We all have an inner voice. And while we wish it was always lifting us up and propelling us forward, it is usually the other way around. Often, our inner voices are our biggest naysayers. It is loudest when we are uncomfortable. It tries to soothe us into complacency. And when we attempt great things, it will use logic and reason to back us off the edge.
Generations of just trying to survive has made this voice a powerful ally. It tells us to stay indoors because a lion may be outside (Proverbs 22:13). It tells us we need more rest because we will need all that energy to hunt our next meal. And it will tell us to take a few more bites of food because we don’t know when we will be able to eat again.
Yet, for most of us, we left that hunter/gatherer lifestyle long ago. No longer is our day-to-day survival dependent on this ally that begs us to proceed with caution. Our lifestyles may have changed over the ages, but did our inner voice? If so, then why does it still suggest staying inside where it is safe, choosing relaxation over productivity, and eating an over-abundance of calories?
It is winter. The temperatures plummet and the water coming up from the well is frigid. Thank God for a water heater! As I enjoy the warmth of a hot shower, I look at the dial. I take a few deep breaths and turn it all the way to the coldest setting. The water hit like tiny needles. Soon, my skin turns pink. And then, no longer able to contemplate the past or the future, I find myself fully locked into the moment. As I feel every droplet of water on my skin, my mind awakens. I am alive! Is it uncomfortable? Of course. Am I suffering? Not a chance!
The hardest part is not enduring the cold. Instead, the hardest part is the decision to make it cold. It is a choice that flies in the face of everything the inner voice cautions against. My ancestors did everything in their power to protect themselves from the cold. And now here I am, choosing the opposite. My family thinks I am crazy. Well, all but one. My little boy used to find it amusing. But then, I started noticing that the dial was left on cold after some of his showers.
Your fitness is 100% Mental, your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t push it.Wim Hof
How many times have I stopped a training session short because I allowed my mind to talk me out of continuing? Too many times to count. My inner voice, my mind, may be one of the greatest adversaries in my fitness quest. It is the voice that tells me to sleep in, take it easy, and eat or drink whatever I want. And though it behooves me to listen to the angel, it is the little devil that attacks when I am at my weakest. And it is all 100% mental. The body listens to the mind. And if the mind is weak and won’t push the body, the body will be weak as well.