So I just finished up a three month content effort in a rustic, minimalist boutique farmhouse that I converted into a temporary training space. Despite its prior name “Chillhouse,” it was hardly respite from the edge and anxiety that can come from training.
It was a challenging process.
I’m no stranger to intense efforts, and have put myself through transformation and performance sprints before, but this time didn’t feel like the others. It was harder.
I felt older.
And it’s not that I’ve fallen by the wayside or realized any obvious limitations. I’m fortunate, via Weightlessness training, to be injury free, pain free, strong and focused. It was something else…
I didn’t want to pay the price of admission. That’s what changed.
I don’t mean the cost of space, equipment, or even the time necessary for the project. I mean the will to sacrifice my sense of comfort to make space for more in my life.
Damn was it subtle, and had I not been in this game as long as I have, I think I’d have reasonably overlooked it, or mistook it for indifference or a loss of passion for my craft.
I won’t go into all the reasons age is rarely a good excuse, reasons I’ve covered in my books and other emails you may have received. I don’t train 60-year-olds any differently than I train 25-year-olds – what differences do exist are in relative degree, not in kind.
Studies show that metabolic decline isn’t a given until we’re much older, and those 60-year-olds with the activity level and ratio of lean muscle to total body weight of 25-year-olds, guess what?... they have the same metabolism as those 25-year-olds.
No, we can’t point to age as such, but we can point to what it represents. It represents decades of movement patterns that condition the body into ever narrowing ranges of movement. Pressure on the cervical spine from reclining in bed and watching tv. Squat mobility that’s halved due to accommodating furniture. Elevated insulin levels and hyperactive adrenals from morning stimulants and evening downers. Minds that are conditioned for effortless serotonin release – the spontaneous reach for the phone that gives you a comforting video or an easy ‘like.’
Change demands more from us than money. More than effort. It requires sacrifice.
And the type of sacrifice? The cost of admission?
You’ve got to leave yourself behind.
I’d gotten comfortable. And over the weeks to months of showing up to Chillhouse – some days good, some days bad – it became pretty damn clear that part of me would have to do die… yet again.
It’s not work we do once and reap the benefits ongoing. In fact, there have been a number of times I've seen client expressions sink in Shanghai after concluding a grueling 100-day process when they asked, “What should I do when this is over?” and I replied, “More. This is the beginning. But you have the tools now.”
The greatest illusion we face in the transformation game is mistaking the beginning for the end. A new body, and new mind, a new lease on life.
The beginning. Not the end.
We don’t get to stop there and relish our achievements, for we run the risk of thinking we’ve arrived. The process, if one is committed to change, is one of constant deconstruction.
What burdens am I carrying today that I can set down?
What points of pride are tying me to an old narrative – preventing growth? Which desires am I retaining that are preventing 100% effort?
What is directly in front of me that I’m overlooking?
The beautiful, optimistic point of all this is that we do get to choose:
For it isn’t age that makes any of this harder. It’s the fixed, self-centered habits of comfort that bind us to what we've been, and don't allow us to become.