Shout out to Bergeron from CFNE. Some of my thoughts came from his business blog and the Again Faster Project. Both are heavily focused on business without forgetting the humanistic side that is so important to us. Because of the balance, they are both well suited for an athlete’s perspective and hit on some very valuable things. Go searching for those. The following is my brain vomit.
As an athlete there is an awkward and pain-staking dichotomy that is training, recovering, nutrition, and the like. There is an “immediate struggle and potential non-adaptive behavior” with the possibility of “choosing comfort now, the immediate reward” over the later reward. Every minute of every day we are given a choice. Yes or no. Now or later. Right or wrong. Good or bad. You name it, it’s there. Not that any of those choices are definably right/wrong, good/bad, but there is certainly a scale to tip one way or the other.
It is not wrong to live your life in the present, in fact I recommend doing so, but that present could lend the possibility of being temporary and without sustenance. If I choose to wake up and have a cup of coffee one day and find myself happy doing so — fantastic. If I also don’t mind the way that makes my teeth look 10-20 years later, then that was most likely a livable decision and one that I value the immediate reward of. Coffee tastes delicious (I’m a black and strong kinda guy), it warms me up in the morning, I brush my teeth regularly, and 20 years later my pearly whites now have a yellowish tinge. My smile remains pleasant, but clearly could have gone a different and possibly “better” route. BUT, I don’t mind my teeth being slightly less white if I can have the coffee on a regular basis. Decision followed by outcome followed by satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Obviously we can relate this to training, diet, professional or family life, and damn near anything else you can get creative with. The point is that there will always be a decision, and no matter the severity of the outcome there will always be a reward or absence of reward.
Will you go to gym for an hour instead of staying on the couch watching another episode of that favorite sitcom on Netflix? Will you keep your nose in the book for an extra hour to test well, present well, or speak well instead of hitting the bar with your friends? Will you and your spouse save money on dinner, stay home with a $3.00 bottle of wine and a simple meal, rather than hit a restaurant with a tab you can uncomfortably afford so you can give your children more and live the life you want later?
All of these scenarios have an immediate decision to be made with a result that will affect the future. What are you willing to do today to get something else tomorrow?