“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”

-John C. Maxwell

The reason I am writing my first blog today is for one reason and one reason only: I just had a horrible practice. To say that I felt sluggish, slow, sore, foggy and out of touch would be an understatement. I’m not sure if I landed one effective punch in the few rounds I sparred today. But now what? Do I sit here and regurgitate all of the negative thoughts I had soon after my rounds were over? Do I relive the uncertainty about myself and my future in this sport? Do I count the aches and pains I feel as I sit here in discomfort and type? Or do I choose to grow from this?IMG_6626

You see, I find that every single one of us goes through these valleys often and we all know its how we respond to life’s punches that leave you wobbly and unstable that really matter. It was painful, frustrating and humbling to say the least. But isn’t this the essence of what most accomplishments require of the accomplished? Don’t our minds and bodies need to go through these upper critical moments just like metal must be taken to upper critical temperatures before it is quenched by quickly submerging it in cold temperatures rendering it many times stronger than before. Isn’t the thrill of being beaten down again and again by things life throws at you somehow empowering? Isn’t the thought of all the work you have left to do somewhat of an excitement to us? I know it is to me…even as I sit here and ice my elbow and lower back.

Zig Ziglar has said many times “ you’re what you are and where you are because of what goes into your mind.” I believe this to be true wholeheartedly, but I’ll take it a step further and say “you’re what you are and where you are because of what GOES ON INSIDE your mind.” Do you find yourself listening to yourself? Do you find yourself constantly hearing those negative, self-limiting thoughts that seem to pass through your brain like cars across the highway? You see, I have found that if I listen to myself I will almost always hear negativity. Its so frustrating because I feel like it is an unstoppable force sometimes. But on the contrary just as you talk to your friends, mate or colleagues at work, you can talk to yourself. You begin to train yourself and before you know it, you are talking so many compliments and positive self talk nuggets that the negative ones get drown out. Now, I’m not suggesting that you have to actually move your lips and talk to yourself in public, because this may earn you some weird looks. I’m simply saying, as you are processing the many thoughts inside your head, make sure you have a constant and deliberate hold on them. Growth is deliberate and growth cannot happen if we sit idle and hope things get better. Change what goes on inside your mind and you’ll change your life.

I know this may be new to many of you, or may even sound far fetched, but I promise by drowning out the negative and focusing on talking TO YOURSELF, you will find more peace than ever before. This may seem like the pot calling the kettle black since I just told you that I had the worst practice ever, coupled with tons of doubt, insecurities and negative thoughts. But that is exactly why I chose today to write my first blog. I NEED REMINDERS TOO! My head is so much more clear than it was just two hours ago because I took control of my self talk. Just as a rancher must break a wild horse before it can be effective on a farm, so too do we need to get control of our minds. Sticking with the “horse theme,” it has also been said that words spoken(or in this case thought) cannot be caught with the swiftest horse. It is so hard for us to realize the negative implications every single negative thought has on our minds and self images and directly effects our future goals. For every second that you are talking to yourself, you are throwing up a wall that negativity cannot creep through, over or around. Take this pledge with me to start talking to ourselves more frequently and don’t get frustrated when you don’t see the results you want to right away. IT WILL TAKE TIME. There will be some easy days and a whole lot of hard ones, but with the right attitude we will realize our deepest and highest goals we have for ourselves. Thank you for taking this time with me as we grow together.

-Michael Chandler