MENTAL STRENGTH

Welcome Innerwealth Mental Strength Training – Storing Energy.

As you know, already from the past days, opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one. But opinions can be also a toxic mindset. It is not really so much about what we think but it is more about how we think that becomes a toxic process. Toxic thinking, and it’s subsequent self sabotaging result, can be fixed and easily turned around. We can become an energy giver rather than an energy taker. We can become mentally powerful simply by changing how we think.

You will know by now also that the difference between people at work is not necessarily their technical skills but more likely to be their ability to think clearly when the chips are down. The athletes and people that I coach outside of the business world, artists and performers, musicians and teachers, all know that their success depends on their ability to handle pressure on a sustainable basis. In other words mental strength.

When I competed in my first rowing regatta at a national level I was still under the belief that the person who had the greatest mental strength was able to grind their teeth and chew their way through pain to get to the end of the race. But I lost many races to people who were smiling. I remember one guy, his name is Jeff Sykes, who is so small I could fit him in my back pocket, but he could win any senior rowing skull event without looking like he was trying hard. What Jeff had was the ability to maintain technique under extreme pressure. This new version of mental strength got me thinking. When I was in the gym pushing weights to build my rowing strength I would squeeze that last rep out as if I was holding up the earth. But Jeff would be quietly just moving the weight. As I spent more time with Olympian rowers I noticed that the best of them were always fairly calm even though they were huge giants of men. Their power was held within and never wasted on expression of anger or what I thought was determination.

I guess a lot of my impression of mental strength had come from football where at a very amateur level the person who was the most violent or aggressive usually won the ball.

But that amateur football looked very different when I tried to get into an AFL team. Again, these absolute professional footballers were in general very contain people. Powerful in their presence, but very very contained. Well, contained until such time as they went to the pub after the game. But that’s another story.

When finally I faced the music on this topic I was well down the track of being an elite athlete at an Olympic level in rowing. I had retired from rowing and now was running a business. And again the same stereotype of mental strength meant that, in the face of adversity, I was likeable to a red rag. But I noticed even in my business life that some of my decisions made under those levels of mental strength definition, left a lot to be desired. I worked really hard to improve my decision-making process but never considered my model of mental strength was flawed.

The pressure kept building as life went on and now with three children, and a wife I had been with for nearly 13 years, we faced divorce. My model of mental strength failed me. Tenacity was ridiculous, aggression was pathetic, determination evaporated, my will to fight went out the window as the stakes in the game went up. I found myself fighting for my life. Probably what it feels like to row in an Olympic final. And in these circumstances my clumsy mental strength model gained from competitive football was at the best, ridiculous. And the more I applied it the more conspicuous it became that something about my mindset needed to be readjusted.

The first experience I had was sitting in Zen meditation. You will not find a book that teaches you how to sit in Zen meditation because there is no technique. You just find a cushion, cross your legs in the most uncomfortable way for your knees, and wait. It is the most excruciating experience I have ever endured. Doing nothing. Sitting still. Going nowhere. Eyes open. I would rather be stung by 1000 bees then to endure that agony. But I did. And by the end of it I understood another version, another piece of the jigsaw puzzle, of mental strength. Non-reaction.

So now I was really good at doing nothing. But that wasn’t going to work because I needed to pay child maintenance and try to live a life and pay for food. I was studying at University and so I also needed to learn, and produce results in my exams. So now that I had mastered the art of doing nothing I needed to learn how to master the art of doing something with the same mental strength. And that was not going to be so easy.

For the ensuing 10 years I travelled the world while running my businesses, searching for different ways to be in the world with mental strength that I had learnt from Zen, and yet not give up on my dreams and hopes.

I spent hundreds of hours in ashrams, attended untold lectures around the world, immersed myself in retreats with every different form of traditional medicine, climbed mountains, kayaked around dangerous oceans and participated in service based charity trying to find how to be mentally strong and yet not weak.

The outcome of all this is what you are learning in this 30 day challenge. I did find the answer in the end. Firstly and most importantly mental strength must be found in stillness. There is no use running around looking for mental strength. You’ll exhaust yourself looking for it. Secondly it is to realise that mental strength is defined as the ability to store energy. If you feel powerful within yourself, not angry, powerful, within yourself, you have found mental strength of some description.

