Musings on respecting people who workout consistently

What you are getting into: 622 words, 4mins read + 4mins video

Photo via Unsplash

Our body reflects the lifestyle we lead, healthy or unhealthy.

To give an introduction to people who are new to working out, here’s a short paragraph.

Working out is being active. There are two main types of workouts. Cardiovascular and resistance training. Popular workouts for cardiovascular is running where resistance training is lifting weights. Key component for cardiovascular is raising the heart rate where resistance training is exerting substantial force by using pushing and pulling motions.

In order to improve the level of physical fitness in almost any field, it requires pushing past your limits. This, equals pain. In other words, in order to grow, you have to go through pain, every single workout. People who have good bods (#instabod) go through a lot of pain. Day in day out. They go through pain in a very consistent manner.

And if you aren’t getting my message by now, let me rephrase it: People who have good bods go through a lot of pain and suffering.

Many people coast through life. Many spend their lives looking for the one change, the one thing that will turn their life around. Many people spend a lot of time on the internet, then tell themselves that they are not distracted. Many people want to get instant or fast results without suffering tremendous amount of pain.

I say these people are lying to themselves.

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Anything that bestow you with pain and yet you have to push past it requires tremendous amount of focus. Without focus, it’s easy to give up. That’s the reason why people give up in the middle of a run while some are able to push through it. That’s the reason why some people don’t look you in the eye while passing you because they are so damn focused on getting to the finish line. Just look at the faces of those runners who are in a race. That’s all they think about — the finish line. Look at serious gym-goers during a workout, they don’t look at anyone else other than focusing on getting and maintaining perfect form.

Photo via Pexels

Because pushing past physical limits requires tremendous amount of focus, it takes a lot to maintain the state of focus. The act of staying focused trains the mind. That itself is the rep of staying focused. Top athletes stay focused during the game. How do they do it? They are trained to focus during the game. They don’t think about anything else other than winning the game during the game. Which is why when athletes get bad press their game is bound to drop in quality – level of focus is affected and thus unable to perform at optimum level.

Now, why do the above matter and why should you respect people who workout consistently?

  • Because these people practice and understand consistency.
  • Because these people practice and understand how to remain focused.
  • Because these people understand pain and discomfort is a necessity in pushing past their limits, day in day out.
  • Because these people overcome the resistance to go through pain and do it anyway.
  • Because these people prioritise health over other things just so they stay fit to protect their love ones.
  • Because these people understand what is consistency, staying focused, pain, discipline, and overcoming resistance.

With all these reasons, I present my main muse: People who work out consistently and have good bods will go far in life. They know having consistency, staying focused, pain, discipline, and overcoming resistance is key to success because by doing all these things, they push past their limits. And because they are used to pushing past their limits, such attributes will spillover to their professional lives where it’s a requirement to success.

With that, I leave you with this video:

Dissecting Meditations, a personal journal by Marcus Aurelius Part #10

What you are getting into: 651 words, 4mins read + 6mins video

Here, I will share my contemplations upon reading the published personal journal of Marcus Aurelius, a roman emperor from 161-180 AD. Thoughts mainly stemmed from Stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius used the notes for guidance and self improvement. It’s a translated book by Gregory Hays, or you can read it online.

For this and upcoming posts I attempt to dissect quotes I favour upon reading the book.

Photo via Pixabay

Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone — those that are now, and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the “what” is in constant flux, the “why” has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us — a chasm whose depths we cannot see.

So it would take an idiot to feel self-importance or distress. Or any indignation, either. As if the thing that irritate us lasted.

“Life follows where the river flows.” I came across this quote somewhere but can’t quite find it. Like a river, the source flows away from me. Like life, it’s always in constant flux. Like emotions, it will soon go away.

If only we are like the zen stones, sitting by the river bank, watching the water flowing by. Appreciating the source of life. Appreciating that we are blessed with a life. Appreciating a life full of experience. Why would we want to cause harm to others? Why do we seek out revenge or damage someone’s reputation? Why wouldn’t we be nice?

We can control our emotions. We can learn to tame our deepest desires. We can do it by acknowledging it. By understanding where the malicious thought came from. It must have come from somewhere. Are we hiding a wound so deep that the conscious mind rejects even the slightest acknowledgement that we are indeed, a little broken?

Even if we are a little broken, what gives us the permission to cause harm? Wouldn’t you agree that everyone else is a little broken, given the fact that everyone suffers some form of setbacks? If so, why are there people out there who still believes in humanity? We say we have faith in humanity, then take out a pen and paper, write down 3 things you did in the last 3 months as an act of kindness.

