Remember Those Who Sacrificed

It is Remembrance Day here in Canada, where we take time to remember fallen soldiers who gave their lives so that we can live free. Without their ultimate sacrifice, the lifestyle that we enjoy today would truly be jeopardized.

Many people have sacrificed for you. I have learned that you cannot experience success alone – it takes a team to build you up, to reach your highest potential. People have helped you along your journey. My wife, parents, family members, friends, teachers, coaches, colleagues, students, and countless others have sacrificed their time, energy, knowledge, and finances to help me succeed. I have not experienced any type of success alone – nor will I ever. I need others to assist  me along the way.

Remember, THEN THANK

Ordinary people are egotistical and self-absorbed – their thoughts are usually consumed about their own journey, problems, and successes. They rarely set time aside to remember those who have built them up over the years, let alone thank them.

I challenge you to do EXTRA. Be EXTRAORDINARY. This Remembrance Day, take time to remember those who have built you up; then if possible, THANK THEM for doing so.

Of course, you cannot thank fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives, but you can REMEMBER them. Post a tribute or thought on social media. Talk with others about the significance of their ultimate sacrifice. When you talk about the past, you give power to history. History comes alive again. The soldiers, in a way, come back to life too. Remember the fallen.

Write down the names of people who have built you up –  like me, it could be your family, friends, teachers, coaches, or whomever has sacrificed to help you get better – then find a moment or two to thank them for their sacrifice.

We all have the ability to thank and show genuine gratitude. When you show gratitude, people will be more willing and will do extra to help you go further than before.

Be The Sacrifice

Like those who have poured into you, I challenge you to be the person who sacrifices for the success of others. You will leave no greater legacy than what you have left IN people.

As a leader, the words SERVE and SACRIFICE need to be synonymous with who you are. Your legacy is directly tied to the number of people you serve, and to what level. The more time and energy you are willing to spend serving and sacrificing for others, just like the fallen solders of yesterday, your legacy will never be forgotten.

Challenge

Spend the next week with an extreme focus on OTHERS. Build people up. Help others achieve success. As a teacher, I get to witness sacrifice every day. I see students help others with their school-work, drive their friends to grab lunch, and say an encouraging word to those who have messed up or who are feeling down.

To start the assignment small, identify one person in your life that you can help this week. Sacrifice your time and energy for this person, over and over again. Like the soldiers you remember today, be the sacrifice for someone tomorrow.

Get better.

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Time Well Spent

Time is the most valuable resource we have. Once you spend it, you cannot go back and get a refund. There aren’t any second opportunities, sales, or exchanges either. Unlike money, time is non-renewable. You cannot earn more time. Time is precious. Time needs to be treated appropriately as to what it actually is – the most valuable resource we have.

If you were to see a 10 dollar bill blowing in the wind, you would probably go to great lengths to chase that ten dollars, no matter the inconvenience or effort required. You see that ten dollars as valuable.

Do you treat ten minutes, or even an hour with the same sense of value? Do you chase those minutes or hours with excellence and vigour, just as you would the ten dollars? In a world filled with distraction and procrastination, my answer is no, you probably don’t.

I have heard it said that getting rid of distractions will automatically catapult you into the top 5%. That means, if you spend your time well, you will be incredibly successful. If you don’t, you can count on living an average life.

I witness far too many people wasting their time. Be the person who values time – who is extremely careful as to how they spend it. Like purchasing an expensive item at the store, before you put down 5 hours of your life, be sure it’s a purchase you want to make. The more time required, the more expensive the purchase.

If you were to walk into a car dealership and they were offering Ferrari’s and bus passes for the same amount of money, we would all purchase the Ferrari. We would choose the more valuable item to get the most for our money. The same can be said for your time…

STUDENTS AND THOSE IN THE WORK FORCE…YOU ARE MAKING EXPENSIVE PURCHASES WITH YOUR TIME EVERYDAY! INSTEAD OF PURCHASING A DOLLAR STORE ITEM WITH THOSE 6 -10 HOURS; STUDY, WORK HARD, AND CHALLENGE YOURSELF, SO THAT YOU ARE USING THOSE  HOURS TO PURCHASE A FERRARI INSTEAD OF A BUS PASS.

