Most of us have heard the phrase, “Embrace the suck”, but few of us have ever been in a situation and taken the time to actually follow that advice. What does that phrase mean? It means no matter how terrible things might be at that moment, you must find a way to remain positive….no matter how challenging that might be. The mind is an amazing tool when we allow ourselves to exercise dominion over it.
Yes, you can control the mind if you choose to. Think of the mind as a companion walking with you. A backseat driver if that analogy helps. There are times when we listen to our mind and the conversation is pleasant. Other times, the mind is a cranky companion who doesn’t know how to be quiet. It spills out negativity constantly during times of stress and frustration. It is in those moments that you must stop what you are doing and address the negativity spewing forth.
In my own path, I have future goals which require me to train no matter what the circumstances may be. I have a window of opportunity I must follow to achieve the timeline I have before me. Long distance hiking is not a comfortable activity. Hiking day after day for months at a time takes a tremendous toll on the body, mind, and spirit. There are days when I wake up and I have zero desire to train. We have all had the alarm go off and we wrestle with the mind. Should I call in sick? Should I take a rest day? Should I use “X” excuse? Hopefully, in those times, we recognize the mind is trying to control the situation. I generally will say out loud, “No, I am going”. For me, saying things verbally allows me more control than saying things internally. It gives me more control over the mind and I am able to hop out of bed and start the day.
One day, the mind was working overtime to try to keep me indoors. The weather called for icy rain. Ice and hiking are never a “fun” combination. I went anyway. I marched along for the first 5 miles proud of myself for overruling my mind and hitting the trail during miserable conditions. However, for those miles, my mind was complaining and grumbling constantly. It was moving forward but was miserable. I was cold, wet, sore, tired, slipping in mud, and couldn’t stop thinking negative thoughts about work. Everything I was experiencing sucked. At mile 5, the “embrace the suck” phrase began to enter my thoughts. It was strong, so I stopped what I was doing and addressed the situation.
Once again, for me, I vocalized out loud all of the things I was experiencing. I began to repeat what my mind was telling me so my ears would hear it. Once my “confession” was out, I decided to confront my mind in an effort to silence it. I began to seek anything I could which would be a positive. I am not working. I am not in bed being lazy. There is no lightning. I am burning fat. I am strengthening my muscles. I am building endurance. I am playing in the rain. I am free. Each thought sliced through each negative thought. Essentially, I told my mental companion to stay silent. I took control of my mind and started walking again with new thoughts.
All of the circumstances were the same with my hike. Nothing changed. In fact, the weather got worse. However, due to my “embracing the suck”, I was actually enjoying the hike. I was smiling. I was saturated by the rain. I was pelted by ice falling from the sky. I was stomping through puddles. I hiked the next 8 miles with a renewed mindset and it was quite possibly the best hike I have ever had. Visibility was terrible. The wind was brutal. I was cold and wet…but, I was having the time of my life. I not only silenced my mind, but I used it against itself. My mind was now begging for more of this fun.
I am not saying it is easy to win this battle with the mind. I merely point out that winning with battle is crucial if you wish to accomplish your mission. So much planning goes into the tangible details of mission preparation. Once the mission begins, rarely does it go as planned. Adaptation is not just switching up strategy. It also requires you to take immediate control over the mind. Once you get to the point where your mindset is positive, you have amazing amounts of energy at your disposal to get through it and win.
What are you going through right now that has you feel like you are beaten down? Take the time to admit to what sucks. Embrace it and look for everything positive. The suck will still be there…..but, your mind will no longer be caught up in the suck and instead is moving toward the success.