Marcus Aurelius labels people who feel self-importance, distress, or indignation as idiots. I think there’s some truth to it.

  1. Self-importance: Narcissism gets you nowhere. The world don’t revolve around us. Nobody likes someone who is self-centred. Yes it’s hackneyed, but it’s true. We live in a world where isolation will drive us crazy, and narcissistic behaviour will make you an outcast.
  2. Distress: Why get caught up with worrying or anxiety? Don’t we already know the future is uncertain? What we can do is work on alleviating the uncomfortable feeling.
  3. Indignation: Nothing is fair. To assume all things should be fair is ignorance. But we can be fair to ourselves, by avoiding self provocation. We don’t have to be angry just because we think the situation is unfavourable. We can choose to remain calm and move on.

Next time when you feel anger rising, remember this, the emotions will pass. Change is the only constant. Everything in life is in constant flux. Everything is ephemeral. What we care now may not matter in years to come. Things that we hold onto dearly will cease to exist. Everything will end.

On days when you feel depressed to the core and want every single thing to end, remember this:

”This too, will pass.”

Live life. Suck the marrow out of life. Carpe Diem. Sleep feeling satisfied with everything you have done and wake up with excitement. Take heart in everything we have, right now, here, this very moment.

Watch this before you go off and live an amazing life.

Dissecting Meditations, a personal journal by Marcus Aurelius Part #9

What you are getting into: 796 words, 5mins read + 3mins video

Here, I will share my contemplations upon reading the published personal journal of Marcus Aurelius, a roman emperor from 161-180 AD. Thoughts mainly stemmed from Stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius used the notes for guidance and self improvement. It’s a translated book by Gregory Hays, or you can read it online.

For this and upcoming posts I attempt to dissect quotes I favour upon reading the book.

Some people, when they do someone a favour, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it — still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return.

A horse at the end of the race..

A dog when the hunt is over..

A bee with its honey stored..

And a human being after helping others.

They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season.

We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously.

— Yes. Except conscious of it. Because it’s characteristic of social beings that they see themselves as acting socially. And expect their neighbours to see it too!

That’s true. But you’re misunderstanding me. You’ll wind up like the people I mentioned before, misled by plausible reasoning. But if you make an effort to understand what I’m saying, then you won’t need to worry about neglecting your social duty.

You walk into a grocery store, pick up milk and some food to cook dinner tonight, push your trolley along the aisle, picking up random little things for your kids, stroll to the cashier counter, unload the groceries, take out your credit card, and pay.

That is a purchase.

A purchase is an exchange between a currency (i.e. money) and a product or service. In other words, a transaction. Helping others is not a transaction. It is if you have expectations that a transaction will occur, soon or sometime later.

Don’t. By lending a helping hand, you are doing goodwill, a one way street. Don’t be mistaken, says Marcus Aurelius.

Have you ever felt unappreciated? Chances are, you are mentally calculating the amount of effort and resources you’ve put in. Often in relationships, couples get into huge arguments because they feel their partner is not putting in the effort. Don’t you feel that’s transactional? If I’m loving you 110%, I have a right to be mad at you when you don’t give me 110%. This sort of mentality is absurd, malicious even. Go read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman if you are such person.

But don’t beat yourself up. It’s just a human tendency to expect reciprocation. We are social animals after all. Prisoners who are locked up in solitary confinement go crazy due to lack of social activities.

Explaining why isolation is so damaging is complicated, but can be distilled to basic human needs for social interaction and sensory stimulation, along with a lack of the social reinforcement that prevents everyday concerns from snowballing into pychoses, said Kupers.

Blaise Pascal goes even further:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

This is why meditation is so hard, we are unable to bear with our own thoughts. Spending alone time by ourselves if even harder! The problem is magnified by the rise of smartphones. We whip out our mobile devices the minute we are left alone. If we don’t get distracted with texts, articles, social feeds, emails, or whatnot, we seek out problems — whether knowingly or unknowingly. We find problems to entertain ourselves.

“But everyone I know is doing that.”

“But this is the world we live in now.”

“But people are like that.”

Even if you know that other people are behaving this way, you have a choice to be like them, or be you.

My non-empirical hypothesis is this: The more we avoid spending time with our thoughts, the more we fall into the trap of seeking validation from our social circle.

As with most things, balance is key. Too much rumination and little action leads to depression. Too much action and little rumination leads to burnout. This is what Marcus Aurelius calls it, act unconsciously but conscious of it.

Lastly, every time you find yourself thinking about cashing in on a favour, come back and read the quote again.

Read it until you understand.

Help people out, and then go about your day without thinking about it. If they want to, ask them to pay it forward.

With that, I’ll leave you with this.