Mind over matter

After a spectacular display of “mind over matter” by Jason Lezak during the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, I was so proud to hear him describe the moment that he simply decided to win it. At the level these guys enter the competition there is really little differentiation in physical fitness levels and ability. Every one of these folks are equally capable of winning, or they wouldn’t be there. What separates the winner from the losers is mindset. What do they tell themselves in the moment that it counts?

Jason admitted he initially decided he couldn’t catch Alain Bernard, of France. And then something happened – did he suddenly become more conditioned? Did he suddenly become a better trained athlete? Obviously he shifted his mindset and decided not only that he could do it, but that he would. And so he did.

It was one of the most brilliant displays of our ability to control our bodies with our minds, our abilities as people to harness the amazing power of our brains and create our own outcomes. It’s an awesome and beautiful lesson of which I hope everyone takes note.

And then… I was so disappointed to hear in a later interview when Lezak stated that he didn’t believe he could repeat the performance. What??!! Nothing like sealing your own fate by resigning yourself to failure. Granted, at his level there is no place for the word “failure.” The mere fact that he is competing in the Olympics demonstrates success on a level many people never know.

However, there is a very valuable lesson, made evident by the fact that after making such a statement, Lezak went on to tie for bronze in the 100m freestyle, where Bernard took gold. Respectable, but well below his previous performance. Did he suddenly lose his ability? No, he lost his belief.

It’s really this simple: If you believe you can do it, you’re right. If you believe you cannot do it, you’re right. Either way, you’re right… your mind works hard not to make a liar out of you and will go to great lengths to make true your statements. Choose them very wisely, and unleash the power you hold within you to achieve more than you ever thought possible. Lezak did it in the moment it counted most. Will you?

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