Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"How to obtain mastery-  total command of reality, other people, of ourselves."- Robert Greene, Excerpt from Mastery

   When you read the statement above, it seems pretty clear cut and dry: To become the master of your craft, you nurture the skills of control over your mind, emotions, and your environment. The underlying message within that quote is that these skills are honed over time. There's a level of introspection that comes with the territory of becoming a master of something. Introspection meaning self-evaluation. That can mean evaluating your own principles, morality, worldview, or anything that's of intrinsic importance to you in which you stand firmly upon. It can mean coming to terms with the reality that you may not be that super star athlete you thought you could be. It could mean not being that million dollar earning producer. But it's about being realistic with yourself and where your current capabilities and level of commitment lie. If these things are not tended to, which is the process of learning and growing, you may trap yourself in a vision that sounds much more grander on paper and thoughts if it's not reinforced by grounded action and true commitment. So, I say to you, this is the time to cultivate 'Patience.'

  In the world of strength building and fitness, and maybe even in society, we've conditioned ourselves to be extremists, in the sense that we want results NOW, or instant gratification. We want that instant rush of dopamine, that biological sense that we've accomplished what we were set out to do. Tim Ferriss, author of 'Four Hour Work Week' issued a very interesting challenge called the "30 Day No Fap Challenge" in which participants volunteered themselves to not pleasure themselves for 30 days. (You can read about the challenge and details by clicking on this link One of the reasons he had issued this challenge was to challenge men who were experiencing laziness, lack of focus and drive. Most of these men that had these issues had something in common: spent ample amount of time on Pornhub, watching TV, or playing video games rather than doing something about getting their relationship or social life in tact. It seems that there's a correlation to when you've ejaculated, your biological prerogative to spread your seed hampers down. So the urge to spread your seed decreases, as ejaculation is the indication that you've done your primal duty. Instant gratification, right? In the same sense in fitness, we've held on to this idea that the results need to happen sooner, than later, sooner meaning now, and later being a week, or month from now. Whether you realize that or not, it never, ever, ever works out that way. Attempts have been made with outrageous fat loss procedures, fat loss supplements and even down to eating disorders. These things have been created to quench the thirst as fast as possible. The consequence that has come from this is a lack of the bigger picture, which is that 'life is not about getting from point A to point B, but what happens in between to get to point B.' And this is where the cultivation of patience comes into play.

 As a strength and conditioning coach for a Crossfit gym, and a recovering gym mirror addict, I've gone through the same processes of wanting to improve my aesthetics as everyone else has, and also witness and continue to witness the same struggle people have with themselves. The unique thing about coaching in a Crossfit gym is that people I coach and have observed have the urgency of wanting to get stronger, or have more endurance. Yes, they do have body comp goals as well, but for the most part, it seems that they want performance improvements, as that is one of the focal points of Crossfit. Remember I had mentioned above about the extremist behavior? Low and behold, it does come to manifest itself in these environments as well. If you are a crossfitter or a strength athlete, it's easy to get caught up in the PR's that everyone's making around you, or even the PR's that your hero's seems to be making week after week when you see a youtube, instagram  or facebook post. What we see is the end result, and not the tedious hours of blood, sweat and tears put forth to achieve that PR. I mean, c'mon, who would want to see that anyway? That's boring...... But it's the truth of what lies behind those results: training adjustments, diet adjustments, sleep behavior adjustments, social life adjustments, etc. To me, this is the meat of the journey. You learn how your body works, you learn to cope with the shitty days at the gym. There would be no fucking point to learning if you haven't had a shitty day in the gym. You can't have a perfect year of training. If you do and that's what you strive for, you'll never experience what it's like to deal with 'failure'. Failure is a necessary component to building Strength Beyond The Physical. Failure does not mean you're done. It means you have work to do. But don't be so critical of yourself when it happens. Detatch yourself from the value judgements you place upon yourself and your 'failure', for this is the pain that you impose on yourself, which will invariably become your self imposed anchor. But when you take the necessary steps, and do the intensive introspective work, and when you succeed at the thing you set out to do, you will appreciate the value of the time and work put in by having the patience to do the things that scare you.

Strength & Honor.