ALEX’S CORNER-The Myth of Sisyphus as it applies to training.
Here’s a quick foray into a little ruthless optimism for the gym. I suppose it could be put to work in a few other areas of life outside as well. But what I know well is how to get by in the gym, the rest is just a little speculation and probably beyond my brief.
The Myth of Sisyphus
Because he had not kept up his end of a bargain and didn’t returned to Hades as promised, the Gods condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock up the side of a mountain.
Before he reached the top, the rock would always roll back over him and down to the foot of the mountain. Weary, crushed, dejected and hopeless, Sisyphus crawled back down the mountain to start this awful and pointless labour all over again.
The Gods laughed. They snickered and simpered like girls, for they considered nothing worse or more soul-destroying than futile & unending labor.
Now, let’s just hold that picture in our minds while reading the next little bit.
Mindset is probably the most important asset for self-improvement that one possesses in his/her mental and emotional arsenal. It is also a sword that can cut the other way, becoming a very keen tool, indeed for self destruction.
Mindset, along with its handmaiden Imagination, are arguably two of the main qualities that enabled humans to survive in the dangerous swamps and threatening landscapes of a savage world that does not wish them well.
As I sit at my desk and watch people saunter, burst and shuffle through the door of BodyWorks, I begin to think that they may be classifiable into two simple categories (for the purposes of today’s blog on training mindset, at least):
- Those who get their mind right;
- Those who don’t.
If you allow unnecessary obstacles into your path, those obstacles will probably deflect your attention, like piles of shit that get stuck to your boots on the way to your desired goal. And if those piles are big enough, you end up spending much of your time and energy getting unstuck from places that do you no good and don’t really belong in the gym experience. Then, all you are looking at is a hopeless uphill struggle pushing some heavy weight uphill.
I can’t imagine this being anything else other than a depressing experience. Hopelessly slogging away and getting nothing for it. Nothing could be more demotivating
Therefore, along with your favourite pre-workout concoction, a little pre-workout ritual may be in order.
Maybe do something like this:
Before you hit the gym, begin a little exercise in self-discipline to focus your awareness. Start by breathing deeply and evenly to help get rid of the unnecessary flotsam and jetsam of the day. Clear your mind of petty annoyances. Don’t multitask, it doesn’t work in the gym, bring your intention to heel, bend it to your will, sharpen it to a knife-edge. If you must think and worry on things, think and worry about things that you need to think and worry about after you’ve finished training.
This is mindfulness, as far as training goes. If you haven’t figured out how to do this type of mind training or fail to practice the right mental warmup exercises to clear your way, you might well be struggling with an unnecessary handicap. You will not be working with the necessary resources that a productive training session demands.
If failure happens often enough to you, if you allow this to happen, your path fills with unwanted residue of these failures until eventually it becomes impassable. Your intention waivers, your confidence fades, it lacks the power of the necessary positive driving force required. You lose direction, run out of steam and start to give up. And once the engine of a positive mindset is turned off, it’s pretty hard to get it restarted.
If you do not find or create this correct atmosphere within yourself, if you fail to summon up the required ruthless optimism that is a match for your goal, if you fail to exercise the discipline required to set your mind on the right footing, if you don’t take care to stoke the fire of motivation, you default to a level of existence that is less than you are capable of. You are allowing something to die off that is essential for you to move forward, succeed and win.
And if you let this happen, your spirit atrophies and without doubt you court derision & laughter of the Gods.