Life Lessons from the Gym, Part 2

Posted: October 29th, 2015  |  No Comments  | 

Picking up from where I left off last week, and connecting back to one of my takeaways from the book Essentialism, the moment to maximize is now. Think about it – perhaps there’s no more appropriate place for this philosophy than the gym.

You can do a few more reps or you can say, “nah, I’m good. That’s enough.” The people who push themselves and do those extra reps, then do a couple more, and then try to squeeze out that last one with everything they’ve got left in them, they know the difference between showing up and working out. They are putting in the work, getting everything they can from the moment they are now in (rather than banking on what they might do next time or holding on to what they did last time).

This isn’t easy to do. Especially when you’re alone. This is why, for some people, the personal trainer route or a fitness class is the way to go. When you have a high energy person screaming at you “Don’t stop… Don’t give in… Five more…three more…PUSH…one more… good! Great job!” you are likely to push all the way through. You may be afraid of them. Or you may not want to let them down. In the process, you won’t be letting yourself down. You will be building yourself up. Which is a great thing. (Even if you are actually afraid of your trainer).

Another option is working out with a friend or two. Having people holding you accountable for showing up and putting in the work creates a real opportunity for you to consistently get to gym and get in a good workout (particularly if you have proven incapable of getting yourself there on your own).

Each of these tactics is available to students in the classroom. The trainer could be a faculty member you visit during office hours or the tutor you work with. Workout buddies are your study group members and/or accountability partners. Rather than tackle difficult material in isolation, how can students create opportunities to find motivation through collaboration and direct coaching? How can programs and schools model these strategies as what’s expected in our collective success plan? These are the questions that we need to answer as we re-write the college completion script. I will be your trainer. Are you ready to put in the work? You better be, because I came to win!

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