Some folks refer to the mental side of this pursuit as mindset, and we like to add a little heat to it by adding the words; combative, or tactical, or maybe even killer. That’s cool stuff, and I dig it yet I still prefer to refer to this as mental game simply because I approach this aspect just like any other piece of the multi-disciplinary endeavor; we can build it once we have a plan, tools, and materials.

First ask yourself if you see this endeavor as something epic? You might be thinking c’mon dude, this is just jiujitsu or just shooting or just lifting weights. That’s the first issue we have to address. You have to see this as your personal hero’s journey because that is exactly what this endeavor will be. You will fail. You will be injured. You will want to quit. You will be frustrated. You will see friends surpass you. You will lose, maybe more than you win. Did I mention you will want to quit? You will want to quit, sometimes daily. If you have read the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell this is familiar to you. If it has been a while since you read Hero’s Journey then I would recommend reading it again, and put it into your rotation of books to be re-visited at least once a year.

A cool depiction of The Hero’s Journey from the Buck Institute for Education. It’s based on the work of Joseph Campell.

Okay, so maybe you still don’t buy into this being a hero’s journey. That’s cool however, I think you will come around to this way of thinking, and once you do everything else we talk about regarding mental game will be easy to digest.

I want you to think about the aspects of your life that have been made better by this endeavor. I routinely meet or hear from people that have lost a considerable amount of weight, and kept it off, after years of struggling with this issue. People also share with me about putting on muscle, and dedicating themselves to healthy eating practices that allow them to be in the best condition to date. I hear from people that struggled with substance abuse, never able to kick that habit until they began this journey. Eating disorders, body image issues, folks that were severely traumatized by events in their life, these are all people I have talked with and were kind enough to share with me their stories of overcoming these challenges through the lifestyle changes that come with this endeavor. This wasn’t the only thing that helped folks get to a better place however, this was a key component in helping folks get to a better place.

We all know this practice is about falling, getting up, falling, and getting up again. Each time we get up we’re armed with a little more knowledge then we had before we fell. Now we have a little more understanding of what to do, and what not to do. We’re a little better. This is your hero’s journey. Get that in your head. Start seeing it as epic. What you’re doing here in this endeavor will affect everything you do outside this endeavor. You might never need to fight a malevolent attacker. However, the skills you build in this thing might be exactly what you need when it’s time to dust yourself off, stand up, and go at life one more time.

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