I forget what business summit I was attending but for good or for ill my behaviors as an iconoclast, contrarian, and overall weirdo were being verbally encouraged by the speaker.
It’s fun to finally be commended for going against the tide, of swimming upstream, and NOT doing what everyone else is doing. The speaker was saying that the much maligned “1%”–at least the part that worked for it, and didn’t just inherit it… or those that inherited it and kept it–were there because of BEHAVIOR… namely rare behaviors. It was pretty obvious, pretty quickly that these “rare” behaviors were the same across many different fields, not just business, marketing etc. The main thing was DO the WORK. Focus on the basics, and DO THE WORK.
Did I mention doing the work?
The other thought that goes along with this is the commonly thrown around phrase (and appropriately so) that the best at something (the example is usually sports) are those who are the best at the basics.
Look, I’ve been swinging kettlebells for a several years now and even now I consider that I’m still “working on my swing”. Someone who’s just a year or so into it, or more commonly even less will say that they’ve mastered it. “Mastered” really? REALLY? While they may not intentionally sound so arrogant, its often that they haven’t spent enough time with it to even know what they’re doing is less than optimal. Tai chi is another great example. People commonly work on the same form for YEARS or decades even. Is it “mastered”? Heck no. I still maintain that a lifetime can be spent on the kettlebell swing and on “basic” calisthenics moves. There’s been a theme lately with the posts I’ve submitted to the PCC blog, that’s right, the basics! This one from last week is prime example. Please click here and read it (there’s lots of photos too… I spent about 3 hours in the sun for YOU to get these right. LOL… I’m not a fan of the sun, if that isn’t obvious from my lack of tan).
Time after time after TIME… and especially with mainstream “women’s fitness” we’re presented with what may actually be STAGED and fudged photos of advanced moves… and people get tempted to skip ahead. Now, if the people in the photos are actually able to do and hold what they’re doing, that means they’ve DONE THE WORK especially on the basics. But the basics don’t go viral on Instagram, or Facebook, or any of the fitness websites… Just because it’s clickbait doesn’t mean its going to make you stronger.
Recently a good friend, a very intelligent good friend sent me a video of her doing a fairly advanced calisthenics move… but I immediately noticed several compensations… I wondered (and asked) sooo why are you doing these? Can you do the more basic variety with correct form? The answer was that they were doing this variation for targeting a particular muscle group (uh oh, there’s that old sport-specific bodybuilding mentality sneaking through to fitness again…did you read my article?!) and that the regular version with correct form was actually too difficult for them to do correctly. FRIENDS, this is NOT an isolated incidence, I know because I used to do stuff like this myself. And I’m no dummy either.
But I’d been reading all the wrong things, listening to the wrong people, taking the wrong people at their word, listening to the clickbait (which was in my case some old “for women” books… boo! And now you know another reason I sneak into the “boy’s strength treehouse” so much. I so much as see someone wearing a pink fitness outfit and I just assume they’re about to lie to me. LOL ) So here’s the thing, the secret sauce, the way to get there for the long term. To get the tried and true strength that carries over to any and all things you’re passionate about in life:
Do the work on the basics. Do it. Seriously.
This is humble humble stuff, and it takes a strong mind to be able to commit to it. But the results are the real deal and eventually will allow you the strength, stability, mobility, and confidence to try darn near anything. And who cares what the fakers are doing on social media. I’d never thought about that until someone at another conference came up to me and said, “Oh wow you actually look like your photos!” and then someone else said, “Oh wow you’re smaller than you look in your photos!” (that was admittedly a little disturbing, but whatever).
Do the work!
Do the basics!
Go back and review the basics… and let me know what happens!
We’re in this for real, for being able to do these things anytime, anywhere, right? Not just the flashy split second of a high speed camera, the right lights and some wonky effect. Own it in real life and can bring it to everything you do.
A friend and very cool coach and author, Zach Even-Esh has been training athletes of all kinds to dominate in their sports with such basics… I mean like go outside and pick up a rock and carry it around. I love this simple wisdom. You don’t need 1,000 “fancy” exercise variations to amass amazing strength or athleticism. I sometimes even write what I call “bonehead workouts” which are great for days that have been mentally intense or otherwise stressful. I sure wish I could have talked my teenage self into doing some of these in the 1990s… because let me tell you “step class” was just not cutting it for my intense suburban angst.
Here’s an example of a favorite “bonehead workout”:
10 heavy kettlebell swings, 2-4 tire flips. Repeat 10 times. (Make “caveman noises” if you want to get “advanced”. )
Here’s a workout combo I came up with when I found a random chunk of tree laying around… it would also work famously with a sandbag… those of you familiar with DVRT/Ultimate Sandbag will recognise some of these moves and combinations: