A strategy for champions - pressure needs a place to go!

When pressure builds, it needs a place to go. It searches for release. Take it in the intestinal sense too, if you wish. When the pressure builds, release is a must! There better be a toilet in the vicinity, or else all hell will break loose. Pressure does not wait. It needs to be released now, and no amount of logical reasoning will work. We humans are so smart, we have devised such a clever way. Over millennia, we have trained our bodies to release the pressure first thing in the morning! Some need to have a cup of chai, some need to read a few pages of a book, and a few fortunate ones like me don’t need any inspiration :-)

Pressure builds inside a steam cooker too. The designers who created this brilliant device, also created a specific place from where they want the steam to be released - the steam whistle. Not just that, they also created a backup - the safety valve - from where the pressure would release in the rare event that the whistle doesn’t work. The damage that can be caused if the pressure is not released in time, is explosive. Ditto, in the intestinal case also!

You and me too, need a release mechanism. Release what, I hear you asking. Let me explain.

From time to time I feel the ‘urge’ to do something. Its like a crazy internal compulsion. Its a craving. I can feel the temperature rising internally. My body is automatically being spurred into action. It almost seems like I have no control over it.

Let’s say one of my friends addresses me by a name in jest, but I’m not enjoying it. I feel the urge to shoot back with a sarcastic comment.
Let’s say my parents nag me for the 117th time about completing my homework, and my irritation is turning into anger. I feel the urge to say something that will hurt them.
Let’s say I’ve decided not to take a second helping of the ice-cream, but as I look at it, it seems to be smiling at me invitingly :-)
Let’s say I wake up at 6am as Ive decided to become fit, but then my mind tells me to press the snooze button and take another 15 minute ‘power’ nap.
Let’s say I’ve decide to drop the habit of sleeping late, but its 11pm, and I see that my favourite TV serial is just about to start.
Lets say that I’ve decided to complete my homework before heading out, and I get a whatsapp message from my bro’s in a group selfie, reminding me of the fun I’m missing out on.

And the pressure builds up. The urge gets stronger. It become almost a rush. It’s pushing me to take action.

You and me need to create a pressure release valve by anticipating and planning for such situations in advance. Thats all there is to it. The pressure will build up. The urge will come. Just like an army prepares for an attack by the enemy, I need to prepare myself for the onslaught of known urges. Leaving it on chance is like going for a morning jog without having released the pressure first - extremely dangerous.

Here are some examples:
When I hear those words, from certain people, I’ll start singing my favourite song to myself in my mind - ‘Lord help me to take, one day at a time…'
When I was a kid, me and my father enjoyed a brilliant relationships. Yet, at times, and on certain topics, things would get heated between us. My father came up with a brilliant plan. We created a code between us. It was an action - scratching my own ear. We decided that when either of us had too much, we would scratch our ears. Using the code meant that we would both instantly pause our discussion and return to it only after the temperature had cooled down. It worked brilliantly!
If I feel the urge to have that second helping of ice-cream, I pop a little bit of mouth-freshener into my mouth, and that kills the urge.
I just keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. I have to get out of bed to reach it, and since its right next to the wash basin, I quickly wash my face. Good bye urge to go back to sleep.
And so on :-)

Such simple strategies have helped in creating many winning habits and dropping some unwanted ones in several aspects of my life. I have tried and tested a few such ideas, and refined them over the years. Of course, there still are plenty of aspects in my life where work remains to be done.

My next frontier is going to be fitness. I’m attempting to devise some simple strategies that will help me push myself to do those few extra reps, that extra kilometre of running, that additional set of pushup or sit-ups, just when my muscles are totally exhausted and all ready to stop. That is what will bring out the champion in me. That is what will help me push myself to the next level.

I’m all ready to get set, create the right personal strategies, and here's to super-duper fitness!!

With Loads of Love & Gratitude,