Mental Health

I’ve been wanting to write about this one for a while but haven’t felt the motivation after the spark. But I’ve been sick lately, and I have not been feeling myself.

Aside from the normal not being able to breathe and the constant headache, I’ve been in a heavy fog. I’ve felt drained of energy, lack my usual enthusiasm, and have had an ominous negative feeling hovering around. I used to think I was really in tune with my body and how it felt, but now I feel like it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

After talking to my mom, she asked if I had been drinking enough water and sleeping well. Both of which were a no. I’ve been trying to “do so much” with my time that I had overlooked those 2 important things. I can’t say that’s the reason, but it certainly hasn’t helped how I feel.

My original post was gonna be about getting in shape, and getting your body in a healthy place, so that you can have better mental health. Kind of in relation to overweight and unhealthy people having negative thoughts or world views. I know that when I’m in this fog, everything seems like so much more of a burden, like I can physically feel the weight of each thought and action. In this state it’s easy to lash out or blame others, but when I feel healthy, that fog is lifted and I feel free to move through this life untethered.

Here’s The Thing. I considered not doing this anymore. A lot lately. But I like to think that this is just temporary, and think when I’m out of this fog everything will be ok. It might not, I get that, but at least I would know that it wasn’t my health affecting my decisions. The same for mental health for unhealthy people. Get it shape for your own sake, and it might be possible you still feel the same way, but at least you’ll know for sure.

Kendama

Shout out to Alan aka @trashbeatsalan for putting me on to Kendama. I’m by no means “all in”, but have developed a real fascination for it. It’s a pretty basic ball on a string, attached to a stick game, but there’s so much room for creativity. I like to compare it to skateboarding. The equipment is very simple, and the concept is easy to understand, yet people still make the possibilities seem boundless. From either flipping or spinning the board to just landing the ball in a cup or on a the spike.

I think what I really love about it and so many other niche things, is the learning curve from beginner to high level. If you don’t already know, I love to slack line. And I discovered it when I went to California earlier this year. From afar it seems to defy physics and almost looks mystical. And once I tried, I realized it was extremely harder then they made it look. But after trying for a few hours and buying one when I got back to Jacksonville, I became pretty proficient at it myself. I’m far from professional, but certainly competent at that skill.

It started when I was younger, and my dad was teaching me how to play different instruments. He would tell me, “If you have 10 fingers and they have 10 fingers, the only difference between you and them is time.” I understood what he meant at the time, but even more so now. Music was so easy to relate too because it’s something you can emulate exactly. I had favorite athletes, but as much as I wanted to be like them, I could never recreate their greatest moments. But with music, you can play the exact song played by the artist, note for note, in time and all. There is an objective benchmark.

The reason why I love the learning curve is because it teaches you that anything really is possible if you dedicate yourself to it. When you pick up a kendama, you barely know how to hold it, but you instinctively know to put the ball on the cup. At first your pull is everywhere, until you start to find patterns and see what works. Then you start to hone your attempts until you can generate some consistency. From there you try more and more tricks, slowly developing your skill. Like I’ve mentioned in other blogs, after doing this with a lot of different things, you get good at learning, and develop patience and discipline. Those skills can be applied to anything you want in life.

When I first saw people doing kendama, they were doing flips and spikes and swings and it seemed so far off it looked “impossible” even “pointless”. Sometimes just like our dreams and goals, they seem so advanced, it seems almost pointless to even try. But from trying and learning how to get good at small things like “Kendama and Slack line”, I feel like it mentally helps me take on big things like pursuing comedy and becoming a better person.

Here’s The Thing. Some people might see it as a pointless toy I’ve unnecessarily been keeping with me, but to me it’s a reminder that there’s always room to grow and learn, and most importantly to have FUN.

Make Every Moment Count

Growing up I feel like everyone had an obsession with greatness and legends, or at least I did. Probably because I grew up pretty competitive. I’ve played almost all organized sports, besides hockey, and there was always a pressure to perform and succeed. As I developed role models I started to understand the difference between being good and being great.

