Michael Phelps and how to have a positive mind under Olympic pressure

Michael Phelps has made history by becoming the most decorated Olympian ever as only a matter of days ago they put his 19th medal on him. No one can doubt that performing on the Olympic stadium can bring immense pressure with millions around the world watching you, and the weight of expectation and standards to live up to. So how does an Olympic champion develop their mindset so that they know how to have a positive mind and keep it even in the most pressurised circumstances?

At the last Olympics Phelps shared some of the mental preparation and mindset training that he works with. All say success first of all starts in the mind and starts with your thoughts (and the lack of self-defeating thoughts). Your thoughts get you to do or not do things. Here are a few of his insights shard by the Huffington Post:

“I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything.”

How you think and feel about your results and the work you have to put in determines who you are becoming and you what are achieving.

There are many maxim’s that can help keep the mind and emotions on track, such as

“I intend to find a positive in every negative, perception is reality.”

“I won’t predict anything historic. But nothing is impossible.”

Your thoughts quite naturally trigger certain feelings. These feelings and emotions are felt in the body, affecting how your system performs and works.

Having a few presets such as the maxims above – they can and will create a more open and less closed off feeling and emotional vibration throughout the system if referred to enough – so that they become your reality.

”If I want to be as successful as I want to be, I have to be thinking about it all the time.”

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps and how to have a positive mind under Olympic pressure (Photo credit: jdlasica)

How to have a positive mind under Olympic pressure

So is focus an important factor?

Where your attention goes grows. So if you regularly put time aside to sit or stand imagining and thinking of your success as though it has already happened, you performing at your best in the event – winning and achieving whatever it is you want, whatever it is you are aiming for – a mental, emotional and a physiological change occurs in your system.

And is this physiological change tuned into the succeeding or in the failing? By practicing this every day for a minimum of a concentrated and relaxed 5 minutes or more does and will have an impact. Many scientific studies have been done to report this single practice works for people of all walks of life including top athletes.

The Huffington Post also reported:

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team also won the gold medal for the team competition in artistic gymnastics. When team captain Aly Raisman was on the balance beam, the commentator said … that Raisman stays calm under all the pressure by adjusting her perspective to the competition.

Hard work and dedication is essential to success, but not everybody is able to withstand the pressure in the end. No matter how much you prepare, sometimes your nerves get the best of you.

English: Nastia Liukin on the balance beam at ...

Staying calm under all pressure with a positive mind frame and programming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it interesting to note that this preparation of positive and success mindset training does have an impact and yet at the same time the trixter of the mind can introduce a few thoughts of doubt. We call these thoughts of doubt ‘having nerves’, we also call the anticipation just before performing ‘having nerves’. And at the same time who is in control of these thoughts of doubt, who is in control of the feelings of anticipation?

There really is only one person who has control, and only one person who has access to the workings of their own mind. It’s true you can practice all the physical strokes you want, all the balancing and flips that you want but if your mind has not been trained to at least the same degree or even better this little trixter can knock you off balance at the most crucial of times.

Aly Raisman and Michael Phelps: They succeed because instead of focusing on all the negatives they focus on the positive. They do not think of tumbling off or falling back, they think of winning, glory and happiness, and that is what gets them on to the medal podium.

And this medal podium is available to each and everyone one of us day-in and day-out. Each one of us have our own pictures of what looks like success to us and in what we would want to be the medal winner – whether that’s the medal of getting a loved one to smile and say ‘hi’… whether that’s the medal of landing the next promotion or the next big contract… whether that’s the medal of your kids looking at you with great respect and you leading by example… whether that’s a romantic dinner that ends up in a marriage proposal – your picture of success is personal to you and can only ever be measured by you.

Take public speaking for example: You can have the world’s most eloquent speech prepared but unless you deliver it with confidence, it won’t have the same effect. A common piece of advice given to people who are afraid of public speaking is to imagine the audience in their underwear. This works because you are changing your perspective. Instead of being intimidated by the audience, you build your own confidence by imagining them in their most vulnerable form.

