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Are You Weak? This Exercise Will Show You

MTF

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After physiological needs, the most essential need of every human being is security and safety. You can't thrive as an entrepreneur if you constantly fear for your life the way people living in a war-torn country do.

However, if you're reading this, all of your basic needs are most likely well-taken care of. Fortunately, nowadays relatively few people (compared to history) lack safety and security which means that whenever you experience discomfort, it's likely the kind that will help you grow instead of putting your life at risk.

Which brings me to the point of this thread.... But first, the promised exercise which I guarantee will help you become a better entrepreneur and a better person, too.

Head to the bathroom. Get undressed (this isn't anything perverse, I promise). Turn on the cold water. Step into the shower and stand there for at least a minute (if you need some motivation, here are some benefits of cold showers).

If your initial reaction is to immediately turn the water to hot and say "screw it, that's bullshit, it's too uncomfortable"... YOU'RE WEAK.

(Obviously do it only if you're healthy. Shocking your body this way isn't safe if you suffer from heart-related disorders or any similar problems.)

And no, you aren't weak just because you don't like cold water. You're weak because I can safely assume that if you immediately seek the comfort of hot water and don't even try to endure willingly imposed discomfort just to test your strength, you probably make bad decisions in your business and personal life.

In the modern scripted society, the message we're being told is that you deserve comfort. You deserve to be protected from any kind of hardship. Ideally, you should never experience anything that will challenge you because it will crush your little fragile ego. You're considered crazy if you choose to forgo some pleasures in exchange to do the hard thing and reap long-term benefits.

And so, many people:
  • are bad learners because the moment they're faced with something difficult to solve, they back out, annoyed that they aren't as perfect as they thought (you can't look bad, better to do easy stuff just so you can look like you're competent),
  • experience mental breakdowns because they got a parking ticket or dropped their smartphone (which they immediately have to replace with another expensive iPhone because a single scratch will cut their precious sensitive soft fingers),
  • eat (shitty food) every two to three hours because they absolutely can't experience hunger (and if they skip a meal for some reason, they're starving and never fail to announce it to everybody around),
  • have extremely low pain tolerance (from my experience, women are much stronger than whingy men in this aspect),
  • avoid all kinds of challenges which leads them to living a mediocre life while being envious of and criticizing successful people (they fail to realize that people become successful not because of luck, but because they're willing to suffer).
Very few people willingly opt for discomfort.

If there's a staircase and an elevator, most will choose the elevator. Few understand that even if the stairs aren't as comfortable, they offer you the opportunity to engage in a natural and healthy movement which most desk-bound people desperately need.

If a person feels hungry, they immediately run to the kitchen to grab something to eat. Few skip a meal or two, even fewer skip an entire day of eating just so they can grow their willpower and/or reset their bodies. After all, you'll die of starvation if you skip your daily portion of highly processed foods, right?

If a person is scared of heights or have any other fear that repeated exposure could eliminate, they avoid any situations where they can experience this type of fear. Few deliberately - despite feeling the exact same fear as the weak people - engage in scary situations to overcome their fear.

If a person gets diagnosed with high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, they'll choose a pill over implementing healthy habits in their lives. Few understand that as uncomfortable as establishing healthy habits is in the beginning, it's the only viable solution to stay healthy (barring any unpreventable conditions).


People will look at you like a crazy person if you start intermittent fasting, taking cold showers, walking more instead of driving, saving money, abstaining from alcohol, dressing better than an average slob, or traveling to exotic, uncomfortable destinations instead of staying at a 5-star hotel at the beach.

What's the moral?

If you can't tolerate willingly imposed discomfort that you can easily escape if you decide it's too difficult to handle, how likely are you to tolerate discomfort that you're guaranteed to experience on your entrepreneurial journey - discomfort that you can't evade?

The next time you experience discomfort, don't run away from it like every other weak person. Look at it as an opportunity to get stronger. Embrace the difficulty and the pain involved in handling the uncomfortable situation.

Rinse and repeat, and with each passing year, fewer things will bother you. Which is a nice side benefit: thanks to welcoming more discomfort in my life, I'm a much more laid-back person today than I was just a few years ago.

I still sometimes fail and find myself incapable of dealing with some situations, but just like entrepreneurship, it's a journey. You can start it today with a simple cold shower.
 

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Philip Marlowe

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If a person gets diagnosed with high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, they'll choose a pill over implementing healthy habits in their lives. Few understand that as uncomfortable as establishing healthy habits is in the beginning, it's the only viable solution to stay healthy (barring any unpreventable conditions).
This is all true - the whole post is great.

But how many of us are selling discomfort? There's no market for it on a large scale. Instead we're likely all selling the opposite. Everyone on here is looking for that little pain point to fix.

The big pain points were taken care-of decades ago - food at the grocery store, cars for everyone, zero-down loans to get you that white picket fence.

