Don’t Speech. A lesson from J Rob.

A small vocabulary shift that produces consistent results.

A few many years ago I went to a camp called the J Robinson Intensive Wrestling Camp. For those of you who don’t know about J Robinson (person or camp) here’s the low down.

It sucks.

J Robinson

J Robinson “J Rob” is the University of Minnesota head wrestling coach. And he’s incredibly good at his job.

“His .753 winning percentage is a program record, and his 430 dual meet victories stand as both the best mark in Minnesota wrestling history and the highest total for any active, Division I head coach.” —

He’s also just a tough old M’fer and his wrestling camp is designed to kick your ass. It is well known information that your biggest mental and emotional transformations will happen on the edge of extreme trauma. This trauma could be of any sort, but the keyword is extreme. J Rob chooses to go the route of physical trauma and spat in the face of “extreme” with a smile. By pushing us to the edge of what we thought to be capable he was priming us for a total psychological shift. He was hellbent on taking us from soft and lazy to hardened over the course of day in day out wrestling, running, lifting, and more running. This level of abuse coupled with forced mental exercises and long lectures on becoming our strongest version of ourselves was a lot to take in. It was like going from 1 to 5000 in an instant.

Let’s put it this way, my calves were so sore from the running that I actually cried real tears on the 7th day. I was so uncomfortable and out of my element that I sat up late and contemplated running away out the window with my roommate the night before our final day. My roommate went through with it, I didn’t. My calves started to feel better and eventually I was back home.

Alas, 7 years later and I’m still thinking about my time at J Rob. No it isn’t the wrestling skills that serve me now. Actually about 99% of everything I learned went out the window the moment my dad picked me up that day in Forest City, Iowa. But there is something that sticks with me and it’s something I remember vividly. A concept that keeps poking it’s head up throughout all of my readings and meditations.

Cut out the “don’t” speech.

Stop telling yourself what you don’t want and what not to do.

It came at the tail end of an hour long mental exercise session. J Rob stood up to talk to a gym full of young wrestlers that were all sitting cross legged with hands in their laps. If you leaned back on your hands, or sat any way but criss cross you had to do 100 pushups.

So there we were. Criss cross, legs asleep. J Rob stands and says loudly, “Everybody pay attention! I want you to listen to what I’m about to say and give it your full effort. Here’s what I want you to do.”

J Rob paused for effect. He really was a talented speaker.

“No matter what,” he continued “DO NOT THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT.”



We sat there, hundreds of young men, criss crossed, all imagining a pink elephant.

We couldn’t not.

No matter how badly we wanted to conform to J Rob’s directions we couldn’t do what he asked of us. He was controlling our minds to produce an opposite reaction.

J Rob was showing me first hand a lesson that rooted itself deep in my subconscious, only to pop itself back up many years later.

Your mind doesn’t process don’t and stop. Your brain only picks up on the keywords. Our brains heard THINK and PINK ELEPHANT. So what was the first thing that popped in our head? The exact thing we were supposed to avoid. Sure we may have cleared our mind after the fact but the damage had been done. We had thought of the pink elephant.

Lose the negatives and reframe your statements for a brain that works with you, not against you.

Since our brains don’t process negatives, if J Rob didn’t want us to think of a pink elephant, instead of telling us not to do so he should have encouraged us to think of something else. For example; he should have told us to think of a grey dog thereby accomplishing his goal of keeping our minds off of a pink elephant which was his ultimate goal.

Your brain manifests and brings into it’s world that which it spends it’s time focusing on. It’s called the law of attraction and we see it in various teachings throughout thousands of years of scripture in many forms.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” — Buddha , 6th century Nepal.

You should always focus on what you want and it will present itself to you.

“Every thought of yours is a real thing — a force.”
Prentice Mulford (1850)

The world's most successful entrepreneurs are able to achieve great monetary wealth because they decided that’s what they wanted, fixated their heart and mind on it, and kept the thought in the forefront of their heads for years. Repeating their goals, year after year. Their thoughts became their reality. These levels of success would not have happened if their thoughts would have been, “I don’t want to be broke anymore” or “I don’t want to fail”. All the brain would hear in those situations is broke and fail.

Don’t fall down. You will fall.

Stand tall. You shall.


This works with others as well. The most incredible people you will ever speak with in your life all have this ability of making you feel capable and they give you a feeling of encouragement. Too many coaches, speakers, bosses, and friends talk to each other in don’t speach. By telling whoever you are speaking with to not do something you are effectively planting that seed and sealing their fate. If you truly wanted them to accomplish something great in their lives you wouldn't tell them to “Stop being so lazy!” you would encourage them to “Stay active and capture opportunity!” When you plant the positive seeds in their head it starts off their self talk without any don’t speak which allows their brains to attract their goals into their reality. All because you started the chain reaction, beginning with positivity.

Apply it

Sit back and really think about your goals. Find specific goals and broad ones. Give yourself something to accomplish today and also in 5 years. When you know what your goals are then make sure they are in a positive frame of speech. Utilize the keywords that you want to hear and then repeat these goals to yourself like a mantra. The first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you should do at night should be a meditation on your goals. Relax and repeat them over and over.

How close or far are you from your goals?

Did you move further towards your goals today?

What can you change for tomorrow?

Are my goals positive?

Are my goals accurate?

Do I have any doubt about my goals?

Once you manifest a 100% level of positivity around what you are trying to accomplish inside of your head you will find that same level of success in the physical world. Guaranteed. It won’t happen right away, you have to give time to allow that energy to build up and start affecting others. You may notice that negativity starts to creep back in. That’s ok, it will do that, just recognize it and reaffirm yourself that you are better off without it. Once you do that you can just let the negativity pass by you and float off into space.

One more thing, you also have to put in the work. A mental goal with no physical action means that you are only 50% committed to what you want. Nothing good comes to somebody who can only go half in.

It’s balls to the wall or nothing at all.

Having trouble finding that level of positivity in yourself and about yourself? Go around planting those seeds of positivity in others. You will soon find that the positivity is also inside of you, you just weren’t noticing it. Just as your thoughts become your actions, your actions can also become your thoughts. Your mind and body are one. Find a way to improve one end and the other shall follow.

And no matter what, always remember . . .

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