Key Principles for Performance and Wellness
The “Movement Mindset” approach is a way of improving your performance and wellness through exercise and education. In an information age where everyone seems to know everything, we can still get lost and overwhelmed. It is important to have a framework to build on, a set of principles on which you base your life. The first step in improving your performance and wellness is changing your thoughts. Here are the three principles that drive the “Movement Mindset”, with six stories to help illustrate them. Apply these principles and you will improve your life.
Your daily pursuits should be focused on being a little better than yesterday. It is the small improvements over a long period of time that results in personal transformations. Our ability as a species to adapt to stresses has helped us survive for thousands of generations.
Bottom line: Go one better than you did before
Summary: A mother put some carrots, eggs and ground coffee in separate pots of boiling water. After they had boiled for some time, she pulled the items out and had her daughter examine them. The carrot, which had gone in strong and hard, had turned to mush. The fragile egg was now all hard inside. The coffee grounds had changed the water into a fragrant, rich drink. The mother pointed out that they had all been exposed to the same stressor.
Lesson: How you respond to adversity will dictate your level of success. The principle of hormesis is that our bodies benefit positively to low levels of stress by way of overcompensation.
Summary: Milo of Croton, a Greek wrestler in the 6th century BC was known for his strength. The legend tells us that he carried a baby calf from its birth until it became a massive ox.
Lesson: By adding an almost unperceivable amount of weight or intensity every day, the body has room to adapt. Make your daily efforts and look long-term for success.
Habitat for your Habits
Build an ecosystem that supports your lifestyle. Discipline and back-breaking efforts should be applauded; however they are never as sustainable as the habits you have ingrained. In order to create long-lasting habits, think about stripping away that which does not support your habit. Creating an environment devoid of alternate choices enables your success.
Bottom line: Make a choice and take action
Summary: An ass is placed exactly midway between a pail of water and a stack of hay. Normally, he would go to whichever one was closer. In this case, he vacillates between the two and eventually dies of hunger and thirst.
Lesson: By dividing yourself between too many pursuits, you’re going to get stuck in perpetual inaction. Find your direction and plod towards it.
Summary: In 1519, Cortés landed in Mexico with a few hundred men, ready to conquer the Aztec Empire. He had all their Spanish ships scuttled, or sunk, so that there was no possibility of retreat. Note: He did not actually burn the boats, but the saying has stuck over the centuries.
Lesson: If it is important (survival), you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse (sail home).
Perhaps the most important principle of the “Movement Mindset”, simplicity is the breeding ground for progress and fulfillment. Understanding the basic patterns which govern motion, learning and happiness is like unlocking the matrix. Don’t get stuck managing minutiae if you don’t understand the fundamentals.
Bottom line: If in doubt, keep it simple
Summary: A businessman with a Harvard MBA was on vacation and a Mexican fisherman caught him some great quality fish for lunch. When asked why he didn’t fish more and expand his business, the fisherman told him that he liked his spare time so he could “sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs...". The businessman explained to him that he could fish longer, grow his business, and become a millionaire. The fisherman asked the businessman what he would do once he became a millionaire. The businessman replied, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you've made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want."
Lesson: Find out what it is you really want and take a direct path to it. We often get drawn to all that sparkles and glitters, only to find out that it was a wasted effort.
Summary: Franciscan monk William of Ockham (ca. 1285-1349) turned a common philosophy into his personal mantra. Also known as the Principle of Parsimony, it goes like this - "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" or "plurality should not be posited without necessity."
Lesson: The more we learn, the more complexity we add to the puzzle of life. Don’t forget Occam’s razor – if faced with many different answers, find the most simple. This is the closest path to the truth.