Things I Have Learned at the Gym
Within the macrocosm of life there are pockets of microcosms that reflect the bigger picture. Sometimes the bigger picture gets a little too fuzzy or ambiguous to grasp or be motivated by or to learn from. What we can learn from a moment’s contemplation of some of the more familiar areas of our lives can have value in figuring out the bigger picture.
Like some of you, I have been a “gym rat” my entire life. Going to the gym at least five days per week whether I’m in L.A. or out of town is simply what I do. Here are some observations I’ve made. Even if you don’t exercise (What?!), see if these work for you:
Gym: Mental Preparation—Have a better attitude before you begin and you will have a better workout. Endorphins make the miles go faster and the weights lighter.
Life: Mental Preparation—Going into a selling presentation or a college test with a positive anticipation allows the memory to work better and to perform at higher levels.
Gym: When someone is using a mirror for focus or to see their posture, have the courtesy to not walk in between them and the mirror and break the train of thought.
Life: When someone in the office is “on a roll” or a friend has created a great relationship, be supportive or at least get out of the way and shut up.
Gym: Use a towel to clean the bench after you have left your sweat on it. It’s your responsibility.
Life: When you make a mistake, apologize. It’s the right thing to do.
Gym: Re-rack your weights when you are done with them. Don’t leave your mess for someone else.
Life: When you make a mess, clean it up. Why should someone else have to see or deal with it? It’s your job.
Gym: Neuroscientists have discovered that when you focus on the muscle being used, there is an increase of 20%+ more circulation going to that muscle to grow and tone it.
Life: When you stay on task (focus on that activity being done—not multi- task) you get more done efficiently and need to apologize less.
Gym: Keep the loud grunting sounds to a minimum.
Life: Keep the loud grunting sounds to a minimum.
Gym: Spot the person who asks for help. That doesn’t mean lift the weight for them. It means let them exert themselves to their maximum and add your vocal and physical support to allow them to grow.
Life: Show the way if you know it, but let the discovery, wonder and growth be experienced by the other-for everyone’s sake.
Gym: Read the body language of the other person. Get a sense of whether he or she is moving quickly and is time constrained and less conversation would be appropriate. Be attentive to the whole picture.
Life: Read the body language of the other person. Because more communication is non-verbal than spoken, add your senses and instincts to see, hear and feel an experience or encounter. This is not to say make assumptions, but rather, to prompt you to ask a clarifying question if you find a difference between the words you hear and the message you feel.
Gym: At the time you are experiencing the greatest muscle exhaustion, you are gaining the greatest results. Stay with it a little longer. You’ll lift and do more, easier, the next time.
Life: When you’re frustrated and feel you are at the end of your patience or abilities, stick with it a little longer, look “outside the box” for other options. That’s where the greatest lifeskills are grown. You’ll handle things more easily without feeling the stress the next time.
Gym: Vary your workout routine every 4-6 weeks by using barbells, dumbbells and machines to keep up mental interest and to develop greater strength by stimulating muscles from different angles. Set goals of accomplishment.
Life: Plan to periodically learn something new, go someplace interesting or set goals that are bigger than your present abilities to create an interesting life and to force your own personal growth. Take a risk once in a while. Interesting people do interesting things and are generally more fun to be around.
Gym: Pay your dues and get your money’s worth.
Life: Show up, pay attention, take positive action every time.
Gym: Take a shower!
Life: Take a shower!
By Barry Eisen