Archives for June 19, 2016

Quit Half Assing Two Things: Whole Ass One Thing

I see people all the time who make great decisions. They have a beautiful idea. They create a masterful plan. Then they half commit. The plan falls apart. They get nowhere and they quit.
Why does this happen? Because most areas of life have a threshold for results.
This means that anything you do, any project you undertake, requires a minimum amount of effort before any results can be expected. Anything less than the threshold in those endeavours means you’re just trying to make your Instagram interesting. For example, studying a language. If you take one Spanish class once a month and don’t practice in between, the rate at which you forget the language will be greater than at which you learn. Two years later you’re down two grand and have no mas Espanol.
Growing your abilities is like baking. You have all the necessary ingredients for making delicious cookies but, you half-assed the execution. You didn’t measure properly, you lazily mix them in the wrong order, forgot to pre-heat the oven and baked them for twice the recommended time. When you pull out the cookies, they look like Donald trump’s hair had a lovechild with sheep dung. Even though you know about a dozen places you could have improved on how you baked the cookies, your inner monologue goes something like “I pretty much followed the recipe. Baking is stupid, I am just naturally a bad baker, I have a genetic predisposition to bake like an idiot” or however you rationalize half-assing it to yourself. When in reality there were dozens of integral steps along the way and you missed them because you weren’t focused or committed and therefore the end product didn’t work.
In a critical way, achieving life goals is no different than making cookies, although there might be fewer calories involved. You want Ryan Gosling’s body, so you start to eat kind of healthy, you sometimes do some crunches on a Bosu ball. You follow all the steps but with the commitment of a drunk sorority girl. Therefore, you don’t lose any weight or build any muscle. Instead, you end up hating the gym, hating your body, and resenting anyone who manages to get fit. Those are some salty cookies.
What should you do? Quit working out and give up on fitness forever? No. Get your shit in order. Bake another batch of cookies, and make sure you actually follow the recipe this time. The recipe is not wrong. Lots of people have followed it with great success. It’s your execution that is wrong. It’s you, thinking you can achieve success with a half-assed effort. It just doesn’t work that way.
Life is just a collection of recipes. If you follow them as written, you will succeed. There is no secret sauce. I have yet to meet the person who does everything right and doesn’t get some gooey, delicious cookies in return.
“That sounds awfully boring. I don’t want to just follow recipes for my whole life. I am a trailblazer.”
Well good for you. I am too. But if you have never baked before it might take you years before you make your first batch of edible chocolate circles. When you are starting, follow a recipe. Repeat the recipe until you can bake those cookies blindfolded while sitting naked, playing backgammon in an ice bath.
Then you can slowly start to change the cookies. More sugar, less flour, tinker with small things at first. Begin to notice the outcomes, the effects. Start to try different recipes. Then, and only then, begin to start creating your own recipes. Yes, I am telling you it should take years before you are comfortable making your own cookie recipe. You are not going to become Ms. Christie overnight. If you can’t live with that, then buy your damn cookies at a bakery. (AKA get calf implants, Johnny Drama)
“But my friend Jenny baked for 20 minutes and won ‘who is the best chef in Nowheresville?'”
Congrats, that person is lucky, lying, or a phenom. You aren’t that person.
I see people all the time in the gym doing unusual workouts. I ask them what program are you following?
“My own.”
“Oh cool, how long have you been working out?”
“6 months”.
Good God. I understand the importance of listening to your body and I preach it, but I promise you that with less than five years of workout experience you should not be concocting your own workout plan. Not if you’re serious about what you’re doing. You will not be able to improve on workout plans that have already been developed and tested by greats like Dan John, Pavel Tsatsouline and Bill Starr. For every year you have in the gym, these guys have a decade.
Swallow your pride, cut the ego. Listen to smart people. You have to earn the right to freestyle.
From now on, when you commit to something, stick with it. Make sure that the amount you have committed, will satisfy the threshold. Be honest with how much you can commit. When people ask me to design a workout plan, I always ask how many times a week can you guarantee you will go to the gym?
“Six days, easy,” they say.
“How many times have you been to the gym in the past month?”
Then you have about as much chance of working out six days a week as I do of sitting on Hilary Clinton’s face.
There is no shame in going to the gym 1-3 times per week. None at all. But if you are working out twice a week, while following a 6 day/week plan, you won’t get one-third of the results. You will get no results. You will get some shitty ass cookies. If you commit to going to the gym 2/week. Go for those two days. Don’t let work emergencies, tummy aches or pregnancy scares stop you from going.
I usually set my goal above what I need. If I’m on a 5 day/week plan, I go to the gym six or seven days a week. That way, if I ever need to miss a day, I am fine, and worst case I use the extra session to stretch and work on some weaknesses. I over-commit because I know life is going to throw some bad beans at me, and I don’t want to throw away what is important because my best friend has joined a pyramid scheme.
A requirement of whole-assing something is that you must say no to half-assing things in which you weren’t really interested anyway.
Do you want to attend a lecture on the history of the canoe? No. No, I don’t.
Do you wanna try Zumba with me? Sorry, no.
Have you ever wondered how chocolate is made? I haven’t, please never contact me again.
Make sure you keep room in your life so that the things you have committed to have space to breathe. If you commit to Olympic weightlifting, ballet, run club, and paddle boarding, maybe you will get it all done, but more than likely, shit will fall through the cracks. I often find that it’s the important things like exercise and diet, that are tossed aside because somebody commits to attend a Tupperware party.
The moral here is — don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.
Start to see yourself as a person that sees things through, whether it’s fasting for a day, swimming in cold water, or not eating chocolate for a month. Slowly develop that self-perception.
Get it done, prove to yourself that you can. Determination and self-discipline are muscles. Make them strong. Every time you start something and quit, you are training the quitting muscle. Neurons that fire together, wire together. If you continue to quit so often, you will associate committing and quitting so closely that you won’t know the difference. Each time you are agreeing to do something, you will quietly be planning your escape route.
Instead, every time someone asks you to do something, you should think carefully because you are now the type of person who when they say yes, it means yes. People begin to count on you and your assent becomes the equivalent of a guaranteed RSVP.
Here’s a quick summary of perfecting your ability to whole-ass things.