At this point, we're all solving little problems. I love the TMF lifestyle and thought process, but only in the First World is a cushy 9-5 in a climate controlled office something to escape.

So I'd submit that most of us are trying to make everything easier for those around us.

We don't want to hail a taxi - we want a ride sharing service right at our door.

We don't want to actually go to the superstore - we want Amazon to drop it at our house in 48 hours.

We don't want to pay hotel fees - we want to rent out a room in someone's house.

I think entrepreneurs identify with your post, but we don't really want our customers to identify with it because we want to solve their many problems. And to scale, we need the masses to engage in that service/product purchase/subscription because it's going to make their life that much easier.

We don't want everyone to take the same journey as us. And they won't.

Just my two cents.

-PM
 

wade1mil

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One thing I remember thinking during the process of my first real entrepreneur experience is...

One day it felt like I got punched, but I sprung up with excitement to take the next punch.
Then it happened the next day, and I sprung up again.
Then it started happening a couple times a day, and my excitement shifted to determination.
Then it started happening ten times a day and my determination shifted into survival.
Gradually it started happening more and more each day until I was punched 100 times a day.
There was no smirk on my face.
There was no excitement.
It was like the idea of an "event" was killed from being punched so many times.
Getting punched was normal.
Torture was normal.
Discomfort was normal.
This was life now.
This process hardened me.
Fast forward to today, five years later.
When I face a problem, no matter how catastrophic, I handle it like it's all part of the job.

I don't take cold showers often, but I'll start doing it everyday now.
I recommend taking cold showers far beyond the moment when your excitement and motivation to take cold showers dies.

Your post reminds me of one of my favorite books.
It's a book about a businessman who hires a Navy SEAL to live with him for a month to transform his life.
Long story short, this SEAL lives his life like this thread - he loves making himself uncomfortable.
It's a extremely easy read and about as motivating as a book can be.
I definitely recommend reading Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet
 

Geekour

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This is all true - the whole post is great.

But how many of us are selling discomfort? There's no market for it on a large scale. Instead we're likely all selling the opposite. Everyone on here is looking for that little pain point to fix.

The big pain points were taken care-of decades ago - food at the grocery store, cars for everyone, zero-down loans to get you that white picket fence.

At this point, we're all solving little problems. I love the TMF lifestyle and thought process, but only in the First World is a cushy 9-5 in a climate controlled office something to escape.

So I'd submit that most of us are trying to make everything easier for those around us.

We don't want to hail a taxi - we want a ride sharing service right at our door.

We don't want to actually go to the superstore - we want Amazon to drop it at our house in 48 hours.

We don't want to pay hotel fees - we want to rent out a room in someone's house.

I think entrepreneurs identify with your post, but we don't really want our customers to identify with it because we want to solve their many problems. And to scale, we need the masses to engage in that service/product purchase/subscription because it's going to make their life that much easier.

We don't want everyone to take the same journey as us. And they won't.

Just my two cents.

-PM
I like your point of view. The way I understood it is I think the point here is to make life easier for others (provide value to them) but to reach that point we must endure discomfort to get there. It is not easy but at the end of the day those that endure will enjoy the results most.
 

luniac

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i do a combo of breaking a full body sweat through exercise first and then washing it off with an ice cold shower.
 

MTF

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I’ve started using this approach but with the Texas hot summer. 100 degrees outside? You bet your a$$ I’m going out there.

.....
100 degrees feels mighty different depending on humidity. I like pushing my limits, but definitely prefer dry heat lol.

I think entrepreneurs identify with your post, but we don't really want our customers to identify with it because we want to solve their many problems. And to scale, we need the masses to engage in that service/product purchase/subscription because it's going to make their life that much easier.
I think that it doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. I take cold showers, but it doesn't mean that I'm not in the market of buying a house with heating and would rather buy one without it. The same can be said about cars (even if you exercise a lot, you probably still need/want a car) and other things (e.g. even bodybuilders sometimes eat cakes, though definitely less than an average obese Joe).

However, I definitely agree that it's best to sell to the masses as long as you do it ethically (no magic pill claims etc.). It's much, much harder to sell discomfort.

Thanks. I've heard a few times about this book. Need to read it now that you recommended it.

This reminded me of Cryotherapy for some reason lol. Need to man up and try that sh*t sometime. Thanks for reminding us to get out of our comfort zone.
I experimented a bit with cold (including cold baths) but haven't tried cryotherapy yet. I need to check it out.

i do a combo of breaking a full body sweat through exercise first and then washing it off with an ice cold shower.
I do too. This is actually pretty pleasant after the first hit of cold water.
 

Andy Black

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One thing I remember thinking during the process of my first real entrepreneur experience is...

