“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – attributed to Aristotle
I was talking to a friend the other day, partly by way of explaining my frustration with myself, and my situation, and my inability to live up to my own expectations and those of others. What I was saying is that when I’m fully present, I can be quite good. But when I’m overloaded, or distracted, or trying to do too many things at once, it kind of all falls apart (yep I’m human, right?). Not to mention that consistency at some things, like taking a shower every day, is easy. Consistency at other things, like being a good manager … incredibly difficult.
I am consistent at the things that are important to me. What is important to me at this exact moment? In no particular order: my interns, getting my cat’s paperwork in order, planning for Heart, taking care of my injury, the qigong practice, planning my upcoming trips, and being a good host to Susan when she’s here. Training: yes. Diet: a little bit less so. But those are almost more habits than priorities.
What’s not on the to-do list? Furniture shopping. Re-connecting with some people I’ve been neglecting (this can wait until after I return). My inbox. Hubspace. Thinking and acting defensively (wishful thinking maybe). Things that don’t involve lifting heavy weights or sprinting. Training, if I think it’s going to impact my healing.
Perhaps most important? Not being true to my own sense of what really needs to get down. It seems like every time I compromise myself by letting someone else dictate my priorities, I run into issues. Wow, what a surprise right?
You know, you can be as rational as you want but when someone hurts your feelings even if you don’t take it personally, you’re still hurt. And it’s frustrating and annoying, and your gut instinct is either to lash out or defend yourself …. But sometimes it’s like talking to a brick wall. Kind of like trying to explain how many little things which are, in and of themselves, easy, add up to a distraction, the opportunity cost of which is higher than you’d like. And the floggings will continue until morale improves.
How many times do we REALLY change our opinions of a situation or a person anyway? We go in with whatever preconceived idea we have, and we just look for evidence to support that opinion: this person’s stupid, that’s never going to work, he’s never going to change his behaviour, that’s a waste of time, it’ll never work out. You know the saying there’s an app for that? There’s a cognitive bias for that. I just can’t remember the name of it just now. Well, that’s why they’re called self-fulfilling prophecies, whether they relate to you or to others: people tend to rise or sink to the level of others’ expectations. Appearance begets reality. There’s a cognitive bias for that too, I bet.
Speaking of my interns, I love my interns. They are not just fresh faces and energy and perspectives, but also just cool people. Thomas is starting to trust his instincts and analysis more (after all of one week!), and Olivia is such a trooper. She is literally uncovering unmet, unarticulated customer needs in disadvantaged communities, on day 2 of her primary market research. After a day 1 in which her head was spinning in many directions, and I had to carefully redirect her back onto course. It was too cute; she reminded me that I warned her this would happen, that she would have frustrating days where she felt completely lost but it was normal, a part of the process, and I was there to help her see the forest for the trees. Because that’s actually what I’m best at, I think.
What’s moving along fast now is my healing psoas. I had some acupuncture and physio on my rest day last week and it felt better than it had in weeks the next day. So of course I did what any sensible person would do … I went and threw heavy weights over my head and then did a whole bunch of pullups. Which actually felt fine, in my back … what didn’t feel fine was my grip between the rowing and the kettlebell swings!! Then we went out for all you can eat sushi. Epic. Those places will definitely lose money on me, guaranteed.
I also had a nice weekend where I didn’t crack the laptop the entire weekend, which probably explains why I am so horribly behind in my emails, and stressed. Stress woke me up after 5.5 hours of sleep on Monday night and prevented me from getting back to sleep. That is highly unusual. Good news is the sleep deprivation will keep me properly resting for the next week or so at least.
Was also chatting to a friend about how my view on bad situations is now evolving. I used to be a firm believer in either accept the situation, or change it, or leave it. But actually, it’s not that simple now is it? Some situations you can’t just leave, but you’re powerless to change it, actually, and you certainly can’t accept it. These cause stress.
Anyway: happier thoughts. Saturday CF charity workout “Hope” – this was a Fight Gone Bad style workout. Five stations, one minute each station, three rounds, with one minute break in between rounds. Burpees, power snatch, box jumps, thrusters, chest to bar pullups. For the most part it was fine: my back was stiff in warmups but was fine by the time I got to the barbell although I did take it a bit easy on the thrusters. More to the point I made a tactical error in minute #2. In such a workout the secret is to keep a steady pace and not spike your heart rate. I dramatically overestimated my ability to power snatch the light barbell without resting … and spiked my heart rate. And my pullups were absolutely pathetic (hence the ‘no ego’ photo above …. waaah that bar looks far away!!). But actually I did about as well as I expected score-wise and I had a miserable good time. Then we went out for burgers.
Then to the martial arts studio for massage and conversation, went to Hollie’s for a drink, then to Mandy and Peter’s for dinner with Hollie, and lovely Alex and her husband. Sunday morning more massage (this one wasn’t free, sadly!), followed by Sandbar brunch, cleaned the house, and headed down to Nordhoek to have a quick hike and a longer chat with my newly found friend Amy. I love many of my old friends but sometimes you meet new people and JUST LOVE them. Amy’s one of those.
Instincts are an interesting thing. This is the subject of many books, but what gets my antennas up is a couple of things. One is when you feel like there’s an impending train crash. But I hate being Cassandra so I usually shut up.
Another is when there’s clearly more going on than meets the eye, and you don’t know why. Or you suspect, but you’re not sure. I hate uncertainty. Well, Occam’s Razor is always a good rule: the simplest explanation is probably the correct one. And that, my friends, is what makes purposeful meditation like MindScape so powerful.
Cause, effect … hard to know which is which sometimes. But the qigong opening meridians and ways of thought might be finally, FINALLY calming me down about letting my body take the time to do its healing thing. I’m now capable of taking off over half the days in a week from training and not getting upset about it. I mean hell, a day with a hectic rehab session or acupuncture isn’t exactly a “day off.” Maybe I’m finally growing up (I’m quite convinced that Kim telling me to rest is like the pot calling the kettle black BUT at least I’m not lying to him by omission any more, and hey sometimes do as I say and not as I do is valid. I’ve always hated ad hominems. Like underestimating young people. Moving on.).
Speaking of, I’m not ready to say that I prefer it to CrossFit, but the more time I spend there the more I like it, and the people. I remember the first time I walked in (to the old location). Hobbled, more like it. It was intimidating as all get-out, and I’m not easily intimidated. But now, I feel like it’s family. And there’s a place in Cape Town that I enjoy and look forward to going to as much as CrossFit. Now THAT’s saying something.
  • “Ellie’s it’s never just a workout.” – Rika
  • “A cupcake and a muffin can’t both be a muffin.” – Benii
  • “If anything hurts, stop.” – Chris (only funny because he said it right before a workout that’s notoriously painful)
  • “Shame, he is gentle.” – Bridget (for the record, this is not a shame!)
  • “Is he South African?” – Amy (as though that explained everything!)
  • “It all comes down to what you believe.” – Debbie
  • “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, or the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” – Jeff 


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