HOLD FAST FRIDAY 02/12/2016
Below is an excerpt from the book titled Spartan Up! A take-no-prisoners guide to overcoming obstacles and achieving peak performance in life, by Joe De Sena and Jeff O'Connell.
Obstacle immunity is the ability to overcome unforeseen obstacles without becoming excessively stressed. In scientific terms, it is the ability to avoid the fight-or-flight response to a situation, to remain calm and able to think clearly. This quality is borne of the kind of preparation that prevents the individual from getting stressed out by unfamiliar obstacles. Here are a few classic examples of obstacle immunity put into practice, spanning thousands of years.
The stoics of ancient Greece believed that the greatest obstacle was not death, not pain, not suffering, but cowardice. By training themselves to accept what they could not change and to be courageous in front of any obstacle, they eliminated their fear of death.
Tibetan monks identified the lack of control over the mind as the greatest obstacle. So the monks spend days making sand mandala paintings, and when they're done, they sweep away their work with a broom. It's not about the destination; it's about the journey and the process that gives them the opportunity to practice awareness, focus, and control.
Kung Fu students have to overcome the obstacle of fatigue. So the master has his students carry railroad ties to the top of the mountain and then carry them back down the mountain. There is no productive accomplishment, but the student will no longer find it challenging to run up the mountain carrying only him bodyweight.
Michael Phelp's coach Bob Bowman identified the greatest obstacle as unknown challenges that might cause his athlete to lose focus. So Bowman prepared Phelps for the Olympics by picking him up late before a meat, so he'd have to skip a meal; or by breaking his goggles before practice, so that they'd fill up with water while he swam. When Phelps' goggles broke during the 2012 Olympics, he was able to push through it to win gold.
No matter what dreams a person has, athletic or not, they will encounter obstacles along the way. When you ask people what they want out of life, you get very different answers. The perfect life for a thirty-year-old man on the streets of Thailand means something different that the perfect life for a sixteen-year-old on a sailboat in the Hamptons. It's doubtful whether there is any ideal "good life." At some point in life we will all encounter pain and disappointment. A relative will die unexpectedly. A friend will betray us. We will lose money. Shit happens, as they say.
Hold Fast brothers and sisters!