Monthly Meditations: May 2019 Issue
Monthly Meditations is a series that I started in order to catalogue my thoughts on various subjects. I write and share these with somewhat of a consistent schedule on LinkedIn. I decided that it would be a good idea to put all of these thoughts into one place. That way, you don’t have to consume more information on social media (hats off to you), and you can catch up in one sitting over a nice cup of coffee. I try to encourage engagement and discussions on these topics, so feel free to comment on LinkedIn, in these monthly entries, or reach out to me personally. Enjoy!
When we do so, we create a divide between what we believe we “should” be feeling, and what we “shouldn’t” be feeling.
To be human is to experience emotion. And we have the power to lean into these emotions and feel them for what they are.
With the complexity of what creates a mind and a subjective experience of life, it only stands to reason that there are degrees of emotion.
If you are feeling a certain “negative” emotion, understand this: You are allowed to feel it. Don’t push it down and bottle it up for the fear that it’s “bad,” and you “shouldn’t” be experiencing it.
To do so would mean that we are covering up what it means to be human. If you feel that you have tension, unease, or distress in your life, please find someone to talk to. You deserve to be heard. You have the right.
You are human.
Want to create anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, memory lapses, and continue running on the hedonic treadmill?
In our digital age we are pulled in so many different directions, at such an increasingly sped up rate, that we are losing our ability to remain calm, focused, and happy.
When we are doing multiple tasks at once, our attention is divided. And if we are anxious about work, we tend to carry that anxiety into other areas in our lives. We walk with more tension. We cook things that are “quick and easy.” We eat fast, while distracting ourselves with TV. We read while keeping our phones beside us. We get back to work feeling exhausted. And on it goes.
So how can you bring more peace and calmness into your life? Bring mindfulness into your daily behaviours, and do one thing at a time.
When you walk, walk.
When you cook, cook.
When you eat, eat.
When you read, read.
When you work, work.
When you laugh, laugh.
Don’t do anything else, other than the thing you should be doing. Less is more.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
05/03/19 - You probably don’t need more books and knowledge to take action on the things that will get you to your goals.
They can help by sheer exposure to new ideas (all for it). But in reality, the advise you take to heart that allows you to take a positive step forward is all that matters.
More quotes, more mantras, more advice, can give the illusion of progress. All this can lead to is mental clutter.
But the action - the behaviour itself - in this moment is all that matters. How you get it done is largely subject.
So many quotes, so many mantras, so much advice, all for the same action required.
Figure out your larger sense of purpose, and meaning. Find the mental script that aligns with your why. Repeat it non stop.
Then get to work.
05/07/19 - If you want to continuously train - especially at a high intensity - you need the right types of carbohydrates in the right amounts.
Want to really screw up your health and performance? Start eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day while continuing to force your body into glycolytic activity (pretty much every sport, and craveable type of training there is - bootcamps, Crossfit, spin, etc.)
You may lose some weight. But don’t get excited. It’s mostly just water. Every molecule of stored carbohydrate (glycogen), we store 3 molecules of water in the muscle. A scale is just measuring your mass, relative to gravity. It shares nothing about your actual body composition (skeletal muscle mass, lean body mass, percentage of body fat, fat-free mass index, bone density, etc.)
9/10 people that go on to lose weight, will regain it after a year.
If you want to burn fat (note: not just “lose weight”) and keep it off, you need to focus on long-term, sustainable habit change, paired with a strategically balanced caloric deficit.
Carbs aren’t bad.
The wrong types of carbs in the wrong amounts are.
Prepare for many events. Prepare for success. Prepare for support. Prepare for obstacles. Prepare for set backs. Prepare to be wrong.
Don’t lock yourself into limited beliefs of where you could or should be based on how you feel right now. Simply just do the best you can, with what you’ve got.
What you choose to do now (and who you do it with) influences the range of possible events you are exposed to.
Look at your thoughts, your actions, and your tribe.
Are any of these areas robbing you of the energy required to cast the net towards the desired future you dream of?
I’m frequently reminded of this quote from former fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd when I look at what the fitness industry is today, and where it’s headed.
The Instagram “influencers,” with hundreds of thousands of followers can impact the actions of many people on a daily basis. They may do this selflessly or selfishly, either conscious or unconscious of why they are doing it.