For me, it was consistency. Anyone can make a good play or the right call once or twice. But what separates the Lebron’s and Tom Brady’s from the rest of the league, is the ability to do it day in and day out. There’s a saying that goes, “it’s one thing to get to the top, it’s another thing to stay there”. Everyone is focused on the top dog, and everyone brings their best to take them down. Even so, the Greats still find a way to get it done.

Another way I look at it is in relation to action movies and real life. In action movies, the hero always kicks ass and moves seamlessly from one villain to the next. But most people know in real life that would never happen. From training martial arts to watching UFC, I know that fights don’t happen like that. You would need a super “spidey-sense” to anticipate and read every opponents moves and react accordingly. Even then, it would be tough not to be stabbed or shot in the process.

Which brings me to my point. You need to make every moment count. Be the best version of yourself, in all things, at all times. Everyone has a vision of where they want to be and who they to become. Practice being that person everyday. Whether it’s waking up early, working out, or eating healthy. For me, it’s eating right, getting on stage, and saving money. There are so many moments and decisions throughout the day to do the right thing for yourself. What really reinforces that for me is knowing that if I don’t, I’m only cheating myself. For the most part, no one cares about you not reaching your goals besides maybe your spouse or family, for the fact that they might be effected if you don’t.

Here’s The Thing. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked on it everyday!” Do the small things consistently, and before you know it, you’ll have an empire.

Fit out of Fear

Lately I’ve been really trying to get back on top on my fitness. I was working to free up some space on my computer and found an old college video of me, when I was working on my handstands. At the time, Instagram fitness was just blowing up, and I was going to the gym 6 times a week along with drinking protein shakes and taking supplements. I looked impressively ripped….to myself. Like at the time I didn’t think I was that big, and wish someone would have told me lol. But I bring that up, because it has re-motivated me to get back to that shape, then even better.

In all honesty, I choose to stay in shape out of fear. Fear of a lot of things, getting out of shape, fear of being lesser than others, or fear of a stupid death.

The first is the fear of getting out of shape. I realized at a young at that it is much easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape. It’s such a slippery slope when you start to fall, whether it’s a relationship or an office job or kids. Life comes at you first and will sit you down and get you off your game. Once sedentary becomes a lifestyle, it’s very hard to re-motivate into action. Plus it’s a lot easier to keep a 6 pick when you can see them fade away, as opposed to trying to work off a gut and never having a visual representation of your progress until near the end. I never felt very attractive growing up, so I also stay fit out of fear of feeling unwanted. I don’t want to be ugly and out of shape. Even if you don’t think I’m good looking or cool to hang out with, I damn sure will not be repulsive to look at. Maybe it’s vain, but it helps me 🤷🏾‍♂️.

(Side note- also, who doesn’t want to hook up with an athlete?! Sex is way better with strength, cardio, and coordination.)

The second is a fear of being lesser than others. I think I’ve referenced before that I loved James Bond growing up and wanted to become a jack of all trades just like he was. He could do anything. From chase down a villain, to driving a helicopter, to surviving torture, and picking locks. We only get 1 flesh vessel in this life and I want to experience life to the fullest, and try all things. This requires me to be fit enough for all situations. I want to be able to do American Ninja Warrior if I wanted, or play basketball or run a marathon. I don’t like when people say, “I could never do that” or “now you’re just showing off”. I don’t want to feel lesser than anyone, so I stay fit enough to keep up with everyone.

The last is fear of a stupid death. I feel like if you can’t connect with the other 2, everyone can understand the fear of a stupid death. I work at a gym, and I always ask my clients who say they don’t like to run, “what would you do if there was a shooter at the mall or a terrorist attack?” Maybe it’s just how I think, but I don’t want to die because I couldn’t run a few miles without losing my breath. Or to fall off a cliff, because I can’t do even 1 pull-up to save myself. I want to be able to save myself, whether it’s running from danger or lifting something off of a friend or loved one, or pulling myself out of something. Having the basic physical confidence to know that I can run, jump, lift, or address any situation optimally is a huge motivation for me. Even as far as training in martial arts, and learning to defend myself. Most people say their adrenaline will kick in, but so will someone’s who is trained and fit. Maybe it’s just me, but why not have the advantage instead of hoping for luck. Not to mention maintaining a fit body to stay healthy and avoid self inflicted illness.

