Contradictions in Training: Don’t Put Limits on Yourself But Be Realistic

A couple days ago I wrote a blog post about killer whales and sharks and mentioned that I think I’ll never be one of these. A wise friend mine and fellow competitor (Jimmy) said that I should not put limits like that on myself. That comment got me thinking about the purpose that limits serve in training.

It seems that somehow we are supposed to manage two conflicting forces:

  1. Dream big.
  2. Be brutally honest as to the rate of our progress.

Alright, so these two things meet somewhere in the middle when I start setting objectives: concrete, tough, but reachable goals. But whenever I do that, the “dream big” part drifts out of the equation. I have to be realistic. While self-delusion is a pre-requisite for greatness, it also carries a heavy cost. So there are times when I have to follow my passion and believe the impossible, and there are time when I must bow my head and acknowledge the rational. Happiness lies somewhere in the balance of these two.

This internal struggle is a natural part of figuring out where a serious hobby like jiu jitsu fits in my life. I love competing, because it gives me a chance to face and overcome my fears. I love training because it keeps my ego in check, keeps me healthy, and gives me a chance to interact with some smart and humble folks.

I sometimes ponder the basic competition questions: How badly do I want to win? Where does that desire to win come from? Can I be chasing a difficult goal and at the same time enjoy and appreciate the journey? In my experience, asking these questions too much can be counter-productive. The man who asks about the meaning of life too often, will find that life is meaningless in a rational sense, but it can still be a hell of a ride.

So I guess I would summarize my current approach as: train like there is no limit, but judge your progress as if every step forward is an awesome gift.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *