I’ve decided to stray from the typical powerlifting discussion to focus on a topic that can be applied to every aspect of life: having the right frame of mind. How you view the world around you and how you react in every situation is entirely up to your frame of mind. In fact, our thoughts create our reality. Thoughts become feelings. Feelings become actions. Actions become results.

If we are happy with who we are, we will have positive thoughts. If we worry about the past or are concerned about the future, we will have negative, worrisome thoughts. Where you are today is a direct result of what you did yesterday. What you will be tomorrow is a direct result of what you do today. Where do you want to be?

From a powerlifting perspective, if you aren't improving, it isn't the gym. It isn't the training method, and it isn't your training partners.


You can run from all of these, but the one thing you can’t run from is your own mind. It’s up to you. All your success, or lack thereof, is entirely up to you and your perspective and how you apply it.

In order to succeed, you need to be able to control your thoughts and focus on the positive. Here are some real life examples to show how this works.

Mike signed up for a meet but didn’t think he’d do well from the start. Although he had accomplished a decent amount in his life, he was still very negative and felt he was unworthy of success. He didn’t plan his training accordingly and anticipated failure. He was unsure of his openers and continued to attempt them up until the week of the meet. He also felt that the other lifters would be better than him.

On the day of the meet, Mike overslept and forgot to pack his knee wraps. He got to the meet late and didn’t eat enough. Once the meet began, he was still very negative, hungry and worried about having to borrow knee wraps. He was distracted and unable to focus on the meet. Ultimately, he ended up missing all his squats and he bombed.


John competed at the same meet but planned his training accordingly. He had easily hit his openers, deloaded two weeks out and took the week of the meet off. He packed his bag for the meet in advance, got a good night’s sleep and ate a good breakfast. He had also visualized himself hitting his lifts, breaking PRs and winning the meet many times.

John ended up hitting three PRs, winning his weight class and unexpectedly breaking a national record.

There isn't any magic here. It's just simple cause and effect. 

1. Think positively: It’s as simple as that. Like breeds like. Positivity breeds positivity. Negativity breeds negativity. It may take some time, but eventually you’ll see that your positive thoughts are overriding all others.

2. Learn from negativity: We’re often told to avoid negative people. Instead, learn from negativity and realize that it isn't how you want to be. Try to understand why people think negatively and show them positivity.

3. Focus on the moment: Don’t worry about what’s happened in the past. You can’t change it. Don’t stress about what the future may bring. You haven’t created it yet.

4. We can’t control everything, only our own thoughts and actions: If something negative happens, which it will, understand it, grieve if necessary and then let it go. Nothing good will ever come from focusing on the negative.

5. Be persistent. There may still be times when the world seems like it’s out to get you. Continue to focus on the positive. Everything, regardless of how serious it may seem, will pass.

The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s the same color because you create the color in your mind. Change your mind and you change your world.

Powerlifting, like life, is what you make of it. Having the right frame of mind can go a long way to ensuring your success.

-Brian Schwab

Header image courtesy of Tyler Marino of Nebula Productions