Those that are advancing the fields of human performance, longevity, health, chronic disease management, mental health, sleep, behavioural neuroscience, psychology, and more, are often the people we don’t necessarily hear about - the unsung heroes.
In the end, all we can do as coaches, leaders, and humans, is to create an environment which lifts everyone up around us with the best of our ability. We must aim to empower people to become their own agents of change.
A ripple effect of positive behaviour begins.
How we act influences how those around us act, influences how those around them act, influences...
Show up to give.
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” - Lao Tzu
If you examine your daily habits thoroughly, are you actually doing the things that nobody else does?
When we fall back on the same behaviours as everyone else, can we really expect ourselves to be more deserving than the next person?
What got you here, won't get you there.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The so called “perfect time,” doesn’t exist.
You don’t have to wait until next Monday to get started on your health journey.
Take ownership of what you’ve got, with wherever you are. Moving forward comes down to be being resourceful, and relentless.
Eat one more serving of veggies. Go for a little bit longer of a walk. Squeeze out one more rep. Focus on mastering just one meal. Sit a little taller. Take a second to breath a bit deeper. Have one less sugar or cream in your coffee. The mind’s the limit.
A goal is accomplished from the result of thousands of choices made in honour of it.
Progress, not perfection.
“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” - Mark Twain
05/27/19 - I have an odd perspective on this, but I am starting to view exercise as how I think about design.
Design: Style over fashion
Exercise: Training over working out
“Working out” and “fitness” are nice buzzwords for categorizing a general type of behaviour, just as much as fashion is a term for overall market trends. What’s selling right now?
Training on the other hand is about style and function unique to the individual. There is a specific goal, thus requiring a specific program based on the individual’s specific health status (physical, mental, emotional). This is stylish.
If you’re a part of an organization looking to boost a specific wellness need - you can’t just offer lunch hour bootcamps. Fashion. Figure out the deep organizational needs, and then implement a plan that can hits those KPIs while keeping company culture humming stronger than ever. Train.
If you’re an athlete looking to maximize your performance to stand at the top of the podium, you can’t just haphazardly mimic the programs of other athletes. Fashion. You’ll most likely need many mentors and coaches for specific areas around your many performance outputs. Understanding your specific sport needs, requires attention on your current capabilities and what’s needed to fill in the gaps. Train.
If you’re a recreational exerciser looking to increase your healthspan and lifespan, don’t just do what everyone else is doing because of that reason alone. Fashion. There’s nothing wrong with a little enterTRAINment now and then. It’s helpful to understand: No matter what you do, remind yourself WHY you are doing it. And asking for some guidance will never hurt. “Am I doing the best possible thing for myself, based on my goals?” Train.
Context backed with consistency will trump all gimmicks.
Be stylish, because that’s being you.
“The goal is to keep the goal, the goal.” - Dan John
05/28/19 - Society must be stuck on Go. The economics of the system fail if we all stop. Moving forward and working hard is not an issue - it is paramount.
But do you move forward with anxiety and worry?
And do you work hard on things that cause you unbearable distress and dissatisfaction?
It may be possible that you experience a fear for rest too. “If I relax, I will fall behind or I might get yelled at.”
All three scenarios are very real either individually or together in some capacity.
Move forward on the things that bring you the most joy. Your work is your life’s work. Working hard will inherently come to you when you treat everything as a skill, an opportunity, and a lesson to be learned.
Then just as important - if not more so - step back. Rest. We grow physically, mentally, and emotionally when we are left with periods of time to recover. You’ll come back to your work with more and creativity and vigor.
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
- Alan Cohen
Everything is the way it should be. No more, no less. Choosing to accept everything opposed to frantically worrying about how little time we have isn’t really in our nature. We are hardwired to be hyper alert for anything that can threaten us.
Short is just a label. In relativity to the time we’re given and the existence of the universe, yeah it’s short. It’s smaller than a sliver.
However, by some miracle you get to exist and experience this life.
You can’t control a lot of things, but you sure can control your perspective, attitude, and actions.
Constantly worrying about how short life is may lead some to lean in and live with a sense of urgency. For others, it may just be a negative thought that they can’t escape, perpetually bringing them worry and unease. So this is only my perspective on the subject, and not how I believe you should think.
The important thing is:
Amor fati - love your fate.
“Welcome everything, as is.” Frank Ostaseski
Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.