My Weekly Blog #9

The Repeat Loop

While we all seek to be in a better place than where we started, we end up missing out on what really leads successful people there. I refer to that thing as the "Repeat Loop". And straight away, you might counter by saying "Why stay stuck in a job/relationship/place which I don't like?". And I hear you. I wasn't particularly fond of my first job and I wasn't fond of how I was treated. But, I stuck it out for over 4 years for a simple reason: Life isn't always going to be your way. I had opportunities to quit the job in the 1st 2 years, I young and I felt disappointed with everything except my pay-cheque. But if I had quit within the 1st 2 years, I wouldn't have found the path I really wanted to be on and I wouldn't be where I am today.

I am not saying that you should drag something till you become bitter with discontentment. But if you start a job, a project, something in life and you actually commit to doing it, quitting it without actually delving into all aspects of that job is the antithesis of success. The truth is, most of your life is going to suck. That's what life really is all about. Infact, a wise friend told me a few days back "Adversity is the mother of happiness". It well and truly is. In this modern age, we tend to believe in doing everything in our power to make us happy. It is akin trying to get home using the fastest route. Salman Khan tried that and you know what happened. You can't drive on footpaths and take detours just because you think it will help you reach home faster. It won't, infact, it would cause irreparable damage that you might never recover from.

People have distorted the meaning of life and happiness to an extent that now everyone wants to just do what they want, while the truth is exactly the opposite. The true happiness and satisfaction in life comes from doing things you had to do, instead of what you wanted to do. Eventually, through trial and error, through suffering and misery, the things you want to do become the things you have to do. But it cannot be forced, and it definitely doesn't happen if you keep breaking the loop.

The repeat loop in life is very misconstrued. Yes, you don't want to become that bitter miserable person who wakes up and goes to a job he doesn't love, and yet goes there day in and day out because there are not many options. I was that guy, going to the job and I was very miserable especially because of the kind of people who surrounded me. But the fact is, the universe was actually designed in a way that you would always have people you liked and people you detest. There is no getting away from that fact. Contrary to my image, I have a lot of people I like hanging out with and I have slowly come to realise that the people I do not like, despite their existence on God's green earth and being a part of my life, do not have to take up my time. We all have a choice in that matter. And in any case, not all people who seem bad are bad, and even if they are, who are we to judge them. Yes, we all have a moral compass and maybe their compass works in a different magnetic field, but each human being is serving their purpose on this planet: either by creating a problem, or by finding a solution to that problem. It is like a see-saw, you need a counterbalance to keep things moving. And I know what it feels like to have people in your life towards who you have negative feelings, but over the last few months I have begun to wonder: Isn't neutral better than negative? Or better still, having a positive emotion by acknowledging their presence on this planet and their contribution towards keeping the see-saw see-sawing(is that right?).

You are not necessarily stuck doing the wrong thing(or the bad thing), you just keep showing up: day-in and day-out. You show up when the weather is bad, you show up when the weather is good, you show up when things are going great for you, you show up on days when you feel you are crawling out from under a truck. When you keep on that repeat loop, you keep showing up, you learn a valuable lesson, a lesson which Gwen Jorgensen has made into a T-shirt: "Feelings don't dictate outcomes".

They really don't my friends. You can end up at the start line of a race, or in a meeting room, feeling down in the dumps. Your feelings will not change the fact that you have to get through the miles or finish that presentation. And if you let those feelings take over, you will end up with a rather sour aftertaste. But if you show up, do your best and pull through; the outcome will be much more positive and it gets added into quiver of experience. You will be able to pull through in life, time and again when these bad situations happen banking on these memories you created. But if you approach life by quitting every single thing, changing your mind about things without actually giving them a shot and if you are the kind of person who cannot stay true to their commitments, then you will never be able to experience this and just have a repeat loop which makes you more and more miserable.

I implore all those who read my blog, to just take a step back and re-evaluate what you are doing, the decisions you have in your mind and what are the "long-term" implications of the same. And specially focus on that "long-term" part. Ever so often, we think of solutions which are not sustainable. Like sometimes, quitting is the only solution(smoking for example). But even if you do, consider the implications of quitting. Fight like hell to avoid quitting(until you smoke, in this case you should quit immediately) and make your decision wisely. After all, you have just one chance on this planet.

