Mind Article : Life and Fitness Part III (Final)

Many people have great aims for their own fitness and health, the most common resolution during new year is to get fitter and billions are spent on exercise machines that lay rusting at home, many gym memberships are not used and many people drop out of gyms in six months.

People lament that they tried the best workouts and the best diets but can’t seem to carry through and blame the fat gene and come to live with sup optimal fitness and health levels. They start a ice-cream consolation club or smokers feel good club, using immediate feel good (but ultimately harmful) ways to make themselves feel better. But nothing tastes as good as a fit body feels, nothing beats sticking through something meaningful and having the body to remind you day in and day out the power of your convictions.

“Life does not get easier, we get stronger”

Nothing succeeds like failure

Have you ever failed before ? Fail as in – fail spectacularly, like learning to dance in front of a crowd and falling flat on your face, trying to impress a date and finding he or she avoids you like the plague or having the project you worked tirelessly on for a year get shot down 5 minutes into a presentation.

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How do we deal with failure ? Normally, it’s easy to give an excuse, it’s the shoes that made me fall, the girl/guy I was trying to impress was not my type and the project I worked on was quite stupid to begin with. How many times do we dust ourselves off and try another approach and not be discouraged after a spectacular failure? Probably very few. So what if you fail ? The below clip shows famous failures, who despite all odds turned out to be the world’s greatest successes;

  1. When Thomas Edison was a youngster, his teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything.  He was counseled to go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.  He also failed his first college entrance exam.  His writing skills were poor throughout his life.
  2. Albert Einstein was 4 years old before he could speak.  He was 7 years old before he could read. A teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in foolish dreams.”  He hated school and dropped out of high school at 15 years of age.
  3. Actor Tom Cruise is unable to read even today due to severe dyslexia.   He never even finished High School.  Never the less, he has the ability to memorize his lines and perform on both the stage and screen.

These people defined what they see as failure (which is not trying, by not trying you fail by default), and had a great internal locus of control, they did not take it to heart that they failed spectacularly and were labelled as “stupid” or incapable of achieving anything significant.

What if we stripped failure of all its terrifying implications and took some of our personal power back. What if we viewed failure as just feedback reflecting on a better procedure needed instead of a way to guilt-trip us into giving up ?

Approach – Why people succeed

People tend to learn things the hard way, I had a friend who jogged and enjoyed jogging a lot until his knees gave him problems, he believed that fitness is through jogging only, and had no flexibility to change his marathon-like habits. People will always stick to what’s familiar even when it is no longer useful and even detrimental to them. So eventually he developed serious knee problems and lapsed into depression, until he changed his procedure and took on swimming and therapy again. Having determination without flexibility to change your approach (when there is a need) is like having dynamite and not enough strength to throw it away from you, its always dangerous.

We know intellectually the phrase that when one door closes another one opens, and that there’s no dead ends in life unless you just stand in front of the closed door and refuse to move. One clear illustration of the countless ways that we can approach things is from the paper clip, it’s made for use to keep papers together, but there are actually 145 uses. (See link here).

Attitude and Approach – The Two As

People succeed not because they are better and possess more inner strength or willpower. These people have tenacity and the hustle to get things done which (ie, internal locus of control). But, they also have the flexibility to change their approach when need be. They know there is no one set way to accomplish something and have the ability to fire a million arrows at their target until one hits.

Likewise, when it comes to fitness, it is best to keep trying but always have the flexibility to change your procedures. If you find running is not your thing maybe soccer can make you run without the monotony, if you think the gym is not your cup of tea, maybe you can create your own resistance by bands, calisthenics or plyometrics. There are always ways as long as we maintain our internal locus of control – knowing we can do it and be flexible in our approach. There are always ways to succeed if we search hard enough for them.

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