Sunday, September 29, 2013

What 5% of the Effort, Produces 95% of the Results?

 My good friend Ken Leistner, (Dr. HIT) used to discuss and advocate how to put out 115% effort all the time -- in whatever one does, which seems to work while one is young and seems to have inexhaustible recovery ability, even as one was almost constantly injured and recovering from such enthusiasm -- but there eventually comes a time for all of us to realize that going to the well too many times and exhausting it, comes with the risk that one day, one might not recover, but then go into an irreversible decline until one's ultimate and inevitable death -- which is the old way of dying, rather than the new way of living.

We still see that mentality at work in the thinking that increasing stress, enables us to better tolerate it -- but only up to a point that it overwhelms us, and then destroys us -- because we don't have infinite ability to adapt and recovery, but will succumb as the more appropriate fate.  That is the reason, most traditional exercise and conditioning strategies and regimens, seems not to be effective in the mature human being -- and actually may wear them out faster, reducing their resiliency and recovery.

During the 80s, when many of my friends were well into their careers working with top athletes, and seeing what worked for that small unrepresentative population samples, I got sidetracked in working with the the disabled, elderly and terminal on the other extreme -- which posed a much more interesting question, of not what would work with the most gifted individuals in that respect -- but what would work even among the most hopeless individuals and conditions?

And that was the more important question to ask, as people do not remain young, competitive and combative all their lives, but eventually mature and mellow out, and "age" in that familiar pattern -- of not recovering from their efforts and battles, but then seem to enter into lifelong declines -- that seem irreversible -- despite one's even added determination to give even more to their efforts.  but the results are not forthcoming, as so they abandon those efforts, and give up thinking that anything works, and that life from here on out, is simply a losing proposition -- and they can no longer get ahead, except by deluding themselves into thinking that is so -- and then disappearing from public view as people do when in hopeless decline and deterioration to become mere shells of their former selves they want nobody to witness, as they can sense the horror of those reactions to seeing them -- and the pity it evokes.

That's quite a comedown from those formerly at the peak of their game -- now in rapid retreat from everything in life -- even their own images in the mirror.  The brief moment of glory, is no compensation for a lifelong decline and deterioration that stretches over many decades -- affecting all one does, and can no longer do, and is impaired and distressed at every moment in life.  So is there something one can do, some way one can train -- that keeps one at 95% of their fullest potential, and not 110% -- followed by lifelong, irreversible decline without recovery and respite?

That seems to be the much more valuable, and sensible question to ask.  What keeps one at 95% capacity most of the time, and the excess capacity untapped, goes to building one's margin of reserves and recovery ability -- for a lifetime of unintended challenges a full life will embrace?  It is important to exercise those limits, as the key to one's survival strategy -- and not routinely go beyond them thinking one grows invulnerable by doing so routinely -- losing sight of one's abilities in overestimating them on every occasion.  That's how fatal and debilitating accidents occur -- thinking one grows invulnerable to them, by risking them always.

Many are conditioned to those responses -- rather than fine-tuning the fine-lines that separates success from failure, and doom.  What is the margin of safety and reserve, one must maintain -- and actually increase, so as to enhance one's survival throughout a long life -- thrive, and prosper?  That is the obvious great frontier of these times -- as many live longer, but most don't do it on the terms they would like -- which would fundamentally revolutionize that stage of life, and make it truly a golden age.

"More" and "how much," seems to be the wrong approach -- because it is not working, no matter how insistent they are that what "works" at a young age, works for all ages, no matter what -- when the obvious truth of the matter is that it isn't working as one ages, because it is not the solution -- that fails in time, or there would be no problem -- and one could just continue to do what one has always done before, with the same great results -- but instead, one just gets injured, or dies prematurely, often in an unprecedented rapid decline.

So always a great question, has been what is sustainable for a long and prosperous lifetime -- and not just a one-shot deal that is as quickly extinguished, in every generation of newcomers willing to do anything for a brief moment in that glory and fame?  A few make it, but countless more merely perish -- in vain.  But more importantly, is the feeling that they are still improving, or just an utter failure, with no meaning and purpose of any improvement, and only increasing decline and despair that anything matters anymore -- but then one will just continue to go through the motions -- until one can't.  That's no way to live a life -- or to condition oneself to live.


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