Last spring, I presented at PaleoFX in Austin TX. While I was down there, I checked out the float tank at Zero Gravity. I figured that after 3 days of amazing interactions (which I loved), I needed a bit of alone time to crawl back into my introverted hole; so I booked a 1 hour massage and a 1 hour float for that Monday post-seminar.
The massage therapist (Terra Ann) there was amazing. Being the over-analytic engineering and physiology geek in search of constant improvement I asked,
“What I could work on?”
Her response was,
“There is much more right than wrong.”
She was quite hesitant to give me any details about what was wrong. It was not because she did not observe anything or lacked any skill (quite the opposite); I imagine that like many others, I would focus only on what is wrong (negativity bias). If you spent a few minutes in my head, you would be aghast at the negative thoughts that float in and many times get lodged in my last 5 tired neurons panting in the corner.
If I am not careful, I can easily hop on the slide of negativity and focus on the laundry list of past injuries: a separated left shoulder, entirely ripped out right shoulder (it ended up where my pec is after a broomball crash), busted up right ankle (snowboarding carve turn gone awry), pulled hip flexors/groin on both sides, goofy eye issues (I don’t currently see in 3D), car accidents, torticollis, and even open heart surgery when I was 4.5 years old (full thoracotomy, 2 internal atrial scars, twist-ties on my sternum), you get the idea.
The truth is that everyone has some old bumps and bruises.
It becomes easy to focus on what we can’t do vs. what we can do.
Try this thought experiment, “Do not think of a pink elephant.”
What did you think of?
I will bet you a container of amazing De Novo Utopian that you did indeed think of a pink elephant, even though I told you to not think of one.
Your brain is wired to think of images and has a hard time processing the negative. While this is a super efficient storage mechanism, it becomes easy to focus on the wrong thing.
I remember snowboarding waaaaay back in the stone-age of 1993 for the first time in Colorado. I paid for the trip by donating blood plasma during my first year of college. This was a big deal since I hate needles; however I wanted to ride in the mountains.
After a long 2 day trip to get there which included the driver dropping the transmission of a Bronco II on the road (it fell off), pushing it to a local shop just outside of Denver with a note that said “fix me, will call” and then getting poured into the backseat of a Dodge Shadow where my super long 6’3” femurs never touched the floor mat for the next 4.5 hours, we arrived at Crested Butte, CO.
After the first day of attempting to snowboard in the trees and almost getting whacked by every other tree, I was convinced the whole trip was a horrible idea. I was lamenting this fact in the hot tub that evening when a local stoner who just wandered into our hot tub enticed by free booze said something quite profound:
“Hey man, don’t look at the trees, focus on the space between the trees.”
What? I thought the combo of weed and high altitude left his brain permanently baked, but I will give it a whirl. I figured it could not get any worse.
Wow, that made all the difference. I needed to focus on what I wanted to achieve, not the negative. That big round weight at the end of your neck being balanced like an upside down pendulum is visual based. Focus on what you can do, instead of always looking for what you can’t do.
Trust me, if you look for what you can’t do, you will find it in spades.
Do just a bit more each day and you will be rewarded with increased function/results.
However, if you focus on what you can’t do, then you’re inviting a hideous downward spiral that may include depression, loss of function, injuries and thwacking a few trees in the forest snowboarding.
I remember Dr. Cobb of Z-Health Performance saying
“Argue for your limitations and they are yours.”
I used to wish that I never had all the injuries/issues that I have encountered over the years.
In time I learned (the hard way) to be grateful, even thankful, for them. They have pushed me into directions I never would have explored without them. From neurology to biomechanics, nutrition, philosophy and more (very similar to the DN elements of philosophy, nutrition, physiology and supplementation). I’ve been more motivated to learn which benefits transcend not just fixing the immediate “problem”. I now have skills applicable to other problems that may arise in both myself and my clients.
Take Away Points
- Learn to see what is more right than wrong in your own body.
- Focus on what you can do.
- You will improve faster than ever before and be more at peace.
- It is its own reward.