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Category: Psychology

Practical vs. Personal

There is a growing trend in the fitness community towards working out with practicality in mind rather than aesthetics; “functional fitness.” I’ve been part of that movement for a long time and find myself amenable to its premise: fitness is most useful and rewarding when it develops usable skills and attributes that can be applied in daily life. For me, parkour began as exactly that: a practical set of skills to help me escape in the rare event of conflict. Read more →

Habits: All-or-Nothing or Everything-in-Moderation?

I was listening to Gretchen Rubin discuss her new book on habits on a podcast. She pointed out that people tend to gravitate towards one of two general approaches towards making habit changes, which can be referred to as all-or-nothing and everything-in-moderation. There are strong advocates in both camps, arguing either for absolute rules and no deviation whatsoever or the more laissez-faire approach of allowing for some flexibility in behavior using the 80⁄20 rule or another similar system. Read more →

A Journey Toward Self-Confidence

For most of my life, I have been shy and reserved. In any social situation I generally stayed quiet and listened to others rather than becoming involved, preferring to stay on the periphery. I felt more comfortable being the outsider. Although that’s how I acted most often (and I still do when I’m way beyond my comfort zone) it does not reflect my true nature: how I act when no one is watching. Read more →

Resting Smiley

“When no one is looking and you’re not trying, what shows on your face?” - Seth Godin   _The title and post are inspired by a blog post of the same title by Seth Godin, Resting Smiley Face. My answer? Intensity. More often than not I’m lost in my own thoughts or focused on the task at hand, and I display the face to match, one with focused intensity. When I was growing up my mother would frequently comment about my tendency to be intense, and with the benefits of hindsight I see it clearly. Read more →

On Falling

Time from error to impact: <1s. Look bad? Posting the failure here hurts more than the fall itself. That’s despite it being the worst fall I’ve had in recent memory. Sometimes it’s the middle ground that’s the most dangerous of them all. If the drop after the vault was bigger then I’d have more time to fix my in-air position (it’s happened before and I always landed on my feet). If it were smaller there would be minimal impact. Read more →

Passion, Purpose, and Practicality (Part 3 - Practice)

“Passion is the wind in your sails, but practicality is your rudder.” -Danielle LaPorte In Part 2 we looked at how purpose can help you select an art with high odds of developing into a passion. Examining that same purpose can also help us decide on our direction for practice. After all, practicing an art because you love it is amazing, but it can lead to a scattershot approach if you don’t know precisely where you’re aiming. Read more →

Passion, Purpose, and Practicality (Part 2 - Selection)

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. -Ralph Waldo Emerson In the previous post we talked about passion and how it can provide you with motivational fuel to keep practicing. But passion tells us little about how to choose; choosing an art to develop, or if you’ve already chosen, what to focus your practice on. That’s where purpose comes in. Read more →

Passion, Purpose, and Practicality (Part 1 - Feeling)

Passion doesn’t need to be constantly fiery and all consuming; it can be a steady curiosity and commitment. You don’t need to want to die for your calling or chain yourself to a tree for your cause. Genuine curiosity and sincere interest are burning coals that can warm you for a good, long time. -Danielle LaPorte Seeking out passion in work has become a huge trend of late. The internet is teeming with blogs and websites dedicated to passionate work; work with purpose. Read more →

Digging for Energy: How Play Feeds the Body and Soul (and where I potentially make a fool of myself)

I uncovered a hidden source of energy recently. Though now suspect that it had been there all along, lurking in the shadows as I was (metaphorically!). The problem was I never was able to harness the energy before because I was too shy and afraid of embarrassment. I was suppressing any urges to do it and get down when opportunities presented themselves. Nope, I’m not being euphemistic here, just intentionally vague. Read more →

How to Succeed After You've Failed and Fallen

Dealing with failure is difficult. With practice brushing past the little failures that have few repercussions becomes easy. Easy enough to pick yourself up and try again immediately without hesitation. However, if you get hurt, sometimes even a little, fear seeps into your mind. When that fear of failure gains a foothold, you’ve got a battle on your hands. When practicing Parkour situations like that come up often. Little injuries happen that cause just enough pain to worry your subconscious (lizard) brain, which can trigger hesitation on your next attempt. Read more →

Discomfort, caffeinated squirrels, and a dash of viking blood

I came to a painful realization earlier about a choice I made in Switzerland. I had just arrived at the first farm I was volunteering at. Within a couple of days I was beginning to feel incredibly frustrated and uncomfortable in the situation. Of course, I knew this was going to happen, after all, I could barely speak the language. The farm and the surrounds were beautiful and the other workers were fun to be around, so that wasn’t adding to the discomfort at least. Read more →

Mindfulness

Clearly I have been watching way too much Batman lately, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind when the subject of mindfulness comes up. More to the point, scars are what I find myself getting when I am most definitely not being mindful during training. In fact, almost every serious cut, bruise, or injury that I have ever received during training has been the direct result of in some way not being completely mindful; sometimes from not taking a jump seriously, overestimating my abilities (usually when tired), or for some of the stupidest ones thinking I was “done” for the day then getting hurt on they way back home… I think I might have a handle on this mindfulness business now though. Read more →
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