In Parenting… Patience is Strength

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner

Tuesday, 7:55 a.m.
Boulder, CO

Starting a strength training regime is exhilarating. Our body begins to feel stronger immediately. The sense of improvement is palpable and real. We receive instant feedback. We can lift more weight or do more repetitions each consecutive week. We feel as if we could go to the gym forever. Then… something happens.

We miss a day here, then a week there. We need to travel for work or we have out-of-town guests or our car breaks down. Soon, what we could do easily the week or two before now feels intolerably difficult. Even if we don’t miss a week, this can happen. This is often the crux of getting ourselves onto a regular strength training program. I have found I can work myself up to a certain level of fitness, and then let a series of external circumstances keep me from making the jump to the next level. I always feel as if I am repeating the same cycle.

How many of you have experienced this? The sense that you are alway covering the same ground, without improvement. It is similar to Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I suspect many of you have encountered this very phenomenon at least once, if not more than once. The truth is, it’s inevitable. Everyone experiences the same sense of let down after the initial burst of improvement and enthusiasm. Our bodies are not designed to develop and improve in a linear fashion. We traverse through natural cycles of highs and lows, of feeling strong one week and weak the next.

This is an important idea to keep in mind… This cycling happens daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly. To become strong physically, as well as mentally, we must be patient. It is like seduction. As soon as you think you have it nailed it slips through your fingers, like grains of sand in a clenched fist.

The harder your squeeze the faster the sand flows through your fingers.

Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t become a 7 time Mr. Olympia overnight. It took time and energy to create his legendary physique. This was not measured in days, weeks or even months. Years of dedication and hard work is what it took.

Becoming strong physically, or becoming a better parent, is not a sprint, it is an ultra-marathon. It requires what the Japanese call kaizen and Anthony Robbins calls CANI — Constant And Never ending Improvement. Kaizen is a Japanese business term, yet it is a powerful metaphor for improving ourselves. It means seeking continuous, incremental improvement. Such an approach takes a long view to being who we want to become. It emphasizes taking small, daily steps — everyday, of every week, of every year.

If you’ve been struggling with sticking to a strength training regime or feel that your parenting has taken a thrashing lately, consider retooling your thinking. When trying to lose an old habit, create a new one and make it as easy as tying your shoe, you may go for weeks or months without positive results. We are the accumulation of what we do everyday.

“How we do anything, is how we do everything.”

Take control of how you act and what you do, today, and you will create significant change in your life. Maybe it won’t happen tomorrow, next week, or even next month, but if you are patient, put in good practice and keep after it, then you will reap the reward.

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