The transformation of the mind…breaking the mental prison

I believe most people have gone through this:

You have been running 2.4km mostly during your workouts. One day, you make a commitment to complete a further distance. For example, 4km. You started off well. But as you reach 2.4km, you start to feel very tired. You feel out of breath and in your mind you are giving yourself excuses. “I can’t run already. I have only been running 2.4km mostly. I think this is good enough. I think I should stop. I deserve a break.” You start to slow down. Soon you stopped running and began to walk. You wonder will you ever be able to complete running 4km…

So why did we stop? Why couldn’t we just complete the 4km? It’s just 1.6km more.

A lot of things in life, we use our past experiences to measure our abilities. Our past experiences tells us what we will be able do, what we can’t. It sometimes sets limits in our minds what we think we can achieve.

While we want to be better, faster, stronger, our mind drags us down and demoralizes us. Consider the Youtube video above. The football player initially thought he could only do the death crawl for 30 yards. This was the limit he has set for himself in his mind. In the end he was able to last till the end of the football field (100yards!). Clearly, he has under estimated his own abilities. But what was the secret?

The blindfold.

I can remember the time when I first decided to pick up running as a way to lose weight. It sucked. I have lots of fears and sometimes even dread the session before I have actually put on my running shoes!

If you are a Singaporean, you will probably know that  throughout our lives as fit and able-bodied Singaporean males, we have to go through different fitness tests such as the napfa test and the IPPT. One of the stations of these tests is the dreaded 2.4km run. I never liked running and the only times I passed was in JC 2 because I didn’t want to spend 2 more months in BMT so I ran like mad and in army because my sergeant was chasing me from behind like a mad dog.

Anyways, with all these past defeats on running, it was a huge already step for me to want to pick up running as a way to lose weight. What’s worse was that I have decided to use a training app to train me in my running. On the first day of training, the app set a target of 4km for me to complete. It was an uncomfortable distance for me. I seldom run and usually would limit myself to 2.4km. 4km seemed impossible. However, I thought that I would just give it a go and started running. Anyways, I can always stop when I felt like it I thought.

As I approached the 2.4km mark, I started to feel very tired. I felt out of breath and in my mind, I was giving myself excuses so stop. A tug-of-war ensued in my mind. To continue or to stop? What do I want more? To reach my goal or to give in? I know I want to be fitter, run faster and be slimmer. But do I want it more than I want rest?

Then I decided, perhaps I could run till 3km then stopped. So I pulled myself together and continued running. As I approached the 3km mark, I started to believe that I can do even more. It’s just 1km more I told myself. I continued to push on and eventually completed the whole 4km.

Now, 3 months has passed and I am running at least 5km for my runs. I would never have believed that this was possible.

Blindfolds cover our sight and prevents us from seeing where we are going. We can no longer use our sight as a guide but forced to listen to a still small voice that urges us to keep moving forward. The blindfold helps us to ignore our past experiences and the inner voice pushes us to go into territories not ventured before. This in turn creates new experiences and beliefs in ourselves. We grow in our capacity. I have decided to put the blindfold on when I have decided that I CAN go a little further. I refused to let my past experiences to dictate how far I can go.

I guess this can be applied to many similar things. Perhaps it’s a new project you are working on. Or perhaps dealing with sin. Do not let your past experiences condemn and demoralize you. Trust in the inner voice of God that urges you not to give up. As you make progress, your mind starts to transform. You start to believe that you can do it and eventually, you will grow.

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