In a great video called Never Stop, sponsored by The North Face, Jimmy Chin ponders the meaning of life. Jimmy Chin is an excellent skier, climber and photographer. Somehow Chin caught the skiing and climbing bug despite growing up in Mankato, MN and attending Carleton College in Northfield, MN. I also went to Carleton and can attest to the lack of any hills or mountains in Minnesota.
Now Chin is a North Face sponsored athlete who among many other accomplishments has climbed to the top of Everest and then skied down. You read that right. He has had photos published in Outside Magazine and National Geographic and also recently produced, directed, shot and starred in a stunning film called Meru, about his climb with two friends to the top of a foreboding peak in the Karakoram mountains between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. This film won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and is definitely worth watching.
So what does Jimmy Chin think about the meaning of life:
“I guess I have always been driven to see what happens if I really throw myself at something. I learned early on that unless you really do that you will never find out. And, I think that would be really sad if I didn’t ever find my true potential. In a way, this is almost like the meaning of life. Finding a purpose and then pushing yourself in that space no matter what it is.”
“There are two great risks in life: risking too much and risking too little. The one that scares me the most is risking too little because you are given this great opportunity and you should make the post of it.”
This sounds a lot like the Ancient Greek concept of Arete. According to Wikipedia, “Arete is frequently associated with bravery, but more often with effectiveness. The man or woman of Arete is a person of the highest effectiveness; they use all their faculties—strength, bravery and wit—to achieve real results” or perhaps we could call it reaching their potential.
Are you reaching your potential? Are you throwing yourself at anything? Are you risking too much or too little?
There is a Japanese proverb that states “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
To me this probably the key to accomplishing anything. Some people might use a different saying such as “If at first, you don’t succeed, try try again.”
Either way, the point is don’t give up. The problem here is that this is a lot harder than it looks for two main reasons in my view:
One: giving up is harder than not giving up. Not giving up requires gumption or stick-to-itiveness or sisu (if you are Finnish) or Grit or whatever you want to call it. There is a great book out on this subject called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth that is definitely worth a read or a listen if you want to understand how to get better at not giving up.
Two: the other aspect of giving up refers to what you are not giving up on. At some point it might be worth giving up on a secondary goal or a “means” goal in order to continue being focused on a primary goal or an “end” goal. For example, if my end goal is to travel more, I could get there in many different ways. I could become a travel agent. I could create a job for myself that allows me to be paid to travel like a travel writer or I could build something and sell it for a great value and then travel whenever I want. Each of these means goals gets me to the same end of traveling more. However, I may want to give up on becoming a travel agent someday if I come across a great opportunity to be a travel writer now but I would never give up on the goal of traveling more. Does this make sense? It is also very important to pick the right end goals based on your own vision. There is a great book that walks you through this process called The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms by Vishen Lakhiani.
So, what do you need to know to succeed at any goal.
- Pick an End Goal that is meaningful and aligned with your passion, principles and vision and never give up on this.
- Pick a Means Goal to get you to the End goal. These can change based on experience and circumstances.
- Figure out what you need to do every day to reach the above goals.
- Do these things every day.
- Don’t stop!
What kind of experiences have you have with goals and not giving up?
Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.
At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’
– by Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 AD. He is probably best known for being the father figure character to Russell Crowe in Gladiator. He also had a lot of great reasons to get up in the morning such as avoiding assassination, fighting wars, etc.
Why do you get up in the morning? Do you have a mission, a calling, a purpose?
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To improve your life, you need to become more efficient and the best way to become more efficient is to start strong in the morning. So how can you get more done in the morning? Here are some ways:
1) Get up earlier. This is obvious as is going to bed earlier but if you are like most people you can’t just go to bed earlier and expect to go to sleep. You are also probably not getting as good a quality of sleep as you need. So what do you do? You need to prepare for a good sleep in order to get a good quality sleep. Create a going to bed ritual. Go to bed at the same time each night. Limit interaction with technology or if you can’t do that use special glasses or filters that block blue light while reading your iPad or watching TV. The absence of blue light is what triggers the creation of Melatonin in the body and that tells you to start slowing down and getting ready to sleep. If this process doesn’t happen because your still taking in blue light hours past sunset, then you are not going to get a quality sleep or perhaps much sleep at all. Other things you can do are ensure that your bedroom is completely dark, get good shades or drapes that can block all external light, turn off those annoying red digital clocks on the VCR, etc. HERE is some more information on sleep if that is a particular issue for you.
2) Set the stage – Mise en place is a French phrase which means “putting in place” as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift. Do this the night before. For example, set up everything that you need for breakfast, set the pan out, the ingredients, the utensils, the blender, etc. Also, pick out your clothes and get your bag or briefcase ready. Put your workout clothes in your bag or get them ready if you work out in the morning. (You should be working out 3-5 times per week but that is another post.)
3) Habit – We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle. You need to create a process or a schedule for the morning in a particular order that becomes a habit. The less that you have to think about the better. Spend some time thinking through what is important to get done in the morning i.e. meditation, journal, healthy breakfast, workout, time with kids, whatever then create a plan that gets those things done in the time allotted. Then put it on auto-pilot. There is research that seems to show that you only have so much will power or decision power in a day. Limit these decisions to what is new and different and automate what you have already decided needs to be done. Decide who to marry, what job to take, etc. Automate either literally with technology or with a process you can do without thinking things like paying bills, eating breakfast, getting your kids out the door, not eating donuts at work, etc. HERE is some more information about Habits and Automating Tasks.
4) Energy – If you have more energy, you will get more done in the morning and you will get more done all the rest of the day as well. So how do I get more energy? Sleep more first as in #1. Then if you eat better you will have more energy as well. What does that mean? It means by and large removing added sugar and processed food from your diet. (This is a whole other post). And it means getting some exercise 3-5 times per week. (Again for another post.) HERE is some more information about managing your personal energy.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to getting more done in the morning?
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