Yesterday I was asked to write a blurb about myself and my story; how I got to this point and what Matter Athletica is all about. This took me a minute to actually sit and reflect on. This 'about me' wouldn’t just be an Instagram bio or Facebook post. This was to explain myself and, where the idea came from.
Firstly my name Is Ben Mayfield-Smith. My background includes the following:
- Bach of Behaviour science (currently completing)
Majoring clinical psychology
- Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) cert 3 in fitness
- AIF cert 4 in personal training
- AIF master trainer level 1
- ASCA level 1 (previously completed)
- ISSN-SNS certified
- Acceptance and commitment therapist level 1 certified
- Certified completion Stages of Change level 1
To understand why I wanted to create this, I think it needs to go back a little further than just the founding of Matter in 2020. For me 3 key values have always underlaid my interests and careers:
There are a few things I set myself up to do, but whatever it is, I always aim to make sure it's done with those 3 principles in mind.
... More details for those interested in the full story
For me that started at a very young age, competitively I have two older brothers and we all played Rugby League at pretty decent levels and roughly the same clubs and schools. We weren’t a usual family of supporting/uplifting brothers, we always competed at every angle for every bit of lead we could take. This wasn’t some positive re-enforcement drivel with participation trophies, everything we did was to win, even against each other. To be honest, I lived for this. The idea of one day beating them, scoring the bigger run, kicking the bigger punt, or hitting the bigger six was everything. Our father (RIP) was a critique, motivator harasser, and ass-kicker, and drilled into us not how great we were or anything like that, but the things we missed, did wrong and could have done way better. In his own way, this was him taking an interest and showing love.
Why is this important? I started playing league at 5 years old, I had competitiveness and tenacity pushed into me from then. I was never the most gifted, talented, or successful; but like f*ck if I wasn’t going to work to improve what I sucked at. If other kids could kick further, I learned how to hit the ball. Other kids tackled better, I learned how to wrap up a ball. Some kids could set up neat tries, I learned to read the defense and find the holes. Everything I did was not to perfection, but with the aim of perfection and improvement. I realised from a very young age to get better at something, I had to work hard at it.
In order to do this, I studied great players and athletes; in my own way as a kid not realising exactly what I was doing back then. My father bought me a football made by my idol at the time that showed you where to kick the ball, how to spin a ball, how to hold a ball - with matching DVDs to study. I chalked myself targets on the brick wall to aim for, and markers in our yard to kick at. I knew I wasn’t going to get special coaches or personal coaches to train me like some of the other kids; I had to do it myself.
These were motivating factors towards recognition of the pleasure that came from hard work, determination, and achieving success. The more I worked the better I got, when better wasn’t good enough and perhaps I didn’t make a team, I focused on 'not sucking' at something else. It was here in these early ages even as young as 5 that I realised the benefit of effort. I trained hard, gave 100%, and consistently turned up to my passion.
The thing here is, I didn’t end up becoming successful in Rugby League, but I did discover something else... My absolute interest is in those who were successful. Why was Andrew Johns better than others? Why could Jordan shoot balls as he could? How did Beckham spin a ball like that? Even before realising what I was doing, I was trying to grasp what these elite players were doing above the average. Why try to be like the mediocre if I'm already average at something? At least if I'm aiming to be the absolute best, I will be better than average.
This is not a sports success story, in fact, at 21 I was severally hurt in a car accident - as a result, I lost my job, my sporting hopes, my potential career... the works. However, in this period I recognised the principles I had learned from playing rugby league. In my rehab I knew I wasn’t done, I applied the same intensity consistency, and passion towards my recovery as I did in my football career. After all, if you can't say you're passionate about your own self, then what are you meant to be passionate about? When I came to terms with everything that I had lost and recognised the future I had planned for wouldn’t happen; I had 2 choices, wallow in self-pity or identify what I could do and go after it.
Fast forward 7 years, the loss of my father, two different relationships, depression and suicidal thoughts, a few different jobs, and a business; I'm now right where I need to be. I took the lessons from pain and defeat and used them to create something I think can make a difference. Matter Athletica. Every lesson I've learned from my sports careers, every piece of research I've found or read about of those who excel, every person that’s stepped out from the herd that I've had the pleasure of speaking to; I intend on using that. Using them to shift how we perceive our existence. To take those who are lost, without purpose or aspiration in this life, and help them reach for something more. To arm those who are striving for greatness with the tools to make it happen...
We spend all of our time idolising and or are fearful of the elite success of those select few; instead of learning from them and implementing their methods into our own lives. Even if these people don’t realise the tools and tricks they use to excel, we can study them and recognise the principles they apply, then understand how we can apply them to ourselves. Will Smith once said, “Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, godlike feature that only the special among us will ever taste, it's something that truly exists in all of us..” So, instead of sitting back and watching someone take hold of our world, I want to show others how they can take hold of their own. If you want to be the next Jordan I will help you, If you want to be the next Johns, Brady or Woods... I will help you. At the same time, you don’t have to play sport to want to be the best in the world. If you want to be a builder let's be the fucking Jordan of builders. Go to work every day like you're building the Sistine Chapel. Attack your career like it's your absolute passion and watch what happens... See the potential you are truly capable of when you give yourself to tools to do so!
That’s why Matter Athletica is here, that’s why I'm here; to help you maximize your mindset and reach your potential. Let's start building that 'Matter Mentality'. It's there, and we will help you find it, even better... teach you to use it!