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On Being 100% – Working Through the Slumps, Dumps, and Hump Day

What’s up guys? It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted. I’ve been super busy and it’ll been all I could do to keep up with the newsletter, so the blog was put into a couple week’s hiatus. I’m back now! If you’re reading this, that means that you’ve taken some valuable time out of your day to check out my stuff, even though I’ve been gone for a while. So before I get into the “stuff,” I just want to say, thank you! :]

When was the last time you felt like you were at 100%?

Here’s the honest truth: even though I write about optimal human performance, I haven’t been able to get myself running on all cylinders in a while. It’s hard to remember the last time I felt 100%. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve been stressed out, under slept and haven’t been able to get to training as much as I would like. I’ve also been struggling to generate ideas for blog posts (hence the hiatus). Before that, I was training and writing a lot, but my diet was all over the place. Like a game of whack-a-mole, it seems that whenever I get one area of my life sorted, a problem pops up in another.

This has been the source of a lot of stress and frustration. I feel a huge surge of resistance whenever I’m about to take action in the areas where I don’t feel my best. It almost never feels like I’m really ready to start writing a new blog post, or go do a BJJ tournament. 

I know I’m not alone in this. I have this one friend that keeps putting off starting crossfit because he doesn’t feel ready yet. There’s another that says that he’ll come back to BJJ “once his cardio is ready.”

After years of this, I started to recognize that we are seldom at our full capacity. And while it would be nice if we could always be on point, we still have to get things done while we’re off our game.

In The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield says that the difference between a pro and an amateur is that the pro will show up to work everyday regardless of how he or she feels. In contrast, amateurs only work when they feel “inspired.”

Perhaps Pressfield was echoing Faulkner, who said that, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”

More often than not, it is our ability to consistently work through the slumps that determine our rate of success as opposed to the percentage of the time that we are at 100%. This is because “our best, most inspired” performances don’t happen as often as the days when we’re tired, stressed out, and not feeling like it. 

The muse is fickle. We have to accept that creative blocks, burn out, and dips in our performance are part of the terrain – only then will we be able to find the best way to navigate through our personal journeys. 

Faulkner and Pressfield both recognize that taking action trumps waiting for the “right moment.” The future is uncertain. There is no guarantee that tomorrow, let alone the “right moment,” will ever come. Taking action is always grounded in the present, and it is the only thing that actually produces results.

So take action on that thing you’ve been putting off until later. Don’t worry if you don’t feel ready or at your best. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, just “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Joe

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