As the old saying goes, “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
And I’m guilty of this too. Since my training and experience is in athletic preparation, I tend to think of everyone as athletes. No matter what you do, no matter what your station in life, I believe you should think of yourself as an athlete too. Here’s why…

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) defined “fitness” as “the ability to meet the needs of your everyday life, with ease and a little room left to spare, in case of emergency.”
Some of you might not immediately sense the relevance of this, especially if you’re sedentary. But it’s still VERY relevant. Just to cite one example, sitting for long periods is VERY stressful and potentially damaging to your lower back. So if that applies to YOU, you should give some thought to how you might better prepare yourself to withstand those daily stresses.
Think of structured, purposeful physical activity as a necessary counter-balance for your artificially-sedentary lifestyle and surroundings.
It’s also very insightful to study the athletic perspective on training, competing, and winning and losing.
Successful athletes are purposeful. Training is undertaken for a purpose, not simply to burn calories- that’s why couch potatoes use the word “exercise” and athletes use the word “training:” “training” implies a purpose for the activity.
Commonly, the ratio between training time and competition time is skewed heavily toward training. Olympic discus throwers for example, might spend fours years of hard training, culminating in only a few seconds in the circle. Executives understand this implicitly: a smart exec might spend months “training” for just the right opportunity in front of a hot prospect or client.
Interestingly, a lot of pro and Olympic athletes spend a lot of time resting and recreating. Note that second word: to “re-create.” Training is intense, competition is intense…the creative wellspring must be replenished. Professional entertainers understand this also.
An old coach of mine used to say “There is no joy in winning, no agony in defeat.” It just means that you shouldn’t get too happy about your wins, because there’s always another competition to prepare for. And of course, no point in wallowing in a defeat…defeats provide the opportunity to learn and mature- IF you have the right perspective.
So let me urge you to think of yourself as an athlete in whatever game it is that you play- business, parenting, teaching, learning, creating value for the World using your own unique skills and talents, whatever they are. Don’t shortchange the World by neglecting your physicality, because you won’t be operating at peak efficiency. Life is holographic- your intellectual, spiritual, and emotional strength depends on your physical strength, and vice versa.
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  1. David 15 years ago

    I’ve undertaken a training regimen since the beginning of the new year. You are spot on about the sedentary lifestyle and how very stressful it is. I read a piece on Paul Chek and, not to be irreverent, he likened training to a religion; there is a correlation between your well-being and god. I have been faced with some family issues the last week that I believe would have left me bedridden if not for my new found “religion” of training and nutrition. The training gives me peace and serenity and that’s after only three weeks. I’m in a zone and it gets better everyday. I didn’t mean to get all corny on you Charles nor bore more knowledgeable readers on the benefit of training, but your article really resonated with me.

  2. Author
    Charles Staley 15 years ago

    Thanks David, I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

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