One night as I lay awake in bed, in Iraq, I realized if I had had more in the area of mental toughness at an early age, I probably would have realized my dream earlier. I was plenty tough according to my peers. I was in Army Special Forces Unit that dealt with explosives and Bomb Disposal. But if I had more mental toughness, I believe it would have made all the difference in the world.
That’s the night I decided I would when I left the Military I become an expert in achieving my Dreams Not by getting a degree in psychology, but by studying the greatest performers in the world like a scientist and uncovering what made them great. I would learn the secrets on the street instead of in the classroom. After all, I already had a lifetime of experience competing in survival All I needed to do was hone in on the subtleties that separated the great performers from everyone else.
It took much time, research, interviews, and observation. But I was starting to understand the group of people I affectionately labeled ‘The Great Ones’.
I started to see where I had missed the boat, and I realized it wasn’t by much. I had been close to world-class mental toughness, but got derailed due to a few major mistakes: check to see if you’re making any of these errors in thinking that cost me my dream…so it won’t cost you yours:
Mistake # 1. I listened to too many people.
Everyone around me had an opinion about how I should be, compete, and think. Looking back now I realize that all of these people meant well, but most were middle-class thinkers who didn’t even understand world-class thinking. What I discovered is that the world class builds mentor teams of people who are far more successful then they are, and that’s where they go for coaching and advice. They tend to block everyone else out.
Mistake # 2. My friends were all ‘middle-class thinkers’
I realized that almost everyone I hung out with fell into middle class thinking. In other words, they were nice, average people…getting middle-class results. Middle-class thinkers believe the world-class results are for other people. They refer to world-class thinking as ‘ Pie in the sky’ and ‘Unrealistic’. My mom told me when I was 5 years old to be careful whom I hung out with because I would begin to think like them eventually. I wish I had paid more attention to that advice.
Mistake # 3. I didn’t know that consciousness was contagious
I had no idea that the middle-class thinkers I was spending most of my time with were literally rubbing off on my thought processes, habits and philosophies. I had started out thinking like a champion and getting world-class results, but the more I hung around people with middle-class consciousness the more I became like them. As a matter of fact, the less success I had, the more they seemed to accept me. I think it made them feel better about their own middle-class results.
Mistake # 4. I didn’t understand that world-class habits, actions and behaviors are driven by world-class expectation.
I always thought desire was the driving force behind motivation, but I was wrong. Everyone wants great results in their life, but how many people do you know putting in a Herculean effort to get those results? Probably very few, and the reason says more about their level of expectation than it does about their desire. When I was 20 years old there were only a handful of people who could beat me in anything. When I walked on the court with anyone else, I always expected to win. Therefore I was extremely motivated to train and practice. My expectation of success kept me outworking my competitors. When my results started to drop and my positive expectation followed, my motivation began to wane. I still had the desire to win, but I no longer expected to win.
Mistake # 5. I didn’t know that behavior follows belief
I didn’t know anything about the law of cause and effect. I didn’t know that if you want to upgrade your results, you go straight to the cause. If you want to find out why you are getting the results you’re getting in any area of your life, do a through examination of the beliefs you have that surround that area. Beliefs are the cause and behavior is the effect. If you upgrade what you believe you will upgrade your behavior, and when you upgrade your behavior you upgrade your results. When I believed I was a champion, I trained like a champion. When I believed I was washed up, I trained like a loser.
Mistake # 6. I joined the US Army because I was chasing a woman. Even smart men do stupid things also 🙂