  1. Start by deciding what you really want to do.
  2. Then, say no to all the shit you don’t want to, or know you can’t do.
  3. Set realistic goals. (SMART goals are an easy place to start)
  4. Stick to those goals like your life depended on it.
  5. Achieve the goal, probably faster than you thought you would.
  6. Pick a new goal.
  7. Become Barack Obama.

Life is too short to collect participation ribbons. Be the guy who follows through, be the guy who gets it done, be the guy people wonder how he gets so much done. Build your self-discipline to the point where you are more reliable than diarrhea after Taco Bell. While it may seem like you get less done by focusing on fewer areas, in the long run, there will be many more opportunities for those who can follow through. Good luck, and if you finished reading this article, congrats, you just whole-assed your first thing, don’t lose the momentum.
Thomas Walker writes regularly on his website. Thomas is a Vancouver-based writer passionate about health, personal growth, and mindfulness. He runs a site dedicated to sharing knowledge and motivating change. Follow for more great content.

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Letting Go Of The Physicality of Youth

Broken nose. Cracked orbital bone. Snapped tibia. Separated shoulder. Shattered radius and ulna. Concussion. Torn trapezius muscle. L5 discectomy. Facial reconstruction. Too many stitches to count. Lingering nerve damage down the right leg. Chipped tooth and plastic surgery to repair a blown-out lip.
No, this is not the retelling of a major car accident, this is my medical history.
As I sat in the doctor’s office a few weeks back, awaiting MRI results on my left knee, the damage I’d done to my body over 33 years hovered in daunting fashion. It was quite clear the physical punishment I’d willingly endured throughout my life had left me with an incredibly skewed vision of physicality.
My doctor capped it off by adding one more line to the list. Grade 2 MCL tear. There was now pretty much no place on my body that had not sustained some type of serious injury. I had run the table of my own skin, tested every limit of my skeleton and subjected myself to years of pain, rehab and reaffirmation that what I was doing was not only sane, but something to be very proud of. My mental conditioning was complete.
Growing up in rural British Columbia, gender roles were reticent and rigidly defined. Men were the strong silent type, women were warm and loving. My youth was not necessarily a place of pain, but more a hardening of affirmations. Boys don’t cry, girls play with dolls and to become a man was to take responsibility of the situation and your life. Support, clothe and feed a family, forgo questions and look forward to retirement. There was little room for introspection or failure, and to be unsure of yourself was the biggest sin of all.
The pecking order at school was equally well-defined. The biggest, toughest kids were the coolest. The most athletic and the most intimidating rose to the highest echelons of the monkey bars. Being a natural athlete meant I fit right in, despite my diminutive status as a late bloomer. While I wasn’t the most physically daunting opponent, I would be willing to go miles further than anyone on the opposing team to win. Scrape my knee up in a slide tackle, block a shot in hockey or take a punishing hit in rugby, I complimented skill with an undying lust for winning at all costs.
As I grew up sports taught me multiple healthy lessons about life: commitment, discipline, desire and work ethic. A fire was lit inside my tiny belly that I still carry to this day, and credit my life’s achievements to. I was always fighting something, always competing against some external foe, and thus, my drive was nitro-charged even before my voice broke and body took shape. As I went through puberty I became a six-foot plus tower: tall, lean, and now I had another weapon in my repertoire—the goods to back up the brawn.
But sports never materialized as a career, and now looking back on it, I’m incredibly thankful it didn’t. This is not to say I wouldn’t mind lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup for one day, or score a goal in a World Cup final. It is not a sense of regret, but rather an acknowledgement that I was destined for other things. I was destined to become a writer, something that grew inside of me much like my love for sport — organically, and ultimately, completely at the power of my own will.
But as I veered off into the world and found myself more interested in the written word than the score on the clock, I continued to play for the love of the game. I won championships, made tons of friends, had some amazing road trips and scored a few game winners in tournament finals. I tasted champagne and tussled with the best of them. However, as I carried on, I collected that laundry list of injuries. The defining moment was a concussion two years ago that not only threatened my body, but the one thing I needed more to survive—my mind. Sports had taken the singular organ I truly needed to be successful, and it brought me to my knees. As a wordsmith, writer’s block is expected, but when a neurologist tells you not to read or type at a computer, it feels like a death sentence.
All this sacrifice for the glory of the game had bled into other areas of my life. I needed to rethink my strategy and outlook, but of course, it wouldn’t come easy. I contemplated retirement, then downgraded my compete level, but the injuries continued to accumulate. I no longer had the luxury of a 21-year-old metabolism; groin pulls and twisted ankles now took months to recover from instead of weeks.
And when I sat before my doctor recently to hear the news of yet another injury, I knew it was time to let go, once and for all. I needed to let go of the physicality of my youth. I needed to stop punishing myself for the thrill of victory, or the reward of camaraderie. I needed to let go of the life I’d lived and loved, because it was slowly degrading my body beyond repair.
I often ask myself these days what it means to be a man. If I were to go back to my childhood, I’m sure I’d give you a quick, clear answer. Be tough, flex your muscles and win one for the boys. Now I look in the mirror and see a different person. Is he a man yet? I don’t know, and maybe I never will. But one thing is for sure, maybe I’m asking the wrong question now. Maybe manhood is not a rite of passage, but simply an acknowledgment that life is more than just the sum of your parts.
Patrick Blennerhassett is a Vancouver-based writer and journalist. His non-fiction novel A Forgotten Legend: Balbir Singh Sr., Triple Olympic Gold & Modi’s New India was featured in such outlets as Maclean’s, the Vancouver Sun and on CBC. His fourth book The Fatalists, will be released this October.
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Srinivas Rao – Creativity & Why ONLY is better than BEST