One day it felt like I got punched, but I sprung up with excitement to take the next punch.
Then it happened the next day, and I sprung up again.
Then it started happening a couple times a day, and my excitement shifted to determination.
Then it started happening ten times a day and my determination shifted into survival.
Gradually it started happening more and more each day until I was punched 100 times a day.
There was no smirk on my face.
There was no excitement.
It was like the idea of an "event" was killed from being punched so many times.
Getting punched was normal.
Torture was normal.
Discomfort was normal.
This was life now.
This process hardened me.
Fast forward to today, five years later.
When I face a problem, no matter how catastrophic, I handle it like it's all part of the job.

I don't take cold showers often, but I'll start doing it everyday now.
I recommend taking cold showers far beyond the moment when your excitement and motivation to take cold showers dies.

Your post reminds me of one of my favorite books.
It's a book about a businessman who hires a Navy SEAL to live with him for a month to transform his life.
Long story short, this SEAL lives his life like this thread - he loves making himself uncomfortable.
It's a extremely easy read and about as motivating as a book can be.
I definitely recommend reading Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet
Great write up.

I don’t get excited anymore either. The up will be followed by a down, which will be followed by an up. It’s what happens when your boat leaves the harbor.
 

ProblemOd

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Awesome post. I would also like to add that a lot of the things mentioned also have the benefit of adding small actions of discipline, which over time keep add up and make a big difference in your life. There's no immediate results here, and that's another lesson you can take with you.

Great timing for this post since for the past couple months i've been in a SLUMP of comfort. If you work from your laptop and don't have anywhere to be, this is something you need to watch out for.

I've recently started doing this again and I'm 10x more productive.

I wake up a few hours earlier. No one tells me I have to wake up early, and it sure is more comfortable to stay in bed a few more hours. But the act of following through your goal of getting up early itself is the first win of the day.

Then I make my bed. Again, there's no requirement to, or a practical reason to. I don't have OCD and i don't really care how it looks, but i do it because its another "win". I've put myselfing into a "doing" mode and I've just gotten out of bed. I have a smirk of amusement on my face while I do this because I love how much I don't care about making my bed, but I still do it.

Then I either head straight to jog/workout while I'm fasted. I started doing Intermittent Fasting, and yes its "discomforting" knowing you can't before/after a certain hour. I consider this a BIG win to stick with this knowing results wont come for a while.

Cold shower when I get back. Veggie, fruit, & protein shake takes care of the first thing I eat. And so on...

All these small things add up. Imagine doing this for a year, what kind of mindset you will have that you can bring with you to your entrepreneur journey!
 

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rollerskates

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I'm a wimp, then. :) I admit that I melt down over stupid stuff, and I really have no excuse.

I'm a big fan of lifestyle changes over medication and I really wish there was a better way to get people to commit to non medical ways to get healthier. I fight with my doctors all the time--sorry, no, not taking a pill for that. :thumbsdown:
 

MTF

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I don’t get excited anymore either. The up will be followed by a down, which will be followed by an up. It’s what happens when your boat leaves the harbor.
Good old work ethic. Love the metaphor. You do what you gotta do because that's what happens when you're out there.

No one tells me I have to wake up early, and it sure is more comfortable to stay in bed a few more hours.
That's the powerful thing about it: you do it because you tell yourself to do it, not because of external pressure. It (arguably) requires even more willpower than dealing with unsolicited discomfort.

I'm a wimp, then. :) I admit that I melt down over stupid stuff, and I really have no excuse.
It's a skill. The more you expose yourself to it, the fewer things will bother you. It's like a kid growing up in a protected environment. A small cut will make him or her scream in pain. Now compare it to a free-range kid always landing in trouble, with scraped knees, cuts, etc. Will a small cut bother him or her? Not really, they've become used to it (and are better prepared for the real world).
 

JohnnyAppleseed

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This is why the supplement industry is so humongous . Everyone wants to be healthy or muscular or intelligent without having to eat healthy, work out, or read books.

Too many people who want to be wealthy spend their days listening to motivational speakers and playing the lottery without ever taking action. Recently my own parents entered into a hawaiian vacation sweepstakes because they actually really do believe that they have a shot at winning.

I mean... I understand that entrepreneurship is supposed to be about helping people... But sometimes it's almost as if people don't want to be helped in a beneficial way. They just want a quick and easy fix regardless of the long term consequences.
 

MTF

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This is why the supplement industry is so humongous . Everyone wants to be healthy or muscular or intelligent without having to eat healthy, work out, or read books.
There would be nothing wrong about it if people understood that supplements can maximize your results once you take care of the basics. Unfortunately, most think that supplements can do all the work, while they provide little to no benefits without taking care of the fundamentals first.

Still, as an entrepreneur you can't decide for them. You can guide them, educate them, help them, but in the end, people do what they want - even if an experienced person tells them that a quick fix won't work.
 

Supa

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Holy shit, sometimes you just happen to click on a thread and realize while reading it, that you needed exactly that right now.

