when someone asks me for “the secret” i try to talk to them about the program. if they ask about the program, we can talk about the lifestyle, if they ask about the lifestyle then we can talk about the philosophy.
– paraphrased from mark twight
training is about stress. about the artful application of force. we say art because there are too many factors – there can be no formula… this is like talking about love. the more specific you get the further you are from being useful. we can say “find the problem, fix the problem” – when we start to go past that, we start to hedge our bets a lot… we say “usually” or “it depends” – we answer questions with more questions, we push and pull – we try and get to the next step. to find the weak link, to address the thing that is holding us back. it can be a small muscle. a movement pattern. a timing issue. one of the many forms of psychological weakness… each problem has number of solutions, each with a cost and with side effects – the “right answer” is , at best, right for that person at that time in their struggle. this is where paths diverge, where selling things and truly helping seem to be mutually exclusive, where a discussion on working out turns into a self help seminar…
it comes down to a decision. how far do you want to take this? how far are you willing to take this? i am impressed by physical feats insofar as they are the reflection of this willingness. of the hard work and attention to detail. to stare into that mirror, to seek out critical feedback, to realize that the only way to improve is to explore your weaknesses – to dig into the most uncomfortable places, to poke and prod that the things we hate and the things we are afraid of. to realize that we train to maximize our potential. we work to express the very best of ourselves, to hone the edge, to grind away everything that does not make us better. we seek stress. we seek dissenting opinions and challenging moments. we do this to get better. training is a discussion, a conversation – pressure and adaptation. it is a cycle of problems and solutions and side effects and new problems. cause and effect are often intertwined, we can solve the problem – we just need to act. feedback loops. two way streets. they are all threads, a web… tug on one long enough and you will touch the whole, but only if you are willing to be wrong, only if you are willing to be uncomfortable, only if you are willing to let go of your favorite thing and examine the one that actually has a chance helping. it is a curious blend of focus, dedication, and ADHD. of knowing when to pursue, to persevere, and when to step away. this is when it helps to have a coach. a sounding board. anyone really, as long as they care enough to not care about your feelings. to not nod their head and tell you you are doing good but to ask questions, to pick and prod and demand that you make sense.
how will this change me? am i better because of this? closer to my goal? why did i chose this movement? this interval? did it have the desired effect? am i moving in the right direction? am i moving at all?
we are often too close to our own problems, we warp them with our perception. emotion clouds judgment. the simple question you should always ask when training is “why didn’t i do better?” – “what stopped me from achieving X?” – “what did that training session accomplish?” – “how have i been changed?” and after all that, you must ask yourself how full of shit those answers are. questions lead to questions because the goal here is to change. to become. here is the rub – no one can feel what you feel, therefore no one is as qualified in dictating your training as yourself. in the same breath i will assert that, when it comes to your own progress, you are probably the most biased and untrustworthy source of information available. i feel that the problem often lies in the framing. we don’t know how to think about solving our own problems, too often we look at other peoples process – the prescriptions one specific individual used to get themselves from point A to point B. we are not that person. we are not in that place. we have to learn how to progress. to assess ourselves and make appropriate changes. we have to listen, to learn and to filter. to understand our strengths and weaknesses. to understand what makes us who we are and what is holding us back. only when we understand (or at least can start to comprehend) how our own lens warps the facts can we start to make use of others. to talk to people who are smarter than us. watch people who are better than us. most of us dont have to worry about being innovative because there is already someone out there solving our problem if we would just listen. if we are able to filter out our own distortion and make use of the information. remember to strive. to search the next step. watch video of your movements. talk to friends. talk to enemies. find out where you are and where you want to go. spot the difference.
figure out why you are doing what you are doing. our choices, our actions move us either closer to our goal or further away. Kate Moss said that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” – Conan had his own feelings on “what is best in life” – sort yourself out. find out where you’re at, what you expect, and what you are willing to pay. balance that equation. in short – start the arduous process of unfucking your head. basically, you have to learn how (and why) to change. it is just as simple and just as complicated as that. the more general the audience, the more likely any specific advice would be wrong. trying to be generally helpful can only help so much – trying to figure out an overarching explanation seems to be falling into the same trap. the important thing is to ask questions. to find peers, serious, passionate people to talk to. to learn from. don’t forget the lessons you bled to learn, but don’t forget that you are not necessarily that person anymore.
do not mistake the container for the contents, or the symbol for the source.
if the goal is to change, what you want to do and what you want to be will, at times, be mutually exclusive. deal with it.
every tool has a time, a place, a purpose, and a price. armor that saves your life in battle will guarantee you drown in the ocean. choose wisely. change when appropriate.
your toolkit alters your perception. we see what we expect to see and we see what we know how to fix. be aware.
make progress. a car will get you to the beach, but it will keep you from experiencing the ocean. necessary does not mean permanent. learn, grow, and move on.
dont be lazy. dont be stupid.
ask questions, lots of questions – but not at the expense of actually doing something.
it is a 2 way street, interconnected feedback loops… there is precious little we can actually control in this life. do not waste an opportunity to make a choice and to do the right thing.