When it comes to physical endurance and strength, no-one does it better than elite athletes. They understand that there is a very clear relationship between one's mind and one's ability to keep on going even when your body has grown extremely fatigued. A fascinating study was conducted around this by researchers at Northumbria University in England. They got a number of cyclists to pedal as fast as they could on stationary bikes for a couple of miles and encouraged them to go as hard as they could.
They then split the group into two separate groups. Both groups were then sat in front of a computer screen on stationary bikes and were told that they would be racing against the cyclist on the screen. The first group were told that the cyclist on the screen was travelling at their previously best time but it was actually performing 2% faster than their best time. And the second group were told that the rider was 2% faster than their previous best. And guess who did better? The first group did better and matched the 2% faster rider where as the second group only matched their previously best rides and failed to keep up with the avatar because they had already perceived the bar to be too high before they started.
So what is going on in this study? Well, while an athlete certainly does need to consider their muscles, heart and lungs when it comes to their physical endurance it would also appear that they need to consider their mind set as well before they go into a race or competition. Mind plays a very crucial role in the way that our bodies will perform and what we allow ourselves to believe that we can endure. In short, our brain is lazy and by saying things like "I can't do this anymore" or "I'm done" or "I need to tap out" we offer ourselves an exit and sometimes our brain goes there sooner than we really need to.
And just as our brains can tell us that we are too tuckered out to complete physical tasks, it can also do the same with mental tasks and emotional tasks, tapping us out way sooner than we need to. Our brains allow us to perceive things to be bad before they even really are, and this is often the case with repeated lockdowns. Thoughts like 'I hated it last time' or 'this will last forever' or 'I just can't go another round' often lead us into unnecessary prediction cycles where we are catastrophising and panicking about things that may not even occur. If history has taught us anything, it's that things are transient and changeable, so assuming that it will be the same all over again is not only unrealistic but it's also feeding our brains the wrong message.
Now in all fairness to our brains, it is lazy and anxious for a reason, it's harking back to a basic and outdated survival program that we all have inside of us that would've kept us alive once upon a time, but those times have changed and now that mode just wears us out and makes us feel stressed out. So you have to bypass and dig deep so that you can gain access to those well guarded reserves of strength that you have hidden within you.
The first step in doing this is to call your brains bluff. When it starts to read out a negative script shut the thought down immediately and replace it with a positive mantra like "I am strong" or "I can do this." Studies have proven that the efficacy of motivational self talk will not only make uncomfortable or challenging tasks less difficult but it will also give you more vigour to complete them in a more efficient and accurate way.
I do understand that emotional challenges are a little more difficult to overcome and often a lot more complicated and telling yourself to buck up when you're feeling depressed isn't exactly going to make your well-spring flood over with fortitude. However, from personal experience, if you are feeling like that, the best place to start is to share your experience with someone who may have already been through something similar to you and come out the other side of it. People who have overcome their own well drying up and been able to replenish it will usually have a wealth of knowledge to share and can be a wonderful bolster during challenging times like these. So don't be afraid to share the load with others and be willing to be transparent about the way that you are feeling.
Above all else, never forget that this too shall pass and whether you are feeling physically, mentally or emotionally drained about the prospect of yet another lockdown and you feel like you just can't go on, well don't believe that lie, tell that lie to go and fuck off! Dig deeper into your well and you'll be surprised what you may find in reserve down there. You are stronger than you think that you are!
Release Date: 2019
Running Time: 152 mins
Unlike many other American sports films, you don't actually need to be invested in the sport to get a lot out of this film. And I know this first hand because I know absolutely nothing about car racing and yet I still thoroughly enjoyed this movie because it is just as much about the dynamic personalities as it is about racing. Directed by James Mangold and written by Jez Butterworth, Ford v Ferrari received worldwide critical acclaim and appraise and was even nominated for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards.
In 1963, Enzo Ferrari personally insults Henry Ford's heir - the owner of the Ford Motor Company. In retaliation, a furious Ford Jnr decides to create his own racing division with plans to beat Ferrari at Le Mans. In order to this, they hire former Le Mans winner Carroll Shelby to head the task, who in turn enlists Ken Miles, a hot headed Brit to assist him.
At 2.5 hours running time you would expect that this film would get boring for anyone that isn't interested in car racing, but nothing could be further from the truth. This is a genuinely interesting real life tale that is delivered perfectly by Matt Damon who plays Shelby and Christian Bale who portrays Miles. The onscreen friendship here is delightful to watch and both actors are bringing their charisma and energy to this movie in buckets, making it a genuinely engrossing and enjoyable watch.
FINAL SAY: You're gonna build a car to beat Ferrari with....a Ford?
3.5 Chilli Peppers