How you can take your life to the next level
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking my life to the next level — my business, my workouts, my relationship.
The first step is of course defining what that means but then the simple question that follows is: how do you take something to the next level?
And while I don’t think there’s any one thing that moves us to the next level, I HAVE noticed a particular physical phenomenon in my workouts that I think applies to all of the areas in our lives where we want to jump to the next level.
If you’ve trained regularly, you realize that your workouts advance in jumps and then there are plateaus. You have to work hard to jump to the next level and establish another gear.
Once you get to a certain level, you realize that the ability to jump to the next level comes from one thing: your ability to endure pain.
I’ve heard elite cyclists say that most of their success is built around their ability to endure pain.
While I was doing the 5-minute plank challenge and building up to 5-minutes, I had to break through a level at around 2:30–3:00. When I first started, I started to break down at that point.
I quickly began to realize that to get to the 5-minute mark it was going to be about my mental toughness, and my ability to sit in the pain.
Training is about building more gears. A bike or a car with one gear can only go so fast before it burns out.
We build endurance, knowledge and experience in stages, developing new gears so we can ride at higher speeds.
If you’ve ever watched the movie Miracle or studied the 1980 Men’s Olympic Hockey team, you’d learn that yes, they were an extremely talented group of young hockey players AND they were also in much better shape than anyone they played, including and especially the Russian team they beat in the semi-finals.
They had to endure an absolute onslaught for 10:00 in the third period of their infamous semi-final game against the Russians, and they were able to do so because of their conditioning.
They had an extra gear, they worked to create that extra gear and they broke through that ceiling to get to an elite level in their physical endurance.
They endured a substantial amount of pain but the reward was literally...GOLD!
Often times building that extra gear means enduring a substantial amount of pain at the end of something, being able to move through the pain so that the pain or the fear of the pain no longer dominates. This is where we build endurance, in the times when it's toughest.
So if you're going through hell and at that breakdown point, keep going...
Breakdown can often be the flip side of break-THROUGH.
Sit with it, stand in it, walk through the fire, the next level...and maybe some gold...is on the other side of the pain.