We have all heard and are familiar with the term an animal is most dangerous when cornered. Take away all options and the one that remains becomes the way. When you take on the mindset that success in your goals is the only option, you can increase your chance of success to nearly 100%.
When enrolled in college, I struggled to attend class. Not the ones I enjoyed, but the required classes that made no sense for my major. It was obvious college was not the investment it had been made out to be. I wasn’t cut out for college. I really just wanted to join the Army and get into the SOF community.
The unit I wanted to be in required a soldier attend and pass an assessment and selection course. I had nothing else I wanted and nothing else I could imagine doing. I literally had removed all other options from my life except passing that course. More than half the attendees of the course quit and failed. I never considered either a possibility. It was never an option.
Not once leading up to or during the course did I say to myself, if I do not make it, I will do ____.
Like most 20 year olds, I actually had a ton of options. The Army is full of opportunity. As a kid I had wanted to fly helos. I had a good GPA, so I could return to school. None of that was even a blip on my radar.
If I don’t make it, I will (or can) do ____.,was simply not ever a thought I bounced around.
Backing yourself into the proverbial corner, giving yourself no way out, no back up plan, and no other way but through accomplishing your goal may seem extreme. We like having an easy way to fail, a big fluffy pillow to land on if we fall. Humans seek safety, we seek financial, social, and interpersonal shelters. Yet, when the stakes are the highest, when we go “all in”, is when we are motivated to make the big moves, the bold moves that have real potential to lead us to success. Simply put, those willing to risk more, take home larger scores.
Do not confuse this with throwing all sense and sensible approach to the wayside. You must separate mindset from planning. Placing yourself in the mindset of having but one option does not mean to disregard planning. I preach using the acronym P.A.C.E. for planning and strategy. PACE stands for primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency, for developing alternative courses of action for when initial, or primary, courses fail. They actually work in conjunction flawlessly. In actuality, a no option mindset should have contingencies! However, those contingencies are not for abandoning the goal. Your PACE plan provides you with more than one path out of your corner, the mindset is that you will, no matter what, get out of the corner!
For a lifter, or any athlete for that matter, a no options mindset means setting goals and not allowing anything to interfere. It means dedication. If you do not have a certain piece of equipment at your gym, it means making do with what you have, buying the equipment yourself, or possibly traveling many miles to the nearest facility that has the equipment. It may not be equipment, but atmosphere your gym lacks. I know athletes who drive an hour one way 4 or 5 times a week just to train in an environment that meshes with their path to their goals. The no options mindset means seeking, finding, and even creating from scratch, the resources needed to be successful.
People with this mindset usually seem intense to those who do not. They have an inner drive, a focus that sets them apart from those who are just lazily moving along through life. Lackadaisical, unmotivated folk are often set uneasy around people with a no options mindset. You can sometimes recognize a person with a no options mindset because they struggle to make it through conversations that do not support their pathway to success. They may even seem obsessed with their goals.
Adopting a no options mindset means purposely placing yourself in a position of potential failure, great failure. It is a risk vs. reward, a return on investment approach that places less regard to caution and more on commitment. No matter the path, no matter the tests, and no matter the challenges, with a mindset that completely removes the acceptance of even the possibility.