What is the thing we want most in life? Why do we get out of bed everyday? What most of us yearn for is finding a period in time where the cosmos seem to come together and we feel genuinely happy. I'm going to call these moments particular moments.
Our society is set up in such a way that we are taught to believe that we must go through a gauntlet of tasks to reach one moment in time, and only then will we become happy and feel complete. We are moved along like cattle and told to keep the light at the end of the tunnel in sight. We always tell ourselves if I could only be there, If I only had this, If I had acted differently just this one time. I propose that this is a deeply troubling and dismantling way to live our lives.
I was talking to a friend the other day and asked him if he was happy. His answer was a calculation of all the things that were good and bad in his life, along with all the regrets and joys of life. This rational perspective of viewing happiness as a sum of life is destined to lead to feelings of inadequacy. Happiness is a in the moment feeling, you can be happy and in a terrible situation. happiness comes not from what surrounds you in life but from within. Allowing yourself to be happy is something Americans choose to deplete themselves of. Feeling unhappy becomes a weird state of being that we despise but yet for some unknown reason, we like it clouding our heads. (I propose that if we are unhappy, than we can avoid following are dreams and thus coming to terms with the truth of our personal realities).
Back to particular moments, the thing we want most in life, yet never seem able to achieve. The reasons for this are that we are always looking for are future selves where we will have more things and that we sum are happiness in a rational perspective that excludes the inner soul. These distracting components stop us from living a life full of joy. Particular moments can be reached any time and involve seeing the world with a lens of grace and beauty. One example can be reaching the top of a mountain. That is a particular moment but only if your not thinking about the next mountain you will climb, or how cool it will be to tell your friends. Particular moments are all around us and we just have to seize them.
As i told my friend,
"Stop thinking about doing it, and just go and do it."
I wanted to discuss how we become who we are and whether there is even a true thing as the self.f Hopefully, I will provoke more questions than definitive answers...
I am currently in a Bio-psychology class which studies how the nervous system affects behavior. Their conclusions on the study of the mind is that it is produced by the balance of chemicals in the brain. From this,logic follows, that we are not ultimately in control of who we are and essentially decisions are made from the peculiar balance of chemicals every individual has. Some even believe that there becomes no free will because everything is controlled by the biology of our brain. How do we come to accept this? I know I would like to feel responsible and in control of my life.
On the other hand, a friend and I were discussing how we become what we think about. essentially if you think all day about triathlons, work, or woman (haha) than that is what your personality becomes. The key is that you have the courage to act and carry out your thoughts. Doing this puts you in a cycle where you think about your dreams, you execute them, with a result of making you think about it more and doing it even better. But where do these thoughts originally come from? Who's right and who's wrong?
I believe we construct what goes on in our minds. I think this works in conjunction with Bio-psychology because we have a set of predetermined chemical balances that we learn how to manipulate. I think we all have a different way, that we have to learn as an individual, to seize control of our own minds. This is what I think Plato meant when he stated know thyself.
With me I have truly seen the power of positive thought and how it can turn everything in your life into a spark of like. Perhaps the Nueroscientist would say that it is just because I have so many Dopamine transmitters firing because I work out so much that I am able to be so happy. However, I think its because I choose to shape how I view the world. I play a mind trick on myself and convince myself of hope and goodness in the world. By thinking it, I find that I see the world as happy and good. my entire experience of life changes and fear of failure or any other predetermined fears that are set in our mind by society meld away.
I think it is this ability to control how we view the world and to decide what we think that allows us to make the world what we want it to be.
I am going to outline some of the little details involved in athletics that can make the difference between you and your competitors on race day. The truth is that it comes down to doing the little things that will make you better than others and allow you to improve as fast as possible.
One obvious area that deserves to be looked at is recovery. the athlete that recovers the fastest is able to perform the highest training load consistently. Some aspects to look into so that you can speed up your recovery include Epsom salt baths, ice baths, plenty of sleep, hydration, eating properly, a strength routine, and timing naps appropriately. Obviously this is a lot of stuff to wrap our heads around.
lets start with the basics; sleep and a functional strength routine.