Here is the plan to be above-average, and chase excellence with your time…

Track Your Time

Find a piece of paper and record very specifically, what you did yesterday and the day before. For example, yesterday, I woke up at 7, then spent 10 minutes getting my coffee ready, and writing in my “confidence journal” (Read: Mental Fitness Plan). My time entry would look like this:

7:00 – Woke up

7:05 – Coffee

7:10 – Confidence Journal

Track your entire day. This will take some time, but the time spent will be worth the purchase!

Be sure the two days you are reflecting upon reflect your typical day. If the past two days are unique and not a true reflection, reflect upon days that are your norm. You want this activity to be as accurate as possible.

When finished, search for sections of your day that are “wasted” or not used efficiently. Most will find their phone use to be the main culprit of wasted time. Research shows that on average, people are on their phones for 2 hours, and 25 minutes per day; or 145 minutes. If you do the math, in a year, the average person will be on their phone for 52, 925 minutes, or 882 hours, or the equivalent of 36.75 days! The average person will spend MORE THAN A MONTH on their phones in a year!

If you want to push the math even further…in the course of 60 years, an average person will have spent 2, 205 days on their phone – or just over six years of their life.

A Quick Change For Excellence

For the purpose of this article, I am using phone statistics to reveal how distraction is the behaviour of the average. But your “time-vice” could be television watching, shopping, gambling, socializing, etc. Whatever your “time-vice” may be, you can also use the following “quick change” to your advantage. A “time-vice” is an activity that you spend an unhealthy amount of time on.

So, the average person is on their phone for 145 minutes a day. What if you used your phone for 60 minutes a day? (I still think 60 minutes is excessive – 30 minutes would be optimal – but for the sake of making a change manageable, 60 minutes will be the number.) Instead of 882 hours spent on your phone during the course of a year like the average user, you will spend 365 hours on your phone. This is a difference of 517 hours; or 21.5 days! In the course of 60 years, you will have saved 1,290 days, or 3.5 years in direct comparison to the average person!

Think about it…by simply reducing your phone time, you will save 21.5 days every year of your life. It’s like finding that ten dollar bill in the wind…no wait…it’s like finding thousands of dollars blowing in the wind!! If you spend your “found time” learning, growing, reading, training, and working on your passions and goals, you will go from average, to an influencer, and a top person in your field. 

Challenge

Write down, very specifically, how you spend your normal day. Do this by tracking your last two days. Find your “time-vice”. Once you find your time-vice, the true work begins. ACTION! Many people know they should change, but very few put in the work to do so.

For the next week, cut your “time-vice” in half. Use the extra time productively, like reading, working out, mediating, and writing. Watch your productivity grow! You will see amazing results quickly!

Get Better!!

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Mental Fitness Plan

Mental fitness is an incredibly important factor for living a full and productive life. If you are not mentally fit, you will not have the inner strength to battle stress, depression, sadness, and anger. Just like how a physically fit person has a strong immune system that is able to stave off infection and disease, a mentally fit person is able overcome problems, issues, stress, and tension.

Many people practice a physical fitness plan. Weight training, running, stretching, eating well, avoiding recreational drugs, and getting a good night’s sleep are all important factors when considering a plan to create and maintain a healthy physical body.

But what about mental fitness? Do you have a plan? You should…

Components Of A Mental Fitness Plan

Treat the mental fitness plan as you would your workout routine or meal plan- with absolute precision. When you go to the gym or prepare a meal, you know the EXACT process ahead of time – what exercises will be completed, with how many sets, and how many reps too! When you prepare a meal, you not only know the ingredients, but you know how much to add, when to add it, and how long to cook the recipe for.

Treat EVERYDAY like a workout day for your mind and mental health. The more you train, the more fit you will become.

1. Inspirational Videos/Books/Quotes – 10 Minutes/Day

Surround yourself with inspiration.

Mentally fit people spend time every day energizing their mind. Energy comes from inspiration. My favourite YouTube channel is Goalcast. I watch Goalcast videos at least 5 times a week to re-energize and prime my mind. When I watch inspirational videos, I can’t help but feel better. Of course there are many other inspirational channels out there, but I do encourage you to check out Goalcast.

If you spend time on Instagram, search for motivational pages and people to follow. Sometimes all you need is a quick pick-me-up, and an inspiring quote can do just that.

