The Journey to Mastery

The Journey to MasteryWhen we decide to make any sort of change in our lives – such as seeking a deeper relationship with Christ or improving our health – there are a variety of approaches we can take.

And, as it turns out, if we hope to approach mastery in any aspect of our life the approach we take can make a massive difference.

So, in this article, I’d like to introduce you to four different folks who have all decided to improve their health through exercise and clean eating. And, as you’ll read, each takes a different approach with varying results.

Dabbling Donny

First we meet Dabbling Donny. Donny begins any new quest with enthusiasm. He pours his heart into it and learns all he can. And, to his credit, he works hard initially. Really hard. And, to make things even more exciting, Donny sees early results.

But, then, alas, as the grind continues Dabbling Donny begins to slow down. The excitement just isn’t what it was in the beginning. The improvements he was seeing in the gym are slowing and he even experiences days where his performance seems to get worse.

Frustrated with the situation Donny learns of a new DVD workout series while watching a late night infomercial that he’s sure will change his life forever… so he immediately begins this new quest with renewed enthusiasm only to see it fizzle out a few months later.

In short, the minute Dabbling Donny meets failure, or frustration, he’s onto the next adventure.

Enthusiastic Ed

Next we meet Enthusiastic Ed. When you look up the words passion and desire in the dictionary you see Ed’s picture.

And just like Dabbling Donny experienced, Enthusiastic Ed also sees immediate results when he begins his journey to better health. The only difference is Ed fully expected the results whereas Donny always seems a bit shocked when good things happen.

Then, when we fast-forward a few months, Enthusiastic Ed also begins to plateau and struggle. What used to be easy is now getting hard. But Ed doesn’t back down from the challenge.

Instead of running from the problem Enthusiastic Ed doubles down and works even harder than before. He even hears of how CrossFit legend Rich Froning works out 4 times per day so Ed decides to give that a go.

And, to his credit, he tries. But, sadly, Enthusiastic Ed isn’t Rich Froning and he eventually burns out and decides to quit what he now refers to as “obsessive CrossFit.”

The truth of the matter is it was Ed who was obsessive… not CrossFit.

Hacking Henry

And then there’s Hacking Henry… a really nice fellow with a good heart.

Henry is steady and consistent but doesn’t like to be uncomfortable. So, when he realizes he’s not good at something he simply avoids it. In fact, Henry is a beast on the pull-up bar but if he hears the workout of the day involves those nasty thrusters he’ll suddenly find a reason to skip that day.

Put another way, Hacking Henry never comes close to reaching his full potential since he chooses to avoid his weaknesses while running from the things he fears.

Mastering Matthew

Finally we meet Mastering Matthew. Matt is very consistent and truly enjoys the journey to better health. In fact, when Matthew hits the inevitable plateau he doesn’t panic or get upset.

Sure, he gets a little frustrated from time to time, but he truly enjoys the challenge so he seeks out advice and coaching from more experienced folks and continues to chip away at his weaknesses.

And, as a result of this measured consistency, and never-give-up attitude, Mastering Matthew eventually breaks through the plateau and continues the incremental journey to better health for the rest of his life.

Confession

OK, so it’s blogging confession time. I’m most definitely guilty of being just like each of these four men. I’ve dabbled before. I’ve definitely been far too enthusiastic, even obsessive at times. I’ve also hacked and run from the things that I struggle with (hello, jump rope!).

But, I’ve also done my best to recognize these faults in order to regain balance. So am I now the second coming of Mastering Matthew? No. Not even close.

I still get too worked up when I struggle at something and I’m definitely not as patient as I should be. But, I do feel like I’m making progress since I’m surrounded by so many amazing people like my beautiful wife, my kids, and my Exodus brothers who all help me to keep things on the tracks.

What about you?

What about you? Do you dabble, or hack, or get overly obsessive?  If you’re anything like me you probably do all of the above from time to time which is OK. There were only two perfect people to ever walk the earth… the rest of us are deeply flawed and imperfect so we need to battle and scrap our way to perfection.

The good news, and it truly is good news, is Our Lady and Lord are always present and ready to help us be the best we can be. We just need to ask for their help before doing our very best to cooperate with the grace extended to us.

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!