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The 9 Attitudes & Mental States of Ferocious,
Eye of the Tiger Motivation

by Tom Venuto - author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle

So how's your motivation been lately? Have you been fired up with so much energy and enthusiasm that you can't wait to hit the gym at 5 a.m every morning? When you know there's a grueling, gut-wrenching, sweat-pouring workout ahead of you, do you look forward to it and shout, "BRING IT ON!" Are you so mentally “jacked up” that missing a workout isn't even a possibility in your world? Do you attack the barbells and dumbbells with a ferocious animal attitude? Is quitting an option that could never even enter your brain?

If you answered yes to these questions, then congratulations - you’ve got “eye of the tiger motivation.” If you answered no to any of these questions, then read on because you’re about to get a sneak peak inside the brains of mega-motivated super-achievers. Even better, you’ll discover how to "turn on" your own motivational forces by learning and copying the mental states of mega-motivation.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a branch of psychology and counseling that is based on identifying patterns of human excellence (such as high motivation) and then duplicating them, a process known as “modeling.” According to NLP trainer Robert Dilts, “Modeling involves observing and mapping the successful processes which underlie an exceptional performance and breaking it into small enough chunks so that it can be recapitulated and reproduced by anyone.”

Modeling has been used to identify the genius strategies of Albert Einstein, The creativity strategies of Walt Disney, the persuasion strategies of star salespeople, the leadership strategies of winning coaches and the peak performance strategies of medal winning athletes.

Modeling the behaviors and thought patterns of highly successful people does not guarantee 100% identical results as the person or persons modeled. However, it does allow you bypass a lot of trial and error and reach the highest levels of achievement and proficiency possible, as fast as possible, within the limits of your own physical and mental potential.

Motivation is not a special quality that certain people inherit and others don’t, it’s a skill that can be learned and duplicated. People who are motivated use their brains in a certain way. Since all human beings are “wired” the same way, neurologically speaking, then by using your brain the same way, you will become motivated too, it’s that simple.

Of course, in order to duplicate motivation, you must first know what’s going on inside the heads of highly motivated people. That could be a time consuming and difficult task if you had to figure it out on your own. Fortunately, motivation has already been studied by psychologists and “mind scientists” and the mental states of motivation have been identified. In just a moment, you’ll learn each one of them.

Motivation is not achieved by using a single “technique”; motivation is a complete set of attitudes and mental frames of reference from which you approach everything in your life. Collectively, these states and attitudes create a “propulsion system” that drives you towards your goals." According to NLP co-founder Richard Bandler, a propulsion system must have two directions to be maximally effective: An aversion away from something you don’t want and compulsion towards something you do want.

“Compulsive” behavior is usually associated with something negative such as drinking, drugs, smoking, nail biting, gambling, or spending money. However, if you can use your brain to compel you towards something negative, you can use your brain to compel you towards something positive. After all, it's your brain, right?

Most people let their brains run on autopilot, leaving their feelings and behaviors to the mercy of chance, environment and the influence of other people. NLP trainer and psychotherapist Michael Hall says that Mental Mastery is the opposite of the chaotic way most people let their minds run amok. “It’s the ability to control our mind – how we think, what we think about, how we interpret things, and the meanings we give to events.”

Mental mastery is realizing that you are in charge of your brain, and you are the only person who can choose your thoughts and attitudes. By choosing the attitudes and mental states listed below, you will be able to control your feelings, behaviors, motivation level and therefore, your results and your entire life.

1. ACCEPT EVERYTHING AS A CHALLENGE.

There’s something extremely motivating about a challenge. When someone says, “You have a big problem”, it’s a totally different feeling than when you hear, “I have a big challenge for you.” A problem is negative and de-motivating. A challenge is positive and motivating.

So the first key to ferocious motivation is to reframe everything in life as a challenge – even problems and adversities (perhaps especially adversity). How you decide to look at things is your choice. It’s called “perspective.” Two people can look at the same event and see two different things. Instead of viewing a difficult job or a tough workout as a chore that you dread, you can call them challenges. When you’re confronted by an unexpected problem, roadblock or difficulty, you can call it a challenge and say, “BRING IT ON!”

