During lockdown, parts of NSW have been restricted to an hour of exercise. I have been trying to maximise this time by walking as far as I can, at a reasonable pace. Recently I have noticed what I am calling ‘accessory man’. Accessory man, the average person decked out in tech that some people might confuse them for budget iron man.
I have been this person. Before I could go on a run, I needed the good pair of shorts and socks, my Apple Watch, AirPods, phone, a way to carry my phone that isn’t in my pockets because its bulky, ‘oh its sunny, so I’ll need a hat and sunglasses and ‘oh no, my earphones are out of batteries so I wonder around for 30 minutes while they charge’. It made me think, do I really need all this just to run? The short answer, no.
Are we waiting for perfect circumstances to make progress?
It’s too sunny, I’ll wait till its afternoon. It’s too cold, I’ll wait till its warmer. It’s too windy, I’ll wait till it dies down. These are all valid reason not to go. There’s a saying that has stuck with me over the years, ‘a man with a why can bear any how’. What this means to me is, if you have a purpose for doing something, the circumstances won’t influence your decision to do it or not. For example: I have been experiencing back pain due to inactivity while working in front of a computer so I decided I need to strengthen my back and legs. As a result, I have been walking 8 to 10k steps every day and I have seen improvements in core strength. I remember early last week where it was overcast and on the brink of raining. My circuit is 4km all round and I was nearing the furthest point from my house. I turned around and thought ‘its going to start raining, let me cut this short today’ but as I turned back towards my place, I turned around again to finish the circuit, ‘I made a commitment to walk 4km every day and thats what I am going to do. I got a little wet but progress at all costs.
Not all progress is made equal – Linearity vs Exponential progress
Drawing comparisons between writing a blog post every day and walking every day, it’s a bit difficult to describe but the improvement rate, when you do something everyday, is not linear. I am not improving at the same rate every day. There are days that negative progress happens but there are days where something clicks as a result of the hours you have put in previously that could put you + 10 days or even + 50 days (if progress was linear) in terms of improvement. What I am saying is, not all progress is made equal but it is only through putting the time and hours that the potential to unlock those exponential improvements are possible.