Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mojo and Self-Confidence

The term Mojo comes from voodoo practice and it is usually the name given to a bag full of crystals, herbs, written words or other superstitious things that give the wearer special protection or powers [Reference]. Mojo can often be associated with other superstitious concepts like luck. Having it is good - losing it is bad! The possessor of mojo will often believe that good things can happen to them just for possessing the good luck charm. We often talk about losing our mojo or not having mojo as a reason for our lack of desire or inability to train well.

Webster's defines self-confidence as "Freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities". Self-confidence is an attitude of the mind that says, I will do my best to accomplish my desired goal. And I will have courage to do so amongst any dangers. Sometimes you will not be justly rewarded for your efforts by your external environment, but this does not matter because it is out of your control. Self-confidence means you will do as much as you can to hold up your end of the bargain.

Contrasting the two, Mojo is a belief that you can induce some sort of supernatural forces to gain your desired goal, while Self-Confidence says you can contribute to your effort to do the very best that is possible at all times. Self-confidence says that it is the internal struggle that is more important - the struggle with the self. Mojo says the external is more important - that you can use supernatural powers to gain something that you are not really worth of or capable of.

Both are really anchored on the the idea of belief.

Since I like the word "Mojo", and the idea of self-confidence, I'm going merge the cool word with the personal attitude to mean a belief in your ability to accomplish something from this point forward.

Now here's where the leap of faith comes in.

I have a big question, and it is Can you increase your Mojo with your own effort?

I believe you can!  I think building up your self-confidence can be done every day of the week.  It's just like building up your endurance, or your speed.  But it happens at moments in the training - mostly at the moments when you second guess your abilities but you keep running.  Or you run to your absolute limit, and then you run just a little further. When you really want to stop and walk to catch your breathe but you keep running.  When you need to use the Jedi Mind trick on yourself when everything looks terrible.

Since I started running, I have kept a log of my mood.  The things that I have observed in terms of mood are:

  • My heart rate - if I am tired and my heart rate is racing, I can't find my Mojo if it was stapled to my head
  • My home life - if I am not doing my best at home, enjoying my duties as a husband, friend, son, father, etc., then I also can't find my Mojo
  • My distance - I never let my gut decide anything in the first 30 minutes of running (this is something that Jill has also mentioned to me) I can usually adjust to my running in the first 1 1/2 k (mile) - but ask me in the first few minutes and I'll tell you "I have no Mojo today!"

So far, I have managed my heart rate, made sure the ducks are all aligned at home, and I'm warmed up deep in the run - and I have found my Mojo every time!

However the competitive Mojo needs to be worked on by running more races.  And I am trying to include a race every few months to build up that competitive strain - and my rising to the occasion.

There is another mood that I have observed in myself that fights against Mojo.  That mood is fear.  Fear has been with me my whole life.  I think courage is not the absence of fear, but rather a will to over-come it.  Mojo also possesses this courage component. The only way I know to defeat the mood of fear is with greater and greater distances, difficulties, speeds, and exertions; reflections on those accomplishments; and an affirmation that I should try to overcome this challenge as well.  This you must do while training - continually pushing yourself to rise to the challenge.

If I could start you on your path of finding and keeping your Mojo, I would say this:

  • Life is a precious gift, given to you by a benevolent creator that with tears in His eyes looks into your heart and writes with love that you are meant to be brilliant.  This brilliance is wound with a long ribbon called your decisions.
  • When you run - remember that you are unwinding that ribbon with the right decisions - and you are shining.
  • All you need to do is love back and your brilliance will shine naturally.
  • Love is more powerful than anger or fear or greed.
  • Do not be afraid to shine


Georgia Snail said...

#1 tool for me to increase my

I smile at other runners, I say "good job" during races(as I pass and am being passed). My good attitude pays ten-fold!

Heather said...

Do not be afraid to shine! I love that. Great post Andrew!

Teamarcia said...

I need to go unwind that ribbon right now!

ShutUpandRun said...

What a beautiful post my friend, especially this part:

Life is a precious gift, given to you by a benevolent creator that with tears in His eyes looks into your heart and writes with love that you are meant to be brilliant. This brilliance is wound with a long ribbon called your decisions.

I think mojo is at it's best when we are in the flow of our life. This means being open to everything around us so we don't miss anything. This also means not being so rigid that we can't see possibility everywhere.

I've moving on with my mojo confidence today!!

Unknown said...

I love this post!

Emz said...

YAY Andrew - I love this one too.

my fav: Love is more powerful than anger or fear or greed. [the anger/fear part mostly].


