A few years ago in my work as a sports psychology consultant I was working with an Under 17’s athletics squad. The athletes trained HARD.

But many of them would struggle mentally with the demand of the training. In order to get to where they wanted to be, they would have to push themselves harder.

They wanted the results but the pathway to those results was difficult.

We have all experienced this haven’t we?

Everybody loves the results. But when we discover what is required, our motivation can waver.

Some people believe that you don’t need to love the work in between, you can just be obsessed by the end result. This approach does work for some.

But others just cannot sustain the energy required to go the distance.

Sometimes we need to reframe what the situation means to us.

I’m reading a book at the moment from the trainer of some of world’s greatest basketballers – The likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The trainer, Tim Grover, talks about how every single one of the top athletes he has worked with trains with an intensity beyond everybody else. They actually love pushing themselves beyond what they find comfortable, beyond where they have ever been before.

This is how they become great. Or unstoppable as he accurately expresses.

Back to the athletics squad. I told them that instead of resisting the pain they were experiencing, they needed to reframe their attitude towards it.

By resisting it, it was draining them mentally. It was weakening their spirit. This can evaporate confidence.

I told them they needed to learn to “love the pain”.

This became our mantra. I used to shout it to them as they were sprinting round the track.

Love the pain. Love the pain. Love the pain.

The more we focus on something, the more we feel it, the more it becomes our reality.

Is training going to be much easier and profitable if we know hard work is coming but we are looking forward to that hard work? You bet it is.

Is it possible to change our mindset towards the work involved from hate to love?

Of course it is.

We can choose any mindset we like.

The hardest step in the process of achieving any worthwhile goal is the very first step. The decision.

To make a true and committed decision is extremely powerful.

In fact, the power of decision is one of the greatest forces within the human personality.

Think about it.

Everything starts with a decision.

There is great power when we get to that place of “no matter what” or “whatever it takes”.

Once we have made the decision and committed to something, the process becomes much easier.

If our commitment is weak, we will find an excuse.

But if we resolve to find a way no matter what, the rest of the process becomes much easier.

And the process is where most people quit, because for a worthwhile goal the process will require hard work. It will require you to go beyond your comfort zone. To feel uncomfortable.

Why would you put yourself through this level of pain you may ask?

Because growth is the essence of life.

You may have heard of Professor Abraham Maslow. He created what is known as the hierarchy of human needs. It looks at the psychological development of human beings and concludes that what man can be, we must be.

In order for true fulfilment and joy in our lives, we must fulfil our potential.

Each person’s potential is different but it always means making progress. It means GROWING.

But growing requires us to break through the patterns of comfort we fall into. This may be in your training, your career, your relationships. But we all fall into patterns of comfort in all areas of our lives and mentally we always feel at our best when we are pushing through to the next level, expanding ourselves.

I thought about this when watching Wayne Rooney break the all time English goal-scoring record. A remarkable achievement. He will also likely become Manchester United’s all time leading goal-scorer.

Yet why is it then that many people still do not accept fully these incredible feats? They want more from him?

I believe it is because people think he is capable of so much more.

Now what only really matters is how much of his potential Wayne believes he is fulfilling. Unfortunately for him he lives in a world where the camera lens is on him at all times and everybody has an opinion.

I watched the documentary film Senna recently. In the film, Ayrton Senna (one of the all time great motor racing champions) talks about not being satisfied with being double world champion and breaking records for number of race wins because he has not fulfilled his potential yet. He has not done what he knows he can do.

If we want to feel truly fulfilled, we must do what we know we can do. Whatever that is.

If we do that we are going to meet hard work, we are going to meet resistance from our comfort zones.

But we can learn to love the process and if we do, the journey becomes enjoyable as much as the end result.


Watch this motivational video for more on loving the pain and discomfort.

Stay focused...

Martin Robert Hall - One of the UK's Leading Motivational Speakers

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