At one time, you couldn't walk. When you were a baby, all you could do was just be there. Your parents carried you everywhere. Then, you started to sit up on your own. Then you started to roll around. Then you started crawling, then standing, then walking, and eventually, you started to run and jump. Today, you could sit up, stand, walk, and jump without even thinking about it -- literally, you don't think about these things. Trying to walk doesn't even come to mind: you just do it.
When you first get started on something new, you use a lot of mental control. This is the hard part. But after so many hours of practice, then you're no longer in the mental control stage. You've moved into the muscle control stage -- that is to say, you no longer think about the activity, because it is so ingrained into you that your body would automatically take control. When you move into the muscle control stage, that is when you become the expert.
So, if you want to be good at anything in your life, you need to move past the mental stage and go into the muscle stage.
What is mental control? It is learning a new skill. This is getting started for the first time. Maybe it's learning a new language, a new software program, how to drive, how to read and write, or just simply how to walk. During the mental control stage, you think a lot about what you're going to do. This is the stage that many of us can't get past because we get discouraged when we can't get it right. But after much, much, much practice, we no longer have to think about what we're going to do: the body takes over, which is commonly known as "muscle memory."
As a group fitness instructor, I DEPEND on muscle control if I'm going to successfully lead a class. Whatever new choreography I come up with, I have to do it over and over again until I could just turn on the music and go. In fact, if you've been attending my classes for a while, you would have experienced muscle control quite frequently. When you "just know" what moves to do next without thinking about it, then you're in the muscle control stage.
If you were ever amazed at how group fitness instructors could remember all the moves and cues for an entire hour without messing up, then you'd know that it's because of muscle control. Their bodies are so used to the routine that the bodies take over as if they have minds of their own. When the bodies take over, the instructors could use their brains to do something else, such as interacting with and entertaining the participants.
Have you ever been amazed at how multi-lingual individuals could talk English one moment and then switch over to another language in another moment without taking a pause? They don't even think about what they're going to say. They just start talking. It has nothing to do with how smart they are. Their bodies just automatically take over so that instead of figuring what words to use, the people could focus on interaction other people.
See, you need to stop thinking that you need to be smart to be good at something. All you need to do is practice, practice, and practice until your body gets used to it. Once the body is used to it, then you no longer have to work so hard on learning a skill -- once the body learns the skill, then all you have to do is "turn on the music and go."
Believe it or not, getting stronger has nothing to do with bigger muscles. You have extremely strong men AND women who have extraordinary strength who look puny! Yet, you have muscular guys who have the grip of a child -- or so it seems. Why? Because strength is actually dependent on nerve activation. You are weak because, at least in theory, your nerves aren't activating all of your muscle fibers. Right now, you have the ability to lift MUCH MORE than you currently can, but because you barely use your muscles, then the body sees no need to exhaust itself. But once you start lifting heavy on a regular basis, then your body starts "waking up" more of your muscle fibers.
When you stop an exercise routine for even a WEEK, your performance goes down because your body starts "forgetting" how intense the routines were. You didn't just get weak: your body just forgot how to do things.
Here's the bad thing about learning something new: you HAVE to experience the mental control stage. There is no way around it. You can't just "turn on the music and go" with any new skill. You have to go through the mental stage, and if you want it badly enough, you'll continue in this mental stage until you could move into the muscle stage. Once your body knows what to do, then you could finally move on to other things.
Discouragement is going to happen when you first get started. The weights are too heavy for you. You can't run too fast. You're not used to eating greens. You're struggling to wake up early. Well, you're going to have to experience all these struggles when you first get started, but understand that the more you practice, the more your body could take over. Then you'll become an early bird without putting any effort into it. Then you could finally do 10 push ups on your toes. Then you could run up 10 flights of stairs without huffing and puffing. Then you could speak 5 languages without hurting your brain.Understand that your goal is to get your body used to the routine, and once the body gets it, your work would be done. You would have finally become the expert. Now, you could work on doing more with your skills.
But sitting at home and being discouraged will get you no where. If you really want something, then push through that mental control stage so you could move into the muscle control stage.
Success in anything depends greatly on your muscle control. Let your body assist you. Your body is more than a house for the soul: it's your personal assistant that could make your life easier.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.