Thinking Your Way to Success


When lifting yesterday morning I had a set of 3 x 12 incline presses I wanted to crush.  That is a good amount of reps, but at 5 am it can seem like a daunting task.   I ended up getting every rep but I realized I did something different before I even put my hands on the bar.  I envisioned me doing the reps with ease. Today, I’ll go over how your mindset going into any task can set you up for success, and how to realign if you’re not focused enough to emerge victorious.

The Iron Carryover

I won’t take full credit for this, as friend of the site and commenter Hipponax and I were talking about high volume training.  He said to me “rep ranges are in your head” and it struck me for its simple yet highly insightful approach to lifting.

I remembered our conversation yesterday, and when I approached the bar, I not only told myself that it would be easy, but that I was gonna kill it.  I also got myself hyped up and in the zone to get every single rep in.  The week prior, I was tired and my head wasn’t “in the game” and I failed only getting 7 reps.  The only change I made was how I approached it and how I got myself prepared to do something I had failed at before.

This may not be revolutionary for some, but after my workout it got me thinking on how I could employ this simple technique in other areas of my life.  The gym can be a good metaphor for life because lifting and life are both:


There to test you all the time

Unforgiving (doesn’t care about how you feel)

Beneficial if you work hard and never stop

I realize I’m going down a bit of philosophical route, but I’ll give a nod to my old website Becoming the Monolith, where I penned the article “The Iron is My Church” which explains my point of view when it comes to lifting.

Back to the topic at hand, applying this trick to other situations in my life has helped me improve and excel in most any task I take on.


Setting yourself up mentally before going into any interaction, task, or challenge can be the difference between closing the deal, getting shit on by higher ups (metaphorically speaking), or reaching some goal that you’ve been striving for.

For example,  I was going into a meeting with my CEO, CFO and manager to go over some paperwork that was left to me by the person who had my job prior to me.  This paperwork was an absolute fucking mess and to be honest, I didn’t do much with it as it wasn’t a good resource for relevant data.  It was an inventory sheet for the IT dept which was not up to date.  All three of these people seemed kind of pissed that I hadn’t updated it, but I knew better.

I had been keeping tabs on everything I had been doing all along, and collecting data as I went along.  To get to the point, I knew they were pissed off prior to the meeting, but I took my data, walked in like I owned the place, and basically ran the show.   They asked why I didn’t do the updates, I told them “Instead of updating that incomplete, useless list, I created a whole knew one”   They were shocked, and you could see them squirming because they had NOTHING on me at that point.

I remember prior to the meeting, just like on the bench yesterday, thinking “I got this.  I’m going in here, and I’m going to come out victorious”  I got a few questions that, to me tried to get me to slip up, but I held my ground.   Ended up benefiting me because now I got my budget approved faster.  I could have just let them get to me or tried to push the blame but I told myself “own up to anything you’re responsible for, and kill them with facts.  You got this”  and I honestly feel that my mood going into this was the reason why I performed so well.


The main take away today is prepping for your task before you even think about doing it.  Sure some things require immediate action, but I’m telling you that envisioning myself at the finish line has helped me all around.

Also, remember to keep those thoughts positive.  Doubting yourself never leads to anything positive in my opinion.   Make a decision that you’re going to kill whatever you set out to do, and make that happen.   Its almost like a way to trick yourself into performing with 100% of your ability.  Give it a shot and drop a comment below with anything that may help or support the idea.


J.  Nyx

Author: Jnyx

Fitness addict, DIY guru, tech nerd, member of Memesters Local 419.

235 thoughts on “Thinking Your Way to Success”

  1. No joke – I often prep for arguments by saying I am going to “kill,” “murder,” “mutilate,” “annihilate,” etc… my opponents. I actually envision it as violence where I come out on top. I get strange looks and nervous laughs from colleagues, but I also get results, and everyone wants to work with me or give me the hardest tasks.

      1. When I was a kid I had an alarm clock that was this toy army guy with the clock in his belly and the alarm would sound reveille. He had this army helmet on and you could pop the helmet good and hard for an extra 5 minutes. I have no idea what became of that thing but man I loved it.

        1. Your palms should look like mink coats for popping your helmet 5 minutes every morning.

        1. Funny thing…take a look at the hero picture on your Iron Is My Church Guy. When you wrote the article you chose that photo as indicative of what you want. Yeah, he is squatting more weight than I ever will but I wouldn’t trade being able to do that for his body….not in a million years.

          1. Agreed. When you broke down the fact to me that I am NEVER going to be a competitive powerlifter, the switch just flipped for me. High volume with lighter weight will get me the results I want AND I’ll increase strength.

          1. Unfunny
            Fuckin’ Haikus
            Aren’t Even Relevant
            Everyone Uses Cinquains Now

              1. if it was deaf instead of blind I would literally never stop whacking off.

        1. This Danish or The Danish? Denmark is the leading producer of both pork and melancholy in Europe so I think it is a bad place to Annihilate.