KovasP said...

I'm surprised you're allowed to keep ducks at home.

Jan[et] Cicelia said...

It never occurred to me others have trouble finding their mojo early in a run. You know this entire posts speaks to me... Thank you!

Shawn said...

Great post....I agree about the 30 minutes....after that its all Gooooood!!

DRog said...

for me its allllllll control....let go of trying to control and the mojo will reappear! = freedom from self!

Teri S. said...

Another wonderful post. I always look forward to what you have to say, but this one is my favorite so far. Thanks for sharing.

Rae said...

Great post Andrew!

misszippy said...

Well said and I completely agree.

Patrick Mahoney said...

I heard this works:

- 10 minute warm up
- 10 mins in zone 2
- Snort a powder made of cayenne pepper and dried snail turds.
- 10 minutes in zone 3
- 10 minute cool down

Julie said...

Wonderful post Andrew! I love it:) Mojo for me seems to be mental....I need to stay positive and have a good attitude!

Have a great week!

Fruit Fly said...

As I read this I am sitting here jet lagged, fighting my usual post-vacation sickness, tired, "working", wanting to sleep .... yet I feel like after reading the post my spirits are already lifted! I can't go run a marathon and be awesome at the moment, but my mind already feels a bit stronger. Thanks! :)

Quinton J said...

“Can you increase your Mojo with your own effort?”
…Homie I do this EVERY morning when I get up.
I call it a top-up. As in: “Time to top-up my mojo”
Although I don’t say it like that…I say:
“Q…you are one bad mutha’ – SHUT YO’ MOUTH…but I’m jus’ talkin’ bout Q”

I also know that you shine pretty darrn bright. You’ve come so far in such a little time and how far you’ve come is a testament not just your physical abilities – but to your attitude.
I was telling my wife about your roti/ting comment last night…we both got a kick out of just how much “mojo” you have. Dun-Know.

Keep shinin’ brother.

Lucas R. Tucker said...

Great post, I agree about not letting gut influence early int he run; under 30 minutes I let muscle soreness and injuries control my mind.

Agree with Georgiasnail I cheer for everyone on the bike and run when I am racing, passing me or me passing them it helps your mojo.

Anonymous said...

Great post... off to find my mojo... it was hiding today...

Zaneta @ Runner's Luck said...

you are GREAT!! :D I love this post! One of my faves! If anyone has mojo it's you ;)

Julie @ HotlegsRunner said...

"Life is a precious gift, given to you by a benevolent creator that with tears in His eyes looks into your heart and writes with love that you are meant to be brilliant. This brilliance is wound with a long ribbon called your decisions." -- loved loved LOVED this! He did create us in His own likeness. So we really can achieve great things! He is always there to guide and direct us to the right path. =)

Anne said...

What a wonderful post! "Do not be afraid to shine"...I love it! Thanks for this Andrew.

Anne-Marie said...

WOW - what a great post! So much good stuff to take away from this.

One of my favorites- "I think courage is not the absence of fear, but rather a will to over-come it"

Thank you!

Christina said...

Oh yeah. I will shine like the brightest bling you will ever see. :)

Anonymous said...

I always felt I had no control of my mojo. Either it was there, or it ran away somewhere. I'll have to see if I can rethink that- maybe that would help!

Unknown said...

Hey, Andrew.

I've been swamped and behind in reading blogs. You've been busy when I've had my nose into work. Great job!
The offer is still there if you want to "talk" running. It seems like you're doing well anyway. Let me know.

Johann said...

Lovely stuff! Thanks for this Andrew. In general I’m good with keeping my mojo right up there. People often tell me I’m always smiling and always positive. I’m sure that’s why my mojo is up where it belongs. Go Andrew, you are making enormous strides!

Ewa said...

Lots and lots to think about on my next run. Confidence, fear, mojo, love, courage to push limits - all intertwined, all needed for brilliance to show.

Interesting how your non-running life affects one's runs. I am also noticing how often the quality of my run affects the rest of my day. Haven't kept a journal though, maybe I should.

Irene said...

Good question. I think if you stick with something long enough you can get your mojo back. There's something to be said about persistence. That being said, sometimes switching to something else for a little break can be a refreshing change.

Alan said...

Andrew, really like this post. Going to work on creating my own mojo!

The Boring Runner said...

The mind is a VERY powerful thing. I do not think that there are many things that you can't control, with it.

I'm working to try to bend the spoon matrix style and lift my X-Wing star wars style.

Good post this was.