motivation

Success is not an upright arrow

I used to think that with good motivation, dedication and correct training nothing really could have stopped me and everything would have come to me "easy", work smoothly, with no major interruptions. I thought success (as in training progress) was a straight arrow, slowly but steadily keep pointing up. But training contortion I had to rethink my vision of success and improvement. The arrow, no matter how much motivation, dedication and hard work, NOT always goes straight up, it actually gets stuck, goes down, then up again, etc.

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Your body has its own ways to accept changes (=improve), sometimes it listen to you, other times it doesn't. Your body is a very complex mix of bones, tissues, muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, organs, fluids operated through more complex systems of chemical reactions, hormones, fed by oxygen and nutrients. All of this strives to work in harmony and keep you safe: that's your body's main job. Often times in training you have to push your body to get out of this safe and comfortable zone and so it gets scared, send all sort of inflammation signals and alarms, gets sore and uncomfortable, but eventually IT ADAPTS, because you (your mind) rule, not the other way around.

So this is why success is not a straight upright arrow, because you are not simply a machine, and your body has to work its ways (get sore, strengthen, adapt, slow down, get inflamed, slow down, heal, strengthen, adapt, get sore...!) to adapt to the changes you want to see. You also need to respect your body and know when it needs a break, because it's really the place you live in for your whole life.

Sometime no matter how motivated, you can't improve, you feel going backward, or stuck, even for weeks. This doesn't mean it's over and you won't improve anymore. The good news is, if you keep your head in the game and don't panic thinking you're broken and will never see progress again, you'll keep improving. Those bad times test your will and determination, as well as your patience: if you get over them, you are a step ahead, mentally and physically.

So bottom line is, success is not an upright arrow, you need to push your body out of its comfort zone, yet be understanding and have patience. Work with it, don't fight it, Things will work out :)

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What training taught me about life

On good training days, toward the end of my practice, I enter this "super wise/happy" state ( thank you endorphins) where I understand very clearly some aspects of life, I get great ideas, think motivational quotes and overall I feel a positive attitude toward everything. It sucks that it doesn't last long, but if you can catch some of the thoughts you have during this state and write them down, it can help you on less-happy days. So today I was thinking how much I can relate contortion training (or training overall) with life. Those are some examples:

1. There will ALWAYS be good days and bad days. On good days you'll push yourself forward, on bad days you'll push yourself ... Just enough. But overall you'll always need a "fighter mentality", getting depressed or feeling miserable have really no benefits. You can be mad, cry, let it all out, but then pick yourself up and keep going. Nobody can do it for you, to get over something like a bad day there is only one way... Go through it.

2. Motivation will be high some days, low others. On low days, remember yourself why you do what you do, and think: "today is difficult, but if I go through this, I'll definitely be stronger tomorrow". Motivation helps and makes the journey enjoyable, but if one day is not there, doesn't mean you can take a break. Like a chore, just do it.

3. Pain, fear (as in challenge), fatigue. Life and training share those too. If you train your body to deal with those, your mind will learn and use this approach with different matters other than training. I'm a strong believer that strengthening the body strengthens the mind as well.

4. Patience, perseverance. With contortion I learned even more how important is to be patient. Whenever you want to build something solid, real and long lasting (like a skill, or career, education, relationship) you'll need time. Lot of it. If you stay committed and focus, you'll get there. You have to be serious with your intentions and don't get distracted.

5. Commitment and choices. In life you won't be good at everything nor you'll have everything you want, but SOME, yes. You'll make the conscious decision of what this will be (if you're lucky!), and dedicate your time to it, swear by it, love it and take care of it. Just like marriage, you'll have this approach to a person or a passion (mine is training! If you didn't get it yet lol).

That's it so far! My "high on training" is fading away :)

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