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It's all in the mind

Keep at it: All you need is persistence. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Keep at it: All you need is persistence. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

To begin with, it really is no secret. The mind plays a vital role in shaping us: the way we are, the jobs we perform and allocate our time to.‘Successful' people seem to have their time prioritised and somehow their schedules fit in every single thing they want to do, exercise included. I have seen and experienced several busy CEOs make the time to exercise. They do it all: travel, party, work and exercise not necessarily in that order. Seeing this made me wonder about how these achievers brought fantastic results into every area of their lives. Then, I cracked the code. We need to give a complete 100 per cent to what we want.

Who's a winner

A winner is someone who has put in that little bit extra. All of us have it to go 80 per cent of the way. It is that last 20 per cent that makes the difference between those who win and those who do not. That last 20 per cent is really the toughest part, something like the tip of the pyramid. Starting out is easy. Lofty resolves are easy too. A lot of them would have been floating around at the birth of this new decade. By now most of them would have dissolved into nothing. Forgotten figments of the fertile imagination.

Awareness is growing, slowly. Slowly, the world is looking seriously at the Vedas for inspiration, where we find mind work works. Dan Brown's latest book, The Lost Symbol, revolves around thoughts and the mind. Examples are quoted by masters of how diseases like cancer have been completely cured with only mind work. Problems that seemed insurmountable are resolved by sending the right message to your mind. Something that seemed loftier than the Mount Everest turns into a mere speed bump on the road of life. Some people find mental imagery, meditation, and mind strategies can work wonders.

Power of the mind

A physical test on athletes preparing to participate in the Olympics had them all wired up to machines. They were instructed to feel like they were in a practice session. The machines they were wired to recorded their muscle responses.

Guess what the machines reported? That when the athletes imagine they were in a practice session, the muscles they would engage were actually fired up. Without them doing a thing physically. It demonstrated to the power of the mind to the observers!

The mental potential is limitless. There really is nothing to stop you from doing or being what you want by knowing deep within you that you can do it. If people can cure themselves of diseases like cancer by simply being and saying positive things to themselves, why can't others find time to exercise? It is really for yourself that you are doing it.

Not everybody wants to win Mr. Muscle Man or Miss Universe. A lot of us only want a body that is energetic, flexible, healthy, well balanced and reasonably toned.

Let me tell you another truth: you don't need to spend hours in a gym. Your body needs only 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. Even that is four to six times a week. Every day has only 24 hours. It is how a human utilises them that makes the difference.

Whether high flying individuals with high net worth or software creators glued to their monitors, they have but one constant: those 24 hours and the fact that the winner has to work a little bit harder. Be a little bit smarter at time management. And, yes, a little bit more persistent.

The human mind created machines, even those we work out on. Yet the same mind will put 10,000 obstacles in your path when it comes to exercise.

Make it a habit

Pick any exercise you like: walking, yoga, aerobics, dancing, gymming, playing an energetic game outdoors, many choices are available today. Do it for 21 days. That's all. Then do it for another 21. You will find you do have the time on day 22, 23, 24 … because it has become a habit. You have just shown your mind who is the boss and your body is responding. Not only will you notice a difference in how you feel, your body will start responding in small yet noticeable ways. Initially, only you will know. You will be able to bend a little further, push yourself harder, stay focused for longer.

Just like today's smart athletes take their meditation sessions seriously, today's winners do it too. It is no big deal. Even doing your daily job by giving it 100 per cent of your attention is meditation. Just as they practice mental techniques and psyche themselves into winning, we too can win by giving that little bit extra.

Crossing all boundaries and creating records takes but a fraction of a second in time. Still it can be done. If you can imagine it, you can do it. It is the imagination that sent man to the moon, it is imagination, practice plus confidence that got him to run a mile in four minutes, and it is again the imagination and dedication that will get him where he wants to be scaling new heights and creating new records.

As told to AMEETA AGNIHOTRI

Ajit Shetty is Managing Director, Score Fitness.


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 11:59:21 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine//article59790234.ece