The last few weeks, I struggled a lot with anxiety, worries and what else there is accompanying it.

Suffering from an anxiety disorder (OCD) it'd be easy to say "ah, it's a mental illness, what am I supposed to do? I'll just sit here and do nothing."

But that would be avoidance.

Your cold shower example is a perfect metaphor for exposure and response prevention (ERP). A therapy method used to help people struggling with anxiety disorders.

Instead of jumping right out of it, giving in to your worries, ruminating and/or doing compulsions (if you suffer from OCD), you stay in the shower, stay with your anxiety, so your brain learns that it's able to deal with it.

Same for things that you want to be easy, but that are indeed tough sometimes. Like building a product, a business or, in my case, writing a novel.

How many days in the last few weeks did I sit down to write and, after a few minutes of tension increasing within me because I couldn't even start a good sentence, I closed to document and thought "F*ck it."

It gets uncomfortable ("I'll just F*ck the story up, if I write in this mood", "can't get myself into the story right now", and other thoughts) so I jump out of the cold water, thinking and feeling like I can't bear it.

So yeah, thanks for this reminder. Absolutely needed at the moment.
 

MTF

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How many days in the last few weeks did I sit down to write and, after a few minutes of tension increasing within me because I couldn't even start a good sentence, I closed to document and thought "f*ck it."

It gets uncomfortable ("I'll just f*ck the story up, if I write in this mood", "can't get myself into the story right now", and other thoughts) so I jump out of the cold water, thinking and feeling like I can't bear it.
Thank you for sharing this example. That's what I meant by it: it's not about cold showers, it's about the train of thought and actions that follow each time a person finds themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

You can't really change how the cold water (or anything unpleasant) feels but you can control your response to it: slow down your breath, give yourself one more second before you give up (and then another and another), and so on.
 

Real Deal Denver

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And now for something completely different. (for you Monty Python fans)

Ah, the passages of youth. First it's how fast you can run, then how you can flirt with the little girls, then how much beer you can drink, which turns into how much you can chug at one time, until your gut hurts. This eventually leads to the straight tequila shots, of course - can't go through manhood without being a master of that impressive skill. Throw in the one armed push ups too, for good measure, like Jack Palance did on the Academy Awards years ago. If you didn't see that, you missed a real treat.

The good old days. Beating the chest, strutting around, and never turning down a double dare. The wonderful rites of manhood.

Then the grand daddy of all - penis envy. Oh yeah, the ultimate badge of manhood. Which is closely related to driving a loud car and squealing tires. A few graduate to driving the noisiest motor cycles they can find on the Earth. They WILL be noticed. Not appreciated - but noticed, at least. Hey, when you don't have much to work with, you work with what you've got...

Arm wrestling. That never gets old.

Hate to tell you. Doesn't matter. Ever heard of working smarter instead of harder? Ever heard the expression that if you aren't a nerd, you'll probably be working for one? Uh huh - that's the real world.

I've encountered a few of these arrested development men throughout life. They miss so much, but the good thing is they never reach full consciousness, so they don't even know it. You can usually find them in the gym. I once worked out with one, as a partner that was going to help me get into shape. That was not a fun 30 minutes. After hearing the logic on *why* I had to tear my muscle fiber to rebuild it better, I decided I really didn't need to be a contender for Mr. Universe after all.

If you want to do something painful - at least get something out of it. Lift weights till your muscles are torn from the bone. Eventually you'll look massive. At least there is some kind of reward for that. Doing 100 sit ups at least accomplishes something. Taking a cold shower, well, I don't know what that proves. It sure doesn't produce any results. Yep, I'd say a good old bike ride for 10 miles would be a better use of your time. Get a ringy dingy bell in case you need to let someone know they're in your way. A basket to carry books in would be nice too. Might as well get those streamer things that hang from the ends of the handle bars and blow in the wind too.

I'll just stay in my office. No cold shower. Okay - call me a wimp. That will hurt to no end, but I think I can handle it.

My heroes measure success and fortitude in digits, as in "I sold my business for 8 digits." Yes, they're wimps, but they're rich wimps that can HIRE someone to take a cold shower for them.

I thought this crap ended in my 20's. Thanks for the memories.

I'm weak. :eek:
 
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MTF

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My heroes measure success and fortitude in digits, as in "I sold my business for 8 digits." Yes, they're wimps, but they're rich wimps that can HIRE someone to take a cold shower for them.
I guess you can always hire someone to do everything uncomfortable in your life, including having a difficult conversation with your spouse, taking care of your kid while he or she is sick, firing your employee, working out and eating healthily, telling the truth, learning new skills, solving conflicts, etc.

That was the point of the post (not arm wrestling, but self-improvement through embracing discomfort), but to each his own. If you measure success by finances alone, more power to you. I'd rather have heroes who lead by example in all areas of life.
 

