Key Takeaway: So much philosophy from fitness can be applied in living a purposeful life! Here are four such insights.
Make a wish!
They say that at 11:11, you should make a wish because either the identical digits represent beginnings or oneness, or because that’s the time that a “window” in your life is open and thus need to ask for guidance from your angels.
But I’m not here to talk about numerology or spiritual beliefs – I’m here to talk about something more universal.
Very recently, I started going to the gym. I seriously needed to push through with my exercise plans, because I’m so thin and underweight that I am sickly and my immune system is not as strong as I’d hoped, healthy foods notwithstanding. I’ve started implementing a regular system where I go to the gym twice or thrice a week after work, eating a quick protein- or carbohydrate-laden supper, then lots of hydration after.
From reading books, watching athletic-themed film clips, or simply talking with fitness-centered peers, I have learned the various philosophies behind physical exercise even way before I started doing it myself. And here’s the thing: All of these philosophies also apply to living a truly good life, or living a truly purposeful life. To name a few:
1. The value of perseverance
They say that motivation is what inspires you to start, but habit is what keeps you going. At first, you may be all excited to dive into the world of fitness, but after a while it tends to feel like a “chore”. Or, at first, doing certain exercises at the start, or the first game, may be all exciting, but afterwards, you feel tired, or bored.
When it comes to that point, you can either choose to give up, or persevere and go on. The question is, which way will you go?
It’s the same with living. There are times when things will get difficult. When you feel like you’re in a rut. When you think that things are hopeless.
Well, they’re not the end of you. Things will get better. You will reach that light at the end of the tunnel. The key is to persevere. To persist until you succeed.
(Read more: When you’re feeling helpless…)
2. Know your limits
When I was first trying out the gym equipment, I told my gym buddy I would start small (meaning, light) and progress on to heavier weights if I could manage. I reached a certain point but could not complete the entire set with that weight anymore, so I went back down one level.
Although at one point I was dreading that other gym-goers would see me having trouble with relatively light weights, and mock me for it, I knew that I should not give any damn about what others would think. What was important was that I knew my limits, and work with those. Then, improve gradually.
In life, we too should know our limits and work with them. A lot of us want to do so many things, but it is a reality that time is not unlimited for any of us. I know this, because I’m always like that even up to now, and it’s a real struggle.
This is also connected to self-awareness, because it is the first step to living a purposeful life. You need to know yourself first, and armed with that knowledge, move forward.
(Read more: How do you face your circumstances?)
3. Consistency, not strength
There are people who want to show off and impress, or to prove to others or to themselves that they “can do it”, by displaying as much strength as they can muster. By the time they’re just halfway through, they have no energy left.
My gym buddy tells me that this isn’t the right way to go about it – it is far better, and healthier, to display consistency over the “max” power you can deliver.
One of my mentors, the founder of the Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation, always taught us that consistency is key. It shows that you can be counted on to deliver whenever, wherever, that you are reliable. Compared to a cycle of highs and lows – that is, you deliver a lot, then deliver none, then deliver a lot again, then none again – people will tend to be more comfortable and trusting of the first scenario.
This is another of my struggles, and I clearly see the wisdom behind consistency. Now, if only it was that easy to practice in life as it is in the gym…
4. The only person to beat is yourself
The point of fitness is to stay fit and healthy. Not to have a better body than other people. So, fitness is all about self-improvement. There is no competition other than yourself – the less fit and healthy you. Your goal is to keep improving yourself.
So it is in living a truly good life. Again, this is one of my struggles – I have the tendency to compare myself to the brilliant and wonderful people around me, and become depressed and wonder as to why I am not as blessed.
But that’s not the point. In pursuing your higher purpose, in being rooted in awareness and service, you only need to be better than who you were yesterday. You are, again, your only competition. The true measure of your success is if you are on an uphill trend of improvement.
(Read more: One step at a time)
Have a purposeful weekend!
Aloy Chua is the Co-Founder and CEO of TDY. His column, Today, discusses everyday living in relation to TDY’s philosophy of Higher Purpose Through Love. He’s also the co-founder of the Roots Collective, a community hub for entrepreneurs, and a freelance systems consultant and writer/editor, and loves reading about fashion, technology, travel, entrepreneurship, and healthy living. His first love is Pokémon. Find out more about living The Daily You on our About Page.Follow Aloy on Instagram at @royaltruchua and Twitter at @TheDailyAloy.