Pain, fear and change.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins

Have you ever had salt in a wound? That Canker Sore in your mouth you feel every time you go to take a bite of something. Ouch! The remedy? You grab a finger full of salt and dab that sucker. It hurts… Bad. But, after doing that a few times it becomes tolerable or disappears. Isn’t that how we receive most positive changes? For an alcoholic to quit drinking, an unhealthy person to change their lifestyle, for a beginner to walk into a Jiu Jitsu school for the first time, the task at hand can seem like climbing Mount Everest.. Grueling.. Hard. Impossible. You wonder why you are putting yourself through this. But only because you can’t see the breathtaking view from the bottom of the mountain. So if we know it’s good for us, why don’t we do it? The obvious answer is pain, the underlying answer is change, we don’t like it.

If change makes you nervous, it should. This is a protective mechanism for survival to make us aware of changes in our environment. This is “supernecessary”, as UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal says, but unhealthy if we allow it to rule our decision making. In the book “The Gift of Fear”, Gavin de Becker highlights the importance of fear and it’s necessity in our interest of survival. Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain much like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again, so we avoid it whenever we can.

We also fear change because we fear that we might lose what’s associated with that change. An example may be losing our feeling of comfort at the cost of asking a girl on a date in order to win her affection. Another way to say this is “fear of failure”. Research shows that gamblers who are having a losing day are most likely to bet the long shots. This demonstrates how our aversion to loss can cause logic to fly out the window.

Understand it is natural to have fear, we all have it, and having a healthy amount of it will ensure you make better decisions. My dad never laid hands on me but I always had a healthy fear of him which caused me to behave (most of the time). Kids who don’t have fear are a danger to themselves and potentially others or they are just downright spoiled brats. Fear can be good. Change can also be good. Pain can too. Below I will list four things I’ve studied that may help you understand how to deal with pain, fear and change.

  1. Purpose

Having a “why”  may be our biggest influence when it comes to decision making. For example: You want to get stronger so you can attract a mate but you have never been to the gym. Your “why” is what will get you past the uncomfortable stage of entering a new environment like the gym, assuming your desire is strong enough.

2. Accomplishment

You must believe you can change. Studies show that about half of the people who struggle from fear of change simply believe they won’t be able to. This is why it’s important to win battles daily big or small (get up early, make your bed, exercise, apply for a job/keep your job/get a promotion) . A big part of your ability to do new things is your past successes.

3. Clarity

If we are clear on why the change is happening, we are less likely to view it as an error or something that is happening to us. Unhappy people fear change, while happy people create positive change. Don’t victimize yourself. If you don’t believe you are the creator of your circumstance, true or not you, have lost all hope. An example would be you know it is going to “hurt” to accomplish your goal of 100 push ups. Because the burning in your muscles won’t come as a surprise to you, you are more likely to accomplish your goal and endure the pain to make the change.

4. Core

One thing that will remain is your core, your principles, your values. It is more likely the change will add to your character and strengthen who you are than take from it. Change is capable of affecting external things but rarely the internal. Example: You want to move and take this job but are worried you won’t like it and won’t find new friends or fit in. If that turns out to be true and you hate it, you will still be who you are plus the lessons and experience. Control what you can control, yourself.

Understandably, things like pain, fear and change are not so easy to overcome. After all, the best artists in the world still have stage fright before a big show. But they endure the pain of change and overcome their fear of public humiliation because they crave the end result. By becoming aware of our aversion to the pain of change we can learn to endure many of life’s struggles that will ultimately lead to our happiness and fulfillment.

“If it is endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.” -Marcus Aurelius

Minimalism.. The answer to COVID Part 2/2

In the last post we left off in the middle of the five quintessential needs for basic human survival. Below are the following three, enjoy!

Food –  How we fuel ourselves will not only directly affect our performance but the way we feel. Sure, we all love a decadent cheat meal ever so often but the reward of a delicious treat is even better after a day of fasting or a week of exercising discipline and good choices. If your diet resembles that of a hotdog eating contestant in addition to sugary drinks, chances are you won’t feel great. Physically and pyschologically. For many of us, it comes down to discipline and cutting out the unnecessary stuff. For those who struggle or have more specialized needs, I will defer you to www.teamhargett.com My sister in law Amy is a nutrition coach and has had a great deal of success with a wide variety of people including myself.