In order to properly recover the body needs plenty of rest. Sleep is the most critical time for your body to recover from the stresses placed upon it. For example, when I am in a high training load I find that I have to sleep far more than usual. When doing 13-14 hour weeks I am well rested with only 7 hours of sleep. When I increase my training load to 18-20 hours I find that I need 9 hours of sleep a night to fully recover. The overarching point is don't sacrifice sleep and if you cant find time to sleep you may need to reduce your training volume.
In addition to sleeping, taking naps is a great way to boost recovery. the trick with naps is to keep them less than an hour so that you don't throw off your circadian rhythm. Besides you get the essential Human growth hormone by merely falling asleep.
Creating a schedule that is consistent and allows you to optimize sleep, it is crucial to success. Find how much sleep you need and do not allow it to be cut short.
Secondly, many endurance athletes overlook the much needed strength program. Or they have a program but it is not optimal for their sport. America has been infiltrated with the Arnold Schwarzenegger mentality of body building. We believe that a program should include lifting lots of heavy weights and that it will cause us to bulk up. This is all completely wrong. A program can be designed that is used to create mobility, stability, and then to build strength on top of this. One reason I suspect that the injury rates of runners is so high is because they don't take time to build the base of stability and mobility. I will not outline a program here as that is not the main focus of this blog post but I advise you to look into a program that is not centered around the common theme of weight training. Lastly when going into the weight room check your pride at the door and make sure you are doing everything right without worrying about how much weight you are lifting or how "good you look."
Another critical component of your strength routine is to make sure that it includes lots of core exercises. The core connects the whole body and allows you to optimize the strength in each individual muscle allowing for optimal efficiency of body movement.
Stay tuned as I will be writing about more ways to recover fast and get the edge on your competitors.
“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”
―Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters
Anything is possible. The only thing that defeats us is ourselves giving up from within. Nothing else is defeat. You can get get beat but never be defeated if you never give up from within and gave it everything you had. Look around the world and you see amazing stories of people coming back from way behind in sports. Miranda Carfrae came back in the 2014 Ironman World Championship of a gap of 14:33 to win the world title. Sebastian Kienle, the male winner, almost dropped out of the race the week leading into the race but realized that he was great (among other things) and ended up winning. After finishing he couldn't stop mustering I don't fucking believe it, I don't fucking believe it... After calming down he said "don't ever judge yourself on one bad day but on the best day of your life..."
What makes me write this is watching the Packers-Hawks game. Seattle managed to come back from a 16 point deficit and win the game, all in the last four minutes. Belief that you can do it is everything. Stay strong in your mind and the body will follow.
This is why Ironman is such a beautiful sport because it challenges your self-belief and teaches you about grace. Anyone who has ever done a Ironman knows that in order to reach the finish line you have to have something deep within yourself. Ironman is about being fit but equally about being spiritually aware. This spiritual awakening that comes from pushing the body so far in life is the ultimate goal.
In addition the overcoming of pain in the sport is what teaches us how to love. Love is not always the romantic scene of buying flowers for someone or going out to nice dinners. Love is about fighting for someone else... Ironman teaches you to presevere and to have the light in the tunnel whether it is a week off or ten years off. It teaches you to believe in someone and at the end of the day this is what matters. Ironman teaches you to be a better human being and gives you the devices to hopefully make the world a better place.
I got a tattoo of the word MANA on my back which means spirit or energy of the world. It is my underlying philosophy that drives me to do everything I can in life. It makes me thankful for every waking moment. I believe that self-belief is what has been coined as god or other spiritual concepts. Belief is powerful and we all have the ability to harness it. Belief makes the impossible, possible.
The meaning of life is contained in every single expression of life. It is present in the infinity of forms and phenomena that exist in all of creation.
The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.
The meaning of life is life.
What is the meaning of life? Everyone seems to have a different view point on what it means to be alive. Perhaps it is true that their is no meaning to life because in the end we die and the world goes on regardless of what we do as an individual. On the other hand, there is the legendary story of Achilles that you live to put your name in the history books and to be remembered forever. I think it is the robust nature of our intelligence combined with the emotional creatures we are that "forces" us to ascribe meaning to things and to life its self. What is the common thread to the meaning of life?