You can apply this trick in many other ways in your life. If you are taking an exam, instead of hating the material and running away from it, embrace it, love it and remember that you will succeed. If you are trying to lose weight, stop thinking of working out and eating healthy as difficult and unpleasant and change your perspective to it. You have to learn how to train your mind, because it is the most powerful tool that you have to accomplish your goals.

Get yourself a journal. Teach yourself daily how to have a positive mind, how to have a powerfully trained mind that is not incessantly focusing on failing. Record the words that inspire you, the pictures that lift you. Describe each success you are aiming for, focus just on one at a time and imagine it and rehearse it in your mind. Rehearse the winning of it and feel it, imagine it in every aspect being the success you want, and feel it deeply that you have already achieved it. Now don’t just do this for a few seconds, or a couple of minutes – do it religiously everyday in 5 minute slots for each success without distraction.

This is your time. This is your Olympic training. Each and everyone of us deserve our own gold medals in the things we choose. Life is a choice. The power of your mind unveiled is a choice, and having fun along the way is a choice too.

I know you’ll look amazing on that podium.

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How the mind body connection works for the Olympic Gold USA shooting team

Kim Rhode, Olympic Gold Medal shooter and co-h...

Kim Rhode, Olympic Gold Medal shooter. How the mind body connection works for Olympic Gold in everyone’s life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What motivates people to step beyond their normal level of performance? What motivates Olympians to snatch the gold when other narrowly miss the mark? Much can be learned about how the mind body connection works for outstanding performance from the USA shooting team.

The USA shooting team come from Colorado Springs, about an hour away from the sad and disturbing Batman cinema massacre. Now you may think that these 2 things are not connected. And you may think that a tragic disaster has no impact for triggering an excellence in performance.

But strangely enough this USA shooting team that have snatched 2 Gold medals at the London Olympics with an interesting story behind their gold medal wins.

The story tells of the power of the mind. The power of how the mind directs action. How the mind body connection is something that each one of us would benefit from understanding for the better.

Tim Reynolds reported that the team:

So far in London, American shooters have won two gold medals. But since the team arrived questions have kept coming about Aurora, Colo., and the rampage on July 20 that left 12 dead and 58 others wounded. Along with that is the renewed debate about gun control in the country.

So the USA shooters are not turning up at the Olympics with just the sound of performing their best in their minds, something greater than that is running through the team.

At the Olympic shooting venue, it’s a particularly sensitive topic. American shooters in London are hoping success on their sport’s biggest stage can serve as a reminder of what they find so compelling about their game.

“There always is something positive,” said Kim Rhode, the Olympic women’s skeet champion and first U.S. athlete to win an individual medal in five straight Olympics.

“I mean, shooting is something that teaches responsibility, discipline, focus,” she added. “And this is a sport and it’s sad when those lines get blurred with media and news, with someone that was obviously very disturbed. And, you know, hopefully we just continue on the positive path and just keep showing and teaching others.”

How the mind body connection works with passon

The team turn up at the Olympics with a passion for a sport they love, enjoy and put endless hours of practice into – but this passion is under question because a tragedy that their sport has been wrongly aligned with.

Their character and what they stand for is under question within the understandable media frenzy of the tragedy caused by a ‘very disturbed’ man.

How many times have you had a passion or a belief in something, and then for whatever reason people start to look down on you, and say that you you have a passion for is not worthwhile? And that what you stand for is not worth while?

What do you do? What does your mind run away with and start saying to you? Do you question and doubt yourself? Do you start believing that what others are saying is right and what you believe in is wrong?

English: Justin Olsen biting his gold medals S...

Mind body connection training can make you an Olympic gold medalist everyday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If this takes place what kind of connection do you think your mind and body creates? Do you think it creates an improved performance in tasks, jobs and actions or do you think it creates your off-days, your down right ‘not worth getting out of bed’ days too?

For USA Shooting, what happened in that midnight showing of the latest Batman film hit particularly close to home.

