I recently read Escape from the Box by Retired USAF Colonel Edward L. Hubbard, who spent six and a half years as a captured prisoner of war in North Vietnam. While a few grisly POW stories are told, Hubbard tells mostly of how, throughout his life, he has personally accomplished and witnessed amazing human accomplishment through pure mental muscle.
Accomplishments like POWs living on a diet of 300 calories per day of rice and boiled weeds completing 300 push ups. And then 660! Six Hundred and Sixty! Unheard of eh? Yea, pretty hard to believe, even for those of us who believe we are fit and healthy. Even for those of us downing 3000 calories per day working with world class physiology knowledge, and state of the art exercise equipment. Wow!
Tapping and utilizing this grossly underestimated human potential is the underlying theme of the book. "The Box" began as the physical 6'x6' concrete Vietnamese cell Hubbard survived, but lives in all of us as the mental schema boundaries keeping us from reaching our true potential.
How apropos, I thought, to be writing this on Friday, the 13th. Most of what Hubbard says deals with eliminating what I call head trash. If you're superstitious, and believe that today is an unlucky day, don't worry, you will successfully find some bad luck! Or maybe bad luck will find you!
Or maybe you're really, really lucky like me, and woke up in the greatest country in the history of the world this morning, and have a free choice to Exercise Today! Plus, my kids just got back from a 3 month trimester in China on Thursday, and they have a free choice to exercise today! And YOU have a free choice to exercise today!
So, no matter what else happens today, it's going to be an outstanding day because we all have a free choice to look better, feel terrific, and reduce the risk of all sorts of diseases (mental and physical) by exercising regularly.
The most important message from Hubbard, in my opinion, is about continuous improvement. Hubbard includes a handy 1"x1" post it note with his book. On it you're supposed to write everything you've ever done that cannot have been improved upon. Once complete (normally blank), you post it onto your bathroom mirror as constant reminder that everything you do - EVERYTHING - can be improved upon in at least some small way.
Task by task, phone call by phone call, workout by workout, and milestone by milestone you make each and every effort of your day just a little bit better than yesterday's. How simple could that be?
So, starting today, I'm going to get a little bit better every day at my exercise frequency, my newsletter quality, my staff development, our program development, our cardiovascular programming, and our marketing.
Happy Friday the 13th! And God Bless America.