Strength training for Runners (Physical and Mental)

All of us have great goals in life. Goals are great, they give us purpose and they are the real reason why we do what we do. Without goals we won't move forward. Whether it is a timing goal or a distance goal or just the basic goal to get fit, we all need goals in life.

I talked about long term implications, and often in our desire to get to our goals we tend to forget those long term implications. Suppose, you decided to run 30k a day, for 10 days. That's a great goal, very challenging and it would lead to nice juicy social media post with a lot of likes(or not, not everyone posts their training on social media, I love those people) and the eventual self satisfaction; but get this: You need be physically capable of doing that feat. Doing 30*10 is great and many in this world will be able to do that, but the amount of damage that you do by the doing that will be highly variable based on how well your body is conditioned.  Human mind and willpower are strong things, and sometimes the whole fear of embarrassing yourself on social media drives you to pull off more than you can chew. (Does someone remember my Sub 10 IM debut attempt, hahahaha, I was so naive. And I have never been driven by social media, hence I was not afraid to be embarrassed.)

But in reality, things are different. Talking to a friend of mine today, I mentioned, I just don't want to be fast in my 20s, 30s and 40s. I want to keep kicking ass till I am 80 or even 90, and then slow down a little till I am 120, and then we'll see. Longevity is the name of the game and there are two ways of approaching it. 1 is live scared of everything and don't try anything at all. 2nd, do everything well, anticipate the problems and mitigate them before the ever happen.

Running is more than just putting one feet infront the other. Or atleast, running fast is. If you are overweight and try to run fast, you just end up causing massive damage, if you are too light, then you cannot find that power to run fast. If you aren't flexible, you can try and do as much high mileage as you want, you will constantly get injured and will spend more time recovering than training.

People believe that there is some fancy, highfalutin plan that elite athletes follow. But in reality, all they do is K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Stupid). They train hard, they spend a lot of time doing strength training(core, upper-body, lower-body), they are very flexible(they stretch a lot, they foam-roll) and they take naps and eat well. Above all, they train their minds to prepare for all eventualities. They won't win every race, even Eliud Kipchoge lost 1 marathon. And while they don't train preparing for second place, they train knowing that coming 2nd is a very distinct possibility. The successful ones among them, never dwell too long on their failures or their successes, for that matter. The check the boxes, learn from their mistakes and move on.

There is no secret to success, it is as simple as showing up, each and every day. But in order to show up everyday, and perform at your best you need to be strong. Both physically and mentally. If you lack in even one department, you performance will be sub-optimal. My advice to any athlete, who wants to continue to do their sport to the best of their ability is: Stretch and Strength train regularly. Find videos on YouTube, there are plenty of them. Instead of wasting time, finding motivational quotes and videos, and asking everyone in this world about their recipes for success, go online and find videos that actually work for you and are effective. Exercise caution, know your limit, but that the same time, try to push yourself a little further than what your brain tells you to. Focus on proper form, and rather than just going through the motions, be mindful of what you are doing, be present in the moment and execute each repetition to the best of your ability.
Find 10-15 minutes in a day and meditate. Learn to gather your thoughts, and treat them as an external object and learn to detach yourself from them, being present in the task you are currently doing. Make these things are part of your routine and learn to believe in yourself and your dreams. Social media is full of noises: Positive and Negative. But until and unless, you believe in yourself and the power of your dreams, no one else will.

If you are able to put together all of this, which you should easily be able to, if you are driven enough to reach your goals, I can guarantee you, life will be much better and more successful!

Small Note on Food: While most athletes believe that they are training hard and so that can eat whatever the heck they want to, trust me it is very dangerous and wrong to do that. Just because the furnace is hot, doesn't mean you can put in anything you find.
While junk food is the easiest source of calories, the kind of calories that go in your body matter.
I have a habit of reading labels, for everything that I buy and I prefer not to buy things which are not made by me. Even if I am buying Muesli, I check the label for gms of added Sugar, the number of Carbs and proteins I would gain for each serving.

Being a good athlete, just doing mean showing up to a training session and executing it well. It also entails discipline in other parts of life, especially your diet, which contributes to your training a great deal. So, think properly before you decide to "reward" yourself(which people are doing so wrong these days).


Popular Posts