“It’s unfortunate when a tragedy like this happens and society immediately creates a link to the shooting sports and to sportsmen and enthusiasts in general,” USA Shooting spokesman Kevin Neuendorf said. “The 20 USA Shooting athletes (in London) represent class and distinction in every way. They weep for the victims and pray for their families. In times of tragedy, it’s important to remember that there is no correlation.”

Those who came to the London Games from Colorado say they’re not just representing their country at this Olympics, but their state as well.

“I will do everything in my power to make Colorado proud,” Ritzel said.

So a level of doing an action for a mourning peoples, for a state that needs positive recognition, an intention to serve a people so close to home in your heart that your mind dedicates your words, deeds and actions not for your own personal ends but for beyond the sake of them all.

Even swimming gold medalist Missy Franklin, a Colorado native, who remains rattled by the Batman shootings said:

“(In) every single race I’m going to have that Colorado incident back on my mind.”

Has this tragedy brought an extra-level of doing things for a larger purpose to the Colorado based Olympians? When the mind is directed with the power of unswerving intention it’s awe inspiring to see how the mind body connection works with precision, excellence and exceptionalness.

The mind directs the body. The chatter in the mind gets in the way and makes the body fumble and faulter. And yet a clear, strong based and unquestionable intention cuts through and ignores all chatter seeing it as inconsequential.

The Olympic Gold Medal

Is the Olympic gold medal simply the recognition of the Golden intention in the heart of an Olympian that has a mind body connection that is unfaultering?

The deep felt words of these Golden Olympians seem to reverberate clearly, not in respect of simple patriotism but in something larger and deeper in scope. How often do everyday people find themselves attending to anything with such intent.

Ask yourself your own questions? What am I doing this for? Do you have an intent so large, a cause that you are willing to put everything on the table for?

Even if you have, simply thinking it is not enough – you need to feel it on a core level and let it sink deep into your mind and heart – and I’m sure the Gold Medal Olympian in you will enter centre stage not for your glory but something far bigger than any ‘self-centred mind’ could ever fathom.

It’s a wonderful world we live in. The riches of the moments we can share are always available. Tragedies are tragedies, but we can always choose to stand-in the shoes of a shrunken victim or step up to the plate and stand for something bigger and better.

I for one am moved and inspired by these US Olympians – and feel blessed at the opportunity to learn from the examples these guys are setting. I think it’s time for a set of new trainers!

Here’s how you can step up too…

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The power of the subconscious mind on a Colorado Dark Knight

The power of the subconscious mind on a Colorado Dark Knight (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)Mindset training is a precious gift that can be used for good or even misdirected towards destructive ends when disturbing influences have infiltrated the subconscious mind. The recent shooting at the Colorado Dark Knight film showing highlights the power of the subconscious mind when not kept in check.

But can we learn from such disturbing events? Can understanding the power of the subconscious mind here us recognise if a healthier reprogramming is needed?

The power of the subconscious mind on a Colorado Dark Knight

 The NZHerald had this interpretation of events:

The shooting suspect who went on a deadly rampage inside a Colorado cinema planned the attack with “calculation and deliberation,” police said, receiving deliveries for months which authorities believe armed him for battle.

So it appears that this killers mind had been reflecting and contemplating this event for some time well in advance and not only that he had consistently took action along the way.

Authorities on Saturday removed dangerous explosive materials from inside James Holmes’ Denver apartment a day after police said he opened fire and set off gas canisters in a cinema minutes into the premiere of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. The attack left 12 people dead and 58 injured.

His apartment was rigged with jars of liquids, explosives and chemicals that were booby trapped to kill “whoever entered it,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said, noting it would have likely been one of his officers.

So it is quite scary how a mind can conceive of such an elaborate event and the extent to which a person guided by the impressions in their mind can go.

Holmes had recently withdrawn from a competitive graduate programme in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, where he was one of six students at the school to get National Institutes of Health grant money. He recently took an intense three-part, oral exam that marks the end of the freshman year of the four-year program there.

In a resume posted on Monster.com, Holmes listed himself as an “aspiring scientist” and said he was looking for a job as a laboratory technician.