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@MTF , First off, nice catchy title.

Always looking for ways to improve myself (though not necessarily successful), I had read about the health benefits of taking cold showers and thought I'd give it a shot. At first, maybe you can hang tough for a minute or less. Next week you go for a minute and thirty so and so forth until realize you've been under that icy waterfall for over five minutes. Fastfoward four years later and I can't imagine NOT taking cold showers.

I can see how you can liken this to entrepreneurship. As someone who is still a slave to wages, entrepreneurship could be that "cold shower" for me. Good post, sir. This has inspired me to start getting uncomfortable.
 
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luniac

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worth mentionaing i got hooked on cold showers thanks to the Wim Hof Method, im sure many have heard of it. 2 years back I bought the 70 dollar 10 week course and i dont regret it even though it was pretty simple at its core.
The wim hof breathing exercise is amazing too.
 

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MTF

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Always looking for ways to improve myself (though not necessarily successful)
That's how it works: successes and failures. You often learn more from failures and hardships than successes, even if they don't feel particularly nice when you're experiencing them.

The wim hof breathing exercise is amazing too.
What are the benefits your personally experienced?
 

Real Deal Denver

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I guess you can always hire someone to do everything uncomfortable in your life, including having a difficult conversation with your spouse, taking care of your kid while he or she is sick, firing your employee, working out and eating healthily, telling the truth, learning new skills, solving conflicts, etc.

That was the point of the post (not arm wrestling, but self-improvement through embracing discomfort), but to each his own. If you measure success by finances alone, more power to you. I'd rather have heroes who lead by example in all areas of life.
If you measure manliness, or toughness, or whatever you want to call it, by the level of endurance in taking a cold shower, or doing tequila shots perhaps, then okay. Have at it. It's a meaningless goal. A waste of time. Facade. Proves nothing. Been there, done that. Probably too many times, in fact.

Think for a moment that I have been where you are, but maybe you have never been where I am. Not yet, anyway.

Your insinuated insults are a far cry from hitting their intended target. But nice try anyway. I expected more, but since I have been in the company of "muscle heads" I know from whence you speak. They relish the endurance tests such as your cold shower challenge. But, at least when my muscle head friends do a few more reps, there is something to gain. And their results certainly speak for themselves. Chiseled physiques. Think results - not just feeding your malnourished ego. Owie. That stings. A little payback for your swipes at me maybe? But mostly the truth.

A little testosterone goes a long ways. You'll realize that as you get older. Hopefully.
 
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biophase

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Taking a cold shower, well, I don't know what that proves. It sure doesn't produce any results.
I'm weak. :eek:
Google brown fat.

I hate cold showers and usually try to last a minute and in AZ we have warm cold water.

I did an ice bath recently and only made in a minute. I could not control my breathing. Everyone else at this entrepreneur conference made it 2 minutes. Many went in multiple times.
 

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worth mentionaing i got hooked on cold showers thanks to the Wim Hof Method, im sure many have heard of it. 2 years back I bought the 70 dollar 10 week course and i dont regret it even though it was pretty simple at its core.
The wim hof breathing exercise is amazing too.
This is where i learned it too. I attended a conference that had a Wim Hof instructor come in and coach us through the breathing and mind over matter.
 

biophase

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If you measure manliness, or toughness, or whatever you want to call it, by the level of endurance in taking a cold shower, or doing tequila shots perhaps, then okay. Have at it. It's a meaningless goal. A waste of time.
Sometimes I just don’t get you. We face challenges to overcome them. Doing an extra set or rep is not pain or discomfort. You’ve done 9 reps why is it scary to do one more?

Why climb Kilimanjaro? It makes no sense to go up a mountain and then come down, but people want to accomplish things that are hard. Kilimanjaro is more mentally tough than physically. I’ve done it twice with members of this forum. You know what I think about the most while slogging along?

I say to myself if I can endure this climb in this cold and miserable altitude, learning how to rub a FB campaign is cake.

If I can sleep at 15,000ft at 0 degrees, how can I complain about 30 degrees with no jacket. And I don’t.

You see if you can push you body to limits beyond your current limits, then your current limits aren’t limits anymore, they are the norm.

That’s the reason my clients worry about their first $5k import, I did too. But now $50k orders are the norm for me, there’s no stress in wiring $5k. You can’t get there without being uncomfortable.
 

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Sometimes I just don’t get you. We face challenges to overcome them. Doing an extra set or rep is not pain or discomfort. You’ve done 9 reps why is it scary to do one more?

Why climb Kilimanjaro? It makes no sense to go up a mountain and then come down, but people want to accomplish things that are hard. Kilimanjaro is more mentally tough than physically. I’ve done it twice with members of this forum. You know what I think about the most while slogging along?

