You can’t run a marathon after reading a book about running a marathon. Nor can you after a single training run. In fact, you may read a number of books on running and do countless training runs and still not be able to cross the finish line of a 26.2 mile race.
In the physical world, most people know this. We realize the time, training, and dedication it takes to truly prepare ourselves physically for is not just a one time event.
What so many people do not do, however, is apply that same concept to building a mindset. Having a healthy mindset is not a choice, having a great leadership mindset is not a choice, and having the kind of mindset that sees the best in others, in situations, and in ourselves is not a choice.
You don’t get a mindset through a single action, through a great book, or even through that fantastic weekend retreat you took, the one that you came back from convinced you were going to change your life. You don’t get it through a single, or even multiple choices.
We acquire a mindset when the sheer number of conscious choices in one direction OVERWHELMINGLY outnumbers the number of conscious choices in another direction.
What marathon runners will tell you, (because, really, what marathon runner isn’t going to tell you about their last marathon?) is that the biggest part of that marathon training is mental. It’s tricking your mind into believing that it can do something it’s never done before. Then, once you’ve done it, continuing to build that confidence over time until running a marathon seems like an easy task.
Building a mindset is work. Not a single instance of work, or a couple of days of work. It’s when we’ve done so much work in a singular direction that the work no longer seems like work, where the mental energy needed to do it suddenly becomes so much less than before, and the choice in the right direction seems more efficient than the choice we would have made previously.
A choice certainly focuses the mind. Like a single workout focuses a muscle. But just like the muscle, it’s not until has been worked at a certain capacity over time that it becomes “set,” habitual, or capable of doing that thing that was difficult before with little or no effort.
Building the mindset necessary to become the person we want to become, to pursue the things we want to pursue, and to realize the potential inherent in us all is not a choice.
It’s a thousand choices. It’s ten thousand choices. It’s making so many choices in the same direction that it no longer feels like a choice, it no longer feels like there are options, and it feels much more like something we have to do because of who we’ve become, because of who we are.
We can keep reading the books and keep focused on each individual training workouts, only, let’s lose the delusion that either of them, independently, are going to ultimately build what we need. It’s a marathon, as they say, and we were built to go the distance.