Anything is Possible!
Beating the Demons – Chapter 2
Now let’s take a look at another way to Beat the Demons.
We’ll start with another of my favorite inspirational quotes: Anything is Possible!
Is this really true? Come on, anything?! How can this happen? There are certainly limits, right?
Well, not as often as we think. The only thing that limits most of us is the thoughts in our head that say, “I can’t do it.” The mind is very powerful and believes whatever you tell it. If you tell the brain you can’t do something, that is exactly what happens in most cases. If you tell yourself, “I can do it,” positive actions start to occur to meet the objective.
One of the most famous examples of this approach is President John F. Kennedy’s declaration to the world on May 25, 1961 that the United States of America should put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.
“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish… I believe we should go to the moon.”
– President John F. Kennedy
Many thought this was not possible, but Kennedy’s belief that it could and should be done was enough to move a nation toward that goal. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon.
Closer to home for endurance athletes are the countless examples displayed annually on the television rebroadcast of the Ironman World Championship race. Athletes from all walks of life choose to get on the field of play and become an Ironman. Against all odds, athletes with significant disabilities, terminal illnesses and other major challenges convince themselves that it is possible – and they get it done. We watch in amazement and with tears flowing as these underdogs show the world that Anything is Possible if you just choose and focus. They have each figured out that you can’t win at life if you’re in the bleachers watching it go by.
“It’s been a story of exclusion ever since he was born. When he was eight months old the doctors told us we should just put him away — he’d be a vegetable all his life, that sort of thing. Well, those doctors are not alive any more, but I would like them to be able to see Rick now.” – Dick Hoyt
A very personal example, and one that inspired me greatly, is the story of how my son, Michael, became a Big Ten collegiate water polo champion. You see, Mike did not touch a water polo ball until freshman year in high school. He sat on the bench for most of his freshman year but really enjoyed being a part of the team. Mike eventually learned water polo, and by his senior year he was a leading scorer and helped his team make it to the State Championships for the first time in school history. But that’s not the end of the story.
Mike’s coach wrote a very nice college recommendation letter and when I thanked him for doing so, my whole world shifted. He told me that I didn’t need to thank him at all… that he should thank me for giving him the pleasure of coaching Mike. He said that Mike was not the most gifted athlete on the team, but he chose to become a champion. He said that Mike always came to practice early and stayed later to shoot that water polo ball into the net, perfecting his shooting skill and making himself into one of the best water polo players in the region. He finished by saying it was an honor to have such a highly motivated and positive young man on the team. It was a very emotional moment for me. A moment so profound that it changed my life. It validated that no matter what your current skill level, or your genetic makeup, or what odds you think you face, you can just choose to become a champion and make it so. It validated that anything is possible if you want it bad enough and make the commitment to focus on it day in and day out. It validated that once you have total clarity on the mission, the power to achieve shows up and you become unstoppable in your quest.
“What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists…and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know EXACTLY what you want…and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.” – Alexander Graham Bell
So how does one develop enough focus and commitment to get what you want? It all starts with a clearing of the clutter in our minds. Yes, we’re back to the monkey chatter, that constant voice that runs in your head that you don’t even hear unless you stop and listen closely. It’s even running right now as you read this article. It might be saying something like, “When is this guy going to get to the point?” or “Wow, this stuff is really making sense to me. It’s hitting home.” This background audio-tape is our subconscious thought stream and, unfortunately for most of us, it holds us back. The voices usually create a bunch of reasons based on our past learning and logic that tell us we shouldn’t or can’t or won’t go after what we want.
We must be aware of this negative chatter and turn down the volume or better yet, turn it off completely. Once you significantly reduce or eliminate the clutter, perfect clarity appears. Your mind becomes a brand new blank canvas. A canvas that you are now ready to paint your landscape of possibilities on. You see, the mind only has so much time each day to think. If you’re too busy thinking about what can’t be done, you just don’t have the time and energy to create new positive possibilities. Yes, it’s just that simple.
One technique to clear some clutter is to stop thinking or worrying about anything that you can’t directly control. It’s amazing how much time we waste daily thinking about or working on things that we can’t control. Most of these issues are not worthy of our time or our lives. We consume ourselves with small things that don’t help us achieve our big goals and dreams. Once you clear these small, non-controllable things out of the mind, you are now ready to think, even dream, of what BIG things you’d like to have in your life. You can create possibilities that ARE worthy of your life. And you’ll have the time and energy to focus on getting there. This is how major breakthroughs happen for athletes in their training, races and lives.
So are you starting to believe that Anything is Possible? If so, what are you going to paint on your canvas?
Stay tuned for Chapter 3 of Beating the Demons.
Joe LoPresto is the Founder and Head Coach of Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance coaching industry, Coach Joe and the Experience Triathlon coaching team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life. Learn more about Coach Joe and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com.