Next, you realise that energy, like money or anything, must circulate to grow. Sitting on a cushion in a Zen retreat might be a powerful way to build energy, but if you just sit on your butt and don’t put that energy out into the world it turns into a toxic swamp. And I also experienced what it felt like to become the Guru of doing nothing. That doesn’t work. Avoiding life’s challenges is like building a toilet and sitting in it, not on it.

The next and most important thing about mental strength is not to mess it up in the first place. A fat person might spend a lot of time trying to lose weight. But the smarter thing would be not to get fat in the first place. In other words prevention is better than cure. In order to prevent weakness in mental capacities we must understand that there is an order in the chaos cold life that we can predict. Instead of being swept away in the chaos of life, we can seek and find water in the chaos and therefore not waste the time trying to be mentally strong to deal with chaos. This is a most important thing and it is absolutely why learning the universal laws of nature is so critical. If your interest is to see order in the chaos of life, which is called in my language wisdom, then there is only one single source in the entire universe of this information and that is the universal laws. I have hacked this knowledge for you and I have re-translated it into the universal laws of nature so that we can absorb this knowledge, this great ancient historical knowledge of the universal laws, into our lives without studying the ancient pyramids of Egypt or astrology and astronomy. I have spent thousands of hours studying such things and it takes a lot of energy to wade through the massive volume of literature to extract just five simple facts.

So in order to have real mental strength and not just sit on a cushion and become the Guru of doing nothing with great mental strength, you will need to be able to see order in the chaos of life both at home and at work. This is a fundamental requirement for mental strength unless it’s the mental strength we need for a 50 meter sprint which is completely different.

To an ant life and the need for seeing order in that life is a very small world. And so as you grow from being a child to an adult to a middle leader to a senior leader to an executive leader to a business owner to a transformative human being in the planet each time you grow one little step in your career, you will also grow in the amount of chaos that you will witness and need to reapply the universal laws so that you can bring that chaos to order. And that is why people hire a coach like me because I help them bring chaos to order as it appears rather than destroy their mental strength and their stores of energy will raffle around searching for ways to overcome their frustrations. Frustrations are when we cannot see order in chaos. But there is always order in the chaos. We just may not be ready or able to witness it. And so that Zen like feeling of sitting on a cushion doing nothing with powerful mental strength and that deep sense of power and stored energy, can travel with us wherever we go and within whatever we do.

With all this in place, which will be done by the end of your 30 day challenge, there is one more step. And that step is the magical one called willpower. Willpower is mentioned throughout the ancient texts on mental strength. It is also an incredibly critical part of storing energy within your body. If you do not have the power of will to contain yourself and hold your energy, to shut your mouth when you are about to speak words that cannot be retracted, to stop alcohol when you need it, if you do not have willpower you have no mental strength and a scratching on the surface of a granite block. So the question now becomes at this point in your day what is willpower and how do you get it.

Simply put, willpower varies as vision. The stronger and more powerful your vision the greater your willpower. I am not here talking about vision with the eyes. You can be blind with a powerful vision. I’m talking about your appetite to build and grow something in the future. When we lose that appetite, when we lose hope that we are going to achieve something we dream in the future we start trying to live that appetite vicariously through other people. This is why Rockstars and their money because people live vicariously through them. This is why performers are paid. This is why self-help gurus become wealthy. People live vicariously through others when they lose hope that they themselves can be anything but ordinary. Ultimately a person who loses all hope and doesn’t even try to live vicariously through their children or a movie star, will feel suicidal. Without the future we are all finished.

So to put this last piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place today we are going to talk about a thing that will change your universe if you do it as described. I have given you enough information above to put a strong why in place. When the Y is big enough the hell looks after itself. We are going to challenge you today to build a huge why. The size of your vision determines the size of your life. And the most important thing that I can say before you begin the process is to avoid putting specific people in your vision of the future. Instead of saying Bob my partner, simply say my partner, whoever it is. If you include another person’s name in your vision of the future you have just created a vicarious map that will not manifest. If you are saying as part of your future I would love to walk across Arnhem land in Australia, you can say, I would love to walk across Arnhem land and invite my partner to join me. But if you, like many, make this mistake of thinking that a relationship is where two souls become one, you will be doing damage not only to yourself but to your partner and relationship by including them in your vision.

You will need your workbook, including the sheets you filled out in the very first week of the programme, something to write with and about 25 minutes. But then, you’ll be doing some homework which is a great exercise.

You’ve already learned that one half of building incredible willpower is understanding what you want.

