“There is no other road to to genius than voluntary self effort”
– Michael Gerber
I’ve heard it all. The same ol’ story that leaves us with the same ol’ results. All valid mind you, your daughter absolutely needed to get to her music lesson, your wife or husband was actually sick and left you with all the house choirs, that email you’ve been waiting for actually did come in just as you were walking out of the door.
Basically, life happens and will continue to happen. The choice we all have is whether life is happening with us or to us. You may not like to hear that, but it isn’t just coincidence that some of the most powerful and busy people in the world like Barak Obama, Tony Robins and Steve Aoki prioritize exercise into their daily routine.
I believe that their ability to achieve greatness and most importantly sustain it is in large part due to their adherence to health and fitness. So, how do we, the average person find time to make health and fitness a priority in our life? I believe the real question is about energy; what produces it and how we can cultivate it?
First of all, the ego craves the status quo, and if left unchecked will continue to make self limiting, fear based choices that suck the energy right out of us. Until the ego is checked and under control, we will jump from excuse to excuse as to why someone is able to achieve physical, financial and spiritual success but not us. Trapping ourselves right where we are.
It’s the story that we tell ourselves about who we are and what we’re capable of that creates the self limited belief system that forms the basis of our decision making. Even when we know we need to change, that we hate our current circumstance and want to be better most of us just won’t make a move because no matter how terrible it is, its what we know, and that’s comfortable. When opportunity presents itself we suddenly catch a bad case of performance paralysis and stand blinking like deer in headlights unable to take a chance.
Change is hard. Trust me I know, but it also happens to be the only constant in life. So, if we’re to succeed at anything we must become pros at spotting when its time to make a move and take action.
We get stuck in our thinking that we can’t be more because that would involve doing more, and who has time for that? How am I supposed to carve out an hour a day for exercise when I barely have time to do all the other things in my life? Fair question, and if you can honestly say you spend zero time on social media, binge watching television or other idle/ low value activities then touché, you got me there. However, we both know thats probably not true.
The American dream has created a culture that idolizes hard work, pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and burning the midnight oil. Its not surprising then that few of us want to admit that we spend on average 20-50% of our day on mindless entertainment. Nobody is saying you shouldn’t enjoy a good television episode after a long day. Hell, that’s one of the pleasures of life, but that episode, cheat meal, glass of wine or any other indulgence will be ten times more enjoyable when you’ve taken care of your health and well-being first.
So often I’ve hid from doing what was necessary in order to become the man I knew I could be. I had no other reason than simply believing the story I was telling myself that I couldn’t pile anything else on to my already busy schedule. Only after taking action did I find that in fact choosing to do more was the very thing that expanded my capacity to be more. This is one of life’s paradoxes and this realization only comes after I got out of my own way and drop the self limiting beliefs that plague so many of us. Good ideas are a dime a dozen, but life meets you at action.
Once we commit to being more, huge obstacles suddenly fall seamlessly into place and clear our path to greatness. It seems counter intuitive but structure and commitment is what sets us free. Conversely, avoiding structure and avoiding commitment keeps us trapped in the throws of life unable to break through.
When we prepare our meals in advance we no longer waste our time and energy hungry and scrambling last minute for food. When we create a schedule for ourselves and time block what matters most to us we no longer mindlessly engage in low value activities. This creates the freedom to flourish personally and professionally. Things like exercise become non-negotiable. If you continue to let life happen to you then your inner dialogue will always be correct; you don’t have time, money, energy etc.. Basically, you can not be the person you know you should be because you’re still doing the same things that keep you the person you are.
As Lau Tzu said “When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.”
Spending your day visualizing health, happiness and abundance for all, doesn’t mean shit unless you take that first step. There’s nothing magical about it really. It’s pure logic. Whether you’re an athlete or a couch potato the journey to greatness only varies by scale. There is always the next level, the next step and it’s up to us to not succumb to complacency and fall into the never ending rat-race where the average person spends a lifetime woking 60 hours a week so they can impress coworkers and neighbors with their car, house, wardrobe etc… Even if it means they gain weight rapidly due to lack of sleep, high cortisol levels from stress, too many stimulants and unhealthy foods that just turn into a means of satisfying hunger rather than nourish their body.
100,000 years ago if you were lucky enough to be born bigger, curvy, stronger or well endowed you had a good chance of procreating and passing along your genes to the next generation. It was survival of the fittest in it’s most raw form. Now a days things are a little different. Its no longer simply physical prowess that determines your future lineage, its mental. And the part that is physical only applies to our overall state of health and well-being with the slight chance that we’ll ever need to use our physicality in a survival situation. So, if its all about health then why bother achieving the upper echelons of performance? Because of the simple truth that it’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have.
There’s arguably no bigger turn off than a macho douchebag picking fights with smaller guys and therefor nothing more satisfying than that smaller guy surprising everyone with his strength and ability to defend himself. Just as with keeping our minds engaged with books, blogs and seminars so too should we adopt a general physical preparedness program to our routine that keep us ready for life’s unknowns.
Now get out there and crush it.