One of the things I am most thankful for in my life are the lessons I learned and the experiences I had while playing football, especially at the high school level. While playing football I thought the importance of playing had to do with the enjoyment of competition and the possibility of playing in college and getting school paid for in the process.
However now I know better.
Have you ever seen the Randy Pausch's last lecture "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams?"
Well then you gotta go watch it right now!
Then you'll understand what I mean when I say playing football was actually, for me, a head-fake or in truth many head-fakes.
Professor Pausch talks about this idea of "head-fakes" in his lecture and he uses it to describe lessons learned while doing something without the purpose of learning that lesson. Looking back at the sports I played and in particular football I realized that they presented many opportunities for head-fakes.
Football taught me lessons and gave me experiences that will continue to serve me to the end of my days.
Lessons such as not giving up and especially don't give up when you most want to because that is when success and the finish line are the closest.
Lessons like learning how to be accountable to others and certain standards and how to react when someone holds you to those standards.
Lessons like understanding that failure is unavoidable and part of the process and that these failures are the greatest opportunities for growth and learning.
These lessons I think are invaluable and while I am sure the argument can be made they can be learned while doing other things besides playing sports I feel that sports offer a unique environment in which to learn them.
What's the point in sharing all this with you?
Well I just want to brag about my athletic career.
Nah that's not my point at all. The point is I want to tell you about something I learned while playing football.
It is the greatest lesson I learned and the one that has provided me with the greatest return on my investment.
The lesson is to love the process or as I put it "to love the grind."
To find enjoyment in the tasks and work that has to be done day in and day out in order to accomplish a goal.
This focus on the "grind" or the process has allowed me to be wither tough times, make hard choices, and ultimately accomplish goals I set for myself.
It's also a lesson that serves you well in the gym and with your training.
A lot of people have goals when it comes to eating better and training. Some of these goals have to do with performance, others physique, and in a lot of cases both. The goal becomes the fixation. The quicker one can get to it the better. The slower it takes the more aggravated one becomes and the more likely they are to give up.
The day to day is seen as boring, annoying, and unenjoyable.
At this point we have all missed the real point.
A goal is nothing more than a destination. It's meant to give us a direction in which to move and a lens through which to evaluate our choices and actions.
It gives meaning to our daily actions and choices.
Because otherwise they don't really matter or as The Cheshire Cat and Alice puts it:
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
I don't much care where –
Then it doesn't matter which way you go.
However while goals are important for giving us direction they are really in the end just a head-fake to teach us a universal lesson that we all learn after accomplishing a few of them.
That head-fake is that the real goal isn't the goal.
The real goal is to work on being better and being consistent each and everyday regardless of what it is we are doing.
The goal is mastery.
This applies to training as much as it does to becoming a better person.
Having goals is great for deciding on what you should be doing for your training, but then the real goal is to try and be consistent with your training and try to get a little bit better every time you train.
In other words the goal is to "love the grind" and to relish in it.
[Picks mic back up]
I honestly don't know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me and it's something that is continually revealed to be every time I take on a new goal or endeavor. I hope that if it does make sense to you that it gives you perspective and the resolve you need to accomplish the things you are chasing.
I hope it gives you the hope that if you just keep trying to be better and more consistent everyday good things will come and you will end up where you are meant to be.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training