Goals are some of the most powerful fuels for progress in life, business, and training. But recognizing when a temporary pull-back may improve longevity or deliver better long-term results while minimizing potential negative side-effects is a skill that comes through practice and experience. Being a student of strength is a long game.
“Warts and All” —My 2018 in Review
When commissioning a painting, Oliver Cromwell told the artist (Sir Peter Lely) to paint him “warts and all,” instead of in the more flattering style common in that day. You could call what Lely was offering the original “photoshop.” In today’s social media driven world—rife with filters and photoshop, and the tendency toward putting on a “flattering” face to our lives—we rarely see “warts and all.”
What “warts,” you ask? I failed to achieve one of my 2018 goals.
I started the year by telling you what I was going to be training for and how I planned on accomplishing my four major goals:
- Teaching at StrongFirst and FMS events,
- Successful completion of the SFL,
- Successful completion of the SFB, and
So how did it go? In my Quarterly Update article, I discussed my training leading into the SFL. But what happened since then? Out of the four goals, I succeeded at three of them. I was moving well and able to demonstrate and teach effectively. I achieved SFL and SFB. However, Sinister will not be happening this year.
Why not? I’ll let Kenny Rogers explain:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser”
Lyrics from The Gambler
Kenny had some wise advice there.
Knowing When Not to Grind
Now I know that one of the popular messages in life, work, and training is to “grind.” Embrace the grind. With pictures of one person digging a tunnel and walking away one strike from hitting gold and another person continuing the dig although they are several strikes from gold. The message—do not quit.
But there is a difference between quitting and knowing when to fold’em. And this comes from experience.
This is not to give people a pass on quitting everything they start, or at the first sign of difficulty. Far from it since I embrace persistence as a key attribute to success in life. As I have been saying: if I had a superpower it would be stubbornness—and stubbornness in its most elevated form is persistence. As Calvin Coolidge noted: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Knowing when to hold’em and when to fold’em is a skill earned and learned through the practice of persistence. The key is to fold’em before “driving off the cliff” into personal ruin (in financial cases) or injury (in the case of training).
And that is why I bumped my Sinister goal to 2019. I recognized the need to fold’em and adjust my training instead of “grinding.”
What did I recognize? My training was too heavy, too often and my body was not happy. I have accumulated some mileage on my 47 trips around the sun. Some of that mileage was earned by not stopping when I should have stopped. Other parts were simply by “life happening” rather than by choice. But in the end, this mileage and my ability to listen to it now is a powerful tool.
Also realize that personal goals, while very important, are not mandates writ in stone. I joke at workshops all the time that unless you are getting paid to hit that next rep or set, you can stop. Know when to fold’em.
So moving into 2019, I do so with more earned knowledge and the persistence to adjust my training and achieve Sinister. I hope that 2018 was successful for you and wish you every success in 2019.
Here’s to a Strong 2019.