This week, I was in our gym doing some strength training and feeling a bit insecure about how much/little I am able to dead lift and overhead press. I know it isn’t suppose to be a competition and honestly there wasn’t even anyone else there. The insecurity was humbling and I usually respond better to humility inducing opportunities. Anyway, I added 10 pounds to OHP weight and recorded it in an app I use from Stronglifts called 5X5. I did the first set and pushed the button to record it. After 45 seconds, I did a second set and realized that I had overdone the weight increase because my ego didn’t like the humble pie but I did the 5 reps and clicked the button. After 90 seconds I struggled mightily through set 3 and clicked and then pushed ‘Finished’ instead of doing two more prescribed sets ( my acknowledgement of my mistake and limitations). The app said “quitting isn’t and option”. I hadn’t seen that ‘motivation’ reminder before but pushed ‘Finished’ again. ” are you a wimp?” was the app’s response. My back was up and in most circumstances I would have gotten into a ‘let-me-show-you’ space and ignored my inner voice saying ” you have reached your limit”. This time I pushed ‘Finished’ one last time and turned the app off. I used it again later in the week after learning so many lessons about myself and better way to react to external stimuli.
Sometimes when we are feeling vulnerable, we ignore or deny or unaware of the cause. Many of us have a sick-it-up backstory from childhood where pushing through at any cost was always the right answer. I recognize that I have scripts running in my head from a father who likely really just wanted me to succeed and high school coaches who wanted to win. I also realize that quitting is a slippery slope – harder to do the first time than the fifth (at anything). Persistence is a virtue that I celebrate but I am coming to understand that self awareness and humility to admit limitations are also important aspects I can learn and embrace.
The rest of my workouts, this week, were strenuous but within my ability and I was able to run a grueling 10K trail run on a muddy course, this morning, (and finish first in my age group) because I didn’t injure myself. The takeaway for me and maybe others is that pushing to be better is great but recognizing your current limits without personal judgement is greater.
Tomorrow, I tackle OHP, dead lifts and squats with a new clarity of purpose and promise.
Make Today Remarkable, by accepting humility,
The idiom “clear your head” usually means relax so you can think clearly. This morning on my run, I realized that my head was crammed with schedules, appointments, problems, worries, opportunities, crazy ideas, unspoken concerns … Crammed full and it weighed on my shoulders and back. I started tossing them by the side of the path. One at a time they were examined and discarded, with either complete faith that they would find their way back into my head/heart, if important or would lay abandoned if they weren’t.
I lost track of time and distance but surrendered to the process and gave up holding on tightly. I could feel my mind uncramping and tension melting. There were moments of anxiousness as I flicked things into the grass that I worried I wouldn’t recall and then I flipped the worry onto the other side. Some challenges leaped off me of their own accord and piles of concerns spilled out as I turned at about the mid way point.
I ended up at home energized and relaxed. Paradoxically, I feel ready to take on a new today and a bunch of tomorrows.
Make Today Remarkable, by finding a way to clear your mind,
“I have only made this letter longer because I didn’t have time to make it shorter.”
In his book “Brief:make a bigger impact by saying less” Joseph McCormack offers a contemporary version ” ” If you don’t practice brevity in social media, you might as well be talking to yourself.”
Brevity, clarity, repetition and humor are solid principles of a presentation of any kind; brevity clarity, repetition and humor.
Being brief takes effort, confidence and authenticity. Twitter has made me a better thinker if not a better presenter. The 140 character ‘limitation’ can make you sloppy or force you to be concise.
Quotes that are tweeted can be powerful and still be brief.
One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. – Sigmund Freud
Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand. – Confucius
Ernest Hemingway said that “For sale, baby shoes, never used” was his best story.
Six Word Stories has hundreds of concise, compelling, complete stories in six words.
I have been attempting to combine brevity and clarity in my writing here and my other assignments. My presentations have a new spaciousness as I remove verbosity and leave room for pondering. I wonder if the 20/80 rule applies to communication. What if 20% of what you say/write has 80% of the impact? How do you know? With diligence and practice, I hope I am figuring that out.