Life Lesson from the N64 Reset Button 

Life Lesson from the N64 Reset Button 

To this day, I still believe the greatest video game system ever created was the Nintendo 64. Back when games were actually difficult because they weren’t made for online play, and you never had to worry about your games being destroyed by getting scratched up. Although perhaps this is just the nostalgia talking…

When I was a kid my favorite button on my Nintendo 64 was the reset button. I would be playing a sports game, and maybe I would miss a basket or strike out and blow my perfect status. I would then hit “reset” and try again, because you know, everything had to be perfect. Before long I would get nowhere in the game and I’d soon grow weary of it.

In the fitness industry every one seems to want a reset button. It seems we all like waiting until Monday or even the New Year to start a new habit. It feels like these magical start dates are what will help us towards our new goal. Well a couple days or weeks in, we mess up and suddenly decide to throw everything away. I mean there is always next year. 

Whether we admit it or not, we all have an innate desire for perfection. We like to make absolutely darn sure that the water is the temperature we want before we jump in. Truth is, the water will probably never be the right temperature. 

This propensity to wait for the perfect time is one of the most common forms of procrastination, because quite frankly nothing will ever be perfect. In fact, now-a-days there are a lot of popular messages about not being afraid of failure; honestly, I don’t think many of us actually fear failure. I think many of us actually fear not being perfect. 

Case and point, this somewhere around the 4th or 5th blog I’ve started. I’ll admit, I am David Howington, and I struggle with perfectionism…

This fear of not being perfect leads to the term “analysis paralysis”. There are things we want to do in life where before we do it we want to make sure everything is laid out just right. We want the perfect plan, and we spend hours agonizing over that plan. Before long, a couple years have passed without any progress because we haven’t actually started. We spend so long analyzing everything that we never actually did anything. 

My summer job in high school was as a swim instructor. There was a summer where the temperature was consistently around 70 degrees or cooler, and the heater in the pool wasn’t working well. Unfortunately, because I taught younger kids I did not have the luxury of simply sitting out in a nice warm towel teaching. I had to be in the pool with the kids. I soon realized the best thing I could do for myself was to simply jump in and get my whole body wet. More often than not, I found my body would then quickly acclimate itself to the water, and I wouldn’t feel so cold anymore. 

This anecdote has many truths in life. Whatever our goals may be, or whatever the next step may be sometimes it helps to just jump in… Pardon the cliche.

I am not saying you shouldn’t have a plan, but I am also saying the plan doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact this is the beauty of life, is often times we have to learn as we go. Ask any parent, they probably have an idea of what they want for their kids, but if they waited until everything was perfect they may never experience the joy of parenthood. I am willing to bet most parents are never truly ready to be parents. 

I think the same holds true for our goals or dreams. It’s important to have an idea and a direction but if we wait until everything is actually perfect we may miss out on a joy far greater than any imperfection. 

– Dave

Learning to Speak “Different Languages” – Meeting People Where They’re At

Learning to Speak “Different Languages” – Meeting People Where They’re At

When we spend a lot of time with a group of like minded individuals something funny happens, we all start sounding the same. 

I think of the times when I was younger and I would pick up the phone to hear one of my aunts. They live in West Virginia, and have pretty heavy accents. Next thing you know I start noticing myself developing an accent just by talking on the phone. To this day I’ll still slip and use words like, “y’all”

Yet it’s not just with accents, this “phenomenon” even happens with words, more specifically the “language” we use when around the aforementioned groups. 

In Christian circles we tend use certain phrases, words, and even jokes only Christians would really understand. We call it “Christian-ese”. 

The same situation also happens for myself when talking fitness. I’ll soon find myself using terms and phrases only fitness enthusiasts will understand. I’ll even sarcastically use cliches such as, “feel the burn”. 

There’s nothing wrong with speaking in such manners. There is nothing wrong with talking like this when the people around us understand what we are saying. The problem arises when we try to communicate with people outside of these circles. 

In college, I had a group of friends and just for fun we would call each other dawg. Well it got to the point, we would do so and it would just be natural. Then there was that fateful day that my mom made me breakfast one morning and I said, “Thanks dawg”. I think we all know this did not go over well. 

While the above example is an extreme case, think about when we try to help people. I’ll often find myself working with clients and using terms like “tuck your pelvis”. Well unless they’ve been working with me for a while I find they’ll usually stare at me like a confused puppy.

The same goes when I’m hanging out with fellow Christians. Sometimes we’ll say something or do something and I can’t help but wonder what this would feel like to someone who maybe didn’t grow up with a church background. 

