Mind over body

Book demonstrates how athletes should train their thoughts

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Image created by Maddie Perrin

Maddie Perrin, Video Editor

Athletes train their bodies all the time. They consume protein shakes, chicken breasts, spinach; anything to bulk up and keep their bodies able to perform at the highest level.

But very few athletes, especially those in high school, take the time to train their minds. The thoughts one produces in the mind has an immediate effect on how a competitor is able to compete. Just as muscles are fed with protein, the mind must be fed with positive thoughts.

Any athlete who seeks knowledge about what a successful person’s thought process should be would benefit greatly from reading James Allen’s As A Man Thinketh.

Over the course of seven chapters Allen covers how one’s thoughts connect to an individual’s body, character, circumstances, level of achievement, and overall peace of mind. This 21 page book is not meant for a specific audience, but the content parallels with that of how an athlete should think.

The first chapter “Thought and Character” discusses how an individual who embodies positive, pure, and joyful character is the product of right thinking.

“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”

If a person’s thoughts and character are linked, an athlete can change their character by changing their thoughts. This is an important asset for an athlete as good character helps improve performance and motivation.

In the second chapter “Effects of Thought on Circumstances” Allen talks about how one’s thoughts can determine one’s circumstances . This correlates with athletes in the sense that if they are thinking negatively their performance will be poor, whereas if they think in positive terms their performance will be improved.

“Thought and character are one, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state.”

Although there are more chapters to this book, “Thought and Purpose” has the most essential information for an athlete to utilize. This chapter evaluates how an individual should have a goal, a desire, an ambition; a person with this has the means to accomplish anything they set their mind to.

“To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with a purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully.”

Reading Allen’s book is great, but truly absorbing everything he discusses is key to changing one’s mindset. It is important to remember that the mind, like the body cannot be train with just a quick fix. Training the mind takes just as long, if not longer than training the body. It is important to be patient, a strong mind is only developed through persistent training.