By: Liu Gross
Chicago-based trainer Liu Gross took time out of his busy schedule to serve as Lively’s Guest Editor this month. Here, he writes about the benefits of having a positive mindset.
I thought of changing the title because the word “fighter” doesn’t always resonate with everyone but try as I might, I can’t think of a softer, more palatable word that carries the same weight and intention, so “fighter” it is. Understand that the word is important because I believe you’re a fighter and you might not even know it.
Although it’s changing, the world is designed to help us. We all face some degree of opposition every day when we set our minds to certain level of productivity. The various challenges look and feel different, but the struggle is still there and very real. You’ve got too many emails to reply to, your kid is sick, you’re added to a project last minute, bae is being needy, Susan is making the meeting last longer by asking questions that don’t pertain to your department and can be asked/answered over email – the list goes on! The point is we’re all fighting something, which makes us fighters. And now, I can help you think like one.
First, you’ll need to be realistic and a bit delusional. Delusion in itself is a major clog in the engine of every fighter success. Your brain needs to believe that whatever thing is impeding your progress is just another surmountable obstacle that won’t keep you from reaching your goal. The “realistic” part comes into play when you can have that mindset but still understand that some things, for what every reason, just aren’t going to get done. You will have to come to terms with that because you did your best. Life happens.
It’s also important that as delusional and goal-driven as you are, if your strategy doesn’t cater to your ability, your plan of action is moot. Putting yourself in the most successful position means knowing your limitations. If you’re not good at multi-tasking, try to delegate or focus on one task at a time. If you know you have a short attention span, make sure information is given to you in a sharp and concise way. If you know you do your best work in a quiet environment, try out different coffee shops to get some work done. Be realistic about your abilities then put yourself in the best possible situation to succeed.
Lastly, try to embrace the beautiful struggle that is your situation. This is an abstract mindset that can be hard to appreciate when you’re in the thick of it, but every fight is a teaching moment, even in a loss. Sure, things are hectic but how much more prepared will you be the next time it happens? It’s hard and you wanted to quit but how much more tough and resilient are you going to be when it’s over? That is the beauty of struggle. Knowing that winning, losing, meeting your deadline, running behind on a project, starting a new relationship, getting a promotion, and whatever else is all worthwhile. Find the lesson and know it makes you more prepared and adds tools to the toolbox.
There is no one correct way of thinking but whether you consider yourself a fighter or not, the daily never-ending opposition to your productivity or self-improvement is coming, why not have a mindset that helps combat it? I believe you’re a fighter and I’d hate to be the thing in your way.