True freedom requires discomfort

Jul 30, 2019 | Posted by Cristina in Past Newsletters

The text below was first sent to our newsletter subscribers, in June 2019. If you enjoy it and want more, subscribe here.

49% of the year has passed. It’s gone. You can’t do anything to get those months back.

What have you accomplished from your list of resolutions for this year? Are you on track, keeping up with the initial plan, moving towards your goals and dreams? Or are you far, faaar away from it?

Do you feel like life’s passing by and you’re in the passenger’s seat instead of the driver’s?

If I’m making you uncomfortable by asking these questions, that’s good. Maybe it’s time someone shook you a lil bit and forced you to face the hard truth (everyone else is currently busy, dealing with their own #firstworldproblems).

So, tell me: what excuses have you been telling yourself? Or to those around you?

Are you complaining about how it’s too hard? You’ve encountered obstacles? Are you blaming some bad experience from your past? Or are you ducking and pointing at your personality, saying that “that’s just the way you are built and it is what it is”?

Guess what: we all have problems and challenges to face. We’re all damaged and broken, one way or another. And we all feel the urge to quit when it gets hard.

However, it’s completely up to us what we do in life with what we have, what context we throw ourselves into, how we learn to work, overcome the challenges (that inevitably appear) and increase pain tolerance. And yes, we’ll solve those problems, and new problems will appear. What else is new?

The best runners in the world don’t just run consistently, at the same pace, same distance, tuning out. They deliberately include high-intensity, seemingly impossible sessions, at the fastest speed possible, with their heart rate through the roof. Sometimes they can’t keep up with it but, in time, they see improvements. They become faster and better. Their minds (and bodies) are able to endure more.

Those training sessions when they exposed themselves to intense and intermittent pain, pushing themselves to the limits, are the ones that make the difference and help them progress fastest.

They often reflect on their training sessions and, if they reach plateau, they start changing the parameters: either the volume, distance, intensity, or frequency. They’re intently training themselves to better tolerate pain, instead of avoiding it.

You can’t evolve without applying some form of stress and pressure.

Stop with the excuses. Stop thinking and acting like a victim. We’re not in school anymore, where the teacher has to ask about your homework and you’re explaining yourself, telling them why you didn’t do it.

Real life doesn’t work that way.

You’re the only one responsible. You can’t blame anyone or anything else. The problem won’t go away and it won’t solve itself.

As a quick side note, this is one of the reasons why some people who talk about how they want to become entrepreneurs and start their own business never actually take any steps to do it. They’ll remain stuck in the ‘wantrepreneur’ phase. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re the only one who has to make decisions, to research or properly think about the market, strategy, execution, team. You choose your partners, you hire people (or you’re the one who postpones firing them). And when you’ll fail, you won’t be able to blame anyone else but yourself.

49% of the year is gone. Imagine that you’re starting from scratch. Evaluate exactly where you’re standing in this moment in time, revisit your goals and master plan to achieve them. Drop anything that doesn’t make sense anymore.

And, most importantly: stop complaining. No more excuses. Not to yourself, not to anyone else. Take ownership and become accountable. You’re the only one in control, there’s nobody else to blame. No more cats that ate your homework.

P.S. if you want to make it even more challenging, here’s how to take it to the next level: every time you catch yourself complaining or coming up with an excuse, redirect a big amount of money to an organization you hate. You’ll complain and you’ll pay once, maybe twice, but at some point you’ll catch yourself before complaining, cause the pain of directing money towards a cause you dislike will force you to change.

***

Brain tools time! 💪

Here are a few books to help you dig further into the topics of deliberate practice, high performance, physical and mental endurance – in sports and not only:
Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins (after reading his story, you’ll feel bad for complaining – ever again)
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success, by Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool
Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, by Alex Hutchinson
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein
High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, by Brendon Burchard

An article on the topic of deliberate practice, from Nat Eliason: How to Use Deliberate Practice to Reach the Top 1% of Your Field

One of my favorite sources of inspiration, a conversation between David Goggins and Joe Rogan – you can check this out first before reading David’s autobiography: Joe Rogan Experience #1212 – David Goggins

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And a quick personal story: My better half is an entrepreneur and, in his free time, he’s training for ultramarathons. He’s now getting ready for a 100 km race that starts at midnight and takes place on mount Olympus. To train for it, he’s scheduled intensive runs that took him out of his comfort zone. He ran all nighters, he ran during storms, he ran after long days at work, when he would have rather stayed on his couch and chill. And every time he’s done that, he said: “Good. I’m glad that it rain / I was tired / it was dark / whatever, cause now it won’t surprise me anymore during the race”. He’s my inspiration whenever I feel like saying “I can’t do this anymore”.

***

That’s it for this week. Don’t forget: Reflect on where you are and what you need to do. Drop any excuses or complaints. Focus. Start practicing in a deliberate way – whatever skills you need to work on.

Oh, and I really hope you find these emails empowering. If you don’t, your life is probably already perfect- kudos to you, in this case 🙂 And if we do have a positive impact, you can contribute to our mission via Patreon platform, in order to help us reach even more people (you can also cancel your subscription anytime you want).

– Cristina

The text above was first sent to our newsletter subscribers, in June 2019. If you enjoyed it and want more, subscribe here.

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