Take a moment and ponder the two beach scenes above. Fell the warm sea breeze, hear the rustle of the seagrass and hear the gentle sounds of the ocean kissing the sandy shore.
Now I want you to take a journey with me as we observe two families getting ready to take their youngster to the beach for the first time.
Family “A” is very careful to warn their youngster of some of the hazards at the beach: Sand fleas, sunburn, jelly fish stings, ocean contaminants and shark attacks.
Family “B” is very deliberate in telling their youngster about the joys of the beach: Sandcastles, sea shells, sea gulls and warm waters.
Now envision youngster “A” coming over that sand dune and imagine what they are feeling as they see the beach for the first time: fear, trepidation, worry, anxiety.
How about youngster “B” as they see the beach for the first time : excitement, anticipation. joy, expectations.
Look at the two pictures again.
Same beach, same dunes, same ocean but our two youngsters have two very different experiences based on Perception. Perception is a powerful tool of the mind. What we see in our mind first shapes what we see with our eyes second. The Talmud teaches us: “We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.” How we perceive the things around us influences our actions and reactions.
One of our favorite examples of that in the fitness world is the ubiquitous box jump. Almost everyone who approaches it the first time has a perception in their mind that “They can’t do that!” That perception is, indeed a reality for them. But it is no more a reality than the different views of the beach. By changing the perception “I can do that.” or “I can work and train to do that.” The box is at the same time an impossible impediment and an energizing challenge.
Step 1: Be mindful of your Perceptions: Be aware of those voices, doubts and dialogues going on in your head. Don’t try to exorcise those thoughts, be aware and mindful of them. You may even try writing them down.
Step 2: Embrace those Perceptions: Try not to over-analyze or judge them, just accept that they are there. By accepting (and not fighting) them, you begin to rob them of their power.
Step 3: Chose to create new Perceptions: Let those old perceptions just lie there while you hold up and build new Perceptions. Let “It’s impossible” become “I love a challenge.” From “I could never do that” to “I can’t wait until I can accomplish that.” And so on.
The Talmud teaches us: “We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”
So, when you get ready to peak over that sand dune, you will see an ocean of possibilities and opportunities as vast as the sand and ocean.
Do not let your perceptions define you or your performance. Instead, use your perceptions to empower shape you and your performance. By building strong, positive perceptions, we build a platform for growth and success.