Friday, March 01, 2013

The Unnecessary Cost of Dread

Approaching the end of week 1 of "Forced Discipline and Regimen Month" I am reminded of an important lesson I have forgotten since I was 17.

Look here at this video.

You'll notice the girl spends many minutes agonizing and fearing the jump off the cliff.  It is not until her boyfriend pushes her does she actually go.  I had a similar experience when I was 17 jumping off of the Interstate Park cliffs into the St. Croix River that separates Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The cliffs are 100 feet tall and they go straight down into the water.  I remember climbing up to the top of them and there there was a similar hemming and hawing as your eyes and brain tried to rationalize and take in the precipitous fall.  However, that is the WORST part of it.  Once you commit yourself to jumping and do it, it isn't that bad.

The lesson I learned from it was not to look.  Looking only leads to dread and fear, and is the unnecessary price you pay for a task that, though thrilling, is not going to hurt you.  And when it comes to working out, it is the same thing.

I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE lifting weights.

It's boring.  It is mind numbing.  And the only benefit is physical.

However, since I hate it so much, I dreaded doing it.  But much like cliff jumping or cliff swinging, it was the dread that made it 10 times worse than it actually was.  In other words since blindly committing to lifting weights, I no longer let my brain entertain or contemplate the option not to.  Since blindly committing to running 6 miles the days I don't lift, I don't let my brain fear the temperatures or cold.  And since blindly committing to not drinking and avoiding carbs, cravings have gone away.  In just putting your fatherly foot down on your own mind and saying, "we're doing this" there is no chance for your brain to fear or dread it, making it all that much easier.  There is no debate, there is no discussion, there is no rationalizing your way out of it.  It's just a daily chore, you're going to do and the calories of energy you'd normally spend dreading doing it are now repurposed into doing it.  It is a skill definitely worth learning.


August said...

I have learned, from having blood drawn, that I have to look. I know, apparently, I am different from almost everybody in this regard. Everybody else wants to look away; I've got to see them stick that needle in my arm. I don't think I could let them do it if I wasn't watching. I don't know if this translates into jumping off of cliffs, but I immediately thought about it. I probably would have to look there too.

Suzanne McCarley said...

Thanks. I needed that.

By The Sword said...

Try moving heavy objects like rocks, bricks or tires. You won't get bored.

taterearl said...

"It's boring. It is mind numbing. And the only benefit is physical."

I go for the mental aspect as much as the physical. There is no better way to remove stress or to put anger to good use (after the exercises) than to throw those weights around like they were your *****.

Doing the same exercises leads to boredom so I do like to change it up. That helps too.

Reluctant Paladin said...

My cliff has always been women. I'm a shy guy and I don't relate entirely well to people except in professional situations so social life and dating are hard for me. I've taken a few leaps, but very few have landed me in good cool water, but I get better every time.

Currently my plan is to devote the rest of this month to self improvement. I've got a new gym membership and a consult with a personal trainer next week. Lets hit it!

jaericho said...

Spot on Captain!

@August: you're not the only one that has to look at the needle while giving blood.

Man Ex Machina said...

"It's boring. It is mind numbing. And the only benefit is physical."

It feels this way at the beginning, sure. But it's difficult to describe the rush of confidence and sense of accomplishment you feel once lifting becomes a habit.

Keep at it, Cappy Cap.

RM Odom said...


Why do you dislike weights? Do you have a decent regime which forces you to push yourself? Do you do high weight - low rep (like 12 reps) because once you have proper form and break times figured out, those regiments end up being some of the most manly things yo do during the week.

Only physical? Well it helps your brain for starters, so after the workout your mind is benefiting not just from the endorphins bt the improved blood flow. And I would even argue (as an epistemological agnostic) that it's healthy for the soul. You are constantly pushing yourself to the breaking point and then triumphing. No matter how hard it is, you overcome that shit.

I'd recommend getting some kettlebells and working out with those.

Also get a goal. Not just 'workout' every day, but weight gains/losses, strength gains, ect ect. Once you have a goal and regime and work on it for 30 days you'll have the habit down pat and it will improve your life immensely.

RJ said...

By running that much, you are cancelling out the benefits of lifting weights. When a male runs more than 2 miles, his body begins to produce more estrogen. That's why all of the marathon runners look like women.

Anonymous said...

I don't lift weights...they're heavy.

Colton Hornstein said...


Anonymous said...

i used to hate weights too until i started circuit training in college. i think of it as running for 30 minutes which i hate to do, but i really hate sitting around and waiting when doing weights. instead of doing sets then resting, i do lots of low weight high rep exercises, hitting all major muscle groups with no breaks. you'll be exhausted and the time flies by. or check our hershal walkers workout routine, i dont think he ever picked up a weight and that guy still competes in athletics.

Anonymous said...

Try tracking your progress. I create graphs with excel. Somehow if I am pushing myself to keep the vector going in the right way it is motivating.