Make It Easy
Self-flagellation is a form of laziness
I like to make things harder for myself than they need to be.
A voice nestled in my head tells me that success or progress must feel difficult.
All great things require suffering, right? That’s what we see in movies and read in biographies.
Yet some of my most successful posts have been the easiest to write and required the least editing. And my fastest runs often feel the most effortless.
But I still fall into the self-flagellation trap.
Rather than thinking, planning, and making a better strategy, my thought process is “I’ll drive myself into the ground and if I fail, then at least I know I gave it my all.” But there’s no reward for making hard things more challenging. And progress doesn’t need to feel arduous.
Going harder on yourself than necessary is another form of laziness. And in many cases, going too hard can hinder your progress.
Last week while working out I decided my first round would consist of 10 sets of 10 dips followed by 10 sets of five pull-ups. Because I don’t usually have access to a dip bar, dips aren’t part of my normal exercise routine. So doing 100 dips in 15 minutes destroyed my chest. I was sore for four days which meant I couldn’t train my chest effectively.
Meanwhile, I do pull-ups all the time.
I handled 10 sets of five pull-ups with enough challenge to get stronger but not so much I was sore for days after. That meant I could do pull-ups for the next four days while I had to go easy on my chest so it could recover. If I had done fewer dips the first day, I could have done more the next four days and completed more total volume for the week.
Pushing myself too much hurt my overall progress.
As I’m stubbornly learning, making things hard on yourself is only a way to guarantee reduced future capacity.
Destroy yourself in a workout and you won’t be keen to exercise in the future. Slam your head against a wall on one project for too long and you won’t want to return to your desk.
That doesn’t mean hard work and effort aren’t involved. But self-flagellation doesn’t guarantee success.
The right amount of effort is like holding a crystal ball in the palm of your hand.