Inspiration is contagious. When you start reading, watching, and surrounding yourself with inspiration, you will never know how you lived without it.

2. Daily Affirmations – “I am Statements” – 3/Day

Who do you want to be? Strong? Popular? Brave? Wealthy? Happy?

Mentally fit people fearlessly state every day who they are, even if in reality, they aren’t that person YET. In fact, the key to an awesome ” I am statement” is to proclaim things that aren’t “real” yet.

For example, if you are battling depression, your I am statement could be: ” I am confident, content, joyful, and happy at school, work, and in all of my relationships. I am a conqueror. I am gifted.”

Although the depressed person probably doesn’t see those attributes in them, it is necessary to proclaim them as if they already were. When you proudly proclaim who you are, you are training your mind subconsciously to achieve your vision.

Every day I proclaim that I am impactful with my words, actions, and conversations. I also proclaim that I am awake, energetic, and healthy.

Place your I am statements in high-traffic areas where you can see them and be reminded often – like your mirror, phone, bedroom, office, desk, and all over your house. When you speak them, speak them with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE.

3. Practice Gratitude – 3/Day

Mentally fit people are thankful for who they are and what they have. They don’t preoccupy their thoughts and minds wishing for what they want and focusing on what they don’t have. Mentally fit people don’t compare themselves with others either. When you negatively compare yourself with another person, you aren’t thankful…you’re resentful.

If you haven’t read my post on the importance of gratitude, I strongly suggest you do so.

Quickly stated here, I challenge you to speak (preferably upon waking) at least three things that you are thankful for every day. It is key to realize that you NEED TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE. For example, this morning, I wrote that I am thankful for my Keurig, my dogs, and that the Milwaukee Brewers forced a game 7 in the NLCS.

Gratitude doesn’t need to be winning the lottery or a job promotion. Mentally fit people are thankful for the little things.

 

Challenge

Physically fit people train their bodies with intense workouts and strict nutrition plans. Mentally fit people train their minds with a daily dose of inspiration, I am statements, and gratitude.

I challenge you to live the Mental Fitness Plan this week. You probably spend at least 30 minutes of your day getting ready in the morning, working on your “outer self.” Why not spend 15 minutes working on your “inner self”?

Get Better!

 

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Attitude of Gratitude

It is important to be thankful and have a spirit of gratitude more than once a year. This Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to program your mind to ALWAYS have an “Attitude of Gratitude”.

The Power of Gratitude

I heard a statistic that America has only 8% of the worlds’ population, but is the leader by a large margin in the use of tranquilizers.

Tranquilizers are prescribed to people to reduce tension and anxiety. Instead of tranquilizers however, what if people simply developed a heart of gratitude? What impact would gratitude have on depression, tension, and anxiety?

It is a proven scientific fact that it is impossible to feel gratitude AND anxiety, sadness, tension, and depression at the same time. Our brains cannot process both emotions simultaneously.

When we express gratitude, a chemical called dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine is a “feel good ” chemical that is related to pleasure. The more dopamine that is released, the more pleasure we feel. Therefore, the more gratitude we express, the happier we become.

Dopamine is extremely addictive. Expressing gratitude is a healthy way of releasing dopamine. However, our society has been using extremely negative practices to release dopamine in our brains; stimulants such as nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine also promote increased levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the main factor as to why those drugs are extremely addictive – people desperately want to feel pleasure, even if it requires destroying the body.

The good news is, just like how nicotine or cocaine releases dopamine, so does gratitude! The more gratitude you practice, the more “addicted” you will become. The more addicted you become, the happier you will be!

Make Gratitude A Daily Habit

In my Instagram account, I have expressed the importance of “paying yourself first”. Paying yourself first is a financial term that is used to express the importance of paying yourself the first 10% of your pay cheque into a savings account.

I have developed the notion of paying yourself first into different practice as well…that is, when you wake up, instead of showering and running off to work or school, pay yourself first by waking up early to do something that will energize and strengthen you for the day.

One of the best methods of paying yourself first is TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE. My favourite author, Jon Gordon recommends taking a “gratitude walk” every morning. Whatever you decide to do, I strongly encourage you to begin your day by simply speaking things you are grateful for.