          1. I had a melancholy girlfriend one time, she had a head like a melon and a face like a collie.

    1. Ha if I’m prepped for an argument, by the time it starts I’m already so pissed off I can’t think straight and forget what my very articulate and well thought out points were.

  2. When lifting heavy (or volume) I tend to psyche myself into “this is battle, the enemy is trying to kill you!” especially for large muscle group type exercises (bench press, leg press, etc) that would approximate the strain you’d get in melee combat. It really helps.

      1. I had to lift and stack a bunch of oak railroad ties over the weekend. It occurred to me at the time how much squats, deadlifts and even upright rows were paying off for me in a very real practical sense. When you need to do something like that, it’s too late to “get in shape.” What you will get is injured.

        1. I have a herniated disk and ‘throw my back out’ at least once a year. Turns out I would always bend at the waist to pick up, lift, or move things. I simply couldn’t squat down!
          But now, since Hippomax commanded me to do squatty-type exercises, I can finally get down there to lift things properly. I mean, I’m no Cambodian smoking on a stoop, but the use of my legs for things other than walking has improved tremendously.

          1. And remember to keep your heels down and feet flat on the floor. Some guys will squat with 5 pound plates under their heels, but that’s cheating. You need get a full stretch (over time, don’t push it too fast) as you drop to parallel or below. Practice unweighted squats while keeping your heels down.

            A big part of the squat is actually in your glutes rather than your legs. So as you start down, keep your back straight and hinge at the hips. This is coming from an old guy with a compromised lower back who still squats regularly. Good form is the key to being injury free. The squat really is king!

    1. I like this technique. Another thing that works for me is to not even think about it at all. I lift with a buddy, and I often find that some of my best lifts are when we talk about something that pisses me off and gets my adrenaline flowing, but without thinking about the set at all, I just hop on the bench and do it. Whatever the technique, I think the key to success is not even considering failure as an option (within limits of course when you have a heavy weight over your head!).

      1. “Whatever the technique, I think the key to success is not even considering failure as an option”

        Exactly this. Thinking its too hard or that you cant do it almost guarantees that you will fail.

      2. Not thinking about it at all is kind of what I do. I want to learn to really turn myself off and be a machine. I was just thinking this morning that I might start going at it without music, wearing a hoodie with the hood up

        1. I quit using music some time ago. I realized it was distracting me. I caught myself using poor form which is a good recipe for injury. I don’t know about the hoodie. But I work out at home and don’t have the distractions of a public gym.

          1. I’ve used a hoodie before just to focus my eyes and take away my peripheral vision. While this is obviously more helpful in a gym full of smokin’ hot cuties bending over, I can see how it might be helpful otherwise.

  3. This is a good thing for a man to practice and master, the psychological principle of the placebo aka: mind over matter aka: strength of will. And it can be integrated into most every facet of daily life. It seems Bruce Lee made a similar observation, though I know for certain I encountered it in some martial arts writing at some point.

    Simply exhibiting confidence, being assertive, speaking imperatively without qualifiers, and sticking to it with conviction goes a long way to sway most anything from getting over a funk/illness to landing a girl. If you can dominate your own outlook you can use the same technique to dominate a conversation, situation, and even a person/people.

    1. Also no joke – I simply refuse to get sick. And I almost never do. As in, the only times I recall having more than a little sniffle in the past ten years were two incidents of food poisoning, and one case of strep throat that I powered through for about 4 months until after it came back the fifth time, I went to the doc wondering if something was actually wrong and got some antibiotics. People seriously underestimate the power of your mind in controlling your general health.

      1. It is funny you say this. I generally refuse to get sick but I confess that getting my winter flu is a guilty pleasure. 3 days off, movie marathon, food delivery. As sick as it is, I almost look forward to it and sure enough it happens like clockwork.

          1. I am not allowed to get sick on Christmas. It is against the rules for me. My family would not accept it. Because of this, I have never once been sick on Christmas….hung over…yes….but not sick,

              1. See Christmas Eve is a huge party with family I actually like so it is super fun for me.

                1. Christmas Eve is definitely where it’s at!… It’s all about La Famiglia. Just this afternoon, my mom said to me on the phone “the holidays will be here soon, and I know you’re busy, don’t forget, if you need help with shopping, please let me know and I’ll pick-up whatever you need, especially the ingredients for the Cheesecake and Biscotti”… It’s October!!! I think we have plenty of time.

                  1. Hahaha same. Christmas eve, prociutto and sausages at midnight because going 24 hours without meat has nearly killed Evelyn and presents at midnight.

                    Since the passing of my grandfather a few years back I have made THE sauce. You know the one. The centerpiece. Every year I have to fight to maintain my rightful place. I imagine it won’t start until November but who knows

                    1. That’s so funny, and I know all about THE sauce! It’s all about the food, which is a beautiful thing.

                    1. You know, at this rate, they’re going to have to rethink the ‘Featured Comment’ on this article. We’re absolutely killing it.

