Many in the sports culture are familiar with the phrase “Winning is 90% mental and %10 physical”. What the actual percentage is we will never know but the words still hold a great deal of truth.
Napoleon Bonaparte was known as one of the greatest military generals ever. In a time where troops were heavily armored he took the approach of lighter clad soldiers who could outmaneuver and outflank the enemy. In the battle of Austerlitz we saw him and 68,000 French defeat 90,000 Austrians and Russians.
In the classical writings of Sun Tzu, victory does not belong to the largest or strongest army. Below are his Five Factors from which victory can be known.
“One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious.
“One who recognizes how to employ large and small numbers will be victorious.
“One whose upper and lower ranks have the same desires will be victorious.”
“One who, fully prepared, awaits the unprepared will be victorious.
“One whose general is capable and not interfered with by the ruler will be victorious.
“These five are the Way (Tao) to know victory.”
Martial artists have reiterated “mind over matter” for centuries. But it’s not so simple as telling yourself to be mentally stronger or that you need to use your mind to do everything. Life still requires us to be physically strong as well, however, most athletes tend to work in reverse, developing physically while neglecting the mental side. Something Bruce Lee understood very well.
In Psych, by Dr Judd Biasiotto, (Sports Psychologist and drug free Powerlifting Champion) he entails how the mind became his secret weapon in a world dominated by steroids. A must read for anyone interested in improving their sports performance.
Like any story that ends in success, it begins with a clear and definite plan. A great resource on creating successful attitudes and forming habits is Mindset by Carol Dweck.
As with any plan, there must also be a desired goal or outcome. And without a way to consistently challenge your mind in a physical and intellectual manner, like a blade, you will grow dull. The good news is that anyone can make their mind stronger once you accept that growth happens beyond your comfort zone and make daily efforts to get there.
“The possession of anything begins in the mind.” -Bruce Lee