Can you remember a time when someone said something to you that still rings in your ears? Perhaps you don’t have to think back very far, and you’re hearing those words over and over again in your mind.
I remember the words of an elementary school teacher, who told me “You run like an elephant!” I can’t remember her name, and it doesn’t matter who she was, but oh! how those words have stuck in my mind.
I remember that day clearly. I was running around the block with my class, trying my best to run well, and those few words deflated me.
I’ve never thought of myself as a good runner. In fact, I’d say that I don’t run or jog as well as most people. My brain, though, is starting to catch up with my body, and this weekend I will compete in an Olympic distance triathlon. I have completed two other shorter distance triathlons, and completed many 10 km races and three half-marathons. I’m starting to think that maybe running like an elephant isn’t such a bad thing after all! Although running is not my best sport, I am starting to believe that I’m doing well at it.
There has been a lot of research on the mental aspects involved in sport. Some say that 80 per cent of your performance is in your mental training, with just 20 per cent being the physical training. When our mind is filled with negative thoughts, and especially with thoughts that are untrue, we fail to excel and don’t reach our potential. When we fill our mind with positive, truthful thoughts . . . wow! The heights we reach, as what we thought was impossible, becomes possible!
Try this little experiment. First, thread a foot or so of thread through a needle. Then place your elbow on a table with your fist up, and hold the thread so that the needle hangs down above the table. Next, concentrate and think about the needle moving forward and back (don’t move your hand, just think about it moving), and watch. Then try thinking about it moving side to side, and watch again. Finally, try thinking about the needle moving in a circle, and watch it.
What happened? Did the needle move in the directions you thought about?
The reason it did is that when you concentrated your mind on that thought, that message was sent to your nerves down through your arm, hand, and fingers. Although you didn’t physically move your hand, the messages in your nerves sent a signal to your muscles; enough to move the needle!
If a one-time thought is powerful enough to move a needle, how much more will those thoughts we constantly have swimming around in our mind control our performance, movement, and each choice and decision?
So, how do we train the mind? Surround yourself with people, music, reading, environments, etc. that promote the truth in love. Filling your mind with thoughts like these will help you get started and help you keep going. “. . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . .” (Psalm 139); “Exercising will make me healthier, stronger, and more fit”; “I remember where I started, realize where I am now, and see how far I’ve come!”
Although we don’t have control over every environment in which we find ourselves, we do have many opportunities to fill our minds with positive truth.
Today, take hold of one of those negative thoughts in your mind and throw it out. Replace it with the truth about that matter. If the negative thought resurfaces, quote the truth again. For example, throw out “You run like an elephant!” and replace it with “You are healthy, fit, and a triathlete!”