                    2. always thought he’d be better suited to that “no whammies, no whammies, no whammies..STOP!” game show

        1. Ha! Strange, flu is one of the things I never get UNLESS I get the flu shot, which is why I don;t bother with it anymore.

          And while I understand where you’re coming from, why not just pretend to have the flu and take a few days to do the same shit as a recharge?

          1. you aren’t the first to suggest it. I have a hard time just laying around relaxing. I think it is why I enjoy my flu. It kicks my ass enough that I am forced to stop. A good way to understand my personality is that my mother once told me that I don’t have to “win at vacation” when I told her my itinerary for a trip.

            1. Perhaps you have this bassackwards. Maybe if you would take a few days off and just relax you wouldn’t get the flu to begin with.

                  1. fair enough. Yes you need to lube to paste the glass shards to your dik.

                    (and THAT is almost certainly anyone has assembled that sentence!)

                    1. Spend some time in a Marine combat unit and you would be surprised at how many phrases are like this.

                    2. Actually, worse than this to be honest. I’ll concede you may have penned something unique in the annals of the English language, but I served with dudes who talked about strapping a .50 cal chamber brush to their cock to ass fuck a chick.

            1. Ha! Sorry man. Seriously, this annoys the shit out of me, and I actively focus on not hitting ; while typing fast and still I do it anyway. Fucking hell. At least if other people do it it can;t be used as a stylistic tell to dox me!

              EDIT: Goddamn it!!! FUUCCCK! In a post about this shit, I do it again!!

        2. Take 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day (your body can produce that much in 30 minutes of direct sunlight). Take 5,000 in the morning and again before bed. Winter is the cold & flu season because we don’t get enough sun, we become vitamin D deficient which weakens our immune systems. For bonus points make sure you get about 3,000 to 5,000 mg. of vitamin C as well to avoid heart disease and atherosclerosis. At 58 I am almost never sick and if I catch a bug it’s over fast. Diet and exercise are important, but these are two essential nutrients just about everyone are lacking in so supplementation is required. Unless you really do enjoy your annual flu-cation. 😉

          1. I actually take a shit ton of D3 as well as a big heaping ton of a B complex. I really do kind of enjoy the flu-cation though. I have a hard time just being still. If I just took a few days off I would be dicking things left and right.

            1. If it wasn’t for the fact of getting my balls burned I;ve thought of a vasectomy-cation would be the same thing. Can’t walk a lot or do much of anything. Lay around for about 3-5 days. But I think I would do what my dad did when he got his and be outside working the day after and suffering through the pain.

              I hate doing nothing

              1. Once you pull the sutures loose and feel the blood running down your legs, you”ll go back inside and take it easy. After the doctor patches you back up that is…

                  1. True story: I worked with a guy who had a vasectomy in the morning and came into work at noon (desk job). The control room was a secure facility with what was essentially a vault door. He walked in swinging the door open and closing it like he normally would. About halfway to his desk one of the operators said “Hey! Are you on your period?” He looked down and the front of his trousers was turning red. He’d pulled the stitches loose simply singing that door around.

                    1. I remember my dad getting it done when I was like 13 and he was finishing up some work around the house. I was riding with mom and looked back to see him leaning against the house like he was about to fall over

  4. For those of you who don’t know first hand and may wonder how much stuff on the intertubes is real or not I will say that talking to Jnyx these last few months, working with him to design high volume programs and following his progress, he is probably the hardest working asshole out there as well as bat shit insane as he will lift through the winter, out fucking doors, in a north eastern climate. His numbers, in an insanely short time, both on physique goals like size as well as numbers goals like PRs have skyrocketed. As an impartial third party I will say that I have rarely met someone who will hustle as hard and he does it for 2 hours a day, with a wife and three kids, a full time job and while maintaining a social life. There are simply zero fucking excuses out there guys. Anyone, in any situation, in any circumstance, with any amount of busy schedule can fucking do this shit. All you need is a will to get out there every day to do it, some good knowledge on how to do it right and a congenital lack of ability to make fucking excuses for yourself…..also, while not technically required, a closet full of wife beaters helps. go #teambeater

    PS: “Hipponax and I were talking about high volume training. He said to me “rep ranges are in your head” and it struck me for its simple yet highly insightful approach to lifting.”
    I had this beaten into my head by my coach and trainer and was also excited and honestly a bit surprised to see it work before I became an apostle preaching the good news. Everyone learns somewhere. The trick is to leave your ego behind. When I first spoke to Jynx he straight up said “you have a physique that I am aiming towards, tell me how you do it” He wasn’t a novice, been doing things for years but was willing to tell himself that shit wasn’t working and he needed a new approach even if it sounded odd. I had the same kind of moment at one time too. If you don’t have what you want and you have spend years trying to get it then you are doing it wrong and the sooner you can be humble about the fact the sooner you start on the path to success. Driving in the wrong direction simply because there is no traffic isn’t gonna get you to where you want to go

    1. This comment is great if for nothing more than this part, the rest is icing:
      “If you don’t have what you want and you have spend years trying to get
      it then you are doing it wrong and the sooner you can be humble about
      the fact the sooner you start on the path to success. Driving in the
      wrong direction simply because there is no traffic isn’t gonna get you
      to where you want to go.”

