The Power of a Focused Mind
by Matt Furey
When I was a freshman in high school I was not by any means the MOST talented athlete on the wrestling squad. There were several people who were better than me.
But guess what?
None of them had the drive that I had because none of them took the time to formulate specific goals they wanted to attain. That's where our differences began - but it is not where they ended.
I trained at least two (but usually three) times per day. The focus I had was turning me into a new person - and frankly, this person was not someone that a section of people in my school, liked, especially the upper classmen, who felt it was too late for them to achieve anything of note. And so, when they saw me running to and from classes, going to train the minute school got out; reading and studying every book on the subject of wrestling and conditioning, and just plain being obsessed, they hated me all the more. What bothered them most of all, though, was that "I didn't care."
Thick, Black Face
In the midst of it all, I had a thick face and black heart, something you'll be developing yourself when you have clearly defined goals that you have a burning desire to accomplish. When you get focused on a goal, you'll become like the proverbial "horse with blinders." When you have that frame of mind, it's difficult for someone to "get under your skin."
Throughout the remainder of my high school days, I held true to three goals. One was to be a state champion. The second was to wrestle at Iowa for Dan Gable. The third was to stand before my peers, my entire high school, and deliver a speech on what I did to become a winner.
I thought about this third goal a lot. In fact, each day when I walked to the gym in my hometown to train, I literally talked to myself, and oftentimes did so out loud. I don1t know why I did this. But no matter what the reason, I had a friend with me - someone inside myself who listened, advised and told me everything would turn out for the best. I believed this friend and kept on keeping on. No matter how many setbacks I had on the mat, and I had plenty, I stayed the course.
Setbacks and Obstacles Be Damned!
During my senior year, when I was on a roll, racking up one victory after another, more and more people at my school began to take a positive interest in my career. They began attending matches in droves and cheering for me. But then, three days before the district tournament was held - and this was the tournament that would qualify me for the state tournament, while out running with the team, I stepped on a jagged piece of rock. I twisted and sprained my ankle so badly I could only hobble.
When I got up the next day, my ankle was swollen horribly. I was taken to the hospital physical therapy room for treatment. The physical therapist there gave me two days of non-stop ice, followed by ultrasound, followed by rest. As I laid there for the treatment, I kept seeing myself as okay. I kept telling myself that my ankle would be healed enough for me to compete by that Saturday.
On the Saturday that the team bus was ready to leave, I got out of my dad's car, slipped crutches beneath my arms and got on board. The rest of the team looked at me and said, "Are you going to wrestle?" I said, "Of course." Then they looked at me and said, "How?"
"You'll see," I said.
When we got to the arena some 90 minutes later, I left the crutches in the bus and put weight on my foot for the first time in three days. I won my first two matches, making it into the finals, where I qualified for the state tournament. A week later, at the state tournament, I defeated the defending state champion, Wayne Love, as well as the second-ranked man. Then, before the finals, somehow or other, all the mind power I had used to get as far as I had gotten, ran dry. At least I thought it did because I didn't know how to get my mind back where I needed it to be.
I lost to a lesser opponent in the finals by a point.
This loss haunted me for years. How could I beat one of the best wrestlers in the country, if not the best, then lose in the finals? It turns out that this adversity carried with it the seed of an equivalent benefit, as it helped spark my desire to further develop the mental part of the sport.
The Unexpected Surprises
But truth be told, part of the reason why I began to put even more emphasis on the mental part of sport, took place upon my return to my high school the following Monday. First of all, I found out that my idol throughout high school, and the man I wanted to wrestle for in college, was interested in me. Imagine that. Although I fell short of my goal of being a state champion - my victory over the defending state champion was seen by, of all people, Dan Gable, who was at the tournament to watch HIM, not me. When I beat the champion, Gable was left scratching his head, wondering where the hell "this guy" (me) came from. Noting that my high school didn1t have a history of good wrestlers, this made him curious.
Second, and perhaps spookiest of all, unbeknownst to me throughout the entire day, a surprise pep assembly was planned for the afternoon - and it was "just for me."
Even more strange is that, during a break in the morning, I pulled out a notebook and wrote a pretend speech thanking everyone who had helped me throughout my career. Included in this speech was a big thanks to those who had laughed and jeered and booed me early on. Don't know why I wrote this speech or why I chose to fold it and put it in my pocket - but it all fits perfectly, as you'll soon see.
In the afternoon when the pep assembly was called - the superintendent of the school, who was flanked by the mayor of the city, re-presented me with the medal I had won in the finals two days earlier. As the medal was hung around my neck, the superintendent asked if I would like to say a few words. Without hesitating I said "sure," - then stepped to the podium and pulled the three-page speech out of my pocket. I began by thanking all those who had helped me and followed this up with a bit of motivation, where I told the audience, "The man who keeps getting back up can never be defeated. You1re only defeated when you stay down."
My speech garnered three standing ovations. The very people who had jeered and mocked me were now on my side. And this event helped me realize that thoughts are the most powerful form of energy on earth. Your thoughts hold the key to your success. Whether you want to be champion of the world or a success in some other endeavor, you can. It all boils down to a state of mind.
To find out more about how you can harness the power of your mind to achieve any and all goals, I encourage you to check out the Zero Resistance Living program that was developed by the late Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of the 30 million copy best-seller - Psycho-Cybernetics.