Today, we’ll work on the second half. When you’re done, you’ll have what you need to strengthen your will, increase your determination and take your mental game up another level.

This about all the parts put together.

By themselves, each part of this programme is unremarkable. On their own, they are useless.

But when assembled by a skilled individual, these individual lessons form a single, efficient, high-performance mindset.

But if you remove even the smallest part, like skipping exercise or not doing your goals, the machine won’t function. Everything has to be in place.

Your mind is no different.

All the aspects of conditioning, knowledge, language, communication, confidence, problem solving, a focussed sense of purpose, a positive mindset, combine to create a winning, stress shedding machine, you.

If a single piece is missing, you won’t be at your best.

When your vision is blurred from the challenges of life and work and your brain and heart cry out for mercy, you need to remember your ‘WHY. What’s my vision, what’s my summit?

It’s likely you have a vague idea why you’re striving to be more than you are today. But when you only have a vague picture, you’re not harnessing the mental strength that comes from true clarity, from a deep understanding of your drive.

When you truly know WHY, your willpower will be strong enough to carry you through the dark periods – and people will turn to you more for guidance, and that’s great leadership.

So today we’re going to get even more clear on why you do what you do, adding another piece to strengthen your mental game.

Start by reviewing what you wrote in the initial goal-setting exercises.

In your workbook, read through the description you wrote of who you are today and then re-read the goal that represents your Summit.

We want you to dig deep and get to the core of why you’re climbing towards that personal summit.

So, that’s why you’re working so hard!

As you glance back over them, know that these are the reasons why you’re pushing on toward that distant summit.

When you ask yourself why you’re pushing yourself so hard, why you’re fighting to improve, why you’re making sacrifices to achieve your goals, these are the answers from which you can draw strength.

Now let’s take it a step further.

Let’s turbocharge your mental strength and start building positive habits around these reasons why.

You can accomplish this by taking a positive action every time you see one of those reasons.

Tying actions to your reminders will help you maintain momentum and build positive habits to ensure you’re continually working toward your goals even when you’re not actively working.

If, when you remember your visions, you act, and these actions very simple, you’re more likely to do them when you see the reminder. They can be as easy as visualising yourself winning a rnew client or solving a challenge with a client or laughing with the kids, reciting a couple of lines of positive self talk, which you’ll learn more about in a later module or holding a physical plank for 60 seconds to improve your core strength. The reminder and action should be linked.

For example, if one of your reasons is: To lose weight ‘the action when you see the reminder is to plan a healthy meal for dinner. Or if your reason is “To be a good REAL model for my family” your action could be to go and spend a bit of time with your family.

Make no mistake: being mentally strong requires practice.

The investment you make here for just a couple of minutes today will pay off immeasurably when you need to draw on your inner strength to get through patches or fly faster over tough obstacles.

And I’m positive about that.

IMPROVING FOCUS

A person with a clear focus on their vision has a distinct advantage, one invisible weapon in their arsenal that will ultimately mean the difference between fluffing around trying to satisfy emotional cravings – called narcissism and achieving a remarkable life of leadership, love and adventure.

Following just what we are doing today you will quickly and easily be able to focus your concentration and get into the zone.

‘The Zone’? Yes, that almost mystical state of focus concentration and control in which a person is at their best at work, in sport or even in lovemaking. Now that has to get your attention. Focus and love making. Everyone will celebrate that.

Now, we’re not talking about ‘getting psyched up’ and bouncing all over the place. That’s for children and the mentally unstable, the energy suckers.

No. We’re talking about focussing your attention like a laser beam, finding that perfect balance of energy and awesomeness that allows you to deliver a peak experience, while remaining relaxed.

Focused, capable of dealing with any obstacles in your path.

Think of focus as the tool that helps you make the best decisions possible when under pressure.

Improving your focus doesn’t happen by accident, and it isn’t easy.

We live in a chaotic and unpredictable world, with people, events, devices and even our own minds and bodies trying to distract us from our goals.

That’s even more true when you’re under the pump at work and dealing with mutiny at home.

And believe me when I say “work is not a team sport”
You may be the strongest individual in a group, but when you’re distracted and lost focus, sleepless for a few nights, pushing the envelope to the limit and you’re exhausted, you are still going to need power, strength and endurance to get to the top.

You need focus.

You need focus to get into the zone and shut out the pain, the emotion, the body and distractions.

You need to concentrate on performing at your best.