    2. so what do you do? high volume a few weeks, the strength training, the HIIT, etc? I hit the wall almost a year ago

      1. I do more than high volume. I do massive volume. Sets of 5×20 is a good number…even on big compound movements. I also do an hour of HIIT a day. With my HIIT it is 3+ hours in the gym every day. Once a week Ill pick a big compound lift to benchmark at 3 rep PR but as far as traditional strength training or powerlifting I do none of it…and my PRs and my Physique consistently get better.,

          1. Depends on my goals at the time. Right now, end of summer, I am taking it a little easy and letting my body rest. When I am at full tilt boogie I eat around 5k calories a day.

            1. couldnt you cut down your volume and also cut down your caloric intake and achieve the same results?

              1. I could not. I’ve done it before. It is a simple algorithm. Eat a lot. Lift a lot. About 3 months ago I was eating well over 5k calories and spending 3 hours plus a day in the gym and was 225 hovering at 10% and I felt all kinds of good. My system works….full stop. The only problems are that it is a massive commitment. So if you really don’t enjoy the life, if you are just doing it casually, it isn’t for you. You need to be at it 2-3 hours a day or more. There were times, you can ask jynx, where after banging out a 2 hours workout in the morning I went back and just banged it out again at night because why the fuck not. It helps that I truly love this stuff. I like being in the gym. I like the sounds of the clanking weights, and the smell of sweat. I like the whole scene. It is a lifestyle for me and not just a means to an ends. But if you really want the results and are willing to put in the time I can assure you that you will get them this way with minimal chance of hurting yourself (compared to other forms) and you will get these results faster than you can imagine.

                1. In a way it kind of changed my who perception of lifting. After the high volume stuff I tried out a lower rep high weight program for one week (similar to what I used to do) and I got done in 25 minutes. Didnt feel like I did anything, so that positive feedback loop (and the pump, cant lie) weren’t there. I will train this way for the rest of my life. Upping my PRs (actually faster than on low rep schemes) and looking 100% better.

                  1. I just started a 12 week program and it DOES make a difference when you actually feel like you’ve worked. My former program had gotten to the point where I didn’t FEEL it and I like the positive feedback of exhaustion/soreness

        1. This is interesting. I have been looking for something different since I had to have surgery to correct a herniated disc. Really fucked me up on Deadlifts and Squats – in fact, this is the sole area where I have not yet been able to overcome the psychological barrier of imagining failure this article was geared toward. Maybe it’s just how painful that shit was, but I have been hesitant with the lifts ever since – I’m talking like I haven’t DLd over 135 or squatted more than chick weight (the bar alone) in a year and a half. I can’t get around imagining myself with a fucked up back again, and, I’ll admit it, I puss out.

          Maybe approaching it as a high rep program would help to get past this. I wouldn’t have the psychological factor of the heavy weight sitting there, and the lower reps would be useful to correct any lingering form issues, while increasing strength at the same time.

          You say you do compound lifts – are you talking basic fundamentals like standing military, bench, DL, and squats, or others too? Are you working in other exercises in addition to the compounds? That’s a lot of time in the gym, so I assume there are other exercises. How much rest between your five sets?

          The only part of this that won’t work for me is the 3hours per day. As a married dude and a father, I don’t have that much time. But one hour per day is doable. I have had good results with HIIT, but I have generally used shorter sessions like Tabata and it worked well to keep me lean. Always seeking that good workout program to retain strength and size though, and I might give this a try.

          1. Cant speak for the injury thing but I am doing compounds (Bench, Squat, OHP etc) 3-4 sets of 12 10, 8, and accessories 3-4 sets of 12, then a “burner” set which is a light weight 4×20 that gets you pumped.

          2. So if you can hit me up on telegram and we can discuss. I too had several surgeries and had to cross a few mental blocks. I really understand what you mean here totally and have lived it and conquered the fucking shit out of it…though it wasn’t easy and it took some time.

            I can’t express enough how much I believe high rep is the way to go for physique as well as for strength AND general health.

            Yes I do Mil presses, Bench presses in various positions, I deadlift and squat often but yes, I do a lot of other exercises. When you hit me up I will send you my exact workout which JNYX has lovingly named the Muscle Rape Program

            Rest periods vary based on which moves I am doing but they are not very long. Think one major compound plus 8-10 super or giant sets all with high rep ranges. 3 hours is not fully necessary, but I will say that one hour is simply not enough. Here is my argument for it. If you do one hour a day in the gym for the next 6 months and keep your diet on point and get 30% of what you would wish for have you spent more or less time than someone who spends 2 hours a day in the gym for 6 months and gets 100% of what they wish for and then some stuff they didn’t even think was possible. Yes, you may have to sacrifice some time, but this is the way.