To begin, I woke up this morning after having a terrible nights sleep and life simply seemed dull. We all have those days where frankly we wish life could disappear and we could be comatose until times got good and then wake up. This is one reason why I believe modern humans live for instant satisfaction rather than long term goals. In other words we only want to be around for the good events of life. This is all backward.
The beauty and elegance of life comes from the highs and lows of life. It's this fact that we are so fragile and walking on a thin line between complete bliss and absolute misery that burns the fire of life inside of us. However, when the lows come and we want too give up, I propose that there are underlying threads to life that will make life meaningful and allow one to create meaning in life. These threads are wonder/ curiosity and achievement/fulfillment.
The answers are hidden in the fact that as humans we are culprits to the ever present moment, which is great when times are good but sucks when we have to do things we don't want to. The ideas are simple; curiosity embedded within your soul will drive you to seek knowledge and new answers even when you want to give up. The urge to find things out becomes greater than the urge to find comfort. The second is achievement, one needs to want something so bad for themselves that regardless of how hard it is, getting the goal done for that day will make them feel satisfied and fulfilled.
To conclude, it is these traits that allow humans to push themselves and create a meaning in life. The labels we place on every action is self created and having these characteristics will allow you to create a meaningful life. You can turn the void of being in a merciless world into something precious where you have individual meaning and purpose. Happiness is the by product of creating a valuable meaning of life for yourself...
The art of expressing yourself is one humans have long dwindled on. Is it a meaningless waste of time or does it bring something valuable into the lives of the people that practice it? Most of us wish we could be artistic or musical but often feel we can't. Our urges behind this are that we want to be able to express ourselves in a creative way (or to impress people:)). We want to make life less mundane and and connect to a spiritual world.
I have a different belief and it comes from the word aestheticize: which means to represent something as beautiful. We can learn to make everything in life beautiful to us and this is a form of expression. For example, think about the simple act of breathing and how beautiful it can be when looked at in the proper light. Look at your body as an instrument for projecting your spiritual self into this magnificent world. In terms of training, regardless of what discipline it is, look at your body movements as a form of expression. When you run think about the art you are performing not about how fast you hope to run in the big race six months from now. It's this magical moment that makes training such a rewarding discipline.
Using yourself as a means of expression will connect you to the present movement. Pain becomes a form of expressing your fears, desires, and wishes and becomes something that is magnificently beautiful. You run on the edge of collapsing and giving up, but just like a great painting there is a hidden meaning behind the provocative work. What is this hidden meaning behind pushing yourself so hard? Humans express themselves because it allows them a portal into their inner soul, and a way to create beauty out of the horrors of the world. Athletes are fortunate enough that the canvas is our body...
This is one of my favorite videos and showcases some of the principles that I live by. This video shows why I commit my life to triathlon. The words I'm gonna show you how great I am constantly echo through my mind whenever I run into something difficult or need motivation. My journey of triathlon is one of learning to accept myself for who I am and to teach me that regardless of anything I can accomplish huge feats.
I realize that my greatest fear in life is to live an inadequate life. For me inadequacy means being suppressed of the wild adventurous spirit I have inside of me. This drives me to push myself and to become the absolute best in the world of triathlon. Figuring out who I am took a long time but now I know where to go with my life. Below I am going to talk about what makes a person successful. To clarify, success is being who you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Figuring out what success is for you requires soul searching before you can apply the elements below.
Belief: In order to succeed the first thing a person must have is a belief that they can do it. You must have full faith that you can overcome any of the obstacles presented. In addition, you must have faith that you want to succeed. Often are motivation is false and we look to succeed for trivial qualities such as looking good to others, or being able to show off. Ask yourself what is my motivation for wanting to do well in this activity? In Ironman the motivation has to come within, the body is going to want to quit on you at points in the race and it is your belief in yourself that keeps driving you. belief also brings love and gratitude into the sport which are critical for success. By finding your inner and true motivation as well as believing in what you do, one discovers that they feel blessed to do what they do every day. You become infatuated with your sport and it is not work or a chore, it is life and love.
