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I was at the gym last week and ran into a guy I know who started working out several days per week about a year ago. I’ve never asked him exactly how much weight he’s lost over that span, but he has slimmed down drastically by doing a lot of cardio work and some weight training.

He had just finished his last set on the chest press machine and was ready to get off. I glanced at how much weight he had the machine set to and told him not to get off yet. He knew instantly what that meant: I was going to make him do some more reps. Nevertheless, he was a good sport about it and allowed me to reset the weight higher.

On the first rep he reflexively protested, “This is too much!” I replied firmly, “You shall not lie to yourself.” Then he proceeded to complete 9 more reps, which clearly indicated that it was not too much.

I raised the weight again. He protested, “I’m spent!” Again, I replied, “You shall not lie to yourself.” I let him take another 45 seconds of rest, and when time was up, he started repping again. I had to spot him on the last 3 reps, but he still completed another 10. He ended up doing a third set of 10 reps on the chest press machine before I moved him over to the pec fly machine and had him complete 2 more sets of 10 reps. “This is too much” and “I’m spent” had been blatant falsehoods.

I have a feeling that the admonition, "You shall not lie to yourself," is something he won't forget. He had reserves of energy, stamina, and willpower that were lying dormant due to his belief in falsehoods. He was guilty of imposing imaginary limits on himself, but all he needed was help opening his hard head so he could move past his mental block.

Falsehoods are little stories, ideas, and assumptions in our heads, with little or no basis, that we latch onto and let hold us back from greatness. They’re powerful because we believe them, not because they are true.

Sayonara until next time.

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