Posted by: universitymindlab | December 17, 2008

What’s Your Can of Spinach?

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What’s Your Can of Spinach?

By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

As a child I watched endless hours of Popeye. My favorite moment in each short would be when he uttered, “I’s taken alls I can stand and I can’t stands no more.” Then he would pop open a can of spinach and set ‘things straight.’

It is not the ‘setting things straight’ that I’m interested in. It is that can of spinach.  Popeye didn’t use spinach just for incredible strength, speed and agility. He also used it to provide himself with unwavering self confidence. This led him to believe that he could topple any opposition.

People who are goal oriented and passionate about achievement usually have a good amount of self confidence. But at certain moments we need that extra push, that extra bit of motivation to put us into a zone. When I played high school football I used to recite an affirmation of strength and visualize that I was surrounded by a clear bubble that would protect me from harm. I did it before every game and it worked for my psyche.

As a professor I often say a little ‘prayer’ before I introduce myself to each class at the beginning of the semester. I want to remind myself that I am there for the student’s growth and to pray for a fun and comfortable environment.  These are just a few things that I do or have done to take my mental preparation to the next level. Most successful people have their unique ritual. Some use rap, house or heavy metal music, others take deep breaths, perform push-ups; sit in silence or shout themselves into a frenzy. It is their personal ‘can of spinach.’

What do you do?


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