I had the opportunity to speak to an Intro to Kinesiology class at the University of Alabama on the relationship concerning the two main sides of my career — business (gym ownership) and kinesiology (the body and its movement). We had issues with audio visual so an hour long speaking opportunity got chopped down to 25 minutes; you can imagine my disappointment.
In any case, we got down brass tacks quickly and I was able to leave them with what I believe to be three very important nuggets to serve them well as they decide how they want to put their degree to use.
You will be 100% limited (or propelled) by the limits of your own creativity. I think they misunderstood me initially, but I told them it boiled down to the age old mantra “You can do anything you want if you point your mind to it.” I wasn’t trying to give them a pep talk I was simply describing the scenario of knowing what you want, but there being no clear or already traveled path by others to get there.
Example: if you want to become a dentist look up the requirements to do so. You’ll eventually have to decide in what capacity you want to pursue dentistry, but overall you check the boxes and do what you have to do to become a dentist i.e education (do I simply need to find an accredited bachelors of dentistry program or seek something higher), state board certifications or requirements, practice specifics (private or not), etc.
In my world the path is far less traveled. There are not millions of people to look at who’ve done it before. Essentially you have to carry the machete and bushwhack your way through the brush to create your own trail. Adversity will be high. Things won’t go as planned had you hopped on the nicely paved highway in your comfortable air-conditioned, GPS navigated car to get where you need to go. Favorability is arguable.
If you’re creative in your pursuit, though, you may encounter new territory that would have been impossible to locate otherwise. The road less traveled could be a dangerous one, but it could also be the most rewarding. It all depends on your creativity and resourcefulness.
The next piece I gave them was context. Again, there were a few confused and concerned faces. I gave the example that on their first day of class somebody could have been in the wrong room and not realized until the class had ended. They’d have wasted an hour or more of their time and may have felt a bit embarrassed. The repercussion for that was minimal because it was only an hour and a simple mistake at that. Another example could prove more perilous.
A new athlete walks into my gym curious about the program and excited to get into a new fitness habit. We click and get so wrapped up in the program, their questions about it, and what to expect we forget to ask some pivotal questions that set the stage for context in our training. We go on never realizing our mistake and have a fun, productive 6 months of training. They achieve all sorts of skill acquisition, set weightlifting, gymnastic, and conditioning PRs, and revamp their nutritional habits extremely. The decide to take a week to decompress before coming back for the next half of our program. I get a voicemail and an email venting much frustration and a request to cancel their membership in lieu of the disappointment they expressed in the program’s results.
I later find out the athlete had goals and aspirations to become a top tier MMA specialist. That information never camp up in our evaluation and I was left under the impression they were in search of top tier fitness. We achieved that, but they went on a sparring spree in their week off and got bludgeoned in their ventures. They did not have an ounce of fighting acumen and their weaknesses barred their big, snarly, sharp teeth in the absence of what should’ve been sound fighting technique. Had I asked the right questions and had they described their goals in detail I could have referred them to highly qualified specialist while we took care of the strength and conditioning side necessary for them to succeed.
Context is everything. We can draw a similar example to a fight between a couple. They have a long, drawn out fight over something that was never explicitly discussed. The male is aggravated because he can’t find his gym bag because the female puts it away in the closet in the simple act of trying to keep the house clean. Meanwhile the female had no idea she was causing such pain in her act of simply putting something out of sight, but has to suffer the wrath of being accused of misplacing something important. Small fight I know, but you get the point. Context is king.
The last nugget was balance. I had to be implicit in how important this is. I’ve heard this example before so I’ll reuse it. Kobe Bryant wanted to be the best basketball player of all time, or at the most basic layer, his era. I think we can agree on some level he accomplished that. Jordan before him and now we see Lebron take the stage, but the greatness is obvious. Kobe is, again, implicit on his mission to accomplish the task. He did things people thought were crazy like staying after a practice all night long for a “session” before the next morning practice. He didn’t claim to be a good family member or friend, but damn’t he was going to sit on top of the basketball world. He did just that. He may have skewed his balance greatly, but he knew that was necessary to achieve his goal.
My take home for them, was to assess their goals and aspirations, set the context for the current situation, and decide what sort of sacrifices and life balance they were comfortable with. Only when all those things align will they truly have an opportunity to find success and happiness.
“For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast – a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.”