Be tougher. Self mastery fascinates me more than any other single concept.
All the clues you need are in this picture. These are just some of the books I’ve acquired over the last 15 months.
For me, fiction doesn’t come close to the thrill of those stories where actual human beings have asked the impossible of themselves and ultimately delivered.
It’s my own, very small story of hard work and determination, which is really still in chapter one ( or maybe just the preface) that sparked my interest in human endeavour because the most interesting aspect, regardless of the task, is the “head game”.
In the past, I humbly admit, I probably avoided the “head game” in the toughest times of my life, by eating. For some people it’s alcohol, others TV, smoking, drugs, porn, whatever. I could deal with huge stress if there was plentiful sugary food, especially at certain times of the day. Consequently I battled with my weight from about 1992, occasionally getting a grip, but never really mastering a firm hold on the strategy.
So at the end of 2014 I took myself on. I was tens of kilos overweight and despite daily Pilates, couldn’t even move to run across a road. I can’t say definitively what put me in the right frame of mind but I knew something had to change. I had watched an inactive, obese neighbour transform himself beyond recognition under the guidance of a mysterious movement specialist. His wife told me the regime was pretty brutal. Essentially, move more, with attention to form and technique, and live off your own body fat ie fasting, eating tiny amounts when absolutely necessary… and then keep fasting. It took me two years to psych myself up for that.
In another post or probably more, I’ll explain what happened next. Its been epic and a much more multi-faceted beast than I could have predicted. But as I embarked on this gargantuan effort to be the boss of me, my inquiry into self mastery and “being tougher” began.
This post takes it’s name from a piece of advice given to well-known author and podcaster and ( insert insane number of other expertises) Tim Ferriss by Jocko Willink ( apparently the scariest Navy Seal imaginable).
He said “If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.” These words wouldn’t speak to everyone but they speak to me. No excuses. I say it to myself when I run. I couldn’t run at all a year ago.
So, who inspires you?
I’m an unabashedly crazy fan of Turia Pitt who could so easily have allowed her horrendous burn injuries from the bushfire during the 2011 Kimberley Ultramarathon to finish her athletic endeavours forever. The foundation of her whole recovery has been her unbreakable spirit, but as I read her race report after she completed the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2016 I realised she is truly “next level”.
Who is that person for you? I’d be really interested to hear your story of self mastery or of one that really inspires you. Reply in the comments or email me firstname.lastname@example.org