I say to myself if I can endure this climb in this cold and miserable altitude, learning how to rub a FB campaign is cake.

If I can sleep at 15,000ft at 0 degrees, how can I complain about 30 degrees with no jacket. And I don’t.

You see if you can push you body to limits beyond your current limits, then your current limits aren’t limits anymore, they are the norm.

That’s the reason my clients worry about their first $5k import, I did too. But now $50k orders are the norm for me, there’s no stress in wiring $5k. You can’t get there without being uncomfortable.
That's great for you Bio. I have high respect for you from your very good posts. I don't want to take anything away from you or your accomplishments.

I just don't need that justification to prove to myself who I am or what I can do. It isn't there. A missing link in my DNA perhaps - I don't know.

I've done a lot in life, and most of it by pulling myself up by my boot straps. I expect that's the way things will go whenever I undertake something. I don't expect things to be easy, and I don't expect help from anyone. That's just the way I've been conditioned. And it usually works out that way, too.

I would never climb Kilimanjaro, and where I live (Denver) we do have a lot of 14ers that are a challenge to overcome for some people. A good friend of mine has a personal goal of climbing each one. I think there are 14 or 15 of them if I remember correctly.

I'd rather kick back and read a book. Sorry - I don't have the link that gets me excited about achieving a goal, no matter how noteworthy, without a direct correlation to a measurable benefit. Translation: I want results to make my time and effort worth expending.

Years back I received a few gold medals in martial arts. Although I was not a black belt, I achieved greater results than they did, and I was thus awarded medals. That was fun for the moment. Today, however, I am only interested in how "good" I am at something. I don't feel any need to "beat" someone else at a show of strength or skill, and I don't care if I ever get a medal again or not. I just want to measure up to my goals. And my goals are meaningful and purposeful. I have somehow evolved to a point that I compete with myself. I know where I stand in my strengths and weaknesses. I don't take comfort in my strengths, and I don't worry about my weaknesses. I just do the best I can to meet the high standards that I set for myself. I usually fall far short of what I expect, so I am constantly reading and learning to improve. And that's about all I think I can ask of myself, or anyone else.

In sixth grade I went through a contest of strength. I gritted my teeth and beat several boys that were stronger than I was. They gave in when they realized that I was never going to give in. Was that a good achievement? Not really. I won because I was persistent and stubborn. Now, I want more than that. I want meaningful results that matter. That's what matters. And if it doesn't "matter" I don't want to waste my time doing it.

I'm certainly no genius, but do you ever think Einstein regretted the fact that he wasn't an athlete? Who knows. I doubt it. He was wired differently. He didn't care about sports. How about Thomas Edison? I wouldn't be surprised to know if he never watched a football game in his entire life. I never have. Just don't care who wins or loses. I have zero interest. I realize, as a male, that's not very common. So do I care if I can tolerate a cold shower for two minutes? Or three? Or four? Um. No. It doesn't matter one iota.

Guess why I did martial arts instead of football? With martial arts, I gained a lot of skills that might be beneficial in saving my life. In football, I couldn't see the point of me being an expert passer or catcher - no matter how spectacular that might have been. Either one was good for conditioning me as an athlete.

Make sense? Maybe a little bit. I don't know how I got to this point, but I'm very comfortable at this "spot" and certainly see no need to climb a mountain or take a cold shower these days, and I don't miss those days when I did have that need.

I'm nothing like Jack Palance at the Academy Awards...

Jack Palance.JPG
 
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Practicing discomfort is one of the core principles of stoicism.

A famous stoic, Seneca would often go and live in absolute poverty. He would do this to put things into perspective. It made him understand the value of what he has and not take things for granted.

I haven't tried cold showers yet(just took one today though). But I once had to travel from Pune to Chennai. I usually take a flight. But instead decided to take the 48-hour bus ride(practiced discomfort).

Everyone thought I was crazy, But honestly, once I got to Chennai, I had the best sleep in my life. Food tasted soooo much better and the showers much more soothing.

I know it sounds really crazy but try it out for a week and judge for yourself.

The goal is to change your relationship with comfort. Once you overcome the need for it. Life will become much easier. Setting your goals and sticking to them become easier.

Someday eventually you are going to face some hardship in your life. You want to have the mental and physical fortitude to face it.

When people complain about being "uncomfortable", you won't be able to relate. You will also realize that the things you value a lot, like buying the latest Iphone aren't as essential as you made them out to be.


P.S: For those of you who don't think a bus ride is too bad. Try taking one in India.
 