Exercise – Done correctly this will be one of the most valuable skillsets you will ever add. But you must never forget, training is a skill and skills are developed over time and if we stop using them, they will fade. When I talk about exercise I am not talking about being able to spaz your way through a set of some nonsense exercise which serves no purpose than to fatigue you. I am referring to the skills of being able to move well in a variety of ways as we were designed and move well I should say. Skills must be constantly evolving, you don’t ever “learn computers” it is a lifelong practice. If it seems daunting, I will say this “keep it simple” and start with a routine. Block out 15 minutes to move and get a light sweat daily. If you need more direction you can get started on the same Team Hargett website. If you have pain, contact them and they will get you on the right path. If you stay consistent and aim to make small improvements daily, just like a good investment, you will be amazed at what you accrue over a number of years.

Sleep –  The most powerful healing tool you are born with that can cure both physical and psychological needs. It used to be more rare to meet people who had trouble sleeping, now it seems there is an ever growing population of sleep-dysfunctional kids. The answer is simple for most. Have a schedule. Your body operates on what is called a “circadian rythym”, all that is important to know is that you have a routine that your body can become accustomed to. The military has figured this out very well. You get up when they tell you to, not when you want to. And after a hard day of work, you’ll be pooped and want to crash. I have to laugh when people tell me “I’m not a morning person” because neither was I. You are more powerful than you know, all it takes is a plan and steps towards your goal, no matter how small or how slow, as long as you are moving you are following the plan. I understand this is not the solution to everything but I think many of us can agree it’s a great place to start and can remove a lot of unnecessary stresses from our lives.

Minimalism.. The answer to COVID Part 1/2

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

Everyone deserves to know how to live a minimal life… Our needs as humans tend to be very simple. Being able to break away from the ever-growing noise and distraction can be a breath of fresh air. Billionaire and inventor Elon Musk recently announced he is selling all his belongings to the point of owning no home. Why a billionaire would do that is unbeknownst to many, yet one reason he did quote on the Joe Rogan podcast was that his possessions could not be used against him. Yes, our possessions can be used against us. They can cost us energy, they can cause us to worry and stress. In as stressful a time as now, due to COVID-19, they can distract us from the fact that our needs are very simple and by learning to live a minimal life, we are able to focus on what truly matters. Now this can also be interpreted in a familial and relationship sense but what I am referring to is your health and vitality as nature intended. You will hear me reference nature because I see a world where people are becoming more and more disconnected from who we are as humans. It is truly sad to see. For many of us, our happiness lies truly in front of our eyes yet we allow material things and how many followers we have on Instagram to blind us from what is important. In this post and the following, I will cover 5 quintessential needs, not in too much depth (it is up to you to practice and understand them) for the sake of keeping it simple and highlighting the basics. In this blog we’ll start with the first two.

Air – Our first exercise and our last, the element we can go the least amount of time without. Not only is it essential for our life and overall health but studies have shown that not intaking adequate amounts of oxygen, compounded over time, can diminish memory performance and induce emotional liability as well as result in motor impairments. Basically, proper breathing is something worth learning about about and practicing. See if you notice times when you hold your breath or tense up throughout the day. That is why many successful people will advocate a breathing routine to have clearer thinking and reduce stress. As my Jiu Jitsu sensei Saulo Ribeiro says “if you don’t breathe, you die”, scientific fact and it is true whether it is quickly or slowly.

Water – The next element that we can go the least amount of time without. There is not a definite recommended amount (the 8 glasses a day is BS) but it’s definitely something to start tracking. The right amount if you are active is oftentimes more than you want to drink. I myself at 170 lbs bodyweight aim for 256 oz (2 gallons) daily. The trade off is most certainly more bathroom trips than you desire and it can be difficult to implement when travelling long distances but this should be your second priority upon waking. Also, keep in mind that other beverages (sodas, caffeine, alcohol) dehydrate you so when you drink them you need to drink even more water! The good news is when you have a daily goal you will find it much hard to drink the other crap. Assuming your goal is more than 8 glasses of course, and if it isn’t don’t feel bad. I know people who drink one glass and are in their 50’s! Can you imagine? On a serious note I knew a basketball player that developed a kidney condition due to improper hydration and strenuous training. He was rushed to the hospital during a basketball practice. Fortunately, most of us do not have such extreme physical demands but if you were in a shipwreck and got stranded on an island, we could agree that water would be your number one resource for survival.

