Credit goes to James Northeimer—@JamesNortheimer, the Beta_Killer, on Twitter—for the title of this essay.
Ok, so your life is bad right now. You’ve hit rock bottom. Good. Reality has sunk in. You’ve got a place to remember for comparison. A place you never want to return to.
But how in the hell do you get your ass out of there?
First step: get yourself a mentor.
Reach out and ask for some help. I bet there’s someone out there who’s just been waiting for the opportunity. Someone who’s been working his ass off to put himself in the strongest possible position; simply because there was nothing else he could do; and simply to be ready when and if the call came.
Have the courage to reach out. Your future self will thank you. It could be the smartest thing you ever do. Take the help and do your part. Listen, be humble and do the work.
Second step: stop doing things that make you weak.
You know what these are. No more inebriation and no more Shallow Distractions. Quit television, ignore the poison of politics, let go of people who are a bad influence and no more junk food.
Get comfortable being alone and without distraction.
Quit hiding from yourself.
Have the courage to be alone for a while. Face yourself. Stop running away. Good and bad, face yourself. You’re not the first man to be where you are and you won’t be the last. There’s nothing unique about your difficulties.
Accept your situation. Accept who you are right now. And let’s roll from there; but without all of the things that make you weak.
Clear a damn path.
Third step: Progressive Resistance as a Way of Life.
Here is where we will begin to roll forward. We will start simply and build a foundation for success. And then slowly dial it in, slowly add some progressive resistance.
Just as with weight lifting to add muscle mass and power you will start with some basics and pay attention to form. There will no heavy lifting to start. But you will begin to take action.
Day in and day out you will take simple action. You will handle what needs to be handled and take care of what needs to be taken care of. No more putting off and no more weakness. Ask your mentor for help and ask him to keep you accountable. And when he does, stand up and be accountable.
Always remember where you ended up and where it is you don’t ever want to ever be again.
And just as with weight training, growth will begin in the kitchen. It’s much harder to be mentally strong if your physiology is not also strong. Quit eating processed foods and switch over to real food instead. Eat as humans have evolved to do.
Eat meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, butter, vegetables and some fruit. In other words, move away from a carbohydrate based low fat diet, to a protein based high fat diet. And cook only with butter, olive oil and coconut oil. No more vegetable or seed oils. They are unnatural and no good for you.
Moving away from carbohydrates to animal based saturated fat for energy will convert your metabolism from being a sugar burner to a fat burner for energy. This will have obvious benefits if you’ve got some excess weight to lose, but it will also prevent the ups and downs of a carbohydrate based diet. You’ll have steady energy all day long and mental clarity like never before.
Energy and mental clarity, this is a good start.
Next up, get your sleep cycle in order. Get your ass out of bed early in the morning. Life is for the awake and is meant to be lived during the daylight. Getting your diet in order will provide you with the energy to keep going all day long. Get up and get busy.
Get busy and tire yourself out. This is a good kind of tired; the kind of tired that is rewarded with a good night’s sleep. Just as you will get up early at the same time each day, set a consistent time to get to bed and stick to it. If you have trouble falling asleep, then read until you do.
Both your activity during the day and your sleep during the night will reinforce each other. Being active will promote good sleep. And good sleep will promote being active. This is a positive feedback loop that you want to make a part of your life. It will lay a solid foundation for all that you do and allow you to function as well as possible.
To reinforce your activity level during the day and encourage a good night’s sleep, begin a formal exercise regimen. Alternate between Resistance Training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIT). Or even just some simple body weight exercises will do.
Here as well, start simply and at your own pace.
There is no overestimating the physical and mental benefits a regular exercise program can have for you. Especially as a man, Resistance Training will simply lift you up. As I always say, it’s hard to let much affect you when you’re walking around as if you were carved out of marble.
And the Progressive Resistance Work you do in the gym will provide a model and parallel for the rest of your life. Hence, the title of this essay.
You will start easy and focus on form. The idea is to be consistent and do everything right. Consistency is more important than intensity. The intensity will come. For now the important thing is to get used to doing the work and doing it right. And then through Progressive Resistance you will slowly add weight to the bar and increase the intensity.
Just as you will do with the rest of your life.
And just as you will work to consistently feed and train your body, you will feed and train your mind and spirit as well.
Read or listen to a podcast every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
In 10 minutes you can read 6 pages. Six pages a day is pretty much one book per month. The time will pass anyway right? In five years you can have 60 books under your belt. That’s 60 books ahead of where you are right now for an investment of 10 minutes per day. And if you chose quality material it will change your life.
You live in the best time in history. For a mere pittance or often for free you can absorb and leverage the knowledge and insight from the best in the world. Wise up and take advantage of this opportunity.
If you think of it, what’s the trade off? What is it that you’ll be missing that is not worth 10 minutes per day?
There is Power and Leverage in reading and listening to best there are like nothing else you can do. Make this a core habit. Make it part of who you are. Learn every day.
Work and money must also become a priority for you now. These are both very important fundamentals that require proper attention for survival and success.
Even if you don’t like what it is you do for pay, make your work an exercise in Personal Excellence. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, do it to the best of your ability. And then endeavor to get better. Again, employ Progressive Resistance. Make your attitude and efforts at work a model for the rest of your life. Let Excellence pervade all that you do and it will lift you up.
Remember this when it comes to work: it’s not what you do that matters, it’s who you are and how you do it. Make it all about Excellence and you can’t go wrong.
And since you work for pay and it takes money to live in this world, get your mind right about money as well. Bottom line, spend less than you earn. Make sure you have cash left over at the end of each month to pay down debt, save or invest.
Restructure your life as necessary to Cash Flow Every Month. A little discipline and a little self denial will go a long way here. Don’t be a slave to money, become its master. Develop a measure of financial independence. You don’t need to be rich, but you do need to have some financial reserves. Make it happen and buy yourself some peace of mind.
So you’ve now got your Diet, Sleep, Health, Mind and Finances in play and on the move. You’ve got the basics covered and you’re slowly dialing it in. You will work at a certain level until it becomes the norm and until it becomes easy. And then you will add some weight to the bar. You will employ some Progressive Resistance to your life. And it will invigorate and propel you forward.
Now comes the good part.
Find yourself a Life Mission, a Sacred Purpose.
Give yourself a reason to live beyond just survival and existence.
Become your Ideal Self.
Become the very best you can be.
Become a Force of Nature.
Picture you at your very best 2 years out and then put your life on the line and become that person.
Hell, maybe this is where you start and let this propel you forward through all that we discussed above.
Nothing could be more noble and more worthy. You will be doing your part to make the world a better place and you will justify every breath you take. This is good.
If you commit and you take action you cannot fail.
Certainly there will be challenges and difficulties along the way, but then that is life. You know this. And you also know that by pressing on regardless, they will make you better.
And then in two years when you’re a new man you can roll from there.
Perhaps a new Sacred Purpose or just more of the same to an even Higher Realm.
Progressive Resistance as a Way of Life.
All the best,