Sunday, February 23, 2020

Never give up a learning mindset . . A thank you to David Goggins

Traditionally, I have shunned the "self help" genre of books which are usually penned by a bunch of scamsters who've not done anything in their lives apart from writing a book with generic "global gyan". I don't want to give examples but apply this definition to what's out there and you'll find many such examples yourself. David Goggins' book "Can't Hurt Me" isn't self help. It's more of a memoir. It just so happens that the blueprint of his life can be applied to anyone. And what a remarkable life! From being obese to passing BUD/S training (BUD/S is a 24-week training challenge that develops SEAL candidates' mental/physical stamina and leadership skills) to becoming an endurance athlete (he completed the Badwater 135 which is arguably the world's toughest ultra-marathon race) to setting a Guinness record for the highest number of pull-ups in 24 hours. Half of these accomplishments came despite having a congenital heart defect!

My wife recommended the book to me last February. I think she sensed there was something different about this book. I completed it exactly one year ago to this day. That was a tipping point in my life. Like a sudden torchlight shined into the dusty, dark recesses of my brain. My life has been different since then. I'm not exaggerating.

David Goggins theory is very simple. Every day is an opportunity to keep pushing. An opportunity to keep learning. Progress might seem slow, invisible even. But slowly and surely, skill builds up . . And one day you'll realize that the minuscule progress made every day has become significant! It's mind blowing in its simplicity. The human mind and body are capable of astonishing feats and this book helped me realize that. The only trick is to not give up. To use his own words and to quote an extract from his book -
"The engine in a rocket ship does not fire without a small spark first. We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones. Think of your small accomplishments as kindling. When you want a bonfire, you don’t start by lighting a big log. You collect some witch’s hair—a small pile of hay or some dry, dead grass. You light that, and then add small sticks and bigger sticks before you feed your tree stump into the blaze. Because it’s the small sparks, which start small fires, that eventually build enough heat to burn the whole fucking forest down"
Since that day unto today; I have learnt basic python coding. I can think of what solution to apply to a given problem, research the tools needed and build the logic of a python script. I've taken up CrossFit. I can do snatches and cleans with correct form. I can complete the met-con part of a WOD. I've taken up boxing. I am able to work the speed-bag and double-end bag along with being able to put together combinations with proper technique. The speed bag took me 3 weeks to get to the 3-tap combination. The double-end bag took me longer to learn. I no longer get gassed out in one round of mittwork. I've gone from being skinny-obese @ 33% body fat to being fit and completing moderately challenging treks without breaking a sweat. I shall be attempting a grade 5 trek next month (the Maktrav) and I shall be attempting Mt Kinabalu (the tallest peak in Southeast Asia) after that. I am taking my python knowledge to the next level with a specialized course on automation. I might have a tough time, but one thing I know is that I shall be finishing these undertakings.

And it's just the start of my journey . . My new life. The learning mindset is a lifestyle change. Be it a physical skill or a mental one. If you keep pushing yourself just that little bit every day, there is absolutely NO LIMIT to what you can achieve! Here's to lifelong learning. Here's to David Goggins.

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