What is Porrada?

For starters, the pronunciation is nothing like it appears. It’s a Portuguese word pronounced “Poh-ha-da” NOT “po-rah-da”. Porrada is a Brazilian word that means brawl or fight hard. Although it is unclear to me exactly where the word originated it is a big part of Brazilian culture. It represents effort, fighting spirit and toughness. If someone was describing your effort and they used that word it would most often be a compliment, especially within the Jiu Jitsu community.

Fighting spirit and toughness represent the essence of human life. In the natural world, fighting occurs every second of every day. We all fight every single day. We have to fight to make good decisions, be good to others and provide for our families. Ask yourself, is it easier to be strong or to be weak, is it easier to do good or wrong? Being a good fighter, a soldier, a hunter, a warrior was something to be admonished and respected in your tribe. Fighting is something that should be respected and embraced. We all know strong people who fight with us and for us (they are usually not politicians).There is a legendary Jiu Jitsu fighter, Romulo Barral, who has created a brand “Everyday Porrada” based on the concept of daily battle. 

Porrada is something we must embrace in all of our lives, for our sake and our loved ones (or possessions for some). Many of us know that running away from our battles just creates another for ourself later. Sometimes more than one! Eventually you will have to fight whether it’s with the junk food sitting in front of you right now or 100 lbs later when the pain of staying the same is finally greater than the pain of change. Strong people who fight hard for what they believe in and what is right are those who move the world. Your goal of losing weight could be something which inspires thousands or millions of people later on, but you will have to fight and fight hard. Happy Porrada!

“You must be the change you wish to see” -Ghandi

Why Martial Arts is beating COVID-19

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” -Bruce Lee

It’s May 12th as I write this (over three months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO) and I find myself musing over the fact that out of all the major sporting events that were cancelled, Martial Arts was the first to return. It kicked off with (UFC 249) last Saturday, the two upcoming UFC’s and F2W 139 (Fight to Win Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) this weekend. What stands out to me, is the fact that these athletes are among the lowest paid in professional sports. Surprising, if you consider what they put themselves through to do what they do. Granted, all of these sports with the exception of online video gaming (did I just say that?) have been around for much longer. One could argue that because they are paid less there is more incentive for them to fight and make money but the organizations are the ones who have to hurdle their way to making the fight happen. Not an easy task, when a majority of the population is fear stricken and hiding under a rock. Note: I imagine an animal in nature would very quickly move down the predatorial ranks if a majority of their decisions were driven by fear. But… I digress.

Below I have listed the average annual salaries for Golf, Tennis, NFL, NBA and the UFC (Jiu Jitsu earns significantly less so I won’t include it, sad face..) to give some perspective. Each sport is hard in their own right but my intention is to present the question.. why are the Martial Artists paid significantly less and yet the first to return to televised sports?  Since I can’t share what’s going on in the lives of the other athletes and their perspective I will share mine to represent the Martial Artists’ view. Here are the average yearly earnings if you do a quick google search.

1. NBA 7.7 million

2. NFL 2.7 million

3. PGA 2 million 

4. Tennis 300,000

5.UFC 138,000

If you have participated in competitive martial arts, and I include wrestling and boxing in this category, you understand it is one of the most difficult things you will ever do that isn’t incentivized by money. While it is among the most physically demanding pursuits, many athletes like myself, make no money (with the exception of sponsors and occasional prize money). The organization I fight in most often (IBJJF), doesn’t even pay it’s fighters to win! But if you want to fight the best, you’ll go there. Combat sports are highly technical and strategic yet so much is determined by your spirit and will power. It requires an extreme level of discipline and mental toughness that will award any individual the merits to be successful in life. There are many biblical references which show that wrestling has been around for thousands of years, not to mention that we do it instinctively at a young age.  In most Asian and European countries Martial Arts are incredibly popular and the average person is somewhat educated on the topic. 