            Shoot me a message (honestly I don’t know how so you will have to figure that out hahha I’m a computer moron) and I will show you a sample workout, chat a bit about the value of spending more time and breaking mental hurdles regarding rep ranges as well as fear involved with reinjuring yourself and you can decide if it is right for you.

            1. He can send me an email with information once he gets Telegram, my email is in my profile.

              1. it’s funny, for all the people I know on telegram every one of them had to be delivered to me. I have zero clue how to message someone

            2. Cool. I am also a computard, so much that I don’t even know what telegram is. But will figure it out and hit you up.

  5. One other note on envisioning the weight as light…keep in mind the Mantra of the man Ronnie Coleman “YEAH BUDDY!!!! LIGHT WEIGHT BABY”

    Here are some videos showing what Ronnie Means by light weight

    (btw I usually laugh at leg presses, but when you leg press, literally, a fucking ton then I pay attention)
    “Everyone wants to be a bodybuilder but no one wants to move these heavy ass weights….but I’ll do it”
    –Ronnie Coleman

    1. I only got to 1400 on leg presses. I feel so weak and inadequate.

    2. after two hip replacements, he is a shell of his former self…dont overdo it…he looks smaller than I am

      1. he obviously took things too far….but it is his mood that ought to be replicated not necessarily the insanity of doing 800 pound squats for reps.

          1. Ronnie pushed it too far and for too long. In an odd way I respect that but he really wound up fucking himself up. His last surgery was when the metal screw in his spine snapped under the weight her was doing. He is only starting to walk now and is already pushing more weight, for reps, than I ever PR’d. While respecting Ronnie’s constant drive to push and acceptance of the injuries that are inevitable I neither advise or wish to emulate it. Arnold mostly does accessory machine lifts and bike riding now. A much smarter thing for an older guy. That said, the general attitude of Ronnie is one that I think everyone should have. A more positive, humble, energetic and decent guy you’ll never find.

            1. Before I moved from SoCal in ’05, I trained at Milos Sarcev’s Gold’s gym for many years. At that time, Flex Magazine contracted with Milos for photoshoots. All the pros would come in and out of town for the 2 weeks leading up to and the 2 weeks after the Olympia and the Arnold. It was a fun scene, and many of the guys would workout with Milos, but nobody ever moved as much weight as Ronnie… even 2-3 weeks out from the Olympia, Huge numbers. I definitely respected his work ethic, but the injuries were inevitable. Ronnie was always a super nice guy, even pre-contest, very cordial, laughing and joking with everybody.

              1. I always wanted to workout there! Yeah, Ronnie was nuts because he put up powerlifter numbers in body building rep ranges. Awesome guy and he got his results but like you say….no way of avoiding what happened to him.

                1. It was a great place, best gym experience I’ve ever had. Talk about motivational, the vibe there was incredible.

  6. I’ve used visualization techniques for many years. As a matter of fact, I began using these techniques in the gym, back in the early 90’s, as I began to get serious about lifting. I would literally go through the entire workout in my head before I hit the gym.

    In a way, you’re creating a mental blueprint to guide you through a particular task. The more you focus on the image of completing the task, whatever it may be, the more you realize how possible it is to succeed. It’s a very powerful skill and it can be applied to all areas of your life, but it does require focus to properly develop. I’ve met a lot of successful people over the years, and this is one skill that they all seem to have in common – it keeps you on course and prevents you from doing things in a haphazard fashion.

    1. Exactly, as humans I feel we need the strategy mapped out before hand. Some need others to do this for them, while true leaders do this for themselves. It eliminates all doubts and actually gets you ready/pumped to get shit down.

  7. Positive thinking is a great thing, the older I get the more I realize how important it is even though it gets harder to remain positive every year.

      1. Well honestly my experience lately sucks so I guess that’s why it’s getting harder to stay upbeat. I just keep moving on to tomorrow lol

    1. Do two negatives make a positive. Like if you hate your job and call yourself ugly does that mean you are feeling positive?

      1. If I hated my job and was ugly but got paid a fortune for it I’m positive that would be good.

  8. I can prove the veracity of this philosophy through its inverse: While I am just wetting my toes in the world of fitness, I have found the quickest way to failure is going into a routine plagued by the memory of how ‘hard’ it was last time, how you couldn’t get the last few seconds, reps, pounds, miles, whatever. It takes quite a bit of discipline to project a result that contradicts experience.

    You see this at the gun range too, with people not familiar with shooting. Often their first shot is their best, the one they fire by aim and instinct, devoid of fear or apprehension. Then, once they KNOW the sound, heat, smoke, and recoil of the gun their accuracy gets worse and worse. Why? Anticipation of the negative sensations (noise, shock) over the potential positive ones (close grouping).

      1. I like the scope on this gun, it is a highly machined accessory, but a but a bit dark looking through that objective lens.

