Mind Readings: Mental and Physical Strength

In today’s episode, some lessons I’ve learned from running.

Mind Readings: Mental and Physical Strength
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And today’s episode of Mind Readings. Let’s talk about the differences between physical and mental strength. Now, explain what I mean. I’ve been running a bit. I took up running in the first year of the pandemic because I needed something to do and it wasn’t safe to go to the martial arts school that I trained at. At that point, we didn’t know when a vaccine was going to arrive.

And if I needed something to to improve both my physical and mental health. So I took up running, and it had not been the first time I tried running. But is has been the longest time the stuck with it. And for about the last now year, I’ve managed to crank out at least five K every week, five kilometers, every Sunday almost without exception.

In a couple of weekends like Christmas, where obviously it didn’t happen. And when a friend asked me how I managed to to stay disciplined. Part of it’s habit just being in the habit of doing that thing every Sunday. That’s what I do. I make time for it and it feels weird and wrong when I don’t do that. But more than anything, what I’ve realized, especially over the last six months or so, is that there is a really big gap between physical strength and mental strength.

And what I mean by this is some weeks when I’m out running, I feel good and I mentally feel good. And the run is tiring. It’s always tiring, but it doesn’t feel like a struggle. Right? Just chugging along. You know, the kilometers are ticking by and eventually done and always happy them done. But I get the run done.

Other weeks I feel like I’ve got cinder blocks on my feet. I feel like even after the first kilometer that I’m struggling to breathe. I’m not struggling to breathe. And there’s a voice in my head saying I would it be so bad if I just shorten this week’s run or do something different or just give up. And the answer I always give that voice is, yes, it would be that bad.

Don’t do that. Always meet the minimum. Always do at least five K, maybe. You know, some weeks I can do up to eight other weeks it’s 5.01 and I’m done. But there’s that minimum. And what that got me thinking about is how much that mental state that feeling determines the outcome and how easy the outcome is. Right. Physically, I know I can run between eight and nine kilometers in a single go.

I’m physically strong enough to do that. And so the difference from week to week, from run to run isn’t a question of physical strength. Most of the time. There’s sometimes when it is like if I got really poor sleep the previous night, my body’s just not in as good a shape to do a longer run. But most of the time, it’s mental strength.

Most of the time it is. Do I feel like I’m strong Do I feel like I’m able to do the thing to put one foot in front of another, to match the pace of the music that I’m listening to, to make sure I’m running at a consistent pace. And the the runs that are the hardest for me are always the ones where I’m not mentally strong that run when I start out that way.

And maybe sometimes I wouldn’t even finish that way where it’s like, OK, I got it done. Barely It was not my shining moments. That’s really important because when we think about our work and the things that we’re working on in our lives, whether it’s health or whether it’s finance, or prosperity or a happy home or whatever, you know, whatever your priorities are if we recognize that our mental and emotional strength is what dictates our outcomes for the most part, for the most part, it becomes more straightforward to figure out when we’re not going to do well.

Right. If, you know, going into a run, I feel emotionally rundown and tired You know how that one’s going to go. You still do it. You still get it done, but you know how it’s going to go. On the other hand, if you start a run, you know, feeling filled with gratitude, and happiness and great weather and you’re excited, you’re eager.

You know how that one’s going to go, too, right? Even if it’s more physically taxing or mentally, you don’t have that drag that, you know, iron around your ankle that’s mentally slowing you down.

Now, the next logical question is how do you build up your mental strength to match your physical strength? Most of the time, it involves just struggling through right, finding some way anyway to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when you don’t want to and when you really, really, really don’t want to Because like, physical strength, mental strength comes from putting strain on yourself.

Getting that run done no matter what, pushing yourself a little bit more each time. OK, I did 5.5 kilometers last week. Can I do 5.6 this we can squeeze out just a little bit more And that’s how you build mental strength and like physical strength. Mental strength atrophies. If you don’t use it right. I notice if I skip a week of Iran, I haven’t skipped two weeks yet, but I’m sure that I feel that even more But I can tell if I’ve missed a long run the following week, it is that much harder to find that groove.

It takes longer I remember I went home for the holidays to visit my folks and of course, being the holidays, kind of relax and have fun. Enjoy yourself eat and drink an awful lot. And boy, that next run I could tell that I overindulged and I paid a price for it.

Your mental strength comes from subjecting yourself to more and more strain proportional to what you’ve been doing. Again, just like a workout right? You don’t go from five kilometers to your next one being 20. Not if you want to keep running, right? You don’t go from the, you know, some mental strain to catastrophe if you can avoid it.

It just doesn’t make sense. You work up to it. Same as with anything. Seems like in the martial arts, you don’t go from weight to black belt. You go from white belt to, you know, blue belt to red belt to green belt and so on and so forth.

So the next time that you feel like you’re struggling, ask yourself whether he is a capability, struggle, physical strength or a mental struggle. And if it’s a mental struggle, ask yourself why and then see what you can do to just push yourself a little bit more. Just a little bit more. Keep going. Set yourself a minimum and keep pushing just a little bit more no matter what it is.

It doesn’t have to be physical exercise can be dealing with a difficult coworker. Right. Can I listen to this person just a little bit more before I decide, you know what? I’m going to punch them in the face. Right Or, you know, pretend the mute button not realizing calls doesn’t work. Building up to that tolerance. Now, I will also caution that you shouldn’t put yourself in dangerous situations.

Do these not without proper training and preparation. Just like I wouldn’t suggest you run a marathon. Just put your shoes on and run a marathon. A mile. If you’ve never run before. So please don’t mistake putting mental strain on yourself to build strength with putting yourself in dangerous situations. They are not the same thing and you should not do the latter unless you have no choice.

So give that some thought. And thank you for tuning in. We’ll talk to you soon. If you like this video, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.


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