One of my favorite scenes from the movie Troy does not involve fighting or sex – only dialogue. But I remember it every time I sit underneath a heavy weight and start doubting myself. The scene is when Hector, played by Eric Bana, is with his younger brother Paris, played by Orlando Bloom. The scene is right before the fight with the husband of the wife Paris stole (if you don’t know the story of Troy or the Trojan War, sorry, there are spoilers coming. The story is a 1000 years old anyway so you should know it already). Paris is doubtful of himself and his abilities, and he tells Hector what to do if Paris should die in the fight. Hector stops him and says,

“You think of your sword, and his sword, and nothing else”.

I love this little exchange because it demonstrates the importance of FOCUS on your goal. If you go into a fight, or in our case, a workout, with all these thoughts of doubt or thoughts unrelated to what’s in front of you, you’re setting yourself up to fail before you even begin, because your mind is not aligned with what your body is doing. Distractions siphon your willpower away, and make it more less likely for you to reach your goal.

Distractions happen to everyone. Maintaining focus is something EVERYONE must struggle with, no matter how accomplished or green you are in the gym. When I’m about to bench press or squat or perform some other heavy lift, and I catch my mind wandering, thinking about girls, or food, or my worries for the day, I need to force myself to retool my mind and focus.

Whenever you find yourself lifting weights distractedly, or doubting yourself, remember to pinch yourself and think of Eric Bana’s wisdom:

“You think about your muscles, and the weight in front of you, and nothing else.”