Most people are thankful for the big things – job promotions, their new car, winning a prize, etc. But very few take the time to express gratitude for the small things as well. Be thankful you woke up alive and healthy! Be thankful you have a warm bed to sleep in. Be thankful you have a water heater so that you can have a warm shower!

So many times we focus on the negative and don’t realize just how fortunate we really are. When we begin to practice gratitude and focus on the positive, heavy amounts of dopamine will be released in our brains. We will feel happier and become healthier.

Gratitude In Action

I have witnessed, first hand, the power of expressing simple, daily gratitude.

Gratitude has been a major factor in changing the culture of many negative classrooms that I have encountered in my career. I have witnessed countless depressed, anxious, sad, and worried students change their entire mindset with the simple practice of speaking daily gratitude.

I have seen depression and sadness melt away. I have seen gratitude and joy take root and grow in the most harsh environments.

I challenge you to practice gratitude this week. Say THREE things every morning that you are thankful for. Remember, being thankful doesn’t mean winning the lottery or getting 100% on a test. Being thankful is being alive, enjoying the sunshine, and having a strong body and a sound mind.

Focus on the positive. Be thankful. It is not necessary to destroy your brains and body with  drugs when you can activate dopamine in a healthy way! Be thankful! Practice gratitude!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Get better!

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Ho Do I Succeed In School? Part 5 – No More Excuses!

Enough with the excuses already! If you are an excuse-maker, I promise you, unless you change, YOU WILL NEVER REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL. Excuses take ownership off of you, and place them elsewhere so you don’t have to be accountable. Excuses are the calling card of the AVERAGE.

Story Time

When I was in school, I ALWAYS used excuses for failure. But, I had one excuse that I used more than any other…just like MJ and his fadeaway and AI’s crossover, this excuse was my GO-TO move.

LACK OF INTELLIGENCE! Yup…my patented “fade-away”. I failed a test? Not smart enough! Did poorly on an assignment? Not smart enough! Low grades on my report card? Not smart enough! Enrolled in summer school courses in back-to-back years because I failed? NOT SMART ENOUGH!!

You get the idea. In my young eyes, failure was never my fault. Instead, it was the fault of my genetics! For whatever reason, I told myself, I wasn’t blessed with intelligence. I was cursed with a low IQ…a crutch I convinced myself I would have to bear for the rest of my life.

Why?

Why do we invent excuses? Because the excuse makes us feel better about ourselves…even if the excuse isn’t based on reality! As a teenager, I was able to justify my poor grades and academic average on my perceived lack of intelligence. I graduated high school having never taken ownership over my poor performance…a regret I live with to this day.

For whatever reason, excuses allow failure to seem more understandable. But what most don’t realize yet, is that failure is a necessary component for growth and success (more on that in a future article).

The Truth

What is the real reason that I didn’t achieve high grades in school? The answer is very simple…I didn’t try. At all. To be completely honest, I can count the times I did homework on one hand – this includes studying for tests, exams, finishing projects, or reviewing lessons.

But…my excuse of low intelligence set me free from my laziness and poor work ethic. The excuse made me feel better about myself. It was my REASON for being lazy and not achieving.

Ownership

Ownership is another characteristic that separates  average people and excellent people. Like me in my high school days, average people don’t want to hear the truth about WHY, instead they fabricate stories (excuses) that justify and place blame elsewhere on their failure.

Late? “It’s because of the traffic.” “It’s because my alarm clock ‘didn’t go off’.” Stop making excuses, and take ownership. Leave earlier next time, and don’t let it happen again.

Didn’t finish your homework? “It’s because I had to work.”  “It’s because I had chores to do.”  “It’s because I didn’t know how to do the assignment.” Stop making excuses, and take ownership. Make time in your schedule, ask more questions, and don’t let it happen again.

Side note…If you don’t make time for something, it just means it’s not important to you. The time excuse is the lamest of them all.

It’s only when you begin to eliminate excuses and take FULL ownership over your failures that you will begin to reach your full potential.

If you are satisfied with mediocrity and never realizing what you truly are capable of, then by all means, FIRE THOSE EXCUSES OFF! However, the fact that you are still reading this article is probably an indication that you aren’t satisfied with average. Keep reading…

Are Excuses Ever Valid?

