What is our frame of reference?
Long story short, this is what we are ‘used to doing’ and what is our ‘boiling point’. This can be in everyday life and in training. For example, we are used to getting annoyed and shouting out loud if we drop a cup of coffee or crack our iphone screen and let it ruin our day. We are used to screaming ahh Sh**t when we tear our hands doing a few pull ups etc etc....often people just tend to complain about very small things which don’t actually matter and most of the time is out of their control. We can however change that.
Life – Things don’t always go as planned. How do we handle things when then don’t?
I wanted to give an example of how changing our frame of reference can lead to awesome things in life and can help you achieve your goals. When Michael Phelps would train for upcoming races, his coach, Bob Bowman, would (on the odd occasion) purposefully step on his goggles and crack them without him knowing. Phelps would have to swim “blind”, with water filling his goggles and the chlorine stinging his eyes. Why would Bowman do this? Was it a cruel joke or unconventional training method? The reality is that Bowman knew that such a scenario could occur during competition, and he wanted his athlete to be ready for all possibilities. This proved to be a masterstroke of coaching, as at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Phelps’ goggles broke during a race. Rather than panic, Phelps was able to refer to his “blind” training. In his head, he counted the number of strokes he needed to get to the end of the pool, and he ended up winning gold in the event. Bowman had successfully managed to change Phelps’ frame of reference.
The reason I want to talk about changing our frame of reference is through witnessing something amazing on my recent trip to Everest base camp. I often saw local Nepalese men carrying wood on their head on their way up the mountain! At one point I asked my guide what the weight of the wood was one man was carrying to which he replied “ahh I think this one only 80kg. Some other local people carry 120kg same same”. Excuse me! Here’s me with my trekking rucksack weighing max 7kg with back ache and feeling a little sorry for myself and here comes a guy carrying wood on his HEAD which weighed over 10 times the amount of my bag. The best thing about it is that the man with the wood didn’t look unhappy, he smiled and said hello and continued on his way up the mountain with his 80kg wood! All of a sudden my 7kg bag didn’t feel as heavy and my mindset was changed almost in an instant. As I continued trekking through the snow with my uncomfortable bag every time my back or shoulders started to ache I thought of this man with 80kg’s of wood on his head who was probably still on his way up the mountain and everything just seemed to feel easier. My frame of reference was changed. This was changed by witnessing someone else go through something worse than I but we can incorporate this into our own lives. If you are reading this article I want you to challenge yourself to something a little more extreme this year and see how it changes your frame of reference.
Marcus Smith ran for 24 hours around a 400m running track. I’m sure now when he runs at Track Tuesday for an hour it feels easy! Tom Walker decided to cycle up and down Jebel Jais mountain 14 times to reach the same elevation as mount Everest. I’m sure now when he goes to cycle it going up and down twice feels like a breeze. These two have changed their frame of reference and so can you! If you’d like to set an extreme challenge for yourself we would love to hear from you and if it requires coaching then I’m sure one of us at InnerFight can help out.
By; George Crewe, OCR Coach
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