If I handed you a horseshoe and said “Bend it,” what would you do?
Probably nothing, right?
Same thing if I offered you a metal bar.
You’d hold the cold steel and wouldn’t know where to begin.
Your mind wouldn’t have any idea how to start.
It would seem impossible.
But the other day I came home and handed Nerissa a bent horseshoe and a twisted metal bar.
“You bent these?” she asked in amazement.
“Yep,” I replied. “And I also drove a nail through a board with my hand.”
“How is that even possible?” she asked.
And that’s where I had an “aha” about how we can more easily and quickly change beliefs.
Let me explain…
I attended the Strongman University seminar with the legendary Dennis Rogers and strongman David Whitley. You may recall their names because I wrote about them on a previous blog post.
Both guys are powerfully strong, and prove it by ripping thick phone books, decks of playing cards, bending nails and spikes and steel bars and horseshoes, breaking out of chains, holding people high in the air with one hand, and more.
They come from a long history of strongmen (and women) who do feats of strength for a living.
I attended the event to find out their tricks of the trade.
Turns out, there aren’t any tricks.
These strongmen are actually doing what you see them do.
While there may be magic trick approaches to getting similar results, Dennis and David and the old school authentic strongmen don’t use tricks.
They are using intent, will power, knowledge of technique, and a tremendous amount of focused sheer strength.
I know because it took everything in my body and mind to bend a horseshoe.
My muscles ached, my breathing was hard, my face was flushed, my neck veins were popping, and I groaned and struggled as my entire body and mind were focused on bending that horseshoe.
And I did it, too.
But when I first held it, it seemed impossible.
After all, a horseshoe is hard steel and made for a horse.
It’s not designed to give.
How was I going to bend it?
But here’s what happened:
I saw David do it.
Then I saw a few other people in the event – including two petite but strong women – do it.
And then I knew it was possible for me, too.
In other words, seeing living proof of it being done convinced me – it changed my belief system – and I realized it was now possible for me, too.
This insight made me realize that when you want to change something in your life, you might need to read, see, or meet someone who has already done it.
Once your mind accepts the reality of change, it then becomes possible for you, too.
You still have to take action, of course.
The horseshoe will not bend by itself.
I have to pick it up.
I have to see it in my mind bending.
And I have to collect all the muscle and energy and focus possible within me and aim it at that horseshoe.
But because I know it can be done, I’m more inclined to give it my all.
And when the horseshoe bends, you feel like superman.
Same is true for all your goals.
Once you achieve one, the rest become doable.
You don’t have to pick up a horseshoe and bend it, but wouldn’t it be cool if you took on a daring challenge and completed it?
And if it’s a big challenge – like bending a horseshoe or steel bar was for me – then read about or watch a film about someone who already achieved the goal you want to achieve.
Their success will teach you and inspire you and let you know that what you want to do is possible.
And then, go do it.
PS – What if you try and fail? Truth is, I wasn’t able to do all the feats of strength that David and Dennis taught. I couldn’t rip a phone book, tear a deck of cards, or bend a metal spike. I tried so hard that my muscles still ache today. So, did I fail? Not at all. As long as I keep trying, and remind myself that it is possible for me to do, then I will succeed. The “failure” was simply feedback that my grip needs to be stronger. And that means my “failed” attempts were actually part of my training. Just trying to rip or tear or bend was building my muscle. You never fail as long as you keep moving forward.
A dear friend asked me to create a list of recommended current books to read. I loved doing it. He looked at that list and said he hadn’t read any of them, and had only heard of one of them. With that in mind, I thought you might like to see the list. Here you go…
The Walk by Philippe Petit. Riveting. Unique. Made me hyperventilate.
I, Mammal by Loretta Breuning. Enlightening. Read all of her books.
The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth. Fun, funny, flippant. It will spin your writing into a spell generator. (“Spell” as in “I’ll put a spell on you!”)
The Book of est by Luke Rhinehart. Hypnotic. Loved it so much I published it. 🙂
Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder by Samuel Wilson Fussell. Wise, well written and deeply revealing.
Making the American Body by Jonathan Black. Entertaining.
Mark Twain: Man in White by Michael Shelden. Love Twain.
The Shack by William Young. Novel.
Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang. Hilarious and empowering.
The Power of Neuroplasticity by Shad Helmstetter. Simple yet beautiful.
Lincoln: Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan. Love Lincoln.
Thomas Jefferson: Art of Power by Jon Meacham. Fascinating.
Bill Veeck by Paul Dickson. The Barnum of baseball.
Chronicles by Bob Dylan. Reads like a folk song with Dylan style.
The Most Contented Man by Joseph J. Vitale. My Dad. 🙂
Stuntman! By Hal Needham. Lively read.
The Einstein of Money by Joe Carlen. Insightful.
Not Impossible by Mick Ebeling. Inspiring.
The Power of Impossible Thinking by Yoram and Cook. Life changing.
The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein by Ed Spielman. Astonishing.
And any book by Joe Vitale... 🙂
PS – I love books. Feel free to leave a comment telling me about your own favorites.