Will Durant famously summed up a quote by Aristotle, “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” There’s no denying that our habits are incredibly powerful, however, in order to change them, we believe that we need to address the underlying belief.
If we are able to change the underlying belief, the likelihood of permanently entrenching a new habit exponentially increases.
Ultimately this comes down to our mindset; the way we think and perceive the world around us. Below are 10 principles that we believe will help optimise our mindset:
1. Prioritise first things to be first: This is simply about ensuring that our effort is purposely directed. “We’re climbing the ladders of our careers, we’re climbing the ladders of our health, we’re climbing the ladders of our relationships, but are those ladders leaning against the right walls?” asks Bergeron. (Bergeron, 2019, 00:03:35) Alongside this, we need to determine urgent vs important things. “If you don’t step back and look at the things that are truly important in your life, and actually ask yourself those questions, you’re just going to be spinning your wheels.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:04:23) Questions we could ask ourselves are: What is it that am I trying to create with my life? Am I trying to be a really great parent? Am I trying to leave a legacy? Once we have our answers, we can prioritise the things that are going to move the needle to get us there.
2. Develop a growth mindset: “You have to realise that everything you can now do as a human being, you learned. You didn’t know how to walk, talk, read, ride a bicycle, do a pull-up … yet we have this inherent thing in our society which is you are born with a … fixed amount of talent in certain areas.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:07:35) We don’t believe that life is fixed. Yes, some people are born with certain gifts or talents, and may have a slight head start, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to do it just as well, or even better than those people. We can be lifelong learners if we choose to be. “If you want to be lean, if you want to be a business person, if you want to be a good artist or sculpture, if you want to be a musician, you can do any of those things. It’s not what you’re born with, it’s not about being, it’s about becoming.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:09:23)
3. Focus only on what you can control: We tend to grasp this concept until we’re faced with a challenge. We understand that the weather is beyond our control, we know there is nothing we can do to change it, but if our kid doesn’t get into the school that they want, we get ourselves worked up, but it’s pointless, it is beyond our control. Just like the weather, we’ve got to be able to let it go. “When you let go of all these things that you can’t control, you’re left with just a few, and those few things are the process. The process for you to create exactly what you want out of your life … You can control what you pay attention to, the effort you put into things, and how you respond to outside events.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:10:38)
4. Grind through obstacles: “Grit is passion & perseverance over a long period of time.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:12:44) Your passion finds you. The only way to figure out what we enjoy doing, is to try new things. Try playing an instrument, try learning a new language, try playing a sport, and as we try new things, we will get a feel for it. If it’s not for us, don’t do it, however, if we do enjoy it, do more of it. Inevitably there will be obstacles along the way, but it’s important to look at those obstacles as opportunities. An opportunity to hone our craft, to further develop our leadership skills, to further develop our growth. “We want obstacles, they’re the ones that develop you. We expect adversity, and we expect to overcome it. It’s not a bad thing. The goal is not to avoid adversity, hardship, or obstacles, it’s to know that they’re coming, and when they come, have the ability to respond to those things appropriately.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:14:52)
5. Own your attention: “Everyone is vying for your attention. It’s the reason that Google wants to make cars. Google has no interest in selling cars, they have (an) interest in owning your attention … they’re willing to invest in self-driving cars [because your attention is so important]. If they’re willing to invest that much into your attention, shouldn’t we be willing to invest that much in our attention?” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:15:33) This simply comes down to one word: intention. We have to be intentional with our actions, our thoughts, our time, our habits. If we go to the same restaurant and always order a pint of beer and extra chips, that’s a habit. If you binge on Netflix every Thursday night for an hour longer than you planned to, it’s a habit. We can change our habits, but we have to be intentional.
6. Question your self-limiting beliefs: “Stop saying things that you can’t do, and look at the things that you can do.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:17:44) Regardless if we are an executive, an employee, or a volunteer, we can make a decision to do everything with excellence. “Change the word can’t, to won’t … That eliminates self-limiting beliefs” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:18:50) “I can’t go to the gym today.” No, you won’t go to the gym today. “I can’t eat clean.” No, you won’t eat clean. “Say you won’t, don’t say you can’t.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:19:36)
7. Never whine, complain, or make excuses: The more we whine, complain, or make excuses, the more things we see to whine, complain or make excuses about. Not only do we see more of it, everyone else around us will also see more of it. It’s the frequency illusion. “I want to buy a red car, and all of a sudden you see red cars everywhere.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:21:25) If we asked someone, “How was your day?” and they replied, “It was terrible, nothing went my way,” and then began to rattle off everything that went wrong, what happens to our mood? It drops, doesn’t it? On the contrary, if their response was, “It was a challenging day, but I did my best to remain positive and optimistic. I didn’t get everything done that I needed to; I sure could use some help tomorrow.” We would likely offer our help, and be encouraged by their response to adversity. We asked the same question, but the difference was the first person saw the obstacles, whereas the second person saw the opportunities.
8. Practice open mindedness: “Don’t judge, be open-minded about everything … You see a parent, not being a great parent out in public, and the immediate thing you [think] is, ‘that poor kid’, ‘they’re really [bad] parents’, when you might just be catching that parent at the one time [that they’re having a really bad moment], [and] everybody has had that one time.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:23:00) Regardless of how much we think we know about a particular subject, don’t disregard anyone’s opinion. A stranger could be trying to tell us about a new diet that they heard about, and we could judge them before hearing what they have to say, or dismiss it as a fad because it doesn’t fit in with what we believe; or we could listen, digest and absorb what they say, and see if it could be used in some way, shape or form. “From every situation, every conversation, every interaction, see if there’s something in there that you can learn to help grow you as a person.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:25:14)
9. Transform every “have to” into a “get to”: This is simply about gratitude. “You don’t have to pick up your kids, you don’t have to cook dinner, you don’t have to go to work, you don’t have to go to the gym. Those are all things you get to do.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:25:30) This simple shift in mindset can lead us to “realise that these things [we] feel obligated to do, are actually really incredible privileges.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:25:48) Again, it’s the frequency illusion. The next time we have a task to do that we don’t particularly feel like doing, we can feel privileged that we get to do it, instead of feeling obligated to do it.
10. Chase excellence: “To me, [excellence is] fanatical attention to detail, while putting first things first.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:27:03) For example, if we were to go to a restaurant, the table cloths would be set perfectly, the hostess would have the perfect greeting, the lighting would be perfect, the temperature would be perfect, the music would be at the perfect volume with the perfect beat; that would be fanatical attention to detail. However, in order to put first things first, the food must be amazing. If everything else was perfect, but the food was average, the rest wouldn’t really matter. It’s fanatical attention to detail, whilst putting first things first.
We believe that taking ownership of the 10 principles above is what will move the needle the furthest in terms of optimising our mindset.
As health and fitness professionals, we understand that mindset plays a critical role in helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. We are passionate about seeing people thrive in all areas of life, and we know that optimising our mindset is essential to achieving this.
We hope you found this information valuable. If you’re looking for a professional coach to help you on your health & fitness journey, please do contact us
Question Your Self-Limiting Beliefs (2019) YouTube Video, added by Ben Bergeron [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbRdUw0jq6o&t=168s [Accessed: 16 December 2019].