You could be the strongest man in the world, and lose every competition. Know how? Its easy: simply put one more pound on the bar than you can actually lift. In fact, that’s also a great way to fail to develop a potentially world-beating skill level: just always take on a LITTLE more than you can do. Do this, and you’ll develop a pattern of failure that will crush your heart.
But few will ever blame you. It is an elegant way to be able to always say “I’ve done my best” while never taking responsibility for actually becoming a new person.
I was tagged to a page where a guy has injured himself, and wants to rehab. His intentions are to practice a variety of different athletic and martial and dance disciplines. And asked me my advice.
Well…first, I’d look at that list. Each of those disciplines he wants is a full-time study, in terms of skill, fitness, and MOST importantly if you aren’t a teenager…RECOVERY time. Just looking at that list screams injury. Each of them demands different things from your body, mind, and emotions. Different coaches. Different supplemental training programs, nutritional programs…sheesh.
Trying to get to a level of biomechanical perfection where you can practice at full intensity without blowing out joints, muscles and tendons with a SINGLE discipline is hard enough. But…four?
Listen carefully: instinct tells me that this person is programming himself to fail. To be disappointed and unhappy. He reminds me of an obese person who wants to lose a pound a day. An unpublished writer who wants to write a novel in the next three months. An Incel with no idea how to navigate relationships joining a speed dating service.
The chances of actually succeeding are small. How do you eat an elephant? ONE FORKFUL AT A TIME.
I was asked today: “How do I succeed?” The basic answer is: find at least three people who have succeeded at what you want to do, whose initial conditions were as close to your situation as possible. find out what they had in common. Figure out what their daily rituals of action, thought, and emotion were.
People programmed for success will look for the similarities. Those programmed for failure will focus on the difference.
People with PERMISSION to succeed will look for simple small actions they can take daily that will take them to their destination, then develop a higher and higher tolerance for intensity, as well as greater efficiency and effectiveness, so that they accomplish more and more every month.
People without this permission will either take on LESS or MORE than they can really do. Both are paths to failure.
Yesterday, I spoke with a lady who started at 125 pounds. She married an abusive man who crushed her spirit. She has struggled with depression and weight for decades, and is now 240 pounds, and reached out to me.
Wow. I know a few things: that she has for all these years practiced daily rituals of action that led her to where she is today. And…she knows it. She exercises, but has never been able to SIMULTANEOUSLY exercise efficiently AND control her diet effectively. And she knows it was fear, and anger, and guilt all mixed together. Her brakes were on. She could “do something about” her weight by EITHER “dieting” or exercising, but not both at the same time. When she did, she lost weight. When that happened, her fear rose up and sabotaged her, in an endless cycle that has beaten her down.
My suggestion? A medical professional to help her set a target and plan of action to get down to 160. Specific therapeutic and meditative work to deal with the emotions that will come up (AND THEY WILL). And a “Morning Ritual” that will either take her to her destination, or provide real-time feedback of her process, things to talk about with doctor and therapist weekly.
Look into Intermittent Fasting. Speak to her health professional about the possibilities. If her wellness circle is onboard, if she finally has internal PERMISSION to move forward, then and only then does it make sense to strategize.
WHAT does she want?
WHY does she want it? Is there more pleasure than pain associated with action? More pain than pleasure associated with the status quo?
Now and only now does the HOW factor in.
This stuff is hard. Whether it is a writer doing “a sentence a day”, an Incel connecting with his “Ancient Child”, a couch potato doing a few Tibetans every day or a desperately broke person learning to save a percentage of ever dollar that comes their way…
All you have to do is make the “Minimum dosage” small enough that there is no rational reason not to do it, and the raw emotions beneath are revealed, so that you and your wellness team can deal with them. GET YOUR ALLIES IN PLACE. The harder it has been in the past, the more times you have “failed”, the more important this clarity is.
WHAT do you want?
WHY do you want it?
HOW can you take a tiny daily action that moves you in the right direction, with real-time feedback?
Do this, and the Hero’s Journey suggests that you will have your very best chance to move to the next level of your life.
One step at a time.