Yesterday, I did quite a bit of thinking…or as much thinking as is possible in the middle of a long run. I went for 8 miles yesterday and it wasn’t easy-in fact, I’ve never run that far before-but I just kept thinking “one more song” or “one more step,” whatever I thought I could handle. And just over an hour later, when the clouds turned to molten gold and amaranth pink, when the waves rolling onto Aberdeen’s shore had taken on an inky hue from the setting sun, I found myself crossing that imaginary finish line.
There were moments when I considered stopping, and I did actually stop once to re-tie my shoe, but more often than these times were five, even fifteen minutes of thinking that I could do it. So much of running, as with other aspects of life, is about our mental toughness, so don’t think this just applies to athletes! Henry Ford, he who offered a car in any colour so long as it was black (and who implemented the assembly line as we know it) said
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
He must have been onto something, because Ford Motor Company was worth $28.64 billion last year. Another brilliant example comes from my childhood friend, the Little Engine that Could. If you’ve never heard the story, a train is stuck on one side of a mountain and all of the big train engines it asks for help refuse. So, it falls to the little blue engine (who eagerly accepts) to help him out of his predicament. With a little optimism, a lot of hard work, and a super catchy mantra of “I think I can,” the little blue engine succeeded and became the Little Engine that Could. When I’m in the middle of running, or pushing through one last set of weights, and Henry’s eloquent words just won’t form properly in my head, I always remind myself “I think I can.”
Mentality is such an integral part of success. Even if you don’t achieve the results you’re hoping for the first time around, or other challenges arise, do your best to keep a positive outlook on the situation. Finished a race but didn’t make a personal best? Guess what, you still finished. Want to move somewhere else and aren’t sure how? Having a goal is the first step-you’re on your way! Find your mantra and let it fill every atom in your body, until the frustration of your challenges is soothed by it. And of course, don’t get down on yourself if this takes time. There are days, even weeks, when it seems like nothing is working the way you had hoped…I’ve been there before! Sometimes it helps to write your mantra or favourite phrases down and keep them around, like on the bathroom mirror or fridge. That way, the words you believe in on the good days don’t get lost in the fog of “stinking thinking” you might have swirling around your head. Life is, in so many ways, a self-fulfilling prophecy, so why not set yourself up for success (and a positive outlook) while you’re at it?
When did you find positive thinking helpful? Or, do you think it’s not a contributing factor? Comment below!