The ability to focus, to shut everything out and get on with the job at hand, is not necessarily something you’re born with.

And, thought it’s so fundamental to performance. Without doubt it’s the key. The mental strength to control your thoughts.

Focus is something few people work on – so you can consider this yet another ace up your sleeve and another pillar to your growing strength.

To improve focus, you need to practice it.

Incorporating a regular focus exercise into your everyday routine can provide significant benefits in meetings, problem solving, creativity, events or competition. You will evolve if you do it right.

It could range from being more prepared to give your all when the going gets tough, to improving your listening and learning attention or staying focussed during negotiations while others drift off in emotional digressions.

You can jump to the front when before the rest of the group doesn’t know what hit them.

A regular focus exercise will also help your physical training as well.

Concentrating on a specific effort or situation and being able to shut out the emotion and pain will allow you to dig deeper and maximise the returns on your efforts.

Lastly, better focus will improve your ability to generate positive self-talk, something you are about to learn the importance of tomorrow in the 30 day programme.

To just get a bit scientific for a second, a regular focus exercise can increase the presence of Alpha waves in your brain.

Alpha waves are a frequency of brainwaves that occur when we are in a state of highly focussed concentration and when elite physical and mental performance is unlocked. It’s not child’s play. People at the top in any field of life can do it.

Alpha Waves play a critical role in the coordination of complex neural networks in our brain, and are strongly correlated with an increase in concentration and performance.

If you look at the brain of a Zen master deep in meditation or a world-class athlete in the zone or an executive in deep focus, you see one common trait: a concentration of Alpha waves.

The focus exercise that you’ll complete right after this module, and which you’ll make part of your daily routine, will help you become more familiar with those Alpha waves.

The process of establishing focus and then carrying that concentration into your life, study, work and athletic performance.

The more familiar you become with this process, the better you get at it and the more natural it becomes.

Then, the easier it is for you to “turn up” when you need to for crunch time when you’re under pressure.

Now, just be aware: the first time you complete this exercise, you may find that clearing your mind isn’t that easy.

You might even find it frustrating, with intruding thoughts just telling you to get on with it and start your day.

But remember the first time you rode a bicycle, those first, wobbly pedal strokes before you started crushing everyone before you?

It takes time and practice to develop a new skill. Concentration is no different.

So, if you want to take your business, sport or relationship performance to the next level, stick with it and make it as much a part of your daily routine as putting on your shoes.

Train your concentration as diligently as you train your body.

Ok, it’s time to get to work. When this module ends, and right before you start a anything that requires focus, start up what you are about to learn.

You can return to what you are about to create before every meeting, presentation, romantic night or sport event.

Once you have it visualised then you can simply go through it on your own before work, workouts or special events.

Remember, what separates energy suckers from energy givers, the unwashed masses who aspire to mediocrity from those who achieve, isn’t just physical or intellectual prowess.

Those who are making progress toward their goals have mastered not only their body and mind, their environments and values, they have created a singular, unshakeable focus on their vision of the future.

Close your eyes

Before you is a work of art. It is a collage of some sort. There are images of people, places, events. It is a magnificent wall painting encompassing your entire future. It includes images of wealth, images of offices you love, images of millions of people who benefit from your work, images of children helped and loved, family, sport and more. Let your mind flood with this magnificent work of art.

Now.

We are going to create, the secret of human focus. A dream board.

Why is this the key?

You sabotage anything you cannot link to your vision. And so, by this visual image of your expectations and dreams of the future you are creating a non-sabotaged life. This may feel at first like the inversion of positive self talk. But when you look around you you will see the number of people who have actually sabotaged what they dreamt.

When we work on low priorities it means that something not on the dream board is catching our attention.

When somebody else’s dream board becomes our dream board we are like a sinking ship.

When our dream board becomes foggy and vague we are confused and insecure. This is the source of the lack of focus that causes most people untold agony.

And therefore this visualisation of this beautiful piece of art needs to be transformed into a real piece of art called your dream board.

