T Nation

A little Philosophy....

I’m curious to know what role you guys think personal state of mind has on physical progress. Do all those guys who say “I can’t gain weight”, “I can’t lose fat” or “my deadlift sucks” fail because they believe they can’t succeed, despite that they want to succeed? I’m not talking about will power here, more about how your mental attitude is transmitted to your physical body. Is it harder to make progress in the gym when you’re depressed? I think its Ian King I’m paraphrasing, but when you look at a weight and think “thats really heavy”, chances are you won’t lift it. I’m going to subscribe to the Little Engine who Could philosophy, and say that mental beliefs will often mirror physical facts (so long as goals are realistic) and that with correct mental attitude present, physical success will be easier to attain. Think of it as anabolic pyschology.

Does the mind play a role in success? Absolutely! The mind is a very powerful thing. Whether it be in sports, weightlifting, or life, a person can only unleash their true potential by, as Coach Davies puts it, becoming emancipated from the fear of failure and believing absolutely that they can and will achieve their goals. Sure, there will be bumps in the road, but the ones with true heart and courage will overcome and ultimately succeed at anything they want to. I remember Charles Staley pointing out in one of his articles how he saw a guy with a prosthetic leg squat over 500lbs. Most people will never do that with 2 legs, let alone one. Do you think this guy has a will to win?

That has a tremendous effect. A long time ago when nobody knew about genetics, etc people had no reasons for not being really successful. They thought, ‘well he lifted hard, so if I lift hard, I can do it too.’ Now there are so many excuses for NOT doing well, like ‘aw he must be on drugs’ & ‘I don’t have the genetics to _____.’ That’s such a rotten attitude to have. You might not set any records, but nothing’s stopping someone from getting big & strong.

A good book on this subject is Mind and Muscle. Also Zanes book Mind, Body and Spirit. These two books should help explain the role of psychology of weightlifiting. And having present centered awareness helps too.

your little engine that could while cute is highly sissy and therefore saps testosterone

Timmy: Everything that exists in the manifest world was
once a thought! On your way to school or work tomorrow
look at the world; what do you see: cars, buildings, bridges,
highways, shopping malls, housing developments. All “these”
first existed as a thought in someone’s mind! (Then the thought
became a thing!)

Before Roger Bannister, almost no one thought a mile could be run in 4 minutes or less. Now people think it's no big deal. Did Bannister alter the course of the physical world, making this feat possible for those who followed him, or did he alter the course of their thinking/mind?

It is said: "a man becomes that which he thinks about all day long." What do you think?

Tonight I deadlifted 265lbs. The reason I did it? Not entirely physical, I believe it was due to the fact that I KNEW I could do it. So I did it. So there. (smirk)

When someone tells me matter of factly, "I could never do that....." I usually respond: "well, thinking that way? You're probably right...."

“Anabolic psychology”…I like that!

As far as psychological states and people who say "I can't [X]", I think it's just a basic laziness and unwillingness to face up to the facts. It's a lot easier to say "I WANT to lose weight, but I can't" (the old "my body is magic" evasion) than it is to say, "I want to lose weight, but I like sitting on the couch and drinking beer more." Which of course means that you don't really want to lose weight all that badly, and you're lazy about this particular part of your life. Most people have a very hard time facing up to that.

As Henry Ford used to say; whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!