As I lay in bed, dehydrated following a long night of IPAs and game 7 of the World Series last week, I felt relaxed and comfortable.
That is until my left calf muscle clenched in an excruciating cramp- the pain of which would only subside as I flexed my foot upward as far as I could possibly stretch. Once I relaxed my foot, the muscle would tighten painfully and the cramp would return with a vengeance even greater than before- dehydration firmly grasping my leg and holding strong.
At 4am, still cramping, it occurred to me that my calf muscle is a perfect metaphor for my life:
When I relax, when I stop moving, sit still, idle, become stagnant- I enter an immensely painful state of being. It’s a life cramp- I feel stuck, unmotivated, lost.
I need to stretch my life, need to keep moving. When I stop moving forward I “cramp up”. I need to grow and learn- Advance myself, become better daily. Continually take steps towards who I want to become. Advancement and betterment are the ONLY relief from my life “cramp”. It eases my pain and makes me feel like I’m doing something of value. Have a larger purpose then bringing home a paycheck from a passionless career.
I feel the cramp setting in when I’m idle or wasting my time frivolously.
With a “last day of my life” mentality, I can’t begin to explain the feeling I have within when I’m wasting time. It hurts to the point of full leverage. Tony Robbins often says that everything we do in life as humans is to either gain pleasure or remove pain. I’m pulled viciously by the desire to avoid pain. Sitting still is painful. I can’t stay who I am, I need to get better- need to evolve- need to become my BEST self.
Don’t get me wrong— I still waste plenty of time I’m sure, distracted by whatever. Afterall, I am human- In no way do I feel that I am or ever will be perfect. But nonetheless I strive. I strive for greatness, for possibility, for hope, for life I can be truly proud of- A life that will yank me out of bed with a start first thing in the morning and energize my existence throughout the day.
It’s not the life you may want or the path you should take. It’s my life, I’m living my dreams, I’m doing what I want to do. I’m making things happen and taking small steps everyday.
I read a piece of writing recently by a man named Bryan Ward. It’s called LIT and it’s about lighting the fire deep within your soul. Demanding greatness from yourself and realizing it’s totally within your power to reach it if you so choose. It’s my choice and I’m going. I’m driven by the choice and the possibility. By the potential of my ideas and the knowledge that I am powerful enough to make it so.
Mr. Ward’s paper talks about “micro-commitments”- what I often call small steps.
When I was a young child and my parents were teaching me to walk, they were not focused on running- not yet. I needed, and we all need now, to take the first step before we can get up and run.
The first step is your “micro-commitment” for today— What are you going to do today to advance yourself towards what you ultimately want to be? This step can be as large or as small as you want to make it- it’s a personal choice but what’s important is advancement. In order for something to happen, something needs to happen. In order for a change to occur, you have to change something!
Where do you want to be?
What do you want to be doing?
Who do you want to spend your time with?
How will it feel?
What will it be like?
What will it look, sound, feel, smell, taste like? Engage all of the senses to drive home the goal and truly motivate yourself to move. Create your vision in your mind and work towards it EVERY day.
If the vision is clear, figuring out the first step or establishing your first “micro commitment” is simple. Mine was paying my rent and telling my landlord that I was moving from LA. I didn’t have it ll figured out, I still don’t- BUT with my first step taken firmly towards my ultimate goal, I am moving. Every day I am moving.
I’m winging it, I’m figuring it out. Everyday I push myself to be better, smarter, stronger, tougher and more compassionate. Everyday I’m proud of the way I spent it because I act as if TODAY is my last day…. Because it could be and it IS now or never.
There is no later if there is no tomorrow, there is no excuses. There is no putting it off.
With your mind engaged and your goals, motivations, DRIVE established, the steps are clear and they present themselves to you. All that’s left is action. Summoning the courage inside yourself that I KNOW is there, getting up and taking that first step-
Change is an interesting phenomenon because our physicality will literally fight us on it the entire way.
People often say that they don’t like change or change is hard— You MUST convince yourself that change and growth are easier and less painful than remaining stagnant.
For those of you that have studied to bran and human physiology, you know how the brain works- it’s clear and scientifically proven. Once this is understood change becomes easier. You learn to press pass your feelings of anxiety and fear, of emotional lock up. Of feeling stuck.
These are feelings conjured by an archaic brain hell-bent on survival. A human brainstem reacts poorly to change for fear of compromised survival. “We’re surviving just fine over here, don’t change anything,” it will say. The brain then enlists the other 2/3 to help defend the survival cause. The limbic system conjuring feeling that can hold you prisoner within yourself! Fear, anxiety, doubt- all in the name of safety. The Cortex, responsible for the last piece of the puzzle, is responsible for perhaps the most damaging aspect- rationalization.
It’s too late today, I’ll start tomorrow.
I’m too tired.
It’s been a hectic week.
I don’t have enough time.
This is your wonderful cortex at work— DON’T listen to it!
Often enough, the same people that tell me they don’t have enough time will also try to have a full length discussion with me about “Game of Thrones”, “Breaking Bad”, or “The Walking Dead’…
Really? you don’t have time to put any effort into yourself? NO WAY! You have plenty of time, you have nothing but time- get rid of your TV. You don’t need it- it’s not helping you. Outside of the occasional movie or sports game I try to avoid TV- It’s a time vortex that will suck you and your energy dry and leave you sitting on the couch wondering what happened to the past five hours.
I’m not perfect by any means and I often fall into the trap of binge watching the newest show on Netflix, I’m not gonna lie. BUT- with the thought of this possibly being the last day of my life, comes the realization that hours of watching TV is truly an immense waste of time, of life itself.
Do any of the shows or movies bring any real value to your life. What are you getting out of “Game of Thrones”? I challenge you to genuinely ask and answer that question of yourself. It WILL elevate your standards.
You’ll lose the ability to participate when there is a discussion about the latest show but is that really conversation you want to waste your time on anyway? Who cares?
What could you be getting if you invested those hundreds of hours into yourself instead?
Stop listening to your brain- it’s ONLY desire is survival. What does your heart desire? What do you REALLY want? These thoughts consume me daily and PULL me out of bed in the morning. Get moving, now is the time, GO.
What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What’s the real purpose? Am I getting better? Am I watching TV to avoid life? Is it adding value or is it just a mechanism for survival because my ancient brain thinks I’ll die if I make a change?
Be brave enough to ask yourself these questions and DON’T judge the answers. Recognize it for what it is: old-school brain wiring.
We are lucky enough to live in a county where opportunity is vast and ANYONE can have what they desire if they are willing to ignore their brain and make a change- take the first step, make the first “micro-commitment” and follow through! GO!
Follow-through is often where we run into difficulties. This is when and where our brain will come up with all sorts of excuses. If you’re anything like I used to be, I’m sure you make these excuses daily.
“Well, I don’t know where to start” or “I don’t know how.” “There’s no time, My week is crazy”— It’s bullshit, It’s false. If you watch TV for 2 hours a night, it’s not true- You HAVE time- you have plenty of it. Two hours a day of work on yourself will give you SO much more than two hours of watching NetFlix.
Turn off the TV, get up, light that internal fire that I KNOW is there in you too, and let that motherfucker BURN!
HEALTH COACH PAHOOTER