Humans are becoming weak and soft… I think this is tragic.
Human survival of the fittest is extinct. This makes me sad.
We need to ‘toughen up’! We need to lead by example, do it for the future of our children. I don’t mean ‘man up’! , this tradition to suppress emotion in men which is, of course, totally stupid.
I mean we need to be COMFORTABLE WITH DISCOMFORT.
Dads should not be soft. Neither should Mums.
Indiana Jones wasn’t soft. Neither was Lara Croft the Tomb Raider!
I notice myself opting for comfort at times. If I give in and lie in on Sunday morning, I try to enjoy it. Other times I get up and keep moving forward with my plans. Moving forward is uncomfortable. Not the easy path.
Our hot water heater broke earlier this week. No hot water or heating for who knows how long. I wasn’t too freaked out although it is winter and all, I thought we’d survive. Then the kids were sick (vomiting) so they needed a bath, then it was cold, then I really wanted a shower… so my not a big deal turned into being quite painful.
I went for a run and jumped under the freezing shower… I think I tore my lungs when I started hyperventilating under the icy cold water. I definitely need to work on my Wim Hoff breathing!
But afterwards I felt awesome. I’ve had more cold showers this week and loved them… but it is all very uncomfortable. How did our hunter gatherer ancestors survive without central heating? …not to mention mobile phones, the internet or Facebook (lots of sarcasm).
Simply getting up out of our warm snuggly beds in the morning is uncomfortable. Getting up to a cold room (generally better to sleep in a cold room) is difficult.
Every morning when I wake up I think of what Marcus Aurelius says (my highlighting):
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?
—But it’s nicer here…
So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
(Marcus A is the man by the way)
(a cold shower wouldn’t bother Jon Snow)
Cold Showers with Wim?
You may have heard of Wim Hoff, if not, look him up. He cares passionately about humans regaining strength of the body and mind. He also thinks humans are becoming weak. He has built a method (plus a big following) around focusing the mind through putting the body out of its comfort zone. He is aiming to have us do some not so small things like conquer disease, gain focus, find energy, help weight loss, improve sleep and lower stress.
How does it work? The essence of it is to gets out of our comfort zone by taking cold showers. He has developed breathing and physical exercises to prepare for the cold showers. Resulting in an amazing wake up call.
I can tell you from experience that there is no coffee that will make you feel more alive than doing one of his 20 minute sessions and a cold shower. And after a couple of weeks, you will look forward to it.
Humans dominate the world. We have dominated death by keeping ourselves alive at birth (and conquering many diseases). In our recent history, the year 1800 the infant survival rate was 57%, now it is 97%! Most of us survive whether we are the ‘fittest’ or not. Darwinism for the animal, ‘human’, no longer works or at least according to this BBC article, is now survival of the fattest.
Evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns says, “… natural selection appears to be operating to reduce the height and to slightly increase their weight.”
We survive what would have killed us in the past. We are not striving to be the ‘fittest’. We strive for luxury, comfort and the easy path. As Marcus my man says, this is not what human beings are born for. We are engineered through thousands of years of survival to think, to create, to build and to move. These are NOT comfortable tasks. They are challenges that require focus, energy, dedication and action.
“Learn to convert the discomfort of discipline into the satisfaction of personal growth.” – Tony Robbins
What are the side effects to our comfortable life?
What bonus do we get for our success at dominating the world?
- Obesity (yay!… sarcasm)
- Diseases like diabetes
Our creature comforts may be our species downfall. da da dahhhhh! my deep scary voice.
We as humans have a mind and body that works better if we are healthier AND fitter. I see us going the opposite direction. You look at nearly every ‘successful’ person in the world, you will see they are fit of both body and mind. Using and exercising both body and mind every day.
I want to say to all parents, in particular Dads like me… that you need to show your kids that discomfort in the mind and body is OK.
Our kids should know: No good shit happens by staying in our comfort zone.
Do you want your kids to be obese? Get diabetes? Go into depression?
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Neale Donald Walsch
(Maxi race 2015, 85 km and 5200m vertical gain, out of my comfort zone)
We have all this stuff that is specifically for more comfort, sitting in our office chairs, on sofas, at restaurants, on mattresses with air conditioning. Its nice, even helps productivity to an extent but does your body truly like it?… does it get your skeleton, muscles, tendons moving? And we know the body needs to move for the mind to function optimally.
Lets teach our kids how to get outside of the comfort zone at least to have a better shot at taking on life.
A small handful of ways you can get out of your comfort zone,
- Go play outside, ideally in the rain, snow or a thunderstorm.
- Bodyweight exercises, any resistance training in fact.
- Long walk, cycle or run. Take food and water. Go further than you have gone before (ideally build up endurance so you don’t hurt yourself).
- Swim, ideally in the ocean or in a lake.
- Cold shower routine. Or a sauna interspersed with cold showers. Or simply start with alternating hot and cold while having a shower.
- Sport outdoors, regularly and with friends for motivation.
- Read to learn new things. Experiment. Stretch your paradigm.
- Travel, explore locally or further afield depending on what interests you, your family and your budget.
- Camping alone, with kids or with family. Camper van even!
- Enter a sporting event. I entered the Maxi Race in 2015, it was a life changer for me, even after years of sporting events this was still an epiphany.
- Get up early (after going to bed early), get one thing done before the house wakes up.
- Get a standing desk.
Even do something uncomfortable like watching what you eat, by making a resolution to stop bad eating habits (why diets fail) and to overcome a lifetime of pressure from society. It will be uncomfortable to reduce processed foods and sugary snacks.
Include the kids where you can or at least they’ll see you making the effort. Or hear you screaming in the shower. You can tell them what new adventurous challenges you are setting for yourself and attempting. The act of telling your kids will help you follow-through yourself.
(camping with my boy in on a freezing November night, after walking to the top of a mountain)
Find challenges that excite you but also that you are afraid of. It could be working towards 10 pull-ups … or climbing Mt Kilamanjaro… or 5 cold showers a week.
Wim Hoff says, “Challenges bring about the true nature within me. It alerts my body and mind, altering my state of being. It makes me feel so alive! It’s like I always say, “We can do more than what we think.” At those moments when I encounter a challenge, I become extremely aware of the deeper layers of my soul.”
My experience trying the Wim Hoff Method is that it was hard. I did a few weeks then stopped, repeating this. I understand the internal struggle when it is uncomfortable. There is fear, excuses, no time and always distractions.
The Fear is The Way
Anticipation gives the mind time to play out scenarios which often leads to fear. Like me, I bet you have thought about doing a million different, exciting and challenging things… followed by doubt, anxiety and fear – which stops any action. Nothing happens. You don’t grow or learn or live.
How to conquer fear? We can’t. We have to live with it, breath it in and go with it.
“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around it.” Richie Norton
“Don’t think, just do”, brilliant quote from a mate of mine. This strategy which works the best from my experience doesn’t give the fear time to rise and control your life.
How Will You Feel?
How will you feel when you see your kids running through the freezing rain with a smile on their face, in the mud kicking that football or studying hard. They are loving every second of life it’s challenges, stretching themselves and finding happiness being human.
How will you feel when you get up early to get one thing done, go on a long walk or go camping. It is just you and your kid sitting next to the camp fire watching the stars chatting about the day.
How will you feel when you are exploring a new place, out of your comfort zone. Your child is wide eyed learning about new cultures, meeting people and learning about our world.
Be a role model.
Whats the one thing you will do this week that is uncomfortable?
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