I'm reading a book right now called Mastery by George Leonard. It's about the keys to success and long-term fulfillment. I haven't finished it yet, and I already would recommend EVERYONE buy a copy of it. So today's blog isn't a summary of the book, itself.
Still, this notion of "mastery" is intriguing, especially in the context of our style of exercise and the overall pursuit of long term health.
"You realize you came to tennis not only to get exercise but also to look good, to play with your friends, to beat your friends. You decide to have a talk with your teacher. How long, you ask, will it take you to master this thing? Your instructor responds, "Do you mean how long would it take for you to automatically get into position and hit a forehand effectively to a target?...Well, for somone like you, who starts tennis as an adult, if you practice an hour three times a week, it would take, on average, five years." ... You realize that you have a decision to make at some point along the journey, if not now. You're tempted to drop tennis and go out looking for another, easier sport. Or you might try twice as hard...Or you could quit. Of course, you could also do what your teachers suggest and stay on the long road to mastery." - George Leonard
Is there any movement/skill that you believe you have mastered? Double Unders? Cleans? Rowing? What about your nutrition? Your sleep?
If not, why?
Clearly the daily workouts would be easier and more effective with mastery of the movements. Nevermind the argument for mastering nutrition, sleep, mindset when it comes to the pursuit of long term health. So why haven't you mastered them?
Common answers I hear go something like this: We don't do the movements often enough. We only practice during the warm-up and then do the movement in the workout. It's been 3 weeks since we last saw that movement. I don't know what I should be eating. I don't have 8 hours available in my day for sleeping.
Sound familiar? And the thing is, these aren't even "excuses." They're truths!
But here's my stance on it. These truths aren't what stop us from mastery. Most of us prevent mastery before the obstacles ever trip us up. The bird can perfect the technique of flying and grow the strength to walk to the edge of the branch. But there had to be a definitive decision to master flight before any of that could take place.
Do you want mastery over your workouts? Do you want mastery over your nutrition? Do you want mastery over your long term health? Then there must be a desire - a driving passion - to pursue mastery. More importantly, there must be a clear understanding of your why. For the bird, flight is instinctive and necessary for living. Your pursuit of mastery must be as visceral as the need to fly or die.
Because mastery is a tough process. As the books explains, mastery requires repetitive cycles of struggle, learning, implementation, and correction. It requires extreme humility and patience. It flies in the face of our societal need for instant gratification. And it requires sacrifice of some other area(s) of your life. Is the objective worth it? Do you understand your why?
More specifically, do you believe that you are worthy of pursuing your why? How many of you know your why but don't believe you can have your why? What if you pursue mastery and come up short? Can you truly accept the journey as "enough" justification to pursue mastery? Or - let's get really scary - what if you pursue your why and ACTUALLY ATTAIN it?
We'd like to think that safe enjoyment of daily routines as part of controlling your overall, long term health is absolutely worth it. And we definitely believe YOU are worth it. Books like the one I'm reading, programs like ours can guide you to mastery. The tools exist to learn the technique and to grow the strength to walk to the end of the branch. But mastery demands that you are committed to the pursuit of the outcome before you leap. And that you believe you are worthy to push for that success.
Are you ready to fly?