The resume, first obtained by The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, paints a picture of a brilliant young man brimming with potential: He worked as a summer intern at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla in 2006 and mapped the neurons of Zebra finches and studied the flight muscles of hummingbirds while an undergraduate at the University of California, Riverside. He also worked as a summer camp counsellor to underprivileged children at a Jewish camp in Los Angeles in 2008.

Security increases following the deadly rampage by a gunman inside a Colorado screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ early this morning.So the profile of this man is not what you would initially describe as that of a killer. It describes a developing and achieving intelligence rather than someone that has failed to accomplish anything notable in their life so far. And the description of ‘brimming with potential’ highlights that inner power that was being gradually uncovered.

So do you find it surprising that such a person created this elaborate killing spree? If a man can accomplish academic achievements, apply his mind to make notable strides forward, even for the good of others – what would trigger a misdirection to such a destructive outcome?

…neighbours and former classmates in California said although Holmes was whip-smart, he was a loner who said little and was easily forgotten until this week.

So what does this describe? Does this describe someone that lacked a level of social skills? Does this describe someone hindered by a certain level of sel-image issues that got in the way of connecting with others?

It was reported that when arrested he said, “I’m the Joker.”

The impressions that we ‘hold’ in our minds will and do direct our actions over time. In a number of the preceding Batman movies the Joker in the movie did perform similar acts of attack that Holmes himself performed.

What do you feed your subconscious mind?How many times Holmes reflected and contemplated these images is unknown. But a method of consciously programming and reprogramming the subconscious mind involves the use of images and visualisations. So if Holmes was a loner, and by definition found connecting with other people on a more substantial level difficult – he may have had a low self image program running.

Now with low self esteem it is not unusual to wish you were like someone you admire who displays the confidence you desire.

[information]The Joker was an engineer in a chemical plant who was disfigured when he fell into a vat of chemicals[/information]

Now Holmes may have found a level of affinity with the Jokers fictional background. The Joker in the Batman stories of the 1940’s and 1950’s took the path of being a mass murderer that left behind smiling corpses in his wake because he considered himself a victim of an unsuccessful try at being a comedian on the stage.

[attention]Who do you identify with as a role model?[/attention]

Holmes would naturally of wanted to reflect and contemplate on himself as being ‘more significant’, and the food that he kept feeding his subconscious mind was far more toxic than helpful. If a slight shift had been made in Holmes mental and physical reality much earlier there may of never been a shooting on a Colorado Dark Knight movie showing.

The power of the subconscious mind

The power of the subconscious mind can change any life dramatically and substantially. It works very much like the tending to a farmers field. It gets ploughed and planted with seeds. When you tend to the field, and nourish those seeds planted nothing is seen for a while, so it could be easy to give up. But with a level of perseverance, the roots establish themselves and grow unseen underground for quite sometime. Then, as if all of a sudden, the first sprouts breakthrough and become known.

If you continue to nourish and tend to the newly growing plants a substantial harvest will develop and become unshakeable.

It’s a shame for everyone involved that Holmes chose such a toxic and destructive set of seeds to sow and tend to. It’s a shame that he did not have the responsiveness and awareness to understand and take note and action that a much more healthy level seeding and subconscious reprogramming was desperately needed.

And even more so that the others around him could of, if consciously aware, offered him other mental food, options and opportunities.

For me I see and recognise the importance of subconscious reprogramming, the seeding process and the conscious awareness of connecting with a loner from time to time. You never know you might do more good than you could ever imagine.

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How to increase mind power with exercise the Will Smith way

How to increase mind power with exercise

How to increase mind power with exercise the Will Smith way [Image credit: wikipedia]

When it comes to success mindset training there are ways that will show you how to increase mind powerwith regular exercise. Recent research has shown that physical exercise can and will make a marked difference to your personal mind power. Will Smith is one exponent of this approach that improves memory and other thinking skills.

According Kathleen Doheny of WebMD Medical News the latest research had this to show.

