It’s too cold. It’s too hot. We’re exhausted from events work and social. We work too much. We fight with our spouses. Our kids exhaust us and sometimes we get sick.
Sometimes we just don’t feel like getting out of bed.
This is not a new experience for humanity. Whether you are an athlete that doesn’t want to train, a teacher who has unruly students or any office worker on a project that just doesn’t excite you, this happens! How do you deal with it?
The English Dictionary defines (Perspective) as “a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance”.
For many, putting things into “Perspective” can be the perfect nudge.
I woke up early on Saturday, Feb 1st and just felt like hell. I was coming down with a cold at the end of a long work week during the coldest month I can remember. I admit to feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want to get out of bed and felt like calling into work sick. As often happens, the voice of my dad sounded in my head:
“It was hotter than this at the battle of Tarawa and colder than this at the frozen Chosin. Get up! You’ll be fine”! I got up and sent a text to The Skipper and Chris, two tough marines, one was Lt. Col in the Marine Corps with my dad in Vietnam and the other the son of my dads late best friend Mark. I relayed the voice in my head to them. The Skipper responded bluntly, “Get the f*ck with it. No whining!” His words worked not only because they were true, but they also made me laugh, which always helps me.
Basically, the Battle of Tarawa was a 76 hour fight in WW2 where the U.S. had about 3,200 casualties and the Japanese forces were completely wiped of almost 5,000 men. The “frozen” Chosin battle in the Korean War saw U.S. forces lose almost 11,000 men and another 7,500 in the aftermath due to the -35F degree weather. Both of these are examples of pure hell.
This is obviously an extreme example. History tells of thousands of similar stories. Numerous friends tell me stories of families that came to America, sacrificing everything for a dream of something bigger. They came here to discover hard times: tough days in coal mines, sweat shops and grueling days in the fields. Others tell of their parents working hard days, taking on second jobs to help them live their dreams and get a college education. Others gain perspective from losing someone close to them or a friend/family member that is or has been struggling from a debilitating illness or disease. For many, these familiar stories provide perspective, as well as inspiration and motivation on the toughest of days.
Getting a PR in Perspective
In the journey to health and hotness, perspective also plays a major role. Recently in the Dragon Lair at MFF, a Ninja expressed legitimate frustration with her inability to do a push-up from the floor. Another Ninja struggled to speak to me through tears at his inability to deadlift for a certain PR. Dozens of Ninjas going through our “Snatched in Sux weeks” program emailed me with panicked concern after 3 weeks when they hadn’t seen the scale start to move.
This truly happens all the time, and it makes total sense.
We want results NOW, we commit our money, time and hard work to achieving them. And when it doesn’t happen in the time(NOW) we want, it is totally natural to be frustrated as hell.
“What’s another way to look at that push up?” I asked.
She thought for a moment. “Well, when I started, the barbell was set to #8 and I did 6 reps…”
Smiling, I responded, “Where is it now and how many did you do?” “It’s on #3 and I did 12 reps!” She was beaming.
This fresh perspective in the moment helped her see her great progress.
A discussion with the frustrated Ninja who didn’t hit his deadlift PR led to him remembering the fact that a year ago he had never heard of a deadlift, much less even done one.
And with the understandable frustration of Ninjas not seeing the scale move in a few short weeks, the conversation can effectively turn to looking at the new habits and lifestyle changes they are making. Many are looking at food a whole new way, committing to exercise like never before, getting good sleep, drinking water and thinking about “WHY” fitness is important to them to begin with.
Even our own past can give us a little perspective on our lives. Looking at what we were doing just a short time ago and reflecting on the times we overcame something difficult and persisted. Remembering the breakups, heartaches and tough days at our jobs. We can use this and compare it to our current circumstance, and perhaps it can provide fresh perspective on what is truly happening and how far we’ve actually come.
Through the hot pink cover of my Madonna/Rent microphone, I hear myself, “What were you doing at 8am 5 weeks ago? Were you still in bed? Were you standing in line ordering donuts, bagels and muffins? Here you are today—in class, with a water bottle in front of your mat, sweating and focused. How does this feel in comparison to what you were doing back then? How might this be getting you a little closer to your goals?”
Look into your future. Look how far you’ve come and dream of how far you can go. Stories and personal experiences of surviving through tough times, persisting in the face of insurmountable odds, and acknowledging your improvements along the way can give you the nudge of perspective you need.
Give it a shot. When you are having a hard time, find your perspective. Write it down. Think of a time you overcame something and write down exactly what you did. The same things that led you to that success can help you. If you can’t think of anything, try a book. You may look to a book about Lincoln, or maybe the great bestseller,Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Make it happen, find it and use it. It exists.
“If you can make it this far in 6 weeks, imagine 3 or 6 months….or a year. Look how far you’ve come compared to where you started. The journey never stops!”
Comment below and share with us what you use to give yourself a little perspective of the tough days!