Paying the price

Paying the price

Life will pay whatever price you ask of it. You’re getting what you’re asking for. Whatever you focus on in life is going to happen. When you decide what’s most important for you, your brain goes after it.

-Tony Robbins

I wanted to start with that. Lately I have not been asking life for anything, and it has given me exactly what I have been asking for. The status quo….These past few weeks, I have just slothed (I am declaring this an actual word) my way through the day. I have been playing not to lose. I haven’t gained any weight back, lost any money, gotten divorced, etc.

sloth

Last night I watched the video that contains the quote I started out with. I will leave a link below. DAMN IT IF HE WASN’T RIGHT. I have come to the realization that if I ask life for more now, I am less likely to be the victim of circumstances that I have created, even if it was created through indifference. I can tread water till the sharks get me, or I can swim to shore. Or better yet, out to the boat and go from there.

I don’t really blame myself, or even anyone else who has ever been in this same situation. Life is hard. And when it gets easy, we get comfortable very quickly. It starts as a break. Just a little “me” time. The longer the break, the more painful it is to resume whatever it was you stopped doing. And since we all try and seek pleasure, yet avoid pain, we start to rationalize and justify further slothiness. Who wouldn’t right? You spend every day getting your ass kicked by either your own goals and desires or by the whims and wills of others. Once in a while it’s nice to just relax. Like my furry friend above.

But you can’t and you shouldn’t.  I realize that now. I need to mentally align myself and get myself in a high enough energy state that I am willing to accept no less than constant progress. Now I am not talking about leaps and bounds. I am talking about those every day inches that add up to miles in the end. When I am in the gym lifting weights my goal is to get stronger. Progress doesn’t have to be a sudden 20 pound increase in my one-rep max backsquat. Progress can be steady however slight. One more rep than last time. One more pound.  In the end it all adds up. Sure there are days when you go for it and get aggressive. Your super motivated with more energy than usual so why not go for it. But every day it should be another inch forward.

And I am not just talking about the gym. Physical is a big part of it. But what about the mental? The spiritual? Relationships? I am not getting what I want out of any of these areas because I have stopped asking. When you ask for more, more is demanded of you in return. Everything is a two way street. In order to really feel gods love, you need to know what it is to love god.  In order to be in the relationship that I want, I need to be the man my wife needs. When you ask life for more, intelligently not just some vague notion like “I want more money”, and in a focused and mindful manner, you define and set a goal for yourself. Your brain will then start to do what it takes to achieve that goal. All you need to do is feed it energy and keep it on track. Life then takes care of the rest.

I took a break. I stopped feeding it.

Stephen King is one of my all time favorite authors. He has been since I was in middle school. He published a series of short stories under the name of Richard Bachman. One of them was called The Long Walk. In the story, every year 100 teenage boys are picked to participate in “The walk”. An endless marathon walk at 4 mph with no finish line. The walk terminates when only one boy remains. He literally out-walks everyone else. He is also the lone survivor because to drop out is to die. The walk is relentless and grinds everyone under it’s heel until only one remains.

Sounds like life doesn’t it? Jump back to what I said earlier about taking a break. You drop out of the walk. Stay out long enough and you never get back in. Those of us who compete or drive for success see it all around us. The insincere drop away first. Next the well-intentioned but underprepared. Then those who had a goal and met it. All that remains are those of us who just want to metaphorically keep walking. Keep pushing , keep progressing. That is why high level achievers are people who seem to never be satisfied. Society then sometimes labels them overachievers and projects our own failures and insecurities onto them.

I realize now that in order to meet whatever my goals are, I need constant progression. Constant results no matter how small. We all do. I always make a plug for having goals. My only flaw is that I try and meet my own too fast. Or I set goals too easily achievable. Then what? I don’t want to dropout. I want to keep walking. I think deep down we all do at some level.

I rambled a bit here, but I haven’t posted in a while and I have been sitting around doing a lot of thinking. Too much apparently. Ciao for now.

 

 

 

I was just thinking

I was just thinking

As I was waltzing through YouTube, I came across a video that made me pause and think. It was a video of a guy named Elliot Hulse, who talks a lot about strength, fitness and a lot of stuff I general. He was doing a video based on a question he was asked by a subscriber. “Why are prison inmates so jacked?” He speculated that this was based on the prison environment itself causing a physiological response in people, causing their testosterone levels to increase, which leads to large increases in lean muscle mass. Now I am not suggesting that people go to prison to get ripped. Orange is not the new buff.

jacked

But I couldn’t help but think there may be some truth to his statement. Follow along here and in the end I will try to address a few fundamental things. We will all agree that in our penal system there are some large and muscular fellows. Quite a few actually. Now we can eliminate a number of things that are the cause just based on circumstance. First, diet. Prison food is by no means a success path for long-term muscle gains. Second, steroids are not exactly rampant in prisons….I think drugs and cell phones have more of a priority on the smuggling list. Third, you can’t just run down to GNC for protein powder, BCAA’s and Creatine. And last is the amount of time and equipment necessary to maintain large muscles. Prison yards/gyms are not your average Gold’s Gym and it’s not like an inmate has hours on end to work on his/her physique.

So having said all that, is it possible that what we are seeing is a reaction to environment? It sort of fits doesn’t it? But I can’t find any studies to back it up. It’s just sort of a logical theory based on how humans physiologically adapt to their surroundings.

Now take that same theory outside the prison walls. In 2006 Reuters published a story that showed the average man’s testosterone levels dropping steadily over the years. The results of that being increased obesity, decreased fertility and a rash of other related health problems.  Is this slackening of hormone production a result of our environment?  All those things that testosterone does for us are proving to no longer be necessary for the perpetuation of the species.  I don’t need to chase down prey in order to eat. I am not fending off predators and competing tribes. And last I knew, my wife did not marry me based on my ability to slay and drag home a haunch of mammoth.

If these activities are no longer necessary in order to get by in the world, is it possible that our bodies just stop expending resources to produce testosterone at that high of a level? Is this evolution? Is this the future and where does that take us as a species? I know many men whose excessive manliness is not seen as a positive (and it isn’t once you cross a certain line). But I also know a lot of men, who can’t fend for themselves if they were caught in the rain out in a city park, let alone fend off a mugger or chase away an overly aggressive stray dog. And you have to ask yourself “is this what men have become because women expect it, or have women just accepted it?” If so does that mean that nothing should be done about it?

men

This is just a casual observation and a theory. I am not suggesting anything even be done. More like just thinking out loud. Are women to suffer the same type of fate? If hormonal response is truly linked to environment, and our bodies are physiologically adapting to changing times, what then happens to estrogen levels? Maybe it’s already happening to women. Excess estrogen is as, if not more problematic, than excess testosterone. It can lead to weight gain, increase breast cancer risk, and screws with the menstrual cycle. I can Google symptoms and causes for both and tell you it is correctable to an extent. But should we? I say yes if it prevents health issues but that’s just a band aid. We aren’t fixing the problem, just masking it and that means it only gets worse over time as we “evolve” more.

People think I am crazy when I talk about things like this. But our bodies are incredibly complex, intricate, and interconnected systems, designed by evolution to adapt to our surrounds and allow us to survive as a species. Just like plants and small furry mammals do. We are so complicated that we think we actually understand ourselves and we don’t. And I think that causes us to rationalize things to our particular worldview and overlook the obvious. We often don’t see that when we change something, the way we eat, act, behave, that over time if it is consistent enough it can have physiological implications.

Are we all becoming victims of our social environment?

Don’t you hate it when someone ends a blog with a question?