How to increase mind power with exercise

Your brain isn’t a muscle, but as you age exercise can improve your memory and other thinking skills, a new study shows.

And the exercise doesn’t have to be as rigorous as a marathon, the research suggests.

In the new study, middle-aged men and women who cycled or did a stretching and coordination routine for two hours weekly for six months had improvements in memory and other thinking skills.

So note this is with only 2 hours per week!

Combining the two may provide even better results, says researcher Kirsten Hotting, PhD, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. “I would guess that combining different forms of exercise might enhance their beneficial effects,” she tells WebMD.

The study is published in Health Psychology.

Exercise and Memory: Research Details

In late adulthood, experts say, a region of the brain involved in memory, the hippocampus, shrinks.

Previous research has found that this region had grown a year after older adults began to exercise. That growth was accompanied by improved memory.

So as you get older the hippocampus shrinks naturally, but grows when you regularly do exercise.

For the new study, Hotting wanted to focus on middle-aged adults. She evaluated 68 inactive men and women ages 40 to 56. She assigned them to the stretching program or the cycling program.

She added a group of 18 non-active people as a comparison group.

“The stretching/coordination training started with a short warm-up phase, followed by stretching and strengthening of the major muscles of the whole body,” she says. “Coordination exercises were balance exercises, complex movements of arms and legs, and so on. The training ended with some relaxation exercises.”

It’s interesting to note the structure that it ends with some relaxation exercises…

The cyclists were told to exercise at their target heart rate (as determined by the fitness test) for about 45 minutes, Hotting says. They ended with a cool-down.

Before and after the study, Hotting’s team measured memory and other thinking skills.

Exercise and Memory: Results

The cycling group improved their heart fitness by 15%. The stretching and inactive groups did not have noticeable changes in their fitness.

But both the cycling and the stretching groups did better on the memory test of learning a list of items than the inactive group.

The increase in this test score was linked with an increase in fitness.

The cycling group improved more than the others in the recognition test. It tests long-term retention of learned material.

One surprise finding: The stretching group actually improved more in a test of attention than did the cycling group. In a paper and pencil test, they had to find and mark certain letters quickly.

Exercise and Memory: Improved Blood Flow

The study findings echo previous research, says Scott Small, MD, the Herbert Irving professor of neurology at Columbia University. He reviewed the findings but was not involved in the German study.

Other studies have also found that an increase in fitness is linked with selective improvements in memory, he tells WebMD.

In his own research, Small has found that inactive people who become physically active can increase blood flow to the brain. They then score better on memory tests.

So it appears that the increased blood flow created through exercise has quite an impact on the functioning of the brain and the use of the mind. Will Smith testifies very much to the same end, but he also warns of that ‘little voice’ that pops up in your mind from time to time. He also suggests working on strength training and that this training is a training for life not just for getting fit.

Will Smith and Strength Training

Replace running by strength training. You know that voice Will Smith talks about. It’s the voice in your head that tells you:

  • Don’t go to the gym, it’s too cold
  • Don’t get out of bed at 4am to workout, it’s too early
  • Don’t go for that one more rep to get all 5 reps, it’s too hard

There was a time when I did that, I let a voice in my head tell me what to do (laziness, excuses…). And I realised that did not only happen with workouts.

So as I was analyzing those things in life/workouts I get the conclusion that easy is almost always the “bad” choice.

I see a very strong connection between workouts and how you run your life. I can tell about someones character by training with him.

Become successful in strength training and you’ll become successful in business, career, finance, anything. And the other way around. Because you will have learned that persistence is key to success.

“Learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life”. Strength training pushes your limits. It teaches you life is hard. Your mind will get stronger as your body gets stronger. It takes time, but it will happen.

I feel the advice here, especially when combined with the medical research highlights that there is more than one factor involved in how to improve mind power with exercise, especially strength exercise.

I for one have re-joined a 24 hour gym. I’m putting this strength training to the test. As age naturally increases, life gets busy, excuses get in the way of a regular routine at home. It’s always a case of whatever works for you, exercise at home is fine for many and less so for others.

