“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
Meet Dean and Kalunda. Kalunda is a seasoned runner with lots of experience. Dean is interested in how Kalunda is able to run like he does. He wants to be able to run like Kalunda. The two men are sitting at a smoothie bar having a conversation. Let’s tune in.
“I should exercise regularly Kalunda. Maybe I would be in better shape,” says Dean.
“To get results, you need to turn your should into a must,” says Kalunda, with his strong African accent.
“Okay,” says Dean, shaking his head, looking as if he’s considering the advice.
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah…,” says Dean.
“Then we’ll start tomorrow.
“Tomorrow?” asks Dean.
“Yeah tomorrow. Why not?”
“It’s going to be 98.0 degrees out there by 10:00 a.m.”
“That’s no problem. We’ll run earlier than 10:00.” Dean put his finger to his mouth, looks away, and thinks. Kalunda leans toward Dean slightly, in an attempt to regain eye contact with him. Dean notices Kalunda staring at him, and he know he’s waiting for an answer from him.
“Well, I have to be at work by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow,” says Dean with a tone of uncertainty.
“Still no problem. We’ll stat at 6:00 a.m.,” says Kalunda. Dean smiles slightly and thinks, this guy is crazy. Who runs at 6:00 a.m.? Then, he shakes his head, yes, and says,
The next morning, Kalunda and Dean meet in the park. Kalunda notices that Dean has a new pair of Nike Adrenalines on his feet. He raises his right leg up, grabs his right ankle with his right hand, and pulls his right heel up to his butt. Then he says to Dean,
“That’s a good running shoe.”
“I know. I bought them last night. I’m serious now,” says Dean. Kalunda lets go of his ankle and says,
“All right. Let’s go.”
The two men begin running with a gentle and smooth pace. Dean’s stride is shorter and quicker that Kalunda’s. The soles of their shoes hitting the pavement give off a gentle erratic rhythm. Dean hears the wind occasionally brushing against his ears, and then, his knees begin to stiffen. He holds his pace a little longer, and then his legs begin to feel heavy. He thinks, what the hell is going on? This doesn’t happen when you run, right? I shouldn’t be doing this. Kalunda feels discomfort too, but not as much as Dean does. A few minutes later, Dean swears his heart has slipped up from his chest and lodged itself into his throat. He starts to weave and stagger. Kalunda notices Dean’s uncontrolled motions, slows down, and says.
“It’s time to walk now,” and then his run stride changes to a brisk walk. Dean tries to slow down too, but he can’t, because he feels he no longer has control over his fatigued body. Finally, he stumbles into a slow walk and falls back next to Kalunda. As they are walking, both men desire more oxygen. Both men have pain in their quadriceps and feet. Dean is the only one who feels lower back pain. Here is what Dean is saying to himself while they are walking. I’m not a runner. I can’t do this. I don’t know why I let Kalunda talk me into this shit. I know it’s early in the morning, but it’s still hot as hell out here. Now I know why I don’t exercise. I know I’m going to regret this for a long time.
Dean’s self-talk is negative and limiting. This can happen to us all. It doesn’t matter what the context of the situation is about, it can happen if you don’t watch it. That little voice inside your head will talk you out of what you should be doing instead of praising you for what you are doing.
It’s the lose-half of your mind squaring off against the win-half. This is what I call the bane in the brain syndrome. What’s a bane? It’s a thing that destroys or spoils the good in something. Dean’s negative self-talk is the bane of his physical condition and his positive psychology. Sometimes those negative thoughts make it to the surface of our consciousness and come out of our mouths as speech. You know what that is called? It’s called an excuse. You obviously can see how this habit would be a problem when you want to achieve something. So the bane in the brain is definitely a problem for achievers. Do you want o know how to fix it? Here’s how:
1. Recognize that you are doing it. Some people are so in the habit of being negative that they aren’t aware of it. You can’t change what you can’t identify. Even if you identify it, you have to decide it’s something you want to change. By recognizing that you have that bad habit of negative-self talk, you give yourself the power to choose which way you want to go, negative or positive.
- Choose to listen to the winner’s voice inside you. You can’t achieve anything if the win-half and the lose-half of your brain are continually at war with each other. The stronger side will win. The Bible verse James 1:8 states, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Double mindedness causes you to flip-flop in your direction or focus instead of consistently moving in your chosen direction. Don’t let that happen if you can help it. Life will attempt to toss you all about as it is. Don’t help it out. Don’t be among the consistently inconsistent.
Program yourself to deal with your discomfort. Pain can make whips of us all. Determine if the pain you’re feeling is that of growth or that of injury. If it’s growth, deal. It’s uncomfortable because you are outside your comfort zone. You have to get out of your comfort zone a lot in order for that zone to become your new comfort zone. How do you program yourself? You do it with your talk. Let’s use Kalunda as an example. When his legs start burning, he thinks, ah, now the weakness is being worked out of me. When he feels like he wants to quit, he thinks, if I want to be stronger tomorrow, I must do my best today. Do you see his focus? He focuses on the results he’s after. He sees the pain and the obstacles as a reason to keep going, not a reason to stop. Get rid of the bane in your brain and go get whatever it is you are trying to get. If you are going to do it, you must go through it.
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