From the time I was 3 until I was 17, I was a ballet dancer. My main teacher, Miss Judy, was a stickler. She demanded poise and precise body position and technique. As a result, I had perfect posture. I had practiced so much that my default was a straight spine and broad open shoulders, even outside of the studio. This habit was so ingrained, it stayed with me all the way through graduate school to my first full-time job, where someone even commented my first week, “You walk like a model.”
No, I walked like a dancer.
That job, where I sat in a chair for the bulk of the day, was pretty different than the more active mobile life I had been leading. Gradually, that experience of sitting all day began to take a toll. As I sat comfortably in my cushy chair, my spine began to slouch a bit – just barely. Over time, though, that barely slouch started to happen more and more often, hanging around even when I stood up, and it started to deepen. That slouch became my default. And the twisted part? I didn’t even realize it was happening.
Experience shaped my spinal habit in a way that became self-fueling, and the same thing happens with our minds, too.
Thinking – both what we think and how we think – is shaped by experience and becomes habitual. What you focus on becomes what you focus on more, be it the downside or the bright side, what could go wrong or what could go right, dwelling in the past or being present.
Fortunately, our minds – like our bodies – are incredibly plastic, continually changing throughout our lives. Even more fortunate is that we can take charge of that process. Just like my efforts to catch and correct my bad posture are paying off – I may not look like a ballerina anymore, but I’m much more aware and much better able to correct it – efforts to intentionally shape the way your mind works are well worth it.
That’s what psychological strength is all about! Building mental muscle.
And that’s one of the reasons we created Ascend. We want to help people like you understand how and why your mind works the way it does and, more importantly, how to make it work for you.
If you’re at all interested in checking out Ascend, do it now!
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."