      2. That’s the new personal defense weapon approved for folks on Social Security, Medicare / Medicaid and other public assistance programs. They say once this catches on all the budgets will be balanced and the deficit will be a fading memory…

              1. Zima is back.

                I wish I was kidding.

                Apparently now that gays are recruiting so heavily they feel that they have a deep enough faggot demographic to make some decent profit.

  9. I learned to do this in racing a few years back. Was having a total shit day and my teammate told me the biggest change I could make was to start picturing success. I started doing it, went out on track and ran through a few corners. About mid lap, I started thinking how slow I was going and how I already screwed up. Checked my data and lap times at the end of the session and that ended up being my personal best lap time.

  10. yeah, so i know you guys touched on this yesterday, but officials say it was one guy, and two windows were shot out on the same floor, far enough apart that theres no way it was in the same room…

    1. I read that he had rented adjoining rooms. I don’t know the layout, but two adjoining suites could have spanned the distance between the two windows.

  11. This summer I was out swimming alone, maybe 400 meters from shore (I like to go way out sometimes). Done it many times in normal chop.

    This was different, though, because I started getting bounceback from a nearby retaining wall. It was double chop, the waves crossing over me in opposite directions, slowing me down. I was making little progress. I started to feel tired. Then I started to feel tightness in my chest, which is the first sign of panic.

    Mental game. I used 150% of my mental strength to visualize myself finishing the swim, no questions, no exceptions. It took a while, but I finally I made it back to shore and then kind of collapsed in the shallows for a while, just breathing.

    Lesson: It’s mostly mental. Without a strong will, I probably would’ve been one of those stupid people you hear about on the news.

          1. Just take deep breaths and think positive thoughts, every thing is going to be ok.

    1. I also enjoy deep sea swimming. When I go on my annual vacation I will often rent a little boat (like a raft with a little engine) and take it out until the shore is some conceptual thing on the horizon and then just jump in and swim around for a while. I freaking love it. I have, at times, swam out fairly deep and yes, super mental game, but I really love the super deep swimming that requires a boat to get to and love it for all the same reasons you list here.

      1. Dude, I hope you drop anchor if you are far enough away from shore that you can’t swim back. If the wind blows that boat away there is no way you will catch it. Seriously, I saw a thing on this group of rich dudes who disappeared off the coast of Australia. Their boat was found, but they never were. The program speculated on various reasons (some kooky) for the disappearance – pirates, alien abduction, etc…, but the one deemed most likely was drowning because they all fell off the boat, it blew away and they couldn’t catch it. The premise was that one guy probably fell in without a life vest and possibly while incapacitated (maybe knocked unconscious or something), and the next guy jumped in to save him, also without a life vest, finally the third guy jumped in to save both and while they were in the water without dropping anchor, the wind picked up and blew the boat away from them and they couldn’t catch it an eventually drowned after exhausting themselves. They did this demo in an olympic pool with an Australian Special Forces swimmer, and they pulled a small rowboat boat the length of an pool at the speed it would move when blown by a light breeze. It beat this dude across the pool by a good half pool length and was still pulling away. It was obvious he would never have caught it. So enjoy the swim, but drop anchor!

        1. Where I go there are buoys…lol I’m not loosing the boat! There would be no way for me to swim back from where I am but the island is a huge and popular boating destination and there are really deep buoys.

    2. I love swimming even through I have terrible technique. Back when I was in the Scouts, I earned my 1 mile swim during a summer camp out at the Boxwell reservation. Felt like jello when I finally got out of the water.

      1. That’s odd, after I swim a mile I usually feel like eating something more substantial. I guess to each their own.

      2. I’m really good at backstroke, but that’s the only one. The others I’m just average or even poor. I’ve never even learned butterfly because the kick is so weird.

        1 mile swim = 4 mile run. That’s why you were tired.

        I’ve thought about doing one of those mini-triathalons. It doesn’t seem that bad — half mile swim, 15 miles bike, 3 miles run. It’s pretty doable, even for someone with muscles.

        1. I have ALWAYS wanted to do an Ironman or even a half Ironman, but I am simply not up for the challenge. It is an almost superhuman feat. I don’t think I know anyone who could pull it off. When it is in New York I sometimes go to the finish line to check it out. FFS man these guys are batshit

        2. Butterfly if done correctly is very efficient in terms of energy output and speed. There is a reason fish swim in a very similar manner.

    3. Bro, if you find yourself in this situation again, don’t forget that backstroke transitions easily into back float to regain strength for a while. Floating takes mental discipline too, but your muscles can relax for a bit.

      It will also sound silly, but you can use your swim trunks (assuming you’re wearing something like board shorts) as a flotation device. Tie the legs closed, use your breath to inflate at the waist, cinch that closed with the waist tie, and it can provide you a little extra flotation. Re-inflate as needed. Pants work better, but in that situation, make use of what you have.

      1. Interesting, thanks. Dunno if it was THAT bad, but I definitely was starting to hyperventilate, and had to mentally wrestle myself to keep the breathing under control.

