Goblins play Naughty Mind Tricks in our heads.
How we engage with them is a key difference between our thriving and striving. If we tame the Goblins, we are freed to reach our higher levels.
Love Letters to Lycra reborn
I’ll tell you a story.
I cranked up to week TWO of my new lycra wrapped running regime this week; the lycra holds up my lazy glutes while my brain tries to locate them. This is the all new Love Letters to Lycra; running version.
Enter Supercoach, my husband, rock and running buddy, committed to helping me run like the wind, what could go wrong? Uh oh, I hadn’t banked on the power of Goblins and their Naughty Mind Tricks.
Today we decided to tackle Northbridge, suburb of hills. There’s one primary challenge right here folks, my husband is well known in cycling circles for his hill climbing guts and glutes. Cue immediate angst and emerge ‘The Grump,’ who surfaces reliably when I feel stressed or pushed beyond my limits. Goblins and Naughty Mind Tricks were off and running and we hadn’t even left the house. This was shaping up to be like spousal driving lessons – not conducive to rosy marital relations.
Off we trotted, and began bickering within three minutes. “Take more steps” he calls, “That doesn’t work,” I snap, “lift up your legs to engage your glutes,” so I picture lifting my feet off the ground. It is futile, the synapses are neural spaghetti. I swear; Grump was well into her stride now, I hadn’t planned to bring her out. Damn those Goblins and their Naughty Mind Tricks.
It’s really quite staggering just how much Naughty Mind Trickery emerges under stress, and boy did I turn tricks of the Naughty kind when the going got tough today, around hill number four. Inside my head the goblins were partying hard, I grouched, grumped, harrumphed and moaned under my breath until about halfway up the hill. Cursed Supercoach, cursed myself and began to morph into someone I do not choose to be. Naughty Mind Tricks.
This time though, something happened about half way up. I decided not to engage with the pesky goblins and their Naughty Mind Tricks, instead pictured them as just goblins, doing their thing while I watched from the side.
Then it struck me, as I huffed and puffed further up the hill, there’s a striking parallel between the Naughty Mind Tricks when the body is under physical stress like today’s hill run, or the mountain bike meltdown of last week, and the Naughty Mind Tricks which turn up in other life situations.
Let’s go for a wander into Naughty Mind Tricks with an analogy, see if they sound familiar to you too. Ready?
Imagine you’re sitting on a bench in the corner of a basketball court full of animated children (goblins), running round the court at full pace, all talking at once. It probably sounds like a standard Saturday afternoon to many of you, right?
You’re invisible to them, removed from their worlds, yet intrinsically connected by imaginary golden threads to their every sentiment. Each time they speak, you feel empathy with their emotions whether good and bad. Yes it sounds just like parenting and this is itself, notable. The voices say this:
“My knee hurts, my ankle hurts, my hip hurts, oh there’s my stomach cramp, my chest is tight, I’m scared, what if I really hurt myself, push through the pain, I can’t do this, you’ve got this, when is this bloody lap ever going to come to an end, there’s another two k.m. to go, I can’t do it, shut up, I can’t, you can, you’re weak, you must do this, it will feel good at the end, I’m going to die, don’t be pathetic, chill man, Oh my god, it’s so like haaaaaaaard…..” and so it goes on.
Your boundaries are crumbling, your empathy wants to step in and help them, make it easy for them……meanwhile back on your hill, you’re slowing to a walk and stopping. You. Give. In. Your self belief stops and so do you. You’ve given in to goblins, their Naughty Mind Tricks have worked.
Your moment of brilliant epiphany
But, pause, skip back to the point before you stopped. Suddenly in a moment of brilliant epiphany, you remember the golden threads connecting you to the goblins are imaginary, and incredibly whilst it’s interesting to observe their social experiment, it’s actually becoming a bit tiresome and you’d quite like to quietly nick off for a coffee and leave them behind.
You don’t actually have to engage with the goblins at all. Empathy can be made from a distance with curiosity and compassion, allowing you to quietly return to your business of running or cycling (or coffee).
We do not have to engage with every negative thought and doubt we have. They are goblins, playing Naughty Mind Tricks.
So back on the hill this morning, sucking the air through my nose and still determinedly trying to engage my wobbly glutes so my calves could stop doing all the work, I suddenly realised with absolute clarity, the remarkable parallel between sport and life.
The higher the stress levels climb, the louder goblins and their Naughty Mind Tricks become. Yet, if we recognise them for what they are, and have compassion for their presence we are released to carry ourselves forward. We strive, yet slowly begin to thrive
There will be another real or metaphorical hill climb around the corner, there is nothing surer for that is nature of life, but guess what, next time we’ll be a fraction fitter and it gets easier.
If you ignore them, goblins will keep chasing you with Naughty Mind Tricks and they will drag you backwards until you LISTEN! Kind of like kids really.
It’s true, I almost vomited when I reached the cafe for my morning cappuccino, but hell as I write it’s six hours later and I still feel good. Supercoach hadn’t even broken a sweat. Dammit. (Thank you goblin, that’s enough).
You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Truly. Even with Goblins and their Naughty Mind Tricks.