elitefts™ Sunday Edition

Remember the circle of concern and circle of influence?  The basis of the article centered on what you spend your time and energy on. The circle of concern includes those things that cause you stress but are out of your control—what people think of you, what the judge thinks of your lift, stressors within your family, etc. All of these things can be great sources of strain and anxiety, but since you can't control them, why spend your time worrying about them? Spending a lot of time worrying about the things you can’t control only leads to feelings of helplessness, despair, and depression.

The circle of influence consists of things that concern you but that you can directly control. For instance, while you can’t control what someone says to you, you can control your response. So, instead of spending time worrying about what someone will say to you, you should focus your time and energy on controlling your response to him. In turn, while you can’t control what the judge thinks of you or why he gives you red lights, you can control how you respond. Next time, you get deeper on the squat, have a more stable pause, etc. Spending your time on things you can control leads to feelings of personal empowerment and increased confidence. (If you want background information on the circle of concern and circle of influence, please refer back to the previous article).

Our language is a reflection of what circle we are in. Take a minute and listen to yourself when you talk to others, especially when you speak about yourself. There are two types of statements we will talk about here:

  1. The haves/hads
  2. The wills/bes.

The haves/hads show that you are working in the circle of concern. Remember that the circle of concern deals with things that concern you but over which you have no influence. This reminds me of the line from the classic movie Van Wilder: “Worrying is a lot like sitting in a rocking chair. It’ll give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”

Here are some examples of those circle of concern statements:

“If I only had the _____ shirt, I’d have a bigger bench.”

“If only I had training partners who showed up consistently, then I’d have a bigger total.”

“If I could have gone to that other meet, I would have done better.”

“If I would have had different judges, I’d have beaten that guy.”

“If I would have gotten a shorter pause, I could have gotten that bench.”

The wills/bes show that you are working in the circle of influence. This is when you can actually make a difference, be it in training, competition, or in life. The wills/bes also accept personal accountability instead of shifting the blame somewhere else. When you accept responsibility for your actions, you can and will improve. However, as long as you keep shunting the blame elsewhere, you have no reason to change because "it wasn’t your fault."

“I will work to improve my technique in my shirt. It isn’t up to par yet.”

“I will find new training partners who will help me achieve my goals.”

“I will work on my weaknesses to improve my total.”

“I will improve my pause. I let the bar keep sinking into my chest, and that’s why I got a long pause”

If you spend your time complaining with the haves and hads, you’re not spending your time improving. You’re looking for an excuse to suck, that’s all. However, if you’re spending your time with the wills and bes, and providing that you’re taking action, you will get better, you will improve, and you will reach your potential. You know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, just listen to yourself.

So what do you do if you don’t like what you hear? CHANGE IT! It’s quite simple, but quite hard. You are in control of everything that you think and say. If you don’t like the way you think, remember that you have the power to change it. It goes back to the thought stoppage. If you keep hearing yourself use haves and hads, stop and change those thoughts to wills/bes.

No one controls your own destiny...that's only up to you. And make sure that the weights are your opponent—not yourself. You can conquer any weight in the battle that is powerlifting. You just have to become Strong of Mind.