Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Let's Get Physical...!

I have never been a big fan of "feel good" advice or book-mill authors like John Maxwell or Malcolm Gladwell.  For me, the input I need for my own improvement has to include elements that show or tell me how to improve.  In other words, don't tell me how important it is to have compassion, build relationships, and make friends.  Give me discrete ways and examples that I can follow and measure against.  That is how I will improve.

Given that I've told you what I don't like, let me now pass along something that has really resonated with me.  I was browsing the various posts of my contacts on LinkedIn the other day and saw a post entitled, "8 Things Really Successful People Do" (http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/8-things-really-successful-people-do.html?goback=.gde_1855959_member_250165682).  Naturally I was skeptical, thinking this was just another fluff piece, but I looked anyway.  As it turns out, there was a point in the list of eight that really resonated with me.

Most people would agree these days that every person has at least three components that make up their "self".  Imagine that each element represents a circle, and all circles intertwine.  These parts include:
  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Spiritual
Very often in the world of IT we spend most of our time in the "Mental" element.  Our work involves seeing into systems, most of which we have to conceptualize in our minds and interact with using a keyboard.  We do this so much so that we leave no time or energy for the other two elements of Physical and Spiritual.  The realm of the Spiritual can be addressed in so many ways that I won't begin to touch on that here.  But the Physical realm is something that is definitely within our control.

I find that when I talk with people about the "Physical", I usually get a response along the lines of "Yeah, I need to get to the gym, I just don't have the time."  Others talk about how they spend two hours every day at the gym trying to look like LeBron James or Jillian Michaels.  Of course, that never lasts because a human being can only take so much soreness without some huge payoff at the end.

The advice that I give both to myself and anyone else interested is this:  your mind cannot reach its potential if you do not have a strong physical framework.  The framework that I refer to will always vary depending on the person.  Put another way - do not take what I'm saying to mean that you must look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  You must find the type of physical framework that works for your lifestyle.  It matters not so much what that framework is, just that it exists.  Remember that a framework, like that of a house, is a perpetual thing.  Whatever you develop to meet your own needs must be perpetuated, not a goal that is achieved and then forgotten.

In my own life I know that I must be fit physically in order to handle the stresses of my work and life in general.  While I do go to the gym, I have one general rule.  From the time that I step into the locker room to change clothes until the time that I'm back clearing out my locker can never be longer than 45 minutes.  Does that mean that I sometimes have to cut things short?  Yes.  But I'm working towards a lifetime of servicing my "Physical" aspect.  With this rule I have almost no chance of burning out.

For those of you that still wonder about your "Spiritual" aspect, consider the graph below.  I neither endorse nor condemn it.  Just remember that you existed before your work, but your work will exist after you.  Take everything with the wisdom called "the Proverbial Grain of Salt".