The personal stories of the athletes are one of my favorite parts of watching the Olympics. I love hearing about their journey to get to London, their struggles and triumphs. I am also fascinated by the training the athletes commit to in order to make the Olympic team.
Over and over in interviews the athletes share how important the mental preparation is to their success. There is so much that we can learn about creating prosperity and success from these athletic superstars.
Mental Training Just As Important as Physical Training
Did you know that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has 4 full-time psychologists on staff to help their elite athletes with mental conditioning? Here’s what they say on their website: “Both research and our experience strongly suggest that as athletes move up into the elite ranks, mental training skills become as important as the physical side of the sport.”
4 Ways to Tap Success of Olympic Winners
The USOC suggests mental training guidelines which could just as easily apply to building wealth.
- Mental training can’t replace physical training. Similarly, picturing abundance isn’t enough; you must also take responsible actions with your money.
- Physical training and physical ability are not enough to succeed consistently. The right mindset is crucial for both athletic success and financial success.
- A strong mind might not win an Olympic medal, but a weak mind will lose you one. Having the right mindset might not ensure that you’ll hit every one of your goals, but a weak one will make is harder to hit your targets.
- Thoughts affect behavior. Our thoughts and beliefs affect everything we do. Our thoughts are like the ruder of a boat – they guide our actions. Right thoughts + Right Actions → Right Results.
Recent Training Research
Dr. David Hamilton (Institute of Sports Science research) writes about recent research carried out at the Institute of Sports Science at the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany. They compared 5 different groups of people. The first group did 100% of a training program physically, the next group did 75% of the training physically and 25% of the training in their minds, the third group did 50% physically and 50% mentally, the fourth group did 25% physically and 75% mentally and the last group did not train.
Ready for this…
There was only a very small difference in physical improvement between the group doing 100% of the training in the gym and the group only doing 25% of the work in the gym and 75% of the training mentally.
Picture Your Financial Goals and See Opportunities
This type of mental training is not just effective for physical activities. We can use mental training for our financial success as well. There is a small part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) which acts as a filter for important information between your conscious and subconscious mind. This is what helps us to hear our name being called across a crowded room, but ignore the background noise of glasses clinking. We have the ability to actually help to program our RAS. The more you program your RAS with thoughts and pictures of your goals, the more likely you are to be open to seeing the opportunities to help create these goals.
3 Keys to Programming your RAS
1. Choose a Time When You Are Calm
2. Focus on What You Want
It is crucial that you focus on what you want to have happen as opposed to what you don’t what to happen. Your RAS is not very discriminating. If you focus on what you don’t want, for example if you say to yourself, “I don’t want to have to worry about money,” your RAS will focus on worrying about money. Instead, focus on “I have financial freedom.” Create a specific mental picture of what financial freedom looks like to you. For example: Where do you live? How do you spend your time? Who is with you?
3. Feel the Sensation of Success
Here’s another crucial part of the formula. As you are picturing your goals, make sure to feel the emotion you will feel when your goal happens. If you are not sure how you will feel, before you start the visualization process think back to a time when you felt very successful. How did you feel then? Happy? Excited? Calm? Actually feel this emotion as you are creating your mental picture of accomplishment.
This visioning process will train your mind for success. It is so easy in today’s economy to focus on volatility and problems. Stop it! If this is what you focus on, you will find lots of evidence to support your experience of problems. Instead, if you look for the opportunities that arise in times of change, you will find those.
As Henry Ford said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”