Mat Fraser was recently crowned the “Fittest Man on Earth” as a result of winning the 2016 CrossFit games. And while his physical accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary that’s not what I want to write about today.
Instead, I wanted to share what Fraser recently said when he was asked, “What’s one thing you do daily to improve your fitness?” Fraser could have talked about his workouts, or his Paleo diet, or the supplements he takes. He didn’t. Instead, Fraser replied:
Honestly, I just make sure that I have a smile on my face when I walk in the gym. I never train unhappy. I just don’t find that I’m able to push myself as hard if I’m at all unhappy, upset, or angry. When I go into a workout happy, with a smile on my face, I’m willing to suffer a bit more, I’m willing to dig a little deeper, push a little harder.
So, from a fitness perspective, it seems we may all want to focus on our attitude before working out. I know, for sure, I love working out with my kids and my workouts are normally fantastic when they’re around to encourage me (as I encourage them in return).
But what about other aspects of our lives? Does smiling and being happy matter?
In his timeless classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie taught the importance, and power, of smiling.
He explained that actions speak louder than words and one of the most powerful actions any of us can make is to smile. Carnegie explains that a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I’m glad to see you.”
Carnegie goes on to explain that even if you don’t feel like smiling, you should force yourself to smile. You should act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to actually make you happy… or at least make you happier.
Psychologist William James once said that, “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together…. thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness was already there.”
Finally, from a spiritual perspective I also believe having a positive attitude can be extremely beneficial.
It’s very easy to beat yourself up when things don’t go exactly as planned. And if we ever fall into sin despair can quickly overwhelm us… even after reconciliation.
I truly believe the devil loves it when we despair. He loves it when we’re unhappy. He loves it when we beat ourselves up.
I also believe the devil hates it when we’re in the state of grace with smiles on our faces.
So, my challenge for myself, and for you, is to ensure we’re in a constant state of grace. If we’re not we need to get to confession as fast as possible and remedy this. Then, once we’re clean and full of grace, we should do our very best to smile and be happy and thankful for the blessings in our lives (i.e. Faith, family, food, shelter, etc.).
Put another way… we should smile when waking up. We should smile when greeting people, especially our loved ones and friends. We should even smile as we prepare to suffer well through a workout!
A glad heart lights up the face, but an anguished heart breaks the spirit. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly. All the days of the poor are evil, but a good heart is a continual feast. Prov 15:13-15
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!