nelson mandela looking in a mirror

Look in the Mirror. What do you see?

Definition: A difficult or unpleasant situation.
“resilience in the face of adversity”

When we set out to tackle our goals we find along the way that there are stumbling blocks, haters, challenges, whatever you want to call them, ultimately they are in our way.  When faced with a difficult challenge the first question I ask myself is

“How much do I want it?”

This essentially is my social contract and only I can answer it. Its the same for everyone around us. This is the time you look in the mirror and agree with yourself that you’re going to go for it or your not. Your true character is being tested and ultimately it is you who judges this. No one else.

We hear famous people say it over and over again; it’s always been a dream to get to the elite level and that if you work hard and follow your dream you’ll succeed. Again they simply wanted to succeed so much that every challenge they faced was approached head on.

Theres a term used in psychology called cognitive tunnelling. Its when people are so focused on achieving a goal they focus all their effort on that one particular thing and ultimately they ignore all unnecessary distractions.

It was outlined to me when I was working on Optimum Nutrition with an old colleague of mine Paul Fisher. We were planning a sampling activation for a new product and while we investigated we found that humans IQ drops around 10-15% when they are focused on achieving an objectvie. For ON this meant when their audience was going training be it in the gym, pitch whatever, they are solely focused on the task at hand and they completely block out all unnecessary distractions. Once they achieve their objectives then they are so much more open to being approached. Especially after training you’ve released a load of endorphins (happy hormone) you’re far more pleasant and accessible.

This same can be said for the farmer who must sow his crops, the parent who must pay their bills, you name it. But when they achieve it a weight is lifted and then on to the next objective.

There’s a fine balance though, ignoring everything vs alienating yourself. I’ve noticed people work so hard to prove to themselves all their lives that what they are doing is worthwhile, however they sometimes forget the reasons they began the journey in the first place. Was it to give a better life for their family, was it to prove to themselves or was it something else?

Eric Thomas is a great motivational speaker. Not only does he ask people how much do they want it, he also focuses in one of his speeches the ability to answer “Why?” Why are you doing what your doing, why are you trying to achieve your goal. The why is the piece of the puzzle you cling to when the pressure is on.

“Did I do my best?”

Go back to your social contract and take another look in the mirror. For me this is so important because as much as you may want to achieve your goals, reach those new heights or win that new contract, sometimes your best is not enough and that is the harsh reality of life. However it’s what you learn from this that determines your true character, how you take this information and channel it to make you better.

Adversities, challenges whatever you want to call them, can equally be seen as opportunities. It you who determines if the glass is half full or half empty. Next time you decide your ready to take on the world:

  • Set your objective and look in the mirror
  • Answer “WHY”
  • Agree your social contract and get to work
  • At the end look in the mirror

Nothing worthwhile is easy.
Good luck.

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