About a year ago, I read Travis Macy’s book, “The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life.” The book is filled with incredible stories of Macy’s success as an adventure racer, mountain biker, and ultrarunner. But this isn’t a book solely full of success stories. It goes deeper than that. As the title implies, Macy breaks his success down into eight principles that are applicable to all aspects of life. This Ultra Mindset, as he labels it, teaches how to be successful not only in your athletic pursuits, but also in your job, as a spouse and parent, and in life in general. The back of the book contains a quick summary of the principles and quick anecdotes to give you a little detail of each. After I read the book I printed these reference pages out and put them in my desk at work so I could easily reference them. I decided that it’s time to spread the word and speak to each principle. Over the next eight weeks I will write about a different one of Macy’s principles and tell how they have applied to my life. While I will be highlighting the principles themselves, I highly recommend you check out the book and read the amazing stories Macy tells about his own life. Macy currently offers coaching for hire and public speaking opportunities, so it goes without saying that his own book would offer more value and detail than I ever could in a few short posts.
The first principle is, “It’s all good mental training.” The idea here is to find the value in everything you do, no matter how monotonous or boring it may seem. These types of activities actually do help out in the overall goals and pursuits of greater things. For example, I recently found myself having to run on a treadmill while traveling for work. I vehemently despise the treadmill but it was my only option in this particular instance. The treadmill is boring and I quickly found myself losing my mind as I ticked off mile after mile. However, I refocused and told myself that I will have mental challenges in my upcoming 50k. There will be times when my body will be fine but my mind will be struggling to keep moving forward. This treadmill time was actually great training for me to be able to strengthen my mental prowess and work on getting through the times that I simply tell myself are tough.
Another example comes from a year ago, shortly after I finished reading Macy’s book. I found myself leading numerous all day meetings at work that required me to be on my feet for most of the day. The eight hour days were not easy on my body or my mind. My feet hurt and my brain was fried by the end of the day. While I wanted to complain about this, I quickly reminded myself that this is exactly what an ultra is going to do to me. Will my feet hurt after 30-50 miles? Yes. Will my mind be mush after 30-50 miles? Yes. I wouldn’t try to run a race without putting in the proper training, and mental training is just as important as the physical training.
Challenges, no matter how big or how small, are valuable tools we have in our toolkits. They help us grow and find out our true potential. When you find yourself struggling to do something saying, “This is so boring!” tell yourself, “It’s all good mental training.” Find the value in everything and not only will you have a more positive outlook on life, but you will actually be helping yourself grow stronger. You never know when you might need that mental strength to get you through a particularly tough time, but you will be very happy that you CAN get through it when the time comes.