Life usually throws plenty of “challenges” our way, but challenges are so important, that if they aren’t imposed on you externally, you must impose them on yourself! Intentionally put yourself in challenging situations and environments. Set big goals. Impose deadlines. Enter competitive situations. Step up to the plate. Get in the game. If you don’t have a “game” to play, then you’d better find one or invent one… quickly.

Challenges give you the opportunity to learn and to grow. The bigger the challenge, the more you will learn, the more you will grow and the stronger you will become. NO challenges = no learning and no growth. Don’t shrink from challenges… look for them and sign up for them!

2. AN INTENSELY CURIOUS STATE OF CHILD-LIKE FASCINATION

Motivation grows out of a curious and fascinated mind. I like to call FASCINATION “The Mr. Spock attitude.” An attitude of fascination can make any experience an interesting and beneficial learning opportunity, even one that most people would view as negative. For example:

"Hmmmm... my diet is darn near perfection, I’ve been bustin my ass in the gym for months, I'm not seeing any fat loss at all and I'm actually losing muscle... fascinating! What could I learn from this?"

Curiosity is a questioning attitude. It’s an “I wonder” attitude. Questions can be one of the most powerful motivational strategies of all, capable of instantly inducing a complete shift in perspective, mental state and attitude.

Be inquisitive. Always ask questions; New questions, weird questions, hard questions, wild questions, discovery questions:

What could I learn from this?
How can I make this mine?
What goals would I set if I knew I couldnt fail?
What am I doing right?
What could I be doing better?

Contrast those “power questions” with these typical “loser questions”

Why can't I do it?
Why is it always so hard for me?
Why cant I lose this weight?
What Am I doing wrong?
Why me?

What kind of answers do you think your brain will come up with when you ask “loser” questions? What kind of mental state will you put yourself in?

Young children are intensely curious. They are like sponges for information; constantly exploring their environment, asking questions and learning. That’s why young children are naturally energetic and motivated. Somehow, we seem to lose some of that when we become adults.

Stay intensely fascinated, curious and inquisitive like a child, ask the right questions and you’ll always stay motivated and resourceful.

3. COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE.

Excellence is the continuous process of striving to become the best you can be and to fulfill as much of your potential as you can. One of the keys to becoming excellent is repeatedly asking yourself, "Am I settling for less than I can be?"

Excellence is an attitude of exploring your potential. With a curious and inquisitive attitude, ask yourself, “What lies out there? How much more potential do I have?… Let’s find out… I’ve GOT to know what I’m really capable of!” It's easy to see how this attitude can keep you motivated, isn't it?

Excellence is not perfectionism. Excellence is not necessarily winning or being number one either. Winning is a by-product of excellence. Excellence simply means that you make the commitment to be the best YOU can possibly be and work towards it every day.

4. AVERSION TO MEDIOCRITY.

Aversion to mediocrity is an example of moving “away from” an undesirable outcome. For some people, negative (“away from”) motivation can be the most powerful.

Many highly motivated achievers despise mediocrity to the point where it literally becomes a “phobia.” Just as someone with acrophobia will go out of their way to avoid heights, a mediocrity-phobic person will go to great lengths to avoid being average or living below their potential.

Richard Bandler once joked that some people need a good "phobia." Does the idea of living at an average, ordinary level scare you to death? How much do you despise mediocrity? Is it disgusting and repulsive to you? If you know youre living below your potential, does it bother you? Does it make you sick? Would you rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity?

5. A FIRED UP, TURNED ON, “GO FOR IT” ATTITUDE.

This state is an aggressive, ferocious, highly energized state of determination. It’s the polar opposite of uncertainty, indecision, withdrawing, backing down, backing up or staying in your comfort zone.

Whenever you want to mobilize your energies to achieve a goal, put yourself into an “I’m going for it" mental state. Just visualizing your goal and saying those words with emotion – “IM GOING FOR IT” - can instantly get you motivated. “I’m going for it” must become a daily mantra and affirmation. Eventually it can be more than words, it can become a way of life and a state of mind you live in daily. It can even become an anchor that leads you from fear and indecision into action.

