Having a strong mind is what separates good from great. It's easy to let the negative thoughts and doubts creep in. I found that I have to exercise my mental muscles and train them up to combat these negative gnats that will gnaw away at the spirit if you don't stand up to them. You have to get out your "Round-Up" so to say and spray them or they will multiple and get out of control fast. It's a slow process when they start eating away your leaves. If you don't nip it in the bud in the beginning, you'll find them eating away at your roots (your core) before you know it.
Just like physical training, mental training must be practiced or the muscles will atrophy. I've found several resources extremely helpful in training me up in this area. First and foremost my sport psychologist and friend, Robert Andrews out of Houston; Mind Gym--a book by Gary Mack, an excellent read! (thanks to Katherine Sullivan for introducing me to this book); and The Confident Athlete series by Patrick Cohn. In addition, my coach Marc Bonnet-Eymard continues to help me in this area. Unlike most coaches, he sees the vital importance of the mind-body connection. You might have a great engine, but it ain't going nowhere without a strong mind.
Here are some quotes and thoughts I've found helpful and inspiring these last few weeks. I hope you do as well.
- Don't tell me the sky is the limit, there are footprints on the moon. -Dorothy Parker
- Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. -Mahatma Gandhi
- Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. -MJ
- It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard...is what makes it great. -Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks in "A League of Their Own")
- Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
- To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. -Steve Prefontaine
- We learn to believe by believing. We learn to love by loving. The practice of acting on a certain thing, even when feeling is absent, embodies the entire "how" of growth. -Eugenia Price
- God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways all our lives through; God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But GOD HAS PROMISED strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love. -Anne Flint
If you have not yet seen THE HELP (showing in theatres now), go and see it! This is an encouraging, uplifting film that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. It inspires us to do the right thing even in the midst of adversity and gives us a glimpse into history and the racial tensions that have existed (and still exist) in the United States. Here are some of my favorite lines from the film (yes, I do take notes when I watch movies, that is if I'm not on the bike spinning):
- You is kind. You is smart. You is important. - Aibileen *Speaking truth to ourselves and others starting at a young age can go a long way to help a person build up his/her confidence and belief that he/she can reach for the moon!
- Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringing it back to our family. - Skeeter's mom to Skeeter
- No one asked me what it was like to be me. Once I started talking I was free. - Aibileen *This refers to the importance of communication and expressing oneself. Be honest with yourself and others. It's liberating!
- Courage is daring to do what is right despite our weakness.
- Now you start feeling sorry for yourself. Now that is ugly. - Constantine to Skeeter *It's easy to waste energy feeling sorry for ourselves and our situation. Instead, get up, shake the dust off your feet, come up with an action plan to move forward, surround yourself with a support group who will help you, and pray for strength to do the next right thing. Although we may not be able to see the next 10 steps in front of us, we know enough to do the next right thing.