, no matter how big or small. Getting over the mental hurdles of your mind is not easy.  But when you do, you learn, you grow, and you gain confidence in yourself. That in itself is valuable and can sometimes mean the difference between success or failure.

The mind is a powerful thing…

In my quest to find out as much as I can from other sources about the mindset of athletes, I came across a blog doing similar research called The Winged Spur.  It’s refreshing to see how, with respect to my own understanding, the philosophy the blog has discovered is nearly identical.  On the blog, there was a particular quote from Ironman competitor, Richard Strauss, and it reads as follows:

“The body will do amazing things, when driven by the single-minded focus created through clarity of purpose. In short, identify why you want to do this to yourself and then commit your head to driving your body to the edge of your physical envelope. In the words of Jack Palance in City Slickers, it’s the One Thing…The One Thing is whatever has motivated you to do this to yourself in the first place.”

In all honestly, this mindset translates directly to personal or professional goals. Just switch out the word “body” with “mind” and voila’! I can think of personal experiences where such focus, clarity and understanding resulted in progress (my record store, DJ career, weightloss, home improvement projects).  You name it.  The key is being completely honest with your self.  In the end, if you aren’t, you’re mind will fool you and nearly always take the easy or incorrect way out.  Mind over matter!  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!

 

Cited Works:

“Peak Performance and the Olympic Athlete’s Mindset.” Web log post. The Winged Spur Weblog. 18 Apr. 2008. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://wingedspur01.wordpress.com/>.

What do champions have that the everyday Joe does not?

On any given day, you can see people out on fields all across America, practicing soccer, or football, or hitting a baseball (over and over again), trying to get things just right.  But what is it that separates champion athletes from the everyday Joe?  In researching, I came across a CNN interview with two performance experts, one an author and the other a performance coach.  Both seemed to believe that in order to achieve great feats, you have to practice, over and over and over again, so much so, that your mind eventually re-wires itself to perform tasks automatically.

However, performance coach Andy Barton says, “only perfect practice will make perfect.” An additional tool, he says, is to imagine what you are trying to do, to the point that your mind simply cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality.  “The more you actually do that”, he says, “the more your body and mind get used to it, so when you come to the real thing, you’re more prepared. (Andy Barton, Gold Medal Formula).

Matthew Syed, author of “Bounce”, a book that focuses on the importance of practice in sports says, “Champion athletes have the ability to trust their subconscious competence, rather than trust their conscience which is often interfered with when under pressure. This is particularly important and can also be seen in public speaking or any other type of performance where a person might get stage fright.

In all of my findings, there are common threads.  Here the common thread seems to be the need for focus, or more importantly, specific focus.  Doing so can help an individual achieve smaller milestones as they work towards an end-goal.


Cited Works:

Gold Medal Formula: Mind over Matter? – CNN.com. Dir. Ben Wyatt. Perf. Ben Wyatt. CNN.com International / Gold Medal Formula: Mind over Matter? – CNN.com. 31 Jan. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2012. <http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/31/sport/olympics-london-2012-psychology/index.html>.