Came across a powerful story from one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time: John Wooden.
(Who has won more NCAA championships than any basketball coach in history)
In his book, Wooden on Leadership, he talks about how in his first 13 years of coaching for UCLA, his team practiced in the poorly ventilated, cramped quarters of the Men’s Gym. It was usually packed with other student-athletes while practice was going on — making it a distracting and challenging coaching environment.
On top of that, the seating area was so restricted that it was deemed a fire hazard and “home” games had to be played at local schools. Plus, the Men’s Gym wasn’t exactly eye-candy for new recruits.
Wooden believed that it would be nearly impossible to accomplish his goals working under those conditions. And by planting this little “seed” it made him believe UCLA would never win a national title with those facilities.
But then something interesting happened during his 1961–1962 season.
UCLA not only made it to the NCAA tournament but marched all the way to the Final Four. With seconds on the clock, Cincinnati made the game winning shot to beat UCLA 72–70. While many would be disappointed at such a close game — not Wooden.
A light went off and a subconscious wall came crashing down. He realized that a national championship was just within their reach:
I came to recognize that issues I couldn’t control — the Men’s Gym and what it forced upon us — had interfered with those things I could control, such as ceaselessly and creatively searching for ways to improve and reach the next level of competition.
- John Wooden
The belief that poor practice facilities held them back was shattered once and for all.
I now knew what I should have understood long before, namely, UCLA could go all the way to the top despite the Men’s Gym. It was up to me to figure out how to do it.
Then Wooden began an intensive review of all his journals… practice records… statistics… everything he was doing — and then attacked the following season with a fierce resolve that he could improve
(which ultimately led to his first national championship).
So what stories have you been telling yourself for why you can’t reach your fitness goals?
Here are some I’ve heard over the years:
No access to a gym.
No equipment for working out.
I’ve never been athletic
I don’t have time to work out.
I don’t feel like working out.
I’m not motivated to work out.
I hate working out (this is an insidious one. You may have heard the expression, ‘seeing is believing’ but ‘saying is believing’ is just as strong. If you say ‘I hate working out’ over and over again like a song that gets stuck in your head, you will convince yourself that it’s true. And you will stop looking for ways to actually enjoy it).
I don’t eat vegetables (or as some meat lovers say: I don’t eat rabbit food).
What’s the story you’ve been telling yourself, that’s taken your focus off of what you can control (like what you’re going to eat your next meal… the workout you’ll do today… the walk you’ll do today…) and onto what you can’t control?
For more ways to get your mind focused on what really matters in fitness - plus, a 21-page report on the science of losing belly fat - check out the link below:
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