To me the significance of the UFC and Jiu Jitsu coming back is this. It has to do with the culture of both the organization and the athletes who are willing to put themselves at risk for our entertainment. A culture that stems from giving your best for yourself, your family and your community. A community that pays absolute respect towards those that sacrifice and shed blood, sweat and tears for something they believe in. Such as our veterans. A group of people who have very minimal needs and put an extreme amount of effort and focus into their passion. This is the Martial Arts culture, and I value it over every other sports culture you can put against it. NFL, NBA, MLB… Those athletes are amazing in their own right and I have nothing but respect and appreciation for what they do, unless it’s voicing their opinions on a topic they are clearly uneducated in such as politics. The Martial Arts culture, although not as glamorous as being one of the highest paid athletes in the world, will reward most people and their families with benefits for a lifetime. 

“Your technique means nothing if you are not using your talents for the betterment of humanity” -Gene Dunn

Physical training… Essential or Nonessential?

“Effort is one of those things that give meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it.” -Carol Dweck

Accomplishment

Challenges are the ever present hurdles of life. When we overcome them we feel good. When you hustled your butt off all week to make the rent, you are rewarded with that wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Thomas Edison broke 1,000 lightbulbs on his way to inventing the lightbulb. There are countless challenges that can all add up to an increased belief in oneself and self worth, something that we all deserve to feel if we are willing to work for it, and work hard. Getting out of bed early in the morning, resisting temptation to eat your favorite fattening foods, exercising on days you don’t feel like it. These will all lead to a greater sense of pride and self respect. Although this may all sound like 0.0 fun..  our desire to be respected is a necessary component of human psychology. If it weren’t.. Why else would we run marathons, dangerously climb cliffs, make our way up mount Everest or do any of these things that require tremendous sacrifice? Would we have even made it to the moon? Relax “flat earthers”… Additionally, many psychologists will recommend that their clients who suffer from depression should form a daily routine which involves exercise if you are able. Which brings us back to the importance of experiencing successes every day great or small. It can start with making your bed in the morning before you start to accomplish other little tasks like waking up on time, doing breathing exercises before making coffee or brushing your teeth. By the time you’ve been up a couple hours you might have done a dozen or more things already which puts you in a better frame of mind and body to get more out of your day.

“Do the things which make you strong. Stop doing the things which make you weak (unless you want to be weak).” -Jordan Peterson

Physical training… Essential or Nonessential? Part 3/4

“He who has a why to live can endure almost any how.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Survival

As humans, we are designed to survive, we came with natural abilities that you see in many healthy kids and young adults. We can run, get up and down, climb, throw stuff and jump. But sadly due to modern conveniences, many of us have lost many of these abilities we once possessed. Now, some of you may think “But I don’t live in the jungle, I don’t have to run from tigers” and it’s true, you don’t. But, we still have to survive in this “modern jungle” which can involve anything from standing up for yourself, to helping someone else or being physically strong enough to attract the mate you so desire. Yes, people rarely go out searching for the weakest human being they can find as a suitable mate. Those are called “predators” and it takes strong people to stop them as well. There’s nothing wrong with feeling strong, looking good and knowing you can defend yourself or someone who needs it. In medieval times, these heroes were called Knights. In Japan prior to the fall of the shogunate empire there was the samurai class. That’s not to not say that everyone should aspire to this level of warrior (although it isn’t the worst idea) but that everyone should develop some sort of routine akin to these strong members of society. They most likely had some sort of daily physical routine whether weapons training or a martial art along with basic physical fitness (running, push ups, squats etc). Now I’m not at all advocating these exercises for you because I don’t know you. What I’m suggesting, is commitment to some sort of routine to find what works for you in order to become a stronger individual. Perhaps Day 1 of your newfound routine consists of scouring YouTube to learn how to do a push up coupled with 5 minutes of practice and by day 30 you can do 1 perfect one (I’ll take the perfect rep over 100 caca reps). My advice is, start however you must, but start and treat it like it is a valuable skill.