I have learned that YES, excuses can be valid! Woo-hoo!! How do you know? Here is the rule…

The next time you have an excuse, look around and check to see if anyone else has ever succeeded despite being in the same situation you are in. If nobody has ever succeed, your excuse is valid! However, it is rare.

Example…you are rude and condescending to people because you are tired. Being tired is your justifiable excuse for being a jerk! It’s not YOUR FAULT. Your rudeness is the fault of your tiredness. Phew! All good, right!!?? Nope. Why? Because there are thousands of people everyday, in locations all over the world, that are able to be kind and respectful to others despite being tired. Excuse failed. It’s lame. If others have succeeded anyway, your excuse needs some work.

Example…you cannot be successful after high school because you grew up in a low-income household and have few resources to succeed. Let me think…Jay-Z, Jim Carrey, and Shania Twain all grew up in low income families that struggled financially for years. Jim Carrey even spent a period of his life living out of his van. Shoot. I guess that excuse isn’t valid either.

Stop using your excuses as a crutch! Which brings me to my last point…

Reaching Your Full Potential

To reach your full potential, you have to eliminate excuses. It’s 100% essential to do so.

If I was honest with myself in high school, I would have had a 90 average. But instead, I chose to believe I wasn’t smart and blamed my laziness and poor grades on my intelligence. As a result, I wasn’t successful in school, and never realized my full potential.

What is your “GO-TO” excuse? I challenge you to be completely honest with yourself. Reveal your excuse, then trash it forever. It is the only way to climb higher.

I have learned that “GREATNESS IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR EXCUSES.”

Use this week to get rid of your excuses forever. The best already have. Get better.

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How Do I Succeed In School? Part 4 – Be Consistent

Be consistent. I’ve always believed that consistency is one of the greatest attributes of success. During my first week of school, this belief was confirmed to me more than ever. Let me explain…

The experiences one faces at school are very dramatically inconsistent from day to day. Some days are great, some days are horrible, and most days are forgettable and average. You don’t have homework, your classes were interesting, and you have plans to go out with your friends after school – great day. Your partner broke-up with you, you failed your test, and your shift at work got cancelled – horrible day. You arrived to school on time, completed most of your work in class, and enjoyed volleyball practice – average day.

The key is to speak and act the same to others, no matter what type of day you are having. This is was separates the average student from the excellent student.

It may seem odd to say, but I realized this week, that as a teacher, there are actually some students that I am afraid of. I don’t necessarily mean “afraid” in the literal sense, but I am definitely unsure if I want to approach them sometimes. Why? Because of their inconsistency. Just like a rollercoaster, forever moving up and down – to new heights and lows, and everything in the middle – their words and actions also make dramatic shifts depending where life’s path is taking them on any given day. Basically, their feelings are their primary source for how they communicate with others.

 

What Type of Ship Are You?

The reason many people are inconsistent with their actions and behaviour is because they allow storms to get inside of them, and destroy their peace.

A ship can be cruising in the middle of the ocean, with water surrounding it for miles in all directions. It will be fine, serving its purpose, until a storm blows in its direction and begins to allow water on the inside. Because of the water, the ship will eventually sink once it can’t handle the weight. It will be destroyed.

Consistent people, however, don’t allow water to get on the inside. They have  an incredibly strong foundation that will not allow a storm to have any substantial impact. The wind can blow from all directions, and be surrounded by violent waves crashing all around them, but the consistent person will stay strong. Water has no way of filling the inside.

This simple analogy is the same for life. Those that are able to keep problems on the outside will be happier, stronger, and more successful. Just like the ship, the ACTIONS of consistent people will remain unaffected – they will remain strong, steadily cruising the same course as they were before the storm.

Those that allow problems to attack and destroy their inside, will eventually sink once the weight of the water becomes too great. The symptoms of allowing too much water on the inside manifest themselves in anger, depression, isolation, low resiliency, and quitting. Unfortunately, in a sea of ships at school, I have witnessed far too many sinking. When too many ships are sinking at the same time, there aren’t enough lifeboats to save them all.