Preparation: The second quintessential element is preparation. Ask yourself how am I going to prepare. What am I going to do every waking moment of my day. I always say that success is in the details. In order to become better than others it is all about doing the little things in life. Everyone in Ironman is swimming, biking, and running. The way to get ahead is with little details such as how much do you sleep, what's your diet like, do you strength train. Don't overlook any component of what it requires to be successful in your field and execute it day after day. This is impossible unless if you believe in what you are doing and truly love it. Dont ever forget that the work will be backbreaking at times. However, the backbreaking work should feel good. it should only fuel your fire more.
Support: The final thing one needs to succeed is support from peers around them. Humans are social creatures and we all have highs and lows. it is the people around you who give you support even when you are broken. You need people that believe in you and support what you are doing. They will give you another kind of motivation, a motivation to work hard so that you can be with them at the end of the day. After all the meaning of life is to be shared and everything is better when you have someone to share your highs and lows with. This element will balance your life out and allow you to be human.
I'm gonna show you how great I am... Go out there and accomplish what you want. Put your name in the immortal books of time.
I began my first scheduled training of the year with my awesome Coach Siri Lindley today. I started running in the dark and did a great fartlek run. I feel so charged up for the upcoming season as well as rested from my off season break. My goals are clearer than ever and my motivation is off the charts. Running feels new again. All this is due to taking an important but often overlooked off season break.
The importance of the off season is huge. It will allow your body to physically recover from the 10 months or so of hard training you put on it. Those long runs wear you down more than you might think. Perhaps, even more importantly are the mental effects it has on a person. The off season is your time to become human again. I know I did. Go out with friends and family drink beer or whatever else you like to do. Stay up late and sleep in. Eat a pint of ice cream if you choose. Its letting go and letting the body get its cravings it wants for a little while that will allow you to push forward in the next season. It takes courage to take time off, but I promise you that it will be better in the long run. The trick is to still make healthy lifestyle choices.
My off season break was incredible, I went up to the mountains and downhill skied everyday for two weeks, along with staying up late and eating lots of food. I put almost 5 lbs on. I still did core work and occasionally cross country skied. My first days warming up into training, I felt out of shape but was invigorated with training again. I made healthy choices that were going to help me in the long run. I encourage you to make sure you take an off season of at least 10 days next year.
Happy new year to everyone, and lets go out their and swim, bike , and run as though its the best thing in the world, because it is...
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?
Triathlon has taught me how to follow my dreams. It has changed how I view life and has made me believe that anything is possible. Six months ago, I believed that I was going to go to college, study a regular college degree preparing me for the office, and finally end up working 9-5 like everyone else. However, I had a successful Ironman race that made me believe I could do what I wanted in life. Life is now seen from a different perspective. Following your dreams is contagious and as soon as one dream is accomplished (finishing an Ironman) your other suppressed dreams come into mind (becoming a Pro triathlete). I realized that following my dreams is the most rewarding thing that I can do for myself. It is fun, Teaches me about my self, and builds character. I do everything I can to follow my dreams and this for me means that I am 99% likely to transfer back to the University of Colorado Boulder next year. In addition hiring an expensive but fantastic coach, Siri Lindley, was a no brainer for me. I have also created a website, reached out to sponsors, and told my friends and family I want to go pro! I am committed to following my dreams and doing whatever it takes so long as it is morally right to reach my dreams.
The truth is that all of us have dreams that should be followed. A dream can be infinitely small, yet it is a part of your soul begging you to feed it. The most courageous thing one can do is follow their dreams. We live our lives feeling that we are inadequate and fearing failure. Take the step towards being who and what you want to be, regardless of how small it is. For me, a small dream is to help people out who are in need. I often have to build up the courage to go out of my daily routine to do little things such as opening doors for people, giving people directions or giving my mom a hug. What happens to a dream when it is deferred? I believe it moves us back to a state where we no longer want to accept our dreams as real and possible. It allows the rational mind to take over and tell us that we don't actually want our dreams.
I encourage you to take the first step and do something you have dreamed of doing for a long time. Start small or big (haha) and notice how you feel after getting the courage to do it. Following your dreams is less about success than it is about committing to what you believe in. Do the things you have always wanted to do. Who's stopping you? Life pulls and it has its necessities but the world rages on, irregardless of what you do. The best way to change it is following your dreams...
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.