        1. Yeah, I’ve seen it happen. I used to help train dudes for swim quals in the Marines. (We had a pool growing up and so I’ve always been a decent swimmer.) Whenever I would see a guy struggling, the first thing I would do is tell him to relax. It’s really a mental exercise. It is amazing how much relaxing even increases your buoyancy. But when you’re worried about that next breath, it takes discipline. If I could get guys to relax, I could get them past the qual and have them swimming. And I’m talking dudes who were terrified of the water, like inner city kids who had never even been in a pool. Jak mentioned learning this technique in the scouts, I learned it in the service, but its good knowledge. They also taught us to do the same thing with your shirt if you’re wearing one – you just cinch it against your back by pulling on the front of your collar and blow into it so you end up with what I’ll describe as a small pillow floating behind the back of your head. Again, it won’t keep you up forever, and will need to be re-inflated periodically, but if you’re in trouble, it could give you the rest you need to make a final push. And it works:

        2. Funny with that, last winter while away I went snorkeling for the first time. Crystal clear water and at a depth that was very deep — like over 1200 feet. We all jumped off the boat and swam out to the area that we were brought to. Now mind you I am a super strong swimmer. Not the fastest and my form is mediocre, but I excel in being a strong swimmer. So we are in calm clear water. I swim well and we were with a group. The second I looked down I lost my shit. Hyperventilating and terrible vertigo. I totally freaked. I got my head out, looked at the horizon, scissor my legs a bit and started to feel better. I look under the water again and again go totally bat shit. I gave up and just swam back to the boat. Later on the guy guiding the tour told me it is common. Not sure if this is true or not, but it made sense. He said that when you look down you know you are in water but part of your brain is looking down and doesn’t understand you aren’t falling because the water is so clear it is like looking off the side of a building. The feeling really was like panic and falling so I believe what he said.

            1. It was freaky. But the way he described it struck true. As soon as I looked down some part of my primal brain thought I was falling and my body reacted as such. I love the water and when I have the chance to be in it I am loathe to get out, but my snorkeling days were one and done….never again

              1. I know the feeling you are talking about. Sometimes I go swimming in a high mountain lake and see the bottom, sunlit like it is just below you, but 30-50 feet deep. I’ve tried to swim down to touch the bottom, but it evades you, like it is 50 feet down. Trippy feeling.

                1. scared the bejezuz out of me I tell ya. Funny thing is when I swam back to the boat I enjoyed the swim. I was fine so long as I did not look down with the stupid mask on. Trippy indeed.

            1. It is so cool…like the first time you watch tv on a high def set. I still remember the first time I swam out to where the ocean floor was maybe 8-10 feet tops but was able to look down past my feet and see clearly shit that was down there with my head outside the water. It is 100% my favorite place

          1. Pretty much how I feel in an airplane. Can rationalize why I’m not falling (air pressure instead of water pressure in your case), but some part of my brain just doesn’t buy it!

            1. Never get into a Cessna with me. I’m wont to do power on stalls for fun and you probably don’t want to be a part of that.

              1. fukkin psycho……

                Nah – for me there’s pleeeeeeeeeeeeeenty of ways to get dead right here on Terra firma.

                  1. Nah. I have had a dark sense of humor since I was a kid. After the initial wave of terror was gone I LMAO.

                    1. I really laughed when he flew so low over the fields we were below the tree line. He also liked to make water balloons or take ears of corn and do “bombardments.” That might have been illegal, but it was the 80s.. meh.

                    2. Yeah, once you figure out you’re not going to die, it is actually pretty fun. Most noobs in a cockpit think a normal takeoff in a puddle jumper is “doing a 90 degree vertical climb, aaaaahhhhgggg!” though, heh.

            2. Is that the common fear of flying (other than claustrophobia)? For some reason being on a plane has always seemed exciting and fun for me — now, doing some of the lunatic stuff that our favorite Cynic does would absolutely kill me

              1. The claustrophobia does indeed play a part in my case. And yes he’s fukked in the head.
                But claustrophobia for me is an odd thing – I don’t mind a confined or constricted space until there’s another person between me and the way out. Like I’m fine wiggling into a crawlspace but as soon as someone pokes their fat head into the door I freak out.

                1. I had to read that a few times to actually visualize. Question, how do you feel about full body in the tube MRI. Guy at work says I am nuts because I like it. They put on the music of my choice, my cell phone is locked in a container and my only responsibility is to be still. The tech once asked if I would like a Xanax and I told her, sure leave it with my stuff I will take it when I have to go back out.

                  I’ve never had problems with crawl spaces but am trying to remember if ever there was a fat head I had to deal with.

                  as for being fukked in the head, yeah…..he missed his calling as test fighter pilot.

                  1. I’m fine with MRIs. Again, if the tech eclipsed the aperture with their fat head they’d likely get a mouth full of athlete’s tongue.

          2. Not sure if that is common, but that happened to me. I went snorkling in Spain with a friend and everything was fine for the first 100 meters out. I could see the bottom, 15-20 feet, and the sea was calm. Then I hit the end of the reef and the bottom dropped off into darkness. Nothing below me. Started to hypervenolate and went back.

            I went swimming off a boat in the Adriatic a few years ago and did ok, but even the wife noticed I looked tense while in the water.

            1. that is exactly it. Jump under at 20 feet eyes wide open looking around that’s fine. It was looking into the depths…woah. just fucking woah. Nice to see you gave it another shot. I really don’t think I ever would. The odd thing is knowing in your brain that you are in no way in any danger. You aren’t going to fall through the water. You aren’t going to drown (if you are there I assume you swim at least passingly well) there is no rational reason to be worried but bang…

              1. I have no problem with heights, but deep water –not being able to see the bottom… my Achilles. Trying to swim/ stay afloat on the high seas at night is pure terror in my mind. I had water survival course in the military, and NE is correct.. you can trap air in your clothes to say afloat, but your time is short.

                1. I am not terrible with heights. I am often on scaffolding over 600 feet. I do get ooki when I look to the very edge but nothing as bad as the deep water did to me and airplanes and even the time I went hang gliding didn’t bug me. Yeah, I know NE is right about that. Where I go you can tie the boat up to a buoy and the water is calm. There is some minor danger but nothing to really worry about.

          3. As I have gotten older, my feelings about swimming in the ocean have evolved, and I can peg the start of that evolution to an exact moment when I was still in the Marines. Our unit went down to the beach to do hand-to-hand combat training. After we beat the shit out of each other all day, and were sweaty and fucked up and covered in sand, our CO told us we could go swimming before heading back to our barracks. Everyone, including me, starts to strip down naked and run off into the surf (no homo), except this one Staff Sergeant who is one of my all time favorite Marines. He was just standing there sweaty and sandy as fuck watching everyone, but not making any move to get in. I had seen this dude swim qual, so I knew he could swim, but he wasn’t going into the water, so I asked him why he wasn’t going swimming. His response was, “sir, you enter the water, you enter the food chain.” I went swimming anyway, but the whole time, that nagged in the back of my head. And over the years, I read more and more military history, particularly naval history about the USS Indianapolis or Taffy 3 off Samar. These days, I don’t have much desire to go in for anything more than a quick cool down, and usually not in anything deeper than my waist.

            1. Ha. That makes sense to me. I don’t get to swim very often and when I do I always kind of know that stuff is in my head….and when I surf especially…I have seen sharks out while surfing and it does remind you that you cease to be the top of the food chain when you are wearing nothing but some shorts and in the water….but I just can’t help it. It is one of the only things that truly makes me calm. I’ve never done anything nearly as wild as what I am sure marine training is…surfing in well populated well known surf areas, swimming in the Caribbean deep enough to barely see the shore but where there are still buoys and yachts around. I think if I was truly out alone in a way where it was all me I might feel much more like you describe.

              1. “I’ve never done anything nearly as wild as what I am sure marine training is”

                Bro, we did get to do some fun stuff, but most of it was pretty far from “wild.” I guarantee you’ve had more wild and memorable nights in the NYC bar scene!

      2. Another piece of advice if you ever take out a smaller “ass in the water” type boat is to make sure you can right it in deep water if it’s capsized.

  12. Applied this thought process to practicing at the range today. It didn’t un-break my 308’s extractor, but it did help me saw the bullseye in half with my carry Sig.

      1. Solid, mine is an SP2022. Exactly, once I got my sight picture and arms correct, the rest was instinct.

  13. OT: Is the pocket square supposed to match your undershirt or be another shade that accentuates the suit?

    1. Hunter Orange is the only acceptable color for a pocket square. Take it to the bank!

          1. I had to attend a business conference once where the main speaker had a mossy oak pocket square. This was about professional development and presentation nonetheless.

    2. Either way is appropriate. Many men will match it to their tie (and even buy them along with tie) or, as I used to do, with a very plain shirt and very plain tie but spruce up with a clashing and fun pocket square. Now I usually go with accentuating. Brown suit, gold pocketsquare. Blue or gray suit, red pocket square. A plain white pocket square is always appropriate. Further, the manner in which you fold it matters. If it is a bright pocket square that is insisting on itself, don’t try to hide that — go with an Aficionado’s Fold. If it is just an accent color go with either a one or two tip fold. If you are going for a classic look stick with white pocketsquare and use the presidential fold

        1. I will gladly take Dandy (as Fop would have been cruel) but my value is far higher than two bit….ahhhh thank you….

            1. not a ponce good sir! A dandy perhaps….a Fop at times but I draw the line at Ponce and will gladly tickle fight you to first chuckle to defend my honor.

            2. Side Question: How far back does the word Ponce go because if it dates back to the 15th-16th century I would say that Ponce de Leon’s parents officially win the biggest dik award for naming children…..

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