Flexibility is a full time pursuit of mine. The decision to pursue extreme flexibility came about several years ago and I still remember the night that I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I found a photo of a woman doing a "chest stand". She was laying on her chest with her butt up around her head and her feet were casually on each side of her face. She was smiling and she was fabulous. I needed to be her and I needed to do that.
I spent hours pouring over research and photos, setting goals and creating an action plan. In the following months I diligently spent countless hours training on my own, making n00b mistakes and glacial progress. Eventually I moved on to train with instructors in Beijing and Las Vegas. Some days I would get really down on myself and my abilities. I looked at the people training around me and wished I could be more like them. Maybe if my legs were longer or I was thinner or I was stronger or I had started younger or etc, etc then I would be able to do that other thing.
Not too long ago I was recording myself training so I could see what exactly my body was doing in a new sequence. I went through the motions, struggling with a new technique, pausing to look at the camera and smile. Exiting the final pose was a little sloppy. I sighed in frustration, muttering a couple less-than-flattering remarks to/about myself as I stopped the recording. I took a pouting break and then decided to watch back the footage. I was prepared to be disappointed in myself but then the coolest thing happened.
I did the thing.
The footage showed me doing the "chest stand", laying on my chest with my butt up around my head and my feet were casually on each side of my face. I was smiling and I was fabulous.
I didn't even just sort of do the thing. I f*cking nailed the thing!
The funny part is that the chest stand wasn't even what I was trying to do. It was actually just the beginning pose for a more advanced pose. I had been doing this move for months and somehow I hadn't noticed that I had accomplished the all consuming and seemingly impossible quest that I had originally set out on.
This is called "the arrival fallacy" and it has affected you too at some point.
The problem is that we tell ourselves that we'll finally be happy/badass/accomplished when we achieve "X" thing. By doing this we delay our happiness by telling ourselves that we will feel good after we do the thing. In the meantime we often forget to enjoy the journey. In some cases, once we reach said goal we just raise the bar for ourselves and forget to acknowledge that we ever reached it in the first place.
The arrival fallacy blows chunks because it robs us of feeling like we're winning. The truth is that, even if you don't realize it, you're winning right now! Take a moment to count your wins. Life is full of ups and down but the things that you are able to do and are experiencing today are only possible because past you took on the journey to make it so.
So... to wrap it up: Set your goals, kick ass and remember to celebrate your victories along the way. Don't be the dummy that forgets they're winning! Bake yourself a cake or some shit because you're awesome.
"Party Tip: If you're going to play keyboard, play keyboard hard." -Andrew W.K.
Ok, that one wasn't really in context. It just made me smile. Let's try that again.
"Party Tip: You're Amazing." -Andrew W.K.
"Party Tip: Think about the reasons you have to be happy." -Andrew W.K.
PS if you're interested in pursuing flexibility yourself then check these out!
--->6 Vitamins for Flexibility (a blog post about nutrition for flexibility)
--->YogaBody Naturals (has awesome resources including "Fleximine" supplements and DVDs)
--->Rage Yoga Online Videos (online videos to help build an at-home yoga practice)