I promise all my readers at least one good book recommendation per week, and this is it!
Neil Pasricha’s new book, You Are Awesome, is the subject of today’s book discussion.
I was so grateful to be able to read it before it came out, and I was able to come away with about a page full of notes and LOTS to think about.
Turns out I do several of the things he suggests already, such as taking an “Untouchable Day” each week in order to dive deep into creative work.
But there’s so much more here for all of us, and Neil has written a very generous book that I feel better for having read.
I not only FEEL better, but I AM better.
Today we’re going to be discussing failure, and, surprise surprise, I’m going to talk about how we can learn about failure in the gym.
Today’s Book on Amazon: You Are Awesome, by Neil Pasricha
FROM MY NOTES:
“Growing up, my mom never let her story finish.”
“I decided I had to find it. A positive thing. I just had to turn over a new leaf! I just had to change the channel! So when I got home from work I turned on…CNN. Do not do that.”
“The world is full of bad news and our primal brains are desperate to read it so our media outlets are desperate to hawk it for dollars. The solution is to be intentional about your attention. Chop all sites out, and then choose the issues that you care about, study them deeply, and act accordingly.”
Success blocks future success. That means that if you stick with the thing you’re “kinda good at”, you won’t move on to the thing that you love more than anything in the entire universe.
“You win some, you learn some.”
Set aside a failure budget that you use to try (and fail) at some new things. Decide on a dollar amount or a figure that you’d be comfortable “losing”, and strike out in order to learn something new. Two-figures, four-figures, it’s up to you.
“You wouldn’t be ‘here’ without ‘there’. And you can’t get ‘there’ without ‘here’.”
“We brag about our incredible trainers or yoga teachers, but we rarely hear people bragging about the therapist who just got them to process all the guilt they’ve been carrying around since childhood.”
“You’ll be fine. It’s simple economics. There are far more problems and opportunities in the world than there are talented and hard-working people to solve them. The world needs talent and hard work to solve its problems so people with talent who are hard workers will have endless opportunities.”
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In simple terms, muscle growth is an adaptation to stress.
You stimulate the muscle with more stress (more weight, more reps, longer time under tension, higher intensity, etc), and the muscle is stronger next time.
You break down the muscle in the gym and, as you recover, a supercompensation process takes place, and you soon have brand new muscles to show off at the bar.
Well it turns out that training to failure is the best way to shock the muscle into growth (it sounds cooler when Arnold says it), but most people don’t do that, because training to failure fucking HURTS.
Most people stop lifting when it starts to hurt, but if they keep pushing past the “pain period”, they reach REAL muscular failure, which is where all the growth occurs.
Well that’s like life isn’t it!
You can LIVE to failure too. It’s so simple, yet it took me something like 27 years to figure that out. It’s really only in the last 2–3 years that my growth has really taken off.
And there’s more.
Once you really start looking for it, the same concept keeps popping up EVERYWHERE.
Shit, even in The Divine Comedy, when Virgil is leading Dante out of Hell, the exit is located…precisely in the center! The nine circles of Hell in this case would represent the “pain period”, the same period where all the growth occurs.
If you keep looking even further, you’ll find that in guided LSD experiences, led by a trained therapist, the patient will be taught to go TOWARD what they fear, whenever a terrifying image rises to consciousness.
When the same concept keeps popping up in different contexts, you can tell that it’s important.
But can you live this way?
Of course you can!
You can LIVE to failure. You can approach what you thought were your limits, and then you can keep pushing against them, even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts. It will help to know that there’s a good reason for this, and that you’re not just doing it to punish yourself.
All the growth you want is on the other side of that pain period.
That’s the part of failure that not enough people are talking about.
Anyway, it’s chest day today, and I’m due for my appointment in the Ninth Circle of Hell, aka The Bench.
All the best,
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