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Fitness and Competition
A video of Mark Zuckerberg doing combat training (mostly Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu) recently crossed my Twitter feed, and one of the first comments made me cringe:
"Respectfully, seriously? I thought we moved past this bravado?"
Aside from being an awful take, this comment is a symptom of larger problems with society as a whole. Learning martial arts is now seen as "unnecessary bravado" instead of respected for the physical and mental mastery it provides. Zuckerberg was literally mocked for training and trying to better himself.
We have normalized comfort, and stigmatized physical hardship. The niceties of modern offices combined with overbearing HR departments cause us to go through life with fake smiles and elevated cortisol levels. There's a reason the movie Fight Club struck a chord.
Combat sports aside, the very concept of enjoying hard workouts is seen as strange. Heaven forbid you lace up some gloves and learn to defend yourself. Masculinity is viewed as toxic and inappropriate while we applaud strong women like Serena Williams following her last match. Strength should be celebrated universally! We have become too concerned with making everyone feel good and not concerned enough with holding the standard.
Ancient cultures realized the importance of physical hardship and competition. We are, after all, animals at our core. When we don't scratch this itch, the tension builds slowly. Physical challenges, whether fitness or combat, provide the release for this tension. We are hard-wired to compete, but have stripped away so many opportunities to test ourselves in the modern world.
There is plenty of science to prove that exercise makes us healthier and improves our quality of life. Why don't we stop pretending that people who enjoy it are abnormal? Furthermore, let's continue to applaud those who willingly embrace challenge on a regular basis. Society at large needs more of it.
The most interesting things I've encountered this week
What I'm reading: "The 21-Day No-Complaint Experiment" by Tim Ferris
This is an old blog post that Tim recently resurfaced in his newsletter. I've gone through similar experiments and can say, without question, that they improved my overall mood and outlook on life.
What I'm also reading: "How to Escape the Busy Trap" by Sahil Bloom
I'm often guilty of responding "busy, but good" whenever I'm asked how I'm doing. The fact I feel the need to include "busy" at all is telling of a larger problem. Bloom does a great job of addressing this issue and providing some ways to combat it in this blog.
More bags: Tom Bihn bags
So, after talking about the Nutsac Sling with some friends, I was given a thorough education on this particular brand of backpacks. I was told that these bags are "smarter than me" and I can't help but agree. After test-driving one for a bit, I'm sold. The features are great, the organization is top-notch, and there is a zealous online community of people who share how they get the most out of their particular bags. If you want to nerd out on packing and optimizing your everyday carry, these bags are for you.
Quote of the week:
This quote is a direct extension from today's blog -- we are all meant to engage in competition, combat, etc. The more we fight this and try to separate our mental pursuits from the physical, the worse off we are at both. Physical and mental challenges are both necessary for us to be the best version of ourselves!