"Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently during your bodybuilding career?" I was asked during a magazine interview. Without a doubt, I would have been more selective of the people I chose to spend my time with. If you don't do a good job of selecting the people who surround you, you'll make your journey even more difficult.
There will be some people who question your dedication and willingness to dream. They'll try to discourage you from putting your heart and soul into your training and eating. Some of those individuals will do so out of legitimate concern for you (they don't want to see you go through what they feel is unnecessary pain and deprivation), while others will be trying to meet their own agendas (they don't want to have to question the amount of effort they put into their bodies). If you conform to the beliefs, values and opinions of others, you will only achieve the same mediocrity that most people suffer in their lives.
You must put yourself in an environment of people who support you. You must build relationships with people who have your same mind-set, desires and values. The people around you affect your training performance, your expectations and the optimism and enthusiasm you feel for your bodybuilding efforts. Whether you're consciously aware of it, they affect your destiny. Sometimes that influence isn't recognizable until later in life. Look for opportunities at the gym to train beside and converse with those who have built good physiques, demonstrate admirable work ethics and exude positive attitudes. You'll discover it's easier to model and duplicate their success when you're around them a lot.
Who are you currently training with? Are they improving the quality of your training and mental attitude?
Unfortunately, the price of becoming successful is too expensive for many people. Instead of raising their standards, they often try to persuade us to lower our expectations or they look for reasons to lessen our accomplishments to make themselves feel better about their disappointments in life. Let me make this point perfectly clear: I'm not saying that you should immediately shut out anyone who's too negative to benefit you. I have discussed in the past the value of mentoring, or sharing your knowledge and experiences to help others. Do your best to help others work through their challenges'and then move on if you must. Determine when it's time to protect yourself and eliminate their negative influence. Accomplishing your bodybuilding goals is difficult enough without others pulling you down.
One final thought: Be supportive and optimistic of the people around you. By doing so, you'll greatly improve the chance that they'll want to support you as well.
And, remember, you won't start getting big until you start thinking big! IM
Editor's note: Skip La Cour's book Thinking Big is a step-by-step workbook designed to help you use your mind to achieve your physique goals more effectively. To order, send a $25 check or money order to Thinking Big, P.O. Box 1136, Pleasanton, CA 94566. For credit card orders call 1-800-447-0008, ext. 1. For more information about natural bodybuilding visit La Cour's Mass Machine Web site at www.skiplacour.com. To add your name to his Empowering Information mailing list, call 1-800-655-0986, ext. 6000, or e-mail your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.