From the day I was born, to becoming an “adult” and even now after his passing, I’ve learned many valuable lessons from my dad that have positively shaped my life and my future.
In this post I’m going to share with you the 5 lessons that have made the greatest impact on my life and explain how they relate to your fitness. (a little over a week ago from today my father passed away. While I miss him and that makes me sad, I’m relieved that his suffering is over and he can finally be at peace. )
Lesson #5 will literally change your life and the way you apply yourself to everything you do, now and in your future. I’m happy to share this with you because I think the best way to honor my dad is pass on his teachings to you and your loved ones. So ya better keep reading! 😉
Are you sitting down with pen & pad? Better go get it. I’ll wait…
I can sum up at least 5 lessons from my childhood when my dad was teaching me to chop fire wood. Here we go…
Lesson #1 (wow…this is WAY harder to write than I thought it would be 🙁 )
I learned this lesson as a small boy watching my dad split wood (we had a wood burning stove heating our house. Every time he swung the ax the wood split in two easily…the wood never stood a chance.
After many weeks/months of asking to split wood, my dad reluctantly handed me the ax and told me to go for it (obviously warning me to be careful so I didn’t chop off my own leg).
My dad said “try to hit the center of the wood”, I think to keep it simple (another valuable lesson he taught me) at first. So I swung with everything I had, nearly missing the wood, knocking it over without splitting it in the least. I picked up the piece of wood and tried again, and again, and again. Never getting it to split.
Even the one time I managed to hit the center (one out of 100+ tries lol) I still couldn’t get that darn piece of wood to split. I decided I hated chopping wood and I gave up. My dad didn’t want me to be a quitter, so he decided it was time to tell me the secret to splitting wood – He said, “look closely here son. Do you see
these cracks in the center of the wood? When you can hit the big one there, you don’t have to work so hard. The wood is already weak there.” (I was going against the grain). THE LESSON = Know your goal so you don’t waste your energy in the other direction. As this relates to your exercise, don’t just set your goals. You have to know why your goals are important to you. Otherwise you’ll give up way to easily and you will fail.
Lesson #2 & 3
Chopping wood was not my strong suit. I swung and failed more times than I can count. I just couldn’t get the ax to hit the sweet spot.
Knowing my goal wasn’t enough. I needed practice and coaching. My dad made me work for it though. Every time I started to give up or outright quit, my dad gave me another piece to the puzzle and brought me one step closer to becoming a master wood-chopper like himself. The LESSON = Having a coach reduces frustrations & cuts the learning curve.
One day I was chopping wood, swinging with everything I had, inefficiently as usual. When my dad stopped me. He said I was swinging way too hard to hit my mark. I was swinging with my arms, instead of using my whole body, hence the wood wasn’t splitting like it was supposed too.
Once he corrected my form and showed me how to hold the ax, and progress through the swing using my legs and my core, I was able to hit the sweet spot! I still only hit it ever one out of five swings, but that was a huge improvement by nearly 500%. The wood was splitting more often with less effort. I was stoked and I liked chopping wood again! THE LESSON = Form First – Results will improve dramatically when you do it right the first time. As this relates to your exercise – don’t cheat on form. It reduces the effectiveness of your exercise and can even lead to injury. Your results are directly related to your form, so do it right.
Lesson #4 & 5
Chopping wood was fun again! I loved chopping wood. Chopping wood was an every weekend thing in the summer, and I was getting better every weekend! By my 3rd summer, I was able to chop enough wood in a couple hours to make a pile that you couldn’t see me over, it was so tall! I chopped and chopped and hung up my ax…it was time to go play with my friends 🙂 Just as I was running out the door my dad stopped me and said “where do you think you’re going? There’s a big mess in the front yard and you haven’t finished your chores.”
“But dad!!!” I complained. “All my friends are waiting. I chopped all the wood.” He reminded me that the pile wasn’t going to pick itself up. I needed to stack it. I loved splitting wood! It was actually fun 🙂 But I hated stacking it. However, the yard looked like a bomb went off and split wood was scattered everywhere. So I had to pick it up and stack it. My friends were all playing so I rushed through and stacked the wood as fast as I could, not paying attention to detail. When the wood was all stacked I ran off to play. Son after I heard my dad calling me back home…The stacked up wood pile had fallen down and broke some small yard tools, etc. So despite my best efforts to get out of it, I had to stack the wood pile up again while my friends continued playing and having fun. TWO LESSONS = 1. Sometimes you do the things you want to, other times you do what you have to do to get what you want. 2. Do things right the first time so you don’t have to do them over again. As it relates to your fitness, don’t rush through your exercises. Do them right, make them count, you will reach your goals with less time and effort that way.
There are so many lessons my dad taught me, but this one is by far the most important lesson:
Be relentless – My dad was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live. He was in pain a majority of the time, although, he was very good at hiding it for everyone else’s sake (mini lesson-be selfless). My dad knew he wanted to be around and spend time with his family no matter what pain he dealt with. So he fought. He fought with everything he had for over 15 years! Because he gave it his all and fought relentlessly, he was rewarded (and rewarded us) with another 15 plus years together as a family.
If you want something bad enough, you can have it. But only if you give it your all. Be relentless in the pursuit of your health and fitness goals and NOTHING CAN STOP YOU!
YOUR ACTION STEPS:
1. Figure out your SPECIFIC goals and why are they important to you? DECIDE that you WILL achieve them.
2. GET a coach to guide you and hold you accountable. Don’t waste energy on the wrong things.
3. LEARN & APPLY yourself to your program. Practice your form and get better.
4. Commit to your goals Sometimes you have to do things you don’t always like to get what you want.
5. BE RELENTLESS! Let nothing stop you from achieving your goals. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Fight for what you believe in and want. You’re worth it!
Other important lessons that may not always impact your fitness:
-Family is important. Tell them you love them daily.
-Keep it simple. If things are complicated, they tend to get put off.
-Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun. Going full speed in work mode all the time will burn you out.
-Stand up for what you believe in. No one can do it for you, and no one likes a door mat.
-Respect your elders. Chances are, they already did that stupid thing you’re thinking about trying.
-Don’t put off your work and avoid it. Attack it head on and get it out of the way. The only thing that eliminates anxiety is taking action towards a solution.
-Be good to people. Someone is always watching.
-Don’t lie. Not to anyone. Not even yourself. It only leads to trouble and someone’s feelings getting hurt. No one likes being lied to.
-Think objectively, ask questions, make your own decisions. Otherwise you will never be happy with an outcome.
-Be yourself. No one can do it for you and no one can do it better.
There are many more, but I’d like to hear what lessons you’ve learned from your parents. Please comment below to share your top lesson or 2.