Catch A Phrase and Hang On!
I chose the we move category for this post because when I first discovered the power of mantras, my legs were crumbling beneath my body while trying to finish my first Half Ironman.
These powerful little phrases have impact. Impact on attitude, focus, strength, and performance. How can just a few choice words create such a buzz?
Mantras are words of authority over us when our resources have been depleted. Powerful phrases that are willing to get in the ring with our toughest critic, ourself, and fight until there’s blood and gore. Mantras dominate with force and will drag us wherever we said we wanted to go.
The difference between mantras and prayers is you’ll shout them out to any God who will listen. Especially if it’s late in the game or at the end of your rope.
Do a few choice words carry that much power? Can mere words be vehicles that transport us to a better place? If the best of the best believe they work, maybe the rest of us should give them a try.
Mantras help elite athletes reach their peak performance. Here are a few of my favorites:
“This is what you came for.” Scott Jurek, Ultramarathon Champion
“Define yourself.” Deena Kastor, World class marathoner
“Pain is weakness leaving my body.” adapted from Dean Karnazes, Utramarathon Man
“Be water.” Bruce Lee, Martial artist
“Age is just a number.” Dara Torres, Olympic champion swimmer
A mantra is effective because embedded within it is a command. Repeated in your mind, this phrase is capable of transforming you on the spot. Like popping a pill of inspiration, focus, or stimulation. Some mantras calm frazzled nerves while others kick you in the ass. It’s important to have several in your brain library.
Mantras are not just for sport. Use them at work, with relationships, and with your kids. Even have some ready for waiting in line at the DMV!
Consider these ideas when generating your own mantras:
Create them before you need them.
Pull from strengths you know you have within. Think of qualities you most admire.
Keep them brief.
Avoid tongue twisters because you’ll likely be repeating them over and over.
Make sure they drive behavior.
“Be fierce and strong” is better than “Hang in there.”
Have a mixed bag ready. Think of areas where you’re most likely to need a boost of confidence.
Here are a few of mine:
Strength– “Champions win in the second half.”
Power– “Make the training worth it.”
Perseverance– “One step forward.”
Patience– “Eat the elephant one bite at a time.”
Gratitude– “Wag more. Bark less.”
Speed– “Hot potato feet.”
Calm– “Let it go.”
Courage– “Courage follows fear.”
I’m a lover of mantras, quotes, and all words that inspire. That is why you see quotes beneath my butterfly on every post.
Words can zap, sting, and pinch. They can also revive, restore, and invigorate. Words are instruments of expression with powerful melodies. They toy with our physiology much the same way a song can release adrenaline.
When I hear the song, Shout, by Otis Day and The Knights, I absolutely have to stand up and throw my arms in the air.
When my brain hears the words, “Make It Happen!” I have to, well, make it happen. My mind and body fight back much of the time but when I lose, I always win.