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Travis Macy is a professional endurance athlete who has raced the toughest ultra marathons around the globe. He’s author of the new book The Ultra Mindset – An endurance champion’s 8 core principles for success in business, sports, and life.
He lives with his wife and children in the mountains of Colorado.
Travis Macy on the Ultra Mindset
Mindset 1: It’s all good mental training
Viewing your challenges as positive, essential elements of building a winning mindset makes all the difference in the world. When the going gets tough, tell yourself, “this is good mental training.” Which it is: Remember that self-control can be trained, just like any other muscle.
Mindset 2: Be a wannabe
Get close to be people you want to be like–make the most of *goal contagion*. By identifying people you would like to emulate in one or more ways, you can find examples of people who are reaching goals similar to your own. Utilize the synergy and push each other.
Mindset 3: Find your carrot
Utilize extrinsic motivators—such as money, utilitarian purpose, glory, and admiration—especially when the self control muscle tires. Intrinsic motivation— doing something because you enjoy it in the moment—is also important, and you better have it if you want to do anything big. For the greatest challenges, though, it can be good to keep extrinsic carrots in mind.
Mindset 4: Have an ego and use it—until it’s time to put your ego aside
Accomplishing big goals requires perseverance, and that requires a high view of self. The Ultra Mindset often requires taking on great challenges that we may have no business tackling. In such cases, belief in what you are capable of doing can help you succeed in doing it. . But when you need assistance, don’t let that ego stand in your way: ask for help!
Mindset 5: Think about your thinking: WHAT and WHY
Program yourself to think about the right things at the right time. If
something is particularly detail-oriented (such as editing a professional document, creating a business plan or climbing a precipitous mountain), think about WHAT you are doing to increase effectiveness and avoid error. When things get drawn-out and grueling on a Friday afternoon at work or at mile 24 of your marathon, tune out the monotonous, painful WHAT with a focus on WHY you are doing it.
Mindset 6: The 4:30 a.m. Rule: When you have no choice, anything is
When the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m., literally or figuratively, get up and take action. You committed ahead of time, and whether or not you feel like doing it (whatever “it” may be) in the moment doesn’t really matter if you’re working toward something aligned with your higher purposes in life. 4:30 a.m. moments happen all the time, and the more you follow through on previous commitments when push comes to shove, the easier it becomes to do regularly.
Mindset 7: Bad stories, good stories: The ones you tell yourself make
all the difference
The ongoing dialogue that plays out in our heads can be channeled in the
right direction.. Negative stories, must be rewritten and fought with better ones. These can be nothing more than positive mantras—“I am getting stronger with each step”—that can be cued up in your mind to replace the negative ones—“I can’t take another step.” A key first step: recognize your negative stories for what they are—just stories and nothing more.
Mindset 8: Never quit . . . except when you should quit
If you’re doing something you really care about, something that you know
aligns with your true self and highest purposes in life, don’t quit because you fear what will happen if you continue. Fear will be there, and that’s just part of the deal—keep going anyway. On the other hand, if you are doing something with your life that does not align with who you want to be and how you want to live, then maybe you should quit. True courage is overcoming fear to spend your life in what you believe to be a purposeful manner.
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