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Eyes Front

Stay Single Minded
By Donny Shankle

Single-mindedness is defined as concentrating on one aim or purpose. It is a feature of the mind possessed by champions which will determine whether or not you improve your capacity. The degree you choose to take your single-mindedness I leave up to you. It has to be this way because you are the one who is after becoming stronger.

As I trained and competed I never allowed any confusion to enter my consciousness. I was very focused on my goal. This included becoming the best in my gym then leave for another to be the best there and so on. After this was accomplished, I set my focus on becoming the best within a given region. This included winning multiple state championships.

Once this was done, the next goal was to become the best in my country followed with the best in the hemisphere. Afterwards my focus shifted to becoming the best in the world and eventually Olympic champion. I did not complete what I had set out for but this had nothing to do with my ability to focus. 

“The Mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer.” - Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi - Flow

Winning as a weightlifter was my sole focus. How I would make money or pay my rent was secondary. Hourly jobs come and go and careers are not much different. School was an interest of mine and I was a very good student, but still I thought of being on top of the podium more. Aches and pains I felt daily as anyone does but I did not feel them enough to keep me out of the gym. I beat the screams of my body by concentrating on putting the bar over my head. The idea of losing to me was unacceptable.

The only identity which made sense to me was being the best of all sportsman or for me weightlifters. My single-mindedness never wavered as I envisaged winning and becoming the best.