Call it winning, results, or even goals; focusing your thoughts on these inherently places less focus on your progress, journey, and Effort. For purposes of easy reading, we’ll just call the former attributes winning.
What drives our tendency to focus on winning? Ego.
Ego is an awesome force. It is not inherently good or bad, but can be applied for good and can be applied for bad. It is not something that you must remove, “leave at the door”, or diminish. It is a part of us that must be guided for the greater good of reaching our full potential and best life.
Wrangling in your ego is like riding a wild horse. A wild horse can not be told what to do. You must acknowledge its wants and desires, and develop a mutual respect; before it will listen to you. But ultimately you have to develop this relationship before it will take you where you want to go.
Acknowledge your wild horse that it wants to go fast; that it wants to win. But give it the understanding that going fast in the direction you want it to, will serve you both.
In fitness, acknowledge your ego’s desire to go win; but CLEARLY identify the direction you want to go. You must have complete clarity and wholeheartedly believe in the direction and mission. If you doubt yourself, your wild horse will doubt it as well, and end up going the direction it wants to; and typically this means it will go in the direction that makes it feel satisfied in the short term. Your wild horse does not have the ability to see long term; you do.
As you ride your horse, you will encounter a path that is riddled with obstacles that make your horse run slower; but these are the moments that you must not lose faith. Again, if your horse senses doubt, then you will lose the trust and respect, and ultimately lose control of your direction. Acknowledge your horse that “I know this is slower. I know we could feel better right now if we chose this other path; but that will not lead to where we want to go.”
The key elements to reaching our full potential is consistently believing in your path, consistently applying said belief, and consistently proving your commitment. Only then will your wild horse listen to you. Only then will you move in the direction of your goal.
If we consistently prioritize winning, then we will consistently tell our ego that it is free to do what it feels is best. And since our ego does not have the ability to see long term, it will continue to pursue the route that reaches its next hit of happiness; and not the goal or direction of reaching your full potential.
If you are truly in this for the long haul. To fully actualize your full potential. Then we must prioritize our thoughts on PROVING (aka reassuring our wild horse) our level of consistency, dedication, and Effort. You may not win, see progress, or achieve your goal for the day; but you will…in the end.