In a couple of hours, I will be speaking at the evening session of NPE. I am adding and expanding my normal workshop, but I found an interesting point that I want to share tonight.
On my trip to County Sligo, I was exposed to the work of J. Stanton, “The Gnolls Credo.” “Gnolls’ are half human and half hyena, but the book demands that you look a bit closer at living life a bit more fully. One thing, beyond “Die biting the throat,” that I enjoyed in the book was this:
“Plan the Hunt.
Discuss the Hunt.”
I see this all the time in every aspect of life. The high school kid, actually now usually the folks, demand that Edna or Bob get into a “good school.” I used to joke at Judge Memorial that we prepared kids to go to the Ivy League and then they would graduate from the University of Utah. By the way, the U is a great school and two years ago our senior counselor at Juan Diego famously stated that although Nick B could have gone to a “good school,” he chose to go to the U. Of the top minds in that class, the bulk (including my daughter) had chosen to go to the Pac 12 and world famous research university down the street.
Good for you for going to any school you make it into: now, hunt. Finish the job!
I get this all the time in questions: “Dan, if I do the 40 Day program…what about one lift a day? Program Minimum is too minimum! Should I do the six week Soviet squat program, too?”
Do the Soviet Squat program. There is a workout where I did six sets of six in the Front Squat with 320. At the end of set one, I was emotionally drained. I can remember thinking “really?” That was set one! I went on to finish the whole program and destroy my old Front Squat best. What did I do for those six weeks?
When I finished the Velocity Diet, Alwyn Cosgrove famously said to me: “Well, now you can critique it.” I’m not sure many remember how many people tried the V Diet after my long series of posts at t-nation, but the majority failed. I had one thing in mind: finish it.
When I finished the diet, I went on Cosgrove’s “Afterburn II” program and leaned out to the most ripped condition of my life since junior high. Sixteen weeks of complexes and leg burning worked wonders for me. Now, we can talk about all of this.
Discuss the Hunt!
I think we get lost in this field with looking over the horizon with training programs. I got an email where the guy literally wanted to figure out how to do the 40 day program, armor building and the program minimum ALL AT ONCE! I should have just told him to do it, but I am too kind. This is a classic “Plan the Hunt, Hunt” error, I think. Sometimes you simply have to jump in, take good notes and hope for the best.
You see, and I have to weigh this a bit as I think the “hunt” metaphor gets as worn and frayed as the combat or war mentality of training, it is the PURSUIT of a worthy goal (Earl Nightingale) that should always be the focus. Saint Anselm famously told us:
“Fides quaerens intellectum”
which can be summed as “Faith seeking understanding.” That is fine, but I always like to remind my audience that “quaerens” is also the root of “Quarry.” This old word for the “hunted” is a wonderful way to think of pursuit! So, Anselm’s insight can be “Faith pursues understanding.” In the same way, Thomas Jefferson writes in the Declaration of Independence (if I remember this right) that”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Now, George Mason (he isn’t just a Final Four team that ruined your bracket a few years ago) noted before Jefferson:
“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
Little surprise that landholders might cringe at allowing “possessing property” as an inalienable right, but I digress.
It is the pursuit of happiness that I see as the key. It fits in with my great global beliefs concerning goal setting as going from A to B, but, as right now it is time to quote Cervantes, “It’s the road, not the inn.”
Goal setting is “A to B,” but the joy is the “to” part. Like we always say in theology, on your tombstone is two dates, 1957-2132, but that little dash (“-”) is the whole story. It’s the pursuit of the goal that makes fun and joyful.
I don’t care if the program you are doing is stupid. By God, there are tons of idiotic ideas out there and if you find yourself flaying around, finish it. Don’t pop off of one idea and leap onto another. Listen, it all works, for about six weeks. You might as well fill your quiver of training ideas with a bunch of finished items.
Here’s the deal: no matter what you do, the “next” program is going to be the perfect answer. And, honestly, it doesn’t matter what you choose; finish the hunt before you decide to discuss the hunt.