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A famous stoic, Seneca would often go and live in absolute poverty. He would do this to put things into perspective. It made him understand the value of what he has and not take things for granted.
Seneca offers a lot of practical teachings regarding discomfort in his Moral Letters to Lucilius (a great read). He was a great example of embracing discomfort even as an extremely successful and influential person.

ut I once had to travel from Pune to Chennai. I usually take a flight. But instead decided to take the 48-hour bus ride(practiced discomfort).
That sounds extremely uncomfortable, though at the same time it's probably extremely humbling, knowing that many people travel like that regularly. Mere 8 hours in an air-conditioned bus is uncomfortable. Can't imagine 48 hours in a crowded bus in India.
 

vshetty.vs

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Seneca offers a lot of practical teachings regarding discomfort in his Moral Letters to Lucilius (a great read). He was a great example of embracing discomfort even as an extremely successful and influential person.
Yeah, he's awesome. If you have the time check out meditations by Aurelius or anything by Epictetus.



That sounds extremely uncomfortable, though at the same time it's probably extremely humbling, knowing that many people travel like that regularly. Mere 8 hours in an air-conditioned bus is uncomfortable. Can't imagine 48 hours in a crowded bus in India.
Haha, yeah. It was hell. Was really regretting the decision through the ride. But once, made it felt really good. But now I never, really complain about the little discomforts while traveling.

My flight got delayed by 3 hours. So what. I'm sitting in an air-conditioned airport with my Kindle and WIFI.
 

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What are the benefits your personally experienced?
I thought about how to describe it, but best i can say is that right after you finish and just silently sit, it makes really easy to go into a deep meditative sense of well being.
Maybe this is because the breath rate really slows down a lot due to the exercise, i could count 10 seconds breath in and 10 seconds out comfortably. After a time i could see i stroboscope effect with my eyes closed, like a pulsing circle going outwards.

of course the physical effects of the breath exercise is at least temporary increased circulation and oxygenation of the body.
 
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If you measure manliness, or toughness, or whatever you want to call it, by the level of endurance in taking a cold shower, or doing tequila shots perhaps, then okay. Have at it. It's a meaningless goal. A waste of time. Facade. Proves nothing. Been there, done that. Probably too many times, in fact.

Think for a moment that I have been where you are, but maybe you have never been where I am. Not yet, anyway.

Your insinuated insults are a far cry from hitting their intended target. But nice try anyway. I expected more, but since I have been in the company of "muscle heads" I know from whence you speak. They relish the endurance tests such as your cold shower challenge. But, at least when my muscle head friends do a few more reps, there is something to gain. And their results certainly speak for themselves. Chiseled physiques. Think results - not just feeding your malnourished ego. Owie. That stings. A little payback for your swipes at me maybe? But mostly the truth.

A little testosterone goes a long ways. You'll realize that as you get older. Hopefully.
On the surface cold showers are about endurance.
On a deeper level, they're a spiritual experience.

I've been doing them awhile and only the first few seconds or minute are tough to endure, afterwards its not so hard and u start to feel a primal sense of well being and just life itself. no words can describe. bliss maybe?
 

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I gave it a try. I set the alarm on my phone for 2 minutes and hopped in. At first I was hesitant. I dipped my legs and immediately thought, F*ck THIS. But then I told myself, I'm not going to be weak . I put in the entire front of my body. I noticed myself breathing fast and I made myself calm down. This wasn't so bad. Then dunked my head and it felt refreshing until those ice cold tendrils snaked their way down my back and nethers. Holy crap, I won't lie, I jumped back. But I pushed forward and pushed my entire body under the water. I calmed my breathing and realized that it wasn't that bad.
Then my alarm went off and my two minutes were up. So I turned on the hot water as usual and realized it was too hot. I ended up with less than luke warm for the remainder. All in it wasn't that bad. It reminded me of the cold showers we used to take at boy scout camp. And if young me could take it, old me can too.
 

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Cold showers? A piece of cake. A long time ago we had to take cold showers for about a month. Our water heater went out and had no money to replace. I actually enjoyed them. However, not too sure I'd willingly do that right now ;)
 
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Make sense? Maybe a little bit. I don't know how I got to this point, but I'm very comfortable at this "spot" and certainly see no need to climb a mountain or take a cold shower these days, and I don't miss those days when I did have that need.
I know how you got to this point. It was by slowing making your life more and more comfortable. I see that in many of my friends. There's nothing wrong with it, in fact it's what most of us ultimately want to achieve. I can see how you can't understand why some people purposefully stick themselves in agonizing situations. My one answer to you is that we do it voluntarily so that we can handle the agonizing situations that come up involuntarily.

I don't climb a mountain for the feeling of accomplishment, I don't get in to discomfort to win a game or prove something to myself. My main reason for doing so is so that I don't forget the feeling of discomfort. To me, it's like training a muscle, if you don't experience discomfort, you forget what it feels like and then the next small discomfort you have will seem devastating or insurmountable.
 

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only the first few seconds or minute are tough to endure, afterwards its not so hard and u start to feel a primal sense of well being and just life itself. no words can describe. bliss maybe?
I get that way when I eat broiled walleye or halibut with a glass of wine. Prime rib also fills the bill.

