A few weeks back I mentioned meeting a cyclist who finished the IMAZ three times, and he said the #1 way to finish the race is to successfully play the Mind Game.
Since then the mind game has been on my mind, and I can’t help but think about the man who got me into cycling — Dr. M. Woodruff Johnson, PsyD. He also taught me about the “Stop, Challenge, and Choose” concept, which in essence is the mind game.
Here’s the theory.
First, the mind game begins when you think of something negative. That’s when it’s critical to “stop” and acknowledge the negative thought.
Then, you need to “challenge” yourself as to why you’re thinking negatively. Is it based on fear, or experience, or lack of confidence?
Lastly, to win the mind game you must “choose” the best course of action. One critical choice is to completely eliminate the negative thought, and realign the mind on the goal — whether that be getting a new job, or getting out of a bad relationship, or learning how to swim. For me it’s finishing the Ironman and bringing awareness to a few social causes.
Lastly, if you can’t find the strength to overcome the negative challenges that’s keeping you from accomplishing your goal, be inspired by others. One person who inspires me is Scott Rigsby; a guy who lost both legs and then went on to finish the Ironman with less than 30 minutes to go.
If all else fails, if you feel like you’ve lost your mind, and you’re full of despair — read Romans 5:4
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.