“How the very human trait of persistence and delayed gratification will reap the greatest rewards of all” – Coach Dustin Lebel
You are not a Lion.
Or a shark.
Or any of the other predatory animals that people will often compare themselves to on social media.
And for good thing.
A wolf’s life span, while an incredibly intelligent creature with highly specialized and keen sense for hunting their prey, has an average life span of 6-8 years. The lion, not much better. 10-14 highly competitive, very brutish years. Life is harsh if you’re a wolf or a lion, and your only reward is that might get to reproduce new offspring. Sure, you might not “care about the opinion of sheep”, but that’s because your only concern is not dying.
So not only should we not ‘feed the bad wolf’ with our negative mental thoughts – we shouldn’t try to train like that wolf either!
We human beings, on the other hand, are nothing to sneeze at. You see, we are the undisputed kings of persistence hunting, thanks to our abilities to disperse heat, move bipedally, and survive at all costs. We have brains that are capable of forming concepts, theories and opinions along with understanding complex notions about our very existence and having novel experiences that truly separate us from the pack. We are the most adaptable species on the planet capable of extraordinary feats, and while we may one day be our own demise, if you’re reading this on your iphone or ipad, consider yourself lucky and the ride the wave.
We have the ability to think more acutely, problem solve more accurately, and come up with best case scenarios, alternatives, and means for progress. I’m still waiting for a wolf to create fire.
So what exactly does this have to do you with your training and your progress in fitness?
While I get why people admire certain traits of single minded killers such as the lion or shark, it’s important to understand that you’re not only capable of going after goals and achieving them, but you have the option to do things in such a way that will allow for not only more and continual progress, but greater fulfillment in the long term. That’s right, delayed gratification might be the single biggest ticket to what makes us human given the surge of dopamine that we get when we put off immediate satisfaction now for an even greater reward in the future.
That means that it’s not just about single mindedly grinding away and doing the work, but doing the right work in a thoughtful, diligent manner in a way that will drive training adaptations to the highest possible degree given your goals, genetics, and specific circumstances. Training is therefore not a head down and smash through the opposition approach, but a holistic one that integrates the systems of the body with it’s outside environment. The long term acquisition of fitness requires all hands on deck and the ability to put your ego to the side.
There is a better way, and while it may require putting off what you want to accomplish later for what needs to be accomplished now, the end result is that you will likely exceed your own expectations and embark on a journey that will reward you tenfold.
So, forget about being a wolf or liger or whatever. Just be you. And know that you’re attempting to make the most resilient, highest capacity version of of you, because of your persistence in doing the right things and your ability to adapt to change.
-Coach Dustin Lebel
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