We have many mottos here at South Beach Boxing: routine is the enemy, do today what others won’t, so tomorrow you can do what others can’t, etc. All of them have many applications, and all are worth remembering. A particular favorite of mine, which you may have noticed painted near the ceiling, is “We are what we believe we are.”
Now, some may brush this statement off as a motivational platitude, but I’m convinced that there’s a hugely empowering, optimistic truth contained within it.
In order to begin thinking about some of the principles at work in this maxim, we should take a moment to consider the ideas of someone who had his shit together much better than you or I do: Aristotle.
Aristotle was pretty resolute that one, for the most part, is responsible for the kind of life that one comes to live. Our habits, Aristotle contended, truly define who we are, and gradually come to paint the canvas of our lives. He summed up this notion in the simple yet profound statement “we are what we repeatedly do.”
We are what we repeatedly do.
It’s important to remember that our habits are nothing more than the culmination and trends of our everyday actions. Each one of us has the ability to manipulate these actions and habits in order to align them with those of the person we aspire to become. First of all however, we have to define what kind of person we want to be: what kind of values we want to embody and how we want to impact the world.
In order to truly become the man or your woman you envision (let’s call it your ideal self), all you have to do is begin thinking of yourself as that kind of person. You have to make the decision to be your ideal self, and to begin acting as your ideal self would. And that’s all there is to it.
Self-improvement, of course, is a lifelong journey. However, you have the opportunity, in every single moment of your life, to change the person you are simply by your behavior.
Do you wish that you were a more social and outgoing person? All you have to do is begin acting like one.
And this is where the link between Aristotle’s ideas and the words written on SBB’s ceiling becomes apparent. Your third-grade teacher was right: you can be whoever you want to be. The realization that how you behave and who are are really one in the same thing, however, takes this idea from being a contrived platitude to an incredible source of self-empowerment.
You are whatever you believe you are. Think of yourself as lazy and unproductive, and you are going to manifest that attitude in your behavior. If, however, you decide to act like an inspirational and successful person, you will soon find that to be the truth. It’s that simple.
Rest up this weekend and get ready for another week of training.