But don’t believe a word I say. Try it out for yourself. See how it improves your mind power. And when you’re ready for the next level let me know.

Here’s a way you can help…

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Success mindset training with a drug – yes or no

English: Looking east at ABC News headquarters...

Success mindset training with a drug – Provigil – ABC investigate it’s effects. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being aware and mindful of your mindset can make a difference in all areas of your life. Success mindset training and positive mindset training is a markable difference between those that succeed in what they choose to and those that do not.

But what if you could simply pop a pill to do the same thing, would you do it?

Apparently there is a drug called Provigil that is giving everyday people a sharper more focused mind and bags of energy. Many of the users of this drug report greater levels of performance and success, but are drugs a real way forward?

Success mindset training and behaviors supposedly with Provigil

Watch this surprising ABC news report:


They are all around us, a secret society of the successful. They say what gives them an advantage, though, isn’t just purposefulness or perseverance but a little secret weapon, a pill called Provigil.

So what type of people are using this drug?

There is the lobbyist, who wakes up at 5 a.m. to complete two full workouts before heading to work.

“I could not do this without Provigil. You know, it just wouldn’t be the same,” she told ABC News, asking that ABC News not identify her. “It’s amazing. … I just don’t get … why more people don’t know about it.”

John Withers, a computer programmer, can write code for 12 hours at a time.

“It helps you focus up for exceptionally long periods of time,” he said.

And then there is the brain researcher who can find connections no one else is seeing. She asked that we not name her.

“It’s just a clear day,” she said. “The fog isn’t there.”


Is provigil addicting? (Photo credit: JTony)

Provigil is originally approved as medication only for narcolepsy, sleep apnea or…

for people who work irregular hours, but hidden among those who take it are pockets of healthy Americans taking it just to boost energy and enhance focus. It excites the mind so much that Provigil has been nicknamed “Viagra for the brain.”

Prescription sales for this class of drugs has increased by 73 percent in four years, from $832,687,000 in 2007 to $1,440,160,000 in 2011, according to IMS Health.

Online there are hundreds of sites evangelizing for Provigil that explain how to get a doctor to write a prescription or how to get the drug without one.

Now I don’t know about you but this popping of pills for performance is alarming. I understand the use of natural herbs and healthy living for better performance but I’m always on the fence when it comes to synthetically created drugs.

It makes you wonder if provigil is addictive.

Dave Asprey, a successful executive of a billion-dollar Internet security firm who often starts his day at 4:45 a.m. by popping a pill.

“[It] can be the difference between I’m just making it through the day to I had the best day of my life,” Asprey told ABC News.

Asprey says he once flew 20 hours to Australia with almost no sleep, got off the plane, took Provigil and delivered a series of speeches that were so good they made the local papers.

As a kind of an experiment ABC News asked Asprey to stop taking the drug for three days. Off the drug, he said he felt off.

“I’ve noticed that my speech is very slightly altered,” he said.

After three days, Asprey popped a Provigil and he says it took only 17 minutes for him to snap back. He said the world suddenly seemed brighter.

This does sound rather addictive. But to be fair when we have a mindset success routine in place and then for a few days we drop it I can testify to the same effects.

Doctors warn that you are really rolling the dice with this drug. There have been no long-term studies of Provigil and its effects on healthy brains have never been studied. Doctors also warn that possible side effects include sleep deprivation and potentially lethal rashes and worse.

Provigil is a wake-promoting agent, but doctors admit they don’t really know how it works.

“Provigil is not a substitute for sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause and worsen heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Dr. Joanne Getsy, chief of the Sleep Medicine Section at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Now this is all hypothesis and up in the air and it is not unusual for drugs to have some kind of side effect over time. It is understandable that users can become addicted to the effects provigil seems to allow them to access.

But what would you choose? A pop a pill drug that you have little control over other than swallowing or access to a success mindset training routine that you have full control over.

In this fast paced world popping a pill may be appealing, but is a drug free right attitude with the right mindset training a whole lot better. One could shorten your life, the other has been proven to extend it.

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