Consistency and Success at School

It’s actually quite simple to see why consistent people are much more successful than those who aren’t…

  • Inconsistent people daydream in class when the lecture is boring. Consistent people take notes.
  • Inconsistent people escalate problems by screaming at their friends when they are upset. Consistent people speak calmly and resolve issues.
  • Inconsistent people are rude to others when they are upset. Consistent people earn trust and respect by controlling their feelings and always responding kindly.
  • Inconsistent people don’t study when they don’t feel like it. Consistent people study anyway.
  • Inconsistent people skip class when their friends influence them to do so. Consistent people attend class, ready to learn, leaving their friends in the hallway. It won’t take long for those same friends to stop asking you to skip, because your consistent refusals will train them to stay silent.

Aspiring to be Consistent is the Mindset of the 1%

Consistency is very difficult to achieve. Why? Because most people are inconsistent. Most people associate exclusively with inconsistent people, and most people allow their moods and feelings to dictate how they act. However, consistency requires the opposite: your thoughts, words, and actions need to be in control – then your feelings will comply A consistent person cannot be a slave to their feelings. It also really helps if you surround yourself with consistent people.

You are angry because your teacher went back on their word? Speak positively to him/her anyway. You’re upset because your friends cancelled on you, talk to them kindly anyway. You’re angry because you failed a test that you studied hard for? Speak softly to your teacher anyway. Accept responsibility.

When your thoughts, words, and actions are in control of your feelings, welcome to the 1% club, my friend. You are now consistent. You are now one of the most trustworthy people in your school. Probably in your community.

Conclusion

Get into the habit of reminding yourself to be consistent. I once had the word “consistent” as the wallpaper on my phone. When you wake up, remind yourself to be consistent. Post it in your locker. Write it on the back of your hand.  Get others to remind you. Do what you need to do to to be successful.

I challenge you to act differently this week. If you haven’t already done so, begin to chase consistency by taking control of your thoughts, words, and actions. Post it somewhere highly visible so you will be reminded of it often. Be that strong ship that stands out in a sea of mediocrity.

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How Do I Succeed In School? – Train Your Mental Toughness

As a teacher, one of the biggest tragedies I see students consistently make is that they give up too easily. In fact, many students give up after failing just once! I am confident that if you are able to triumph and persevere through setbacks and difficulties, you can easily separate yourself from your peers. Why? Because when your friends and peers are quitting, you will be breaking new barriers. The tool you need to develop is mental toughness..

I purposefully train my mental toughness often. It isn’t fun, but when I am able to complete tasks that others won’t, I will be able to accomplish what others can’t. There lies the separation of excellence and mediocrity…

When your peers are daydreaming in class, your mental toughness will be locked-in to absorb all of the information being taught. Yes, we teachers try to make all lessons fun and engaging, but sometimes we miss the mark – I admit, the lesson could be boring! It is incredibly important to LIVE-OUT your words. It’s been said that you shouldn’t judge a person by their words, but instead, you should judge them by what they do. So when I suggest to you that you should train your mental toughness by engaging in tasks that aren’t fun, I will do the same to prove my point.

Right now, I am blogging from my gym in Winnipeg. It’s 11:30 PM. I arrived at 8:45. I am currently on a mission to complete 1000 pull-ups in 10 hours. Oh yeah…I am completing this mission THROUGHOUT the entire night. I am not leaving here until 7 AM. Why did I choose to do this at night? Simple…it takes more mental toughness to complete the task.

 

Here is  my journey…

I have found some time in my workout to blog my progress. I have scheduled myself to complete 100 pull-ups every hour for 10 hours. I have currently completed 250 pull-ups in the first 90 minutes, so I have an hour.

How am I feeling? It’s human nature to focus on the negative…I am worried that my hands are starting to blister and are becoming extremely painful. I am worried I won’t be able to finish. I am reminded of a past world-record holder, David Goggins, who completed 4030 pull-ups in 17 hours – he had 3rd degree burns on his hands and had to stop in one of his first attempts. I don’t want that. I am fighting negativity right now.

However, my mental toughness, which I have consistently trained for years, is beginning to defeat my negativity. I am getting energized because I know that when most are getting ready for bed, I am still grinding. Overcoming challenges, huge challenges, will increase positivity and renew your mindset! I guarantee it!

