Not Giving Up: Life Lessons from the Gym
I've been working out at the company gym for about eight months and noticed some things.
First, I'm inspired and encouraged by my new hero Jocko Willink. I am applying discipline to “get after it” every day and established a routine. But sometimes there are days when I just don’t feel like doing anything. I think everyone has those days.
Jocko has a solution for this problem.
Go through the motions
This attitude or technique is not only for exercise. It is a lesson in life and applies to every difficult or boring chore you must complete. From kids not wanting to brush their teeth or washing the dirty dishes in the sink to grown-ups updating some small little detail in a subroutine code or editing a manuscript for style details like properly placing commas.
The desire to rest is just weakness
Interestingly, Jocko mentioned something about procrastination and how he does not like it, because we have to get things done. Maybe all we need to to take a rest. But, he says, "the desire to rest is just 'weakness.'"
It really was "the desire to take the path of least resistance."
By going through the motions, we can overcome this weakness, and get things done.
I have been doing something vaguely similar but did not have a name for it. I now call it procrastinating on my procrastination.
For example, I find cardiovascular exercise very boring. And sometimes intimidating. When I started at Level One on the recumbent bike, I dialed in 30 minutes and thought I'd never make it through the first 15.
It's been about three or four months now and I'm on Level 7 or 8 and am cranking on it every day.
I think about stopping but I do not actually stop
I push through and get it done by thinking about stopping but I do not actually stop. I consider stopping but I just keep going. I close my eyes and think about my day and the list of things that need to get done.
I take a sip of water.
I wipe the sweat off my face.
I stretch on the seat.
I watch the digital display segments change as it clicks off the seconds and minutes.
I wonder how come the 6 is not an upside down 9.
But I do not stop.
Then I notice 25 minutes have gone by.
I notice the road profile is coming to an end.
I take another sip of water.
Twenty-five minutes have elapsed.
I stretch in my seat and do some push-ups on the handle bars.
The road graph is down to just two dots.
Then the resistance decreases, 30 minutes have gone by and I'm on the cool down phase.
A solid half hour went by and I did not stop, even when I wanted to. I procrastinated – I delayed - my procrastination.
I down the rest of my water, get off the machine, and wipe it down.
I take a long, hot shower, get dressed and head to the office.
And I notice it’s only a little after 7 am and most of the Office Space cubicles and none of the offices are occupied.
And I feel good.
How about you? How do you push through and crush something to its end when you want to give up? Share your techniques in the comments below. If you like this post, please click the “Like” button, and share this with your network.