Today, inspiration from an unlikely place…
The sport of professional bodybuilding.
When I first became interested in it, the guy at the top was 6-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates. Widely credited with ushering in the ‘mass monster’ era of bodybuilding, Dorian brought to the stage a combination of dense muscle and conditioning (which means little-to-no fat or water retention under the skin, creating a peeled, anatomy chart look) that had never been seen before.
I recently came across a great interview with Dorian on YouTube.
In the interview, he’s asked about 8-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney. At the time Dorian was coming up in the sport, Lee Haney had a lock on the title. A living legend, he was arguably the greatest Mr. Olympia ever.
In a very telling segment, Dorian discusses the mental shifts that needed happen in order for him to believe he could unseat the ‘unbeatable’ Haney, a man he considered his idol.
The first was to give up this idol-worship.
He took this opportunity when he won his first big pro show. He started asking himself, “why not?” “Why couldn’t I beat him”? In any achievement, that’s step one. You see, often we want things for our lives – big things – and we get hung up on the question of *how*. But this only makes those big things seem bigger.
What you should ask yourself instead is *why not*?
Admitting, as a bare minimum, that your goal is possible releases the big R – Resistance – and frees you to entertain new *how’s* you didn’t previously see.
The second confidence shift was a by-product of his preparation.
In Dorian’s words:
One thing I can guarantee is he does not train as hard as me. He does not dedicate himself as much as me. How do I know that? Because it’s not possible. It’s not possible to be training harder, or more consistently, or more dedicated than me, because I couldn’t give a single ounce more to any aspect of this thing that I’m doing. So that makes me feel pretty powerful and pretty confident. Because I know other people are slacking – sometimes.
Here’s what I love about this:
It’s 100% PROCESS FOCUSED.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, the best way to reach your goals is to not have goals – at least not ones that are tied to outcomes. Have an intention, or a vision of where you want to go. Then, make your goals about things you can control.
You have zero control over what happens.
But you have at least some control over what you DO.
In 2006, when I finally ditched the fat suit I’d donned for ten years, losing over 30 pounds in four months, I didn’t once look in the mirror during that time.
Instead, I put my head down, attacked the process, and didn’t come up for air until four months later.
I made it my sole preoccupation to do everything I possibly could, training and diet-wise, and to leave no T uncrossed and no I un-dotted.
And boy did it work.
By the time I emerged from this deep dive into my plan I didn’t look like the same person. And in only four months. You could have stuck me on a conveyor belt that turns out lean bodies, if there was such a thing, and the effect would have been much the same.
I’m not saying what you want will happen in four months. Whatever transformation you seek could take 6 months…two years. Forget about the timeline. Again, it’s counter-intuitive, but renouncing your attachment to outcomes often speeds up the result.
Instead, put your blinders on, and dominate your path.
This is not about perfection.
It’s about focus.
Simply give no time, attention, or energy to anything other than doing the best you can do – on the things you can control – at any given moment. Do this moment well…and then the next…and then the next…things will turn out fine.
There is PEACE in the process.
There is POWER in the process.
YOUR CONFIDENCE is in the process.
Dorian Yates never did beat Lee Haney. He placed second to him in 1991. Then, Haney retired. Would he have beaten him? We’ll never know. But it was Dorian’s willingness to ask *why not* and his utterly ruthless dedication to the process that delivered him his own lock on the title for six years – and legendary status in the sport he loves.
P.S. You can check out Dorian Yates comments on Lee Haney here (very revealing):
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