How many people think about this? We hang paintings and photos on our walls that represent past and have no problem with that. We decorate our offices and our mobile phones with people we love in the present and have no problem with that. But focus is caused by linking what we are doing to something we would love to create. Our inspiration and our energy is sustained only when we think that what we are doing right now, right in this very moment is building the future we have dreamt. For most people that future is vague. It is a wish a hope, a memory I thought something buried deep down below the rough-and-tumble of getting the kids to bed and answering problems and emails at work. And that’s where focus goes. Focus is like paying attention to the quickest wheel in the town. The loudest noise draws our attention and that’s why emotional people, people with the lowest consciousness, attract our attention because they make the loudest noise by having the loudest opinions about everything. Holding on to focus means sustaining your individuality in vision. Therefore a dream board, as comical as you might think it sounds is the secret to incredible focus for a young person studying for their exams or for you wishing to create a world outside of yourself that is magnificent.

If you think that this is a fantasy that is a hippy process let me assure you that this is buried deep in the greatest and oldest Hindu teachings. It is written about deeply in the Buddhist Dharma and it follows most traditional, aboriginal process. It is however, not commonplace in organised religion or in modern self-help. Why? Because it’s too easy. And when you get it you will not s spend money on therapy or any such process that distract you from this vision board.

Investment is in creating a modulated and ever-changing dream board. This dream board must be placed in a prominent place in your life so that when you walk past it you cannot help but glance up at it and capture yourself in its intent. You might even take photographs of it and use it as your screensaver.

The soul speaks in pictures. It would be ridiculous to think that our higher self would talk in language because what language would it speak? Our soul speaks in pictures and images and visions are a most common interpretation of the guidance of our higher self. It is also a reflection of truth, especially when you consider the most incredible dreams people have that come out of nowhere. Those dreams are in some form of vision. The best time to look at the dream board is before bed at night and of course when you wake up in the morning before the day begins. But every single meeting you go into, every single event you participate in, the dream board will draw your focus into design and you will be able eventually, to visualise this dream board any time you want. This is the power of the human condition, it is often called the human spirit, the ability to dream the dream board and hold that picture firm, called visualisation, and the loss of it is called death.

Yes, we sabotage anything we cannot link to our vision. Yes a dream board is such a simplistic thing. But every child on earth should have one. And every adult on earth needs one.

Creating Your Dream Board

Collect for yourself a bunch of really old magazines. It’s preferable to do this in the real world rather than online, but you can do the same process using the Internet and downloading photos to a collage app.

My recommendation is about 20 magazines of all different varieties including fashion and health and business and sports and whatever.

If you have kids, they can sit down with you while you do this and they can create their own dream boards using a little pair of not dangerous scissors. Make sure you keep your scissors safe if this is the case.

You’re going to create seven piles of photographs from these magazines roughly cut out or torn out, that represent the future you would love to manifest in 10 years time or more in any of the seven areas of life. So each pile, represents one of the seven areas of life. If you wish you can also split relationship and family and so you will have eight piles. You will need around about 20 photographs in each pile.

With this job done you can put each pile into a brown paper bag or a manila folder or whatever you would like to put it into but keep the piles separate. And now your job is to get a sheet of paper or board preferably, and start bringing out each photograph and putting it on the board. How are you attach it to the board doesn’t matter you can glue it if you want.

There’s a little ritual when you do this that’s quite beneficial. As you draw out each photograph one from each pile, and one by one, you can either make notes to yourself, record your voice, or video yourself describing what that photograph means to you about the future. What we are going to do at the end is to see how many photographs you’ve used to represent the BE aspect of life, the DO aspect of life, and to have aspect of life. If there is a deficiency in any pile of one of those three will make it up at the end. So by the time this pasting process is finished you will have 140 photographs stuck on a sheet. That means they will be overlapping, under lapping, sometimes even hidden from view. The objective here is to build this depth of photographs as well as breadth.

The key here is to firstly make the selection of the photograph out of the envelope all the paper bag random and so it’s like the game of lucky dip. The kids love this game and you can even create dream boards for them in their room that they would love to have. For a child you don’t need to worry about more than three areas of life such as school, family, and holidays. Either way they will have a ball.

As you will learn tomorrow, in the self talk day of storing energy in your body, we all have a child within us. So often we forget that aspect of being a great human. Exercises like this done really well with some fun and joy and a big mess all over the floor or the table and a bit of laughter involved is so crucial to mental and emotional health. But it is also an insight into the mind of a powerful athlete. This multidimensional dream board, not only incentivises and individual to remember to live for the future and gives incentive to struggle and get through that struggle for a reason bigger than comfort, it is also a landmark.

Every single client I have ever coached, who has done a dream board, who looks at that dream board daily, will one day remark oh my goodness me I’ve achieved it.

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