Hairy Animals

I pride myself on my physical fitness. It’s one of the few things in life that I’ve truly earned, not just inherited.

Fitness wins competitions. Talent only matters for the 1% of competitors at the highest level.

In the NBA, or NCAA basketball, every player has peak physical conditioning. This means that the fitness “playing field” is actually quite level. Only after fitness becomes a non issue, do skill and focus become the game changers. The best teams have the most talent and the most drive.

But if you yank two Joe Bobbys off the street, and you put them in a game of one-on-one against each other… Or maybe you have them race 500 meters… Or maybe swim across a pond… Or teach them any new game: rugby, soccer, baseball, anything…

The winner is the fittest person. Not the most skilled, because both have low skill levels, but the person who can breath steady the longest.

Somebody once said that if your life has gone to shit, if you’ve really hit rock bottom and don’t know which way is UP – then the first thing to do is go to the gym. (I hate gyms and would never recommend them, but it’s still a good quote.)

This is important because if 20 people go to a job interview. If 20 people take a piano class. If 20 people learn to dance. If 20 people learn how to invest money. If 20 people fall into loving relationships…

The physically fit people always have an advantage.

Life will drag you across the concrete by your pinky toe one day, and when that day comes, you want to have all the advantages you can get. You want cookies in your lunchbox, not rocks.

The skills above don’t require you to run five miles or throw a rubber ball around. But they do require that you sleep well, eat well, show up on time, think clearly, take criticism, give criticism, stand your ground, follow through, negotiate with honesty, speak clearly, meet goals, compensate, judge a situation objectively, and relax when it’s time to relax.

 

Monkey Do

upward dog

How in hell did that 24 year old teacher crawl into bed with that 19 year old student!? Well because she’s a monkey and he’s a monkey too. They might have been wearing “teacher” and “student” name tags but monkey brains don’t read too good.

Of course something needs to be done. We can’t have free-for-all hedonism in the streets. Monkey activity is bad for productivity, it took a lot of damn hard work to construct these cities and laws and social customs – all the pillars of our modern civilizations.

But we do suffer when we deprive ourselves of our monkey needs. We suffer when our eyes never get to stretch themselves on long-range views. We suffer when we don’t belong to a group, when we swallow shit that isn’t nutrition, and when we pretend like sex isn’t that big of a deal.

Too often our modern lives don’t account for these basic needs, so it’s up to me and you to design our lives in a sensical way.

For me the biggest and most overlooked building block is exercise: without movement your bowels don’t turn, your blood doesn’t flow, your brain grinds to a crawl, and little stressful minutae combust into major issues. I once heard someone say that if your life has gone to shit and you don’t know where to begin… just go to the gym. Every day just go to the gym, even if it feels pointless.

It’s hokey but it does hold wisdom, and the wisdom has to do with “basic maintenance.” Our complex brains guide us down a million paths on the search for happiness, but underneath our clothes we’re simple machines.