I recently started running again and I have noticed how some simple shifts in my mindset have been a game or should I say ‘race changer’ for me.
A few years ago, my mental continuum around the 5k Park Run route was mostly ‘ugh! they’re so much faster than me’, ‘must get a grip, I can’t do it!’, ‘I’ll never be as good as them’; a pretty miserable activity if that’s the inside commentary.
At the time, I did notice that my inner beliefs were less than flattering thanks to my knowledge of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and I did try to shift this. I began to tell myself that; ‘I can beat them’, ‘if I get past this person, i’ll be winning’, ‘I just need to push myself a bit more’. However, it just turned into a mental battle of ‘yes you can, no you can’t’ and i put way more effort into my mental energy than I probably did into my physical ability.
Since I have started running again, I have noticed that I’m enjoying the runs far more; it’s a pleasant experience, I feel stronger, more confident and I am actually getting faster results. This isn’t because I am any fitter but because it’s no longer mental torture. What I have noticed is, that actually it is down to a mindshift.
I have been practising gratitude a lot more over the last couple of years and as I run around the route I thank each of the volunteers, which puts you in a great mood anyway and… I have a completely different attitude towards everyone else who is joining in. They are no longer my competitors but people who are also there to enjoy their own race and achieve their own goals.
My inner mantra is now ‘I can do it too’, meaning I no longer come from a place of ‘lacking’ and competition but a place of striving and encouragement of others too. I watch the faster runners and it spurs me on thinking ‘I can have all their boundless energy too’ and miraculously I do, it’s infectious now seeing them stride past me!
I have spent many years comparing myself to others and put myself in a place of ‘lacking’ but now I can clearly see the detrimental effects of this. I think for some people, it is natural to want to others to do well and also for themselves to achieve. However, some of us come to learn things on a deeper level later in life and now I’m grateful I have managed to have this insight.
I recently watched a documentary about ultra runners who compete to get the fastest record on the Apalacian Trails but instead of seeing each other as competitors, they help each other to beat each other’s records by meeting them at check points on the route and giving advice. Isn’t that just the stuff of meaning! It’s not about winning; but the giving and receiving of strength from others.
It comes down to perception. A wise person I know said that actually most things come down to perception and he is absolutely right.
So, if a simple mindshift can help a race become more enjoyable, how else can a mindshift help in other areas of our lives…