Justin Wright

Weekly Recap - Week of 12.27.21

published5 months ago
5 min read

Happy Monday!

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Work Like a Lion

Over the next few weeks my goal is to highlight some habit-centric topics as we phase into a new year and many people begin pondering goals and resolutions. There are many ways to do this process incorrectly; I have been guilty of many resolutions gone awry because I either didn't formulate them correctly or, as is more commonly the case, burnt myself out trying to achieve them.

Burnout is very real, especially in a modern world that moves at the speed of light and pelts us constantly with the images of others' success. It's easy to feel like you're getting left behind, like you need to grind non-stop in order to succeed. While hard work is required, working hard without proper planning is a recipe for disaster.

It's important to do two things when it comes to hard work: first, you must make sure that you are working on high-leverage tasks. Clearing out your inbox and putting out the subsequent fires may be time-consuming, but spending your day buried in emails almost guarantees you won't contribute something meaningful and important that day. Secondly, working hard requires that you follow bouts of intense effort with at least a temporary bout of relaxation.

One thing I've learned from being involved in fitness the last decade is the importance of rest with regard to maximizing progress. Over the years, I have encountered many motivated individuals who want to improve yesterday, not realizing that consistent slow progress always beats out bursts of intensity followed by burnout or injury. You can only bend things so much before they break, and living a life of high intensity can lead to a slew of other issues both mentally and physically.

The concept of "working like a lion" is meant to regulate this intensity; lions are the undisputed kings of the jungle. They are fierce hunters who easily capture their prey, but most of the time you will find them lounging in the shade. A lion is capable of moving quickly and ferociously, but they also don't spend every minute of their day operating in this fashion. Like the lion, true progress comes from knowing when to sprint and knowing when to rest.

Life contains natural ebbs and flows; one week you may be prepping for a looming deadline that will propel your career forward. The next week you may not have much to do as you experience the aftermath of your big presentation. These are the times where high achievers often become the most stressed and agitated; a suddenly empty calendar leaves a void and makes it easy to feel like you're falling behind your peers.

At these times step back, take a breath, and relax. Like the lion, bask in the shade and wait for your next opportunity to strike. By actually recovering and easing off the gas, your tank will be full when it comes time to push forward again. If you spin your wheels looking for a way to stay busy, you may find yourself completely out of energy when the next big moment comes. Additionally, use this time to stop and smell the roses. You need to appreciate the fruits of your labor on occasion or you will never enjoy the progress that you've made.

Hit List

The most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered this week:

What I’m Listening To: Compete to Create by Dr. Michael Gervais and Pete Carroll

This Audible original covers some classic sports psychology concepts presented in a new way. Pete Carroll’s contribution is top notch; love him or hate him as a fan, he knows how to build winning teams.

Speaking of sports psychology: Fit for Success by Nick Shaw

Nick Shaw is the founder of Renaissance Periodization, a massively successful nutrition and training company behind some of the world's most accomplished strength and fitness athletes. This book is mainly a regurgitation of established concepts in the realms of mindset, habits, and success; that said, it's an effective and concise regurgitation that will save you a lot of time reading other books. Highly recommended, and the Kindle edition is free for those with Kindle Unlimited.

What I'm Watching: After watching this, your brain will not be the same by Dr. Lara Boyd

This is a wildly popular TED talk that you may not have seen before. Dr. Boyd's research focuses on the area of neuroplasticity, or the ability of your brain to change and adapt to external stimuli over time. Neuroscience research has done wonders for our understanding of mindset and growth; this talk addresses some of the cool ways that you can change your brain and, in turn, change your life.

Jumpstart your Relaxation: Acupressure mat by Spoonk

I originally read about these acupressure mats in one of Tim Ferris' Friday newsletters and chuckled to myself. Then I tried one and ordered one of my own. Once you get over the initial discomfort, I find that I'm able to very quickly enter a meditative state. This mat does a great job of helping me escape the fight or flight stimulation of the modern world. This may help jumpstart your newfound lion-like work ethic. (There are countless brands of acupressure mats on Amazon and all are good options. This particular brand is made in America and is very high quality.)

Build your mindfulness practice: Insight Timer app on the App Store, Google Play Store

With all this talk about mindset and learning to relax after a job well-done, meditation becomes a crucial part of the equation. There are a lot of apps and tools out there to help with this, but I love the simplicity of Insight Timer. You can set various intervals, you can play enchanting background music, and the addition of Tibetan Singing Bowl sounds in the app are very cool (that's a deeper rabbit hole for another day). There are both guided and free-form options depending on what you're looking for.

That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!

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