“People are so frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.” -Seneca

Physical training… Essential or Nonessential? 2/4

“Freedom can not be bestowed – it must be achieved.” Albert Hubbard

Freedom

Think back to when you were a kid, and you had very little fear (To me that was sticking a fork in a socket at age 4 so maybe a little older than that). When you are young and fearless, your body has a freedom it moves with, something that you lose as you age and rightfully so because that’s how you avoid danger. So lets think of that in a broad sense, if you saw a tree you climbed it, or tried. If you saw a pond, you jumped in it and swam around, if you saw a hill you ran or rode your bike up to the top of it. You catch my drift. Being physically fit and active means “freedom” to pursue your whims. When we become too unfit to do basic things that we as humans are meant to do, to put it plainly. It sucks… Imagine going on a trip to Hawaii with a beautiful girl or guy and being too physically too unfit to go hike to some amazing waterfalls. You will miss out on so many of life’s experience. Notice I use the word “health” and talk about being “physically fit”. This has little to do with what your body fat is or how much you can power clean. Like most things in life it comes down to the basics, but if it’s not in your routine to practice these basics routinely, you will sacrifice your freedom as a human to enjoy many of life’s pleasures. We were just talking about spending quality time with a mate am I right? 🙂 It’s also freedom from overpaying for your fitness, when it really just comes down to basics and repetition. Are healthy people ever wondering what 6-week “shred” they should do or what diet they need to pay for next? Do you know anyone who has become overweight eating minimally processed food (meat, vegetables, fruit, rice) and controlling their portions? As a snack do I pick Cheetos or Strawberries? Sadly, we have the answers to most of our problems but we lack the habits. So our solution is to oftentimes throw money at it with the hopes it will work, and unfortunately, very rarely is that the case. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that there will be a day where you have power formed over years of consistent training and learning. If the President of the United States or a top CEO can find 15-30 minutes daily to put effort into their physical training and health, so can you.

“Champions are brilliant at the basics” -John Wooden

Physical Training… Essential or Nonessential? Part 1/4

“The happy man is one who has a healthy body, a wealthy soul and a well educated nature” – Thales

Our happiest moments in life can often be tied to when our health was at it’s best. Most of us can remember being young kids happily running around interacting with the outside world in pure bliss. Now, although we can’t rewind time, and I’m sure many of us wouldn’t want to, we can agree there is something profound about the adolescent state of being healthy and physically active. It’s shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Greek philosophers touted physical and mental health as a necessity for one’s happiness. Many of you will also agree that much of our happiness is connected to very primitive needs and desires. The good news is that most are fairly basic and don’t require much. To me, it starts with your body and mind before branching out to your family, your community and so on. There’s no arguing that you will have more to offer the people who matter if your mind and body are in their peak state. Imagine a world where ninety percent of the population is physically unfit and inactive while technology is at it’s peak (VR, robots, the whole bit, Postmates is now in the form of a microwave that just beams you food in an instant). Now contrast that with the “sticks and stones” days where man was just trying to survive and thrive. To me, neither sound very appealing, and that’s part of why I think the age we are in right now is amazing. First of all, I love the internet. For one, it allows me to communicate with friends and family all over the world in an instant, although it has also allowed people to grow pretty damn soft in my opinion. There was a study done in the last decade that showed many Americans actually consumed Fewer CALORIES in the early 2000’s than they did in the 50s yet the obesity rate has skyrocketed… “How is that possible?” you might ask. One study found that the amount of activity had significantly decreased, meaning people were less active and adopting more sedentary behaviors. At the time I felt justified blaming technology for this problem but then again, the iPad isn’t in charge of the house is it? Since then I have met many strong men and women who have cultivated outstanding relationships with food, exercise and health within their household which has led me to this conclusion. Training the mind and body daily IS ESSENTIAL for everyone. No matter what the government or anyone says, it is your right to be able to practice daily, ways to use your body and maintain it. It will take time, like anything worth doing does, but it starts with daily consistent practice. I assure you, the rewards will far outweigh the cost. To me, staying physically fit and active means three things, maybe more but I’ll start with three. I believe it boils down to your freedom, survival (basic human movement), and accomplishment. Stay tuned as I break them down one at a time in the following sections.

“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step” -Chinese proverb