Episode: 048

Labels limit our capacity and restrict our creativity. There can only be one of you.

Srinivas Rao, founder of The Unmistakeable Creative website and podcast, and author of Unmistakable, has interviewed over 600 thought leaders and people from all walks of life on his show. Today, he joins Connor on the show to discuss creativity, a bit of his background, where he found his drive, and why we should always learn from others, but not mimic them. Srinivas says that we do not need more copies – we need originals, willing to travel the road that’s never been traveled before, because true success is work that no one else can replicate.
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Key Takeaways:
[1:40] Let’s talk creativity on today’s show.
[3:15] Famous on the internet? This concept is amusing to Srinivas.
[4:45] What does Srinivas’s name mean?
[7:10] Who is Srinivas?
[8:55] Srinivas downloaded Snapchat for the first time yesterday.
[10:15] Everyone should get on Snapchat? Everyone should start a podcast? No!
[11:00] Srinivas loves the platform ‘Medium’.
[11:35] Find one platform/thing and then get really, really good at it.
[12:40] What was Srinivas’s childhood like?
[14:55] Srinivas always looks for things he can be exceptional at, not average at.
[19:30] Srinivas is never satisfied.
[22:45] Where does creativity actually come from? How is it cultivated?
[27:10] What kind of action steps can people take to feel more creative?
[29:15] Be the only option for what you do, not the best, the only one. Srinivas explains.
[31:35] Why do you want to be like Tim Ferriss? Why?
[32:40] Learn what other people have done, but do not mimic them.
[35:00] Srinivas talks about his book, Unmistakable.
[40:30] True success is creating work that no one else can replicate.
[46:45] Srinivas talks about crowdfunding.
[48:45] Community is tremendously important and plays so many different roles in our lives.
[51:00] Do you have somebody to call at 2:00 am in the morning?
[51:30] Srinivas talks about the ‘impact zone’ and how waves in the ocean come in sets.
[57:05] What was Srinivas’s favorite interview that he’s done for his podcast?
[58:25] One experience Srinivas recommends? Catch a wave.
[58:35] Underrated trick for modern day success? The ability to unplug.
[58:35] What book would Srinivas take if he was stranded on an island? Hard to answer.
[59:00] What movie would he take? Blow with Johnny Dep.
[59:20] Who is the most influential creative person of all time? Walt Disney.
[1:00:15] What legacy would Srinivas like to leave behind?
Mentioned in This Episode:
Srinivas on Twitter
Music Credit:
Parlange & Latenite Automatic (
“Labels limit our capacity.”
“People fall into this trap of not being clear of what their creative outlooks actually are.”
“You can be really average at sports or you can be exceptional at this one thing.”

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