Here’s The Thing. I get body positivity and loving yourself. But love yourself enough to be afraid. To be afraid of losing your youthful vigor, to be afraid of being less than your worth, to be afraid of throwing it all away. Find what motivates you, but for me, I stay fit out of fear.

Embrace the Suck

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’

-Muhammad Ali

I’ve had this quote on my wall since college and only recently have I been able to truly hone it in my everyday life. I always got it in relation to training and working out but never looked to far past that. This past weekend I ran a weighted 5k for the Wounded Warrior Project. I was not planning on participating and when I woke up that morning did not want to do the run. But as I laid in bed, I thought to myself about what/who I wanted to be, and what that person would say to myself if I decided not to. Sometimes you gotta do the things you don’t want to do, because you know they are good for you.

Sometimes you have to “embrace the suck.” And through embracing the lows you can really rejoice the highs. It’s kind of like cooking. When you order fast food or someone makes you something “it’s good”. But when you cook something from scratch or prepare it from start to finish, it doesn’t just taste good, it taste like something more. You can apply this to all things in life, whether it’s overtime at work to get a promotion or going harder at the gym to push through a plateau. Knowing it’s going to suck and doing it anyway, makes it so much sweeter in the end, when you’ve reached your goal or become one step closer.

I think of it as practicing to become who I want to be. I can’t expect to become a better version of myself without doing the things needed to get there. Whether it’s waking up early or going out of your way for a friend. If I want to be that person, I have to practice everyday until I am the friend I want to be or as successful as I dream.

Here’s The Thing. During a snowstorm, someone has to go out and shovel the streets, during a hurricane, someone has to turn back on the power, during the industrial boom, someone had to climb those scaffolds. Embrace the suck, and do what needs to be done. Trust me, you’ll be better for it.

Momentum

“The human brain is not designed to make you happy, it’s designed to make you survive. Happiness, that’s your job.”

I found this quote about 3 years ago and it helped me change my perspective and how I felt about life.

Sometimes life can be simple, but just because it’s simple does not make it easy.

I used to get frustrated that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life or that I didn’t feel how I thought I should, but this quote helped me realize that you manifest your own destiny. It’s not owed to you or somehow built into going through the motions.

But one thing that really helps me is momentum. I’m motivated by a lot of things, but one of the most powerful is habit.

Take getting/staying in shape for example. It starts with the little things, like working out. After you work out you feel those endorphins flowing and you don’t want to fuel a good work out with junk food, so you eat a clean, healthy meal. The next day you feel sore, but know that if you work out anyway, it will be good for you. So you work out and eat healthy again the next day. A few days of this go by and the weekend rolls around. A friend invites you to go out to eat and grab some drinks. You do, and over indulge a bit. Enough to make you skip working out the next day, and the next. This is what usually starts my motivation kick. I start to think about all the momentum I’ve lost. About how if I just do the little things everyday, it adds up to big results. About how hard it will be to start from scratch, or start to slip when I’ve already come so far

There’s a video I like, it’s about brushing your teeth and how it correlates to getting in shape. Brushing your teeth one time for 2 minutes isn’t going to make your teeth white. Just like working out one day isn’t going to get you a 6 pack. But brushing your teeth twice a day for a year will certainly whiten your teeth. The same goes for anything in life. The small daily act probably won’t make any noticeable difference at all, but the consistency of that act over time, the dedication to the act, knowing you are paying it forward will yield results.

In a ever-growing, fast pace society, people want to see results yesterday. And it can be hard to find the motivation to do the little things when it seems like everyone around you is doing big things. But committing yourself to the act, because you believe in yourself can build momentum. And the momentum, just like a snowball downhill, will grow and grow, until you become the unstoppable force of your dreams.

Here’s The Thing. It’s up to you what you want to do with your life. Set goals, chase your dreams, and have a plan. Know that it’s not overnight success, but a gradual journey. See the person you want to be, and do the things that person would do, until you become that reality.