Don't Hold Back



If you've spent countless hours toiling-away in the gym, left gallons of sweat on the ring canvas and have gone through more ice healing your wounds than 7-Eleven sells for Big Gulps in a week and you still aren't any closer to becoming the fighter you think and know you should be, then it’s likely that there are one of three things holding you back.  You are either being suppressed by the internal, limiting beliefs that you and only you have placed on yourself.  You are succumbing to, or are allowing yourself, to be restrained by external influencers, the people you surround yourself with.  Or, the people around you are actually physically and mentally operating in a way that is holding you back.

If it's you that's placing your own limits on your ability, how you see yourself and what you truly believe you're capable of, you're not alone.  Self defeating behaviors and thought processes are a common trait in most people, not just fighters.  Some people just inherently figure out how to overcome them or have a desire so strong that it diminishes the power of their own negative thinking.  This goes back to your ongoing inner dialogue, a set of fixed beliefs you have about yourself or what you feel your worthy or not worthy of.

It gets fairly involved to go too much in-depth into each characteristic, but you need to be sure that the scenarios you play out in your head and the way you react to yourself are benefitting you.  You will become what you think about most of the time. Good thoughts about who you are and what you do will manifest themselves by producing good, positive actions.  On the other hand, constantly being down on yourself because you’re not fighting the way you think you should be will keep you doing just that.  Good or bad, you will subconsciously fulfill the image you have of yourself.  "What you think about, you bring about."  It's as simple as that.

You also have a set of fixed beliefs about who or what you are and those beliefs can play a crucial role in what you allow yourself to accomplish.

“I'm too old to be an elite professional fighter."

“I don't have the connections to make it big in this sport."

"I'm the wrong color, nationality, social status, religion, race, size, be a successful fighter." The list of reasons "why you can't" are endless, but they all lead to a negative outcome.  So why not let go of a few rules and just believe that it is possible. Belief is the most important attribute of success and, once you figure that out, the details don't matter.  How much weight you give your life rules is what makes the real difference.

A second possibility is that you are letting others create your world for you.  Consciously or subconsciously you are allowing their perception of you to dictate your environment.  Consider this:  Although most goldfish you see are relatively small, they are actually capable of growing 100 times their normal size.  Because they are confined to the limitations of a small bowl, they adapt to their surroundings?  Their normal, average size becomes far less than their potential and it is all because they adapt to the environment that is created for them.  They become as big as they are allowed to…and no more.  If a goldfish thought bigger and filled its confining bowl to capacity, do you think his or her owner would get a larger bowl?  If you've heard the expression "Never let someone else create your world because they will always make it too small."  Guess what?  It's true, but only because you allow it.  Don't let others program you to believe that you have limitations and that you only possess a certain amount of control over your life. You own every part of it.

The third limiting behavior is much more blatant.  It has been called numerous things, but the most common is Crab Mentality.  It is intentional and it emanates from the people you surround yourself with. Crab Mentality is a metaphor, but it’s real.  This reference is typically used to describe people who subscribe to a holding others back for no apparent reason, other than selfishness and jealousy.  Did you know that if a crab is alone in a pot, it can easily escape?  But, if you put that same crab in a pot with several other crabs, the others grab him and pull him back, preventing him from succeeding. This doesn't save them or improve their chances for survival.  It only ensures their collective demise.   Do you share your “pot”, your environment, with other “crabs”...people who diminish your successes, remind you of your failures and do everything they can, verbally and mentally, to hold you back?  If you have the desire to succeed, be better and do better, be sure you have people around you, business and personal, that share and support a healthy, unified desire to achieve more.

Whether it’s in business, athletics or life in general, successful people work through a mindset of belief.  They don't try, they don't think, they don’t hope.  With 100 percent commitment, they BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL SUCCEED.  They remove all obstacles, physical or mental and then reap the rewards of their commitment.  If you are willing to examine what might be holding you back and keeping you from experiencing success for yourself, then all it takes from there is letting go of anyone or anything that is in the way of your ultimate goal.  The short time pain might be worth the long term gain.  It almost always is.

Doug Ward is the President and Trainer for the Underground Boxing Company.