Update…it’s 12:42 AM. Progress is being made: I have completed 400 pull-ups. My hands are still sore, but the pain isn’t progressing. Why? Instead of focusing on the negative, I searched for a solution: I googled a CrossFit technique for how to grip the bar properly to avoid blisters and rips. Bring on the remaining 600!

Update 2… it’s 3:19 AM. I have stopped at 676 pull-ups – kind of a weird number I know, but my body and mind needs a break. I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle to get through the 500’s and 600’s. I wanted to go home. The thought of doing another 500 pull-ups AND staying here for another five hours is beginning to torment my mind.

However, I have two choices: to remain mentally tough, keep going, and become more confident having defeated a huge challenge, or go home, get comfortable, and sleep only to wake up feeling frustrated and weak because I didn’t stick through with the challenge. The thought of the finish line is keeping me going. I don’t want to waste 676! 324 more and I am home baby!

Update 3…it’s now 4:48 AM, and I am beginning to slow down. I was doing sets of five pull-ups, now I am doing sets of 2 or 3. I am at 850 pull-ups now! The frustration I was feeling earlier is completely gone. All I see now is the finish line. It’s amazing the power that grinding through mental and physical exhaustion can have on your mindset. The feeling of accomplishment is going to be awesome!

Update 4…its exactly 6:00 AM. One hour to go to meet my deadline, and I have completed 950 pull-ups. I have a huge problem though…my right elbow is beginning to seize when I flex it. I can’t physically do anymore pull-ups right now. My plan is to rest another 20 to 30 minutes and see if somehow I can pull off the last 50. I am determined to be mentally tough, but not at the price of sacrificing the physical health of my body. I need to be smart here.

Update 5…it is 3:44 PM!! I finished all 1000 pull-ups by the time the clock struck 7 AM. What an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment. I went straight home, and fell asleep for 6 hours. My body is sore and aching. My hands are blistered up, and it’s very painful and difficult to bend my right elbow. Not a problem though, as these aches are temporary…the feeling of achievement is going to last a lifetime. The trade is well worth it.

As I reflect on those crazy ten hours of both mental and physical exhaustion, I cannot help but think of the intense struggle that I experienced. Between about 2 AM and 4AM, the urge to quit was incredibly real and powerful. I honestly felt I was going to stop. Probably more so than physically, the struggle was incredibly intense mentally. My mind was pleading with my body to stop and drive home to the comfort of my bed.

How did I get through the struggle? Two things: I focused on the joy and celebration of meeting the end-goal of 1000 push-ups, AND I spoke positively to myself all night..”You can do this!” “Go to the bar and do 5 more!” “You are more powerful than your feelings.” I refused to let negativity enter my mind…but that is a lesson for another time.

The next time I encounter a problem or a boring task that I’d rather not do, I can simply pull from my experience of 1000 pull-ups to guide me through to success and completion. For example, I really dislike marking assignments and preparing report cards. Both can become very tedious and boring. Next time I need to mark assignments or prepare report cards though, I am going to remember standing underneath a pull-up bar for 10 hours – if I can complete 10 overnight hours of physical and mental exhaustion of pulling my body over a bar 1000 times, certainly I can grade assignments for two hours! The confidence that I have earned through incredibly hard work will lead me to achieve greater success in other areas of my life later on. Now that I know I am capable of great things, minor challenges or annoyances will be easy to defeat.

You want to have an extremely successful school year? You want to achieve higher grades than you have ever achieved before? Then you need to train your mental toughness! Don’t worry though, it isn’t necessary to do so in such an extreme way as staying up all night at a gym and completing 1000 pull-ups; but you can study for an hour every night, can’t you? You can tell your friends you won’t be going to the party this time. You can review notes during your lunch-break and spares. You can workout when your friends are playing video games.

When you diligently practice mental toughness you will be ready for the boring lesson. You will be ready to study for hours in preparation for a major exam. You will be ready to complete your shift at work with diligence because you have been strengthening and conditioning your mind to stay mentally tough. Your peers? They will be quitting. They will be going to parties. They will stop when their mind tells them it isn’t fun anymore.

You tell me who is going to have the more successful school year: the student who quits when times get difficult, or the student who perseveres through challenges. I think it’s pretty obvious.

As you can see, the joy of triumph was worth the pain and agony…

                        

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