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by Travis Macy
Da Capo Lifelong, 2015
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H on Sep 22nd 2015
The Ultra Mindset is a book about the eight mindsets comprising collectively the Ultra Mindset.The author is Travis Macy (with John Hanc).Macy is a champion endurance athlete, teacher, and speaker; Hanc is a contributing editor, to RUNNER'S WORLD, and an inveterate book writer.Macy explains, in the "Prologue", that the book's purpose is to help the reader achieve goals by means of principles described by Macy as the "Ultra Mindset". Macy's belief is that the eight principles of the Ultra Mindset can be applied to endurance activities as well as other aspects of life, which, to Macy, is the book's real value.
In a "Foreword", ULTRAMARATHON MAN author Dean Karnazes opines that Macy's book can provide the reader with the tools to move ahead confidently into the reader's future.
There is instructively informative discourse pertaining to each of the eight Ultra Mindsets.
For each Ultra Mindset, several distinctive structural strata contribute significantly to the forming of the book's structure.
One stratum ("REFLECTION") is intended to guide self-assessment, tailoring the individual reader to closely fit a particular Ultra Mindset.
A second layer ("ACTIVITY") is composed of discourse focusing readers' attention on proposed training, for readers, especially relevant to a particular Ultra Mindset.
A third stratum ("LEARN") introduces the reader pithily to various endurance athletes; and encompasses brief comment ("thoughts") by these athletes, tethered tightly to a particular Ultra Mindset.
A structural appendage ("The Finish Line!"), attached to the book's far end, identifies some resources (available at:www.travismacy.com).
A succinct encapsulation, of the eight Ultra Mindsets, is presented in an Appendix.
A profusion of photographs, and accompanying brief annotation, artistically and informatively adorn the text's body.
Here and there in the text, Macy refers expertly to particular researchers and research materials, in substantively germane fashion.
Some eclectically ranging snippets, in the form of quotes (including some culled from real life conversations), contribute to the animating of the text's substance.
Across its length and breadth, the book's body is suffused, anecdotally, and in substantively enlivening manner, with biographical bits and pieces of Macy's life.
Readers may be quite intrigued by Macy's detailed, anecdotal recounting of particular races he has competed in.
But the substantive crux of the book is adding flesh to the bones of the Ultra Mindset.
Macy teaches that challenges are part of life; and viewing challenges as positive instruments of "mental training" may enable the building, pebble by pebble, of a mountain of inner resilience, allowing one to complete anything one commits to deeply.
Wanting to be like other people likewise is integral to the Ultra Mindset. As Macy explains, selecting key role models, and striving in some way to emulate them, is absolutely essential to setting goals, determining how to achieve them, and then actually doing it.
Readers are taught that motivation is what gets things done; and that finding one's "carrot" is an important component of the Ultra Mindset. According to Macy, when things become less than enjoyable, dangling an "external" carrot in front of one's face can really help one pull through.
Having an ego, in Macy's view, is absolutely essential at times; although, at other times, the best thing to do is to throw ego out the window, and ask for help. Macy adds that the ego associated with the Ultra Mindset is deep self-confidence rooted not in talent and ability as much as in one's work ethic and resilience.
With characteristic insightfulness, Macy asserts insightfully that thinking ahead about how you will think when highs and lows occur is a key to success in life, especially when you think about what you will be doing at a given time, and why.
Part of Macy's insightful and thoughtful instruction, regarding the Ultra Mindset, is that once you have committed to something, you don't worry about whether or not you actually feel like doing it when it is time to act. By making a prior commitment to yourself, you made the choice to give up choice.
Also sewn into the fabric of the Ultra Mindset is Macy's belief that negative stories must be rewritten and fought with better ones. In this vein, Macy injects some specific steps which Macy, personally, has found to be helpful in battling negative stories.
Macy proffers sage counsel, concerning quitting. As Macy explains, sagely, if you're doing something you really care about, which aligns with your true self, never quit because of fear of what may happen if you continue. Fear will be there; but keep going anyway. On the other hand, if you are doing something you come to know as being incongruent with your true self, then quit. True courage, in Macy's opinion, is spending your life in what you believe to be a purposeful manner.
The garbing of the book's body with many threads of endurance athletics makes the book particularly well suited to fit readers who are athletes and coaches of athletes.
But the book's substantive core is the Ultra Mindset. And the reading appeal of the Ultra Mindset, as fleshed out with much insightfulness and thoughtfulness by Macy, extends universally.
© 2015 Leo Uzych
Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University.His area of special professional interest is healthcare.Twitter @LeoUzych