Call it making up for the things I couldn't do when I was a kid. I have taken plenty of cold showers as a kid. Amazing how fast I could get clean. Camped out multiple times as a Boy Scout. Spent two weeks in the boundary waters, traveling by canoe in the day, portaging between lakes, and camping out by night. No camp grounds - I'm talking making a clearing and getting food somehow. No pre-made dinners. Daniel Boone. Ate well all the time, but lost 20 pounds by the time it was over. Now, my list of things to do is quite a bit different.

Hotels. Tours. Restaurants. Mint on my pillow every day. Animals made out of folded towels in my room every day (cruising!).

Just got back from a mini-vacation staying at the Embassy Suites. Once you stay there, you discover there is no reason to even consider staying anywhere else. We plan our trips to cities that have Embassy Suites. No Embassy Suites = no stopping by. My wife and I extremely enjoyed that, with plenty of bliss to spare!

Being weak isn't as bad as some people make it out to be.
 

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Basic training as a Marine had us doing some of this. Nobody in the platoon said no. Standing outside in our undershorts at attention before the sun came up. Once the feet go numb, the body feels different. Washing ourselves and our clothes in cold water outside at midnight. This after we were punished by exercise and made to roll around in the soft dirt while covered with sweat. The occasional boot on top of our heads smashing our face into the dust. Pure submission once our strength was gone.
 

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if you don't experience discomfort, you forget what it feels like and then the next small discomfort you have will seem devastating or insurmountable.
You must know some real weaklings Bio.

I have never been devastated or found something insurmountable, and I've been through the mill. I wouldn't wish anyone to experience some of the things I've gone through in life. But that's a story for another day.

My wife and I have a running joke about people that are, what would be the word? Pitiful.

The joke line is "You had just one job." We saw funny videos on YouTube about how people could screw up the most basic things somehow. The videos were titled something like - you just/only had one job.

I've known many people like that. Some of them can't even manage themselves. They need a supervisor telling them what to do. Some can manage themselves, but could never be a supervisor. Some supervisors make things way too complicated and drawn out - and certainly could not run a business.

I think the truly able ones are very small. My guess would be less than one in 30. Gotta go to college to get a degree so you can get a job? How about cutting a job out of the wilderness for yourself by starting your own business from scratch? Nope. College is such a nice pre-planned path to success. Enough of that - we're on the same page there.

I don't give up easily. In fact, I never have given up at all. But I read a lot. I constantly feed my brain with solid information, as well as making sure it is positive and adequately motivated at all times.

Give me an example of what you think might be insurmountable. I've been through divorce, bankruptcy, losing all my customers in less than a week (the great recession accomplished that for me), and mastering several careers in my lifetime. Mastering meaning creating the methods and achieving world class results from nothing. Today I am working on doing a huge project, but it's a lot different. I have tons of books, some very powerful software, and technical support. It's like the difference of building a home by chopping down trees, compared to having Home Depot delivering all my supplies ready to install. About damn time things were easy for a change!

I'm not bragging. I guess you just have not met too many people that are perfectionists and over achievers. Those types can't be stopped. My Father and one Brother are that type, along with many of my friends, so it's second nature to me. I think I can also say that I've instilled that in my Sons, as well.
 
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of course the physical effects of the breath exercise is at least temporary increased circulation and oxygenation of the body.
I guess it works pretty similar to counting your breath to calm down. You focus on your breath, get more oxygen, and relax. Wim's exercise is just doing it more intensively.

Holy crap, I won't lie, I jumped back. But I pushed forward and pushed my entire body under the water. I calmed my breathing and realized that it wasn't that bad.
I still remember my first cold shower. After one minute my body was numb and I was hyperventilating. Now that I'm more used to cold showers (I'm not sure if you ever get 100% comfortable with them) I know that it was mostly a psychological reaction and not a physical one. Controlling your breath is one of the keys to get used to cold water more quickly (same for swimming in cold bodies of water).

Cold showers? A piece of cake. A long time ago we had to take cold showers for about a month. Our water heater went out and had no money to replace. I actually enjoyed them. However, not too sure I'd willingly do that right now ;)
Since it was a long time ago, I assume it wasn't in Phoenix? A cold shower feels mighty different depending on the weather outside. It's relatively nice if it's hot outside and horrible if it's super cold.

Basic training as a Marine had us doing some of this.
I'm not a fan of the military, but I believe that it's probably one of the most powerful ways to toughen up. I'm not sure I'd be able to handle it, though. Hate blindly following orders and authority.
 

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Since it was a long time ago, I assume it wasn't in Phoenix? A cold shower feels mighty different depending on the weather outside. It's relatively nice if it's hot outside and horrible if it's super cold.
LOL. For sure. However, summer in Arizona means the water is lukewarm, not cold.
 
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