Whenever you feel hesitation, withdrawal, indecision, or fear, immediately change focus and think about your goal and what it would mean to you if you achieved it. Then get fired up and repeat the mantra, “I’M GOING FOR IT.” Then, immediately take some type of action step towards your goal, no matter how small.

When you repeat this pattern, eventually negative states like fear and hesitation will become neurologically linked to a “GO FOR IT” attitude. There may be occasions when you continue to experience fear, indecision or hesitation, but you won’t be able to stay there; you’ll feel fear, but rather than causing you to back down, the fear will be a trigger to get you fired up.

6. AN UNSTOPPABLE, “BULLDOZER” ATTITUDE

Have you ever seen one of those great plays in a football game where a powerhouse running back plows right through the defensive line, knocking linebackers right on their asses, literally bulldozing his way down the field? Maybe the defense eventually stops him, but not until three or four 250 + pound men literally pile on top of him and slowly drag him down. He just keeps on running right through it all.

If you hit a problem or obstacle, imagine yourself as that running back. Never back down or back off. Plow right through it. Be unstoppable.

Visualize yourself sitting up in the driver’s seat on a giant bulldozer or steamroller, looking down at your little problems or obstacles, and saying to yourself, “I Am UNSTOPPABLE”, as you roll right over anything that gets in your way. SPLAT!

7. COMPULSION TOWARDS LIFELONG LEARNING

An easy way to generate motivation quickly is to become a great student. Become an expert in your chosen field, but never think that you know it all. Highly motivated super achievers are compelled towards lifelong learning. They simply "have to know."

A open minded learning state spurs you onward to continue moving and developing. Learning keeps you engaged to constantly invent, discover and create new strategies, methods, models, patterns and processes.

Lose the intense interest in your craft and you will always lose your motivation. Immerse yourself in information about the field you want to master and you always build your motivation.

8. COMPULSION TOWARDS CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT

In studies of highly motivated achievers, one thing they all have in common is compulsion towards constant and never ending improvement. They are never satisfied or complacent.

The improvements don’t necessarily have to be big steps – they can be tiny, incremental improvements, but those add up to huge improvements over a long period of time.

Improvement is motivating, even small improvements. With each little step forward in the right direction, you get a little “buzz” of satisfaction like an endorphin rush. That generates more motivation to improve further, and you set up a self reinforcing positive cycle.

9. INFINITE PERSISTENCE WITH A ‘NO QUIT’ CLAUSE.

One of the basic presuppositions of NLP is that there is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback; only results. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. It doesn’t matter if you’re not getting the outcome you want yet; as long as you keep pursuing your goal, gathering feedback and learning, you're a success. There’s only one way you can really fail, and that is if you quit.

When you begin pursuing something you really want, you must make a contract with yourself that you won’t be denied and you'll never quit. You will stubbornly persist until you get what you want, no matter what happens and no matter how long it takes. This attitude will infuse you with energy and motivation that you’d never experience if you began the endeavor with an “I’ll try it and see if it works out” attitude.

The classic example of infinite persistence is Thomas Edison. Edison conducted 10,000 experiments before finally finding a filament that would burn in the electric light bulb. When asked how he felt about all his failures, Edison replied, “I didn’t fail, I learned 9,999 ways that didn’t work.”

Who’s Driving???

The next time you feel unmotivated, ask yourself, “Who’s in charge of how I feel?” “Who’s in charge of my brain?” The answer of course, is you. You're in charge of your own motivation. The ability to achieve a highly motivated state is a matter of grabbing the wheel and driving your own brain for a change. By studying these mental states and attitudes, consciously practicing them in your life every day, literally “installing” them into your brain, you’ll become so charged up with motivation and fierce resolve that it would take an army to stop you from getting what you want.

Warmly, your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto
www.burnthefat.com


Author Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is a bodybuilder, gym owner, freelance writer, success coach and author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has written over 150 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom's inspiring and informative articles on bodybuilding, weight loss and motivation are featured regularly on dozens of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's "Burn The Fat" e-book, click here.

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