If all I do is speak in these “different languages” I soon run into significant roadblocks. The people I’m trying to help, don’t understand what I’m saying, and as a result I struggle to help them. 

Another issue I run into is trying to explain something to others without them feeling like I consider them dumb. I loathe the often used phrase “dumb it down”. There is no respect for the person we are talking to when we use such words. 

When we communicate to people not involved in our regular circles it’s not about dumbing it down. It’s about speaking in a way that is relatable to the other person. We ought to communicate clearly the point we are trying to make using language others understand. The people who do this the best are the ones that will reach and affect the most people. 

Truth is; if we don’t take the time to step off our high horse of what we know people aren’t actually going to listen to us. If we want to reach and help people with our knowledge we can’t assume they’ll know what we are saying. We need to meet them where they are at. 

Of course the worst thing you can do before explaining something to someone is say, “I’m going to dumb it down for you”. Unless your purpose is to sound like an absolute prude. Then mission accomplished. 

– Dave

Random Thoughts – Installment 1

Random Thoughts – Installment 1

This past week I have enjoyed many opportunities to continually educate myself. It is one of my favorite things to do. I love when I find a good seminar or book that stimulates my thought process and encourages me to question what I am doing. Sometimes I see an area of change or I receive affirmation and contentment in where I am at.

This week I have been watching renowned strength coaches Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn as they gave their Elite Athlete Development Seminar and it has not disappointed. Along with the seminar I have been reading: Juggernaut 2.0 by Chad Wesley Smith, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and listening to a sermon series by Dan Mohler. Not to mention I have been able to spend some quality time with my wife. I guess you can say it’s been a pretty great week. All these have stimulated a whole slew of thoughts. In no particular order below are a few of the highlights:

  • Whatever you get your identity from is what will own you. I am not saying you will be controlled like a marionette or owned like a pet; however, a large part, if not all of your actions and thoughts will be driven by your identity. For instance, someone who gets their identity from a relationship with a significant other will be consumed by that person. One could even say they are near obsessive. It’s very important to consider your identity when trying to make life changes. If the changes we want to make are not in tune with our respective identity we’re going to face a real uphill battle. To that same extent figuring out where our identity is placed is a great lesson in self awareness, and can help us on the path of making changes for the better.
  • Mastering body awareness with the core and foundational patterns comes before everything else. This thought has been a bit of a paradigm shift. I’ll admit it’s a wordy sentence, but I hope it won’t diminish the significance of such a thought. I used to think the top priority was to get people moving and mobile. While these are important if we can’t even control our breathing, our core, or activate our glutes many mobilities won’t be executed well. From there, we need to learn and even master the foundational patterns with just our bodyweight, and this will significantly increase an individual’s body awareness. In turn mobilities and correctives become easier and more effective, as well as any other endeavor we may desire to pursue. To an extent, correct movement is corrective, but it must be mastered with body weight before even worrying about pushing it to the limit. Boring? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. While simple, this path is often the less traveled, and definitely not the easiest.
  • The most entertaining voice is usually the one that gets heard the most. Take for instance Donald Trump, regardless of your stance on the issue he is so polarizing and says some of the craziest things that it’s hard not to be entertained. And now look at how far he has come. In health and fitness look no further than icons like Jillian Michaels or Dr. Oz, while I can’t say I agree with all of what they do, so many people know of these names because of the entertainment value. I know a lot of us are frustrated as to why these people are heard while we just watch from the side lines, and quite frankly it’s because they are the most entertaining. If you have a message you want people to hear, you need to find a way to present it in an entertaining manner, and don’t be afraid of a little push back. Just don’t try to be something you’re not.
  • Olympic athletes are seriously driven. Talk about identity, many of these athletes live below the poverty line, and yet their dedication to the sport is such it’s the reason they are at the games. To that extent I love the olympics, but it’s hard not to watch without thinking how much our culture’s competitiveness is one of the drivers behind athlete’s winning at all costs. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s sad to see how many of these athletes, when they lose the sport they lose who they are. I think this may be one of the reasons Michael Phelps keeps coming back. 
  • Nothing like a change of scenery to kick start productivity and focus. Several times this week I have ventured with my wife to a coffee shop in order to sit down and focus on tasks we’ve placed before ourselves. In fact I’m writing this post at a local joint as we speak. Shout out to Newport Coffee house. It’s always refreshing to be somewhere else, get that change of scenery and be able to just sit down and focus. It’s too easy to get distracted when I’m comfortable regardless of what I’m trying to accomplish. I think this holds true for working out too. If you find your workouts are taking a while try to step out of your comfort zone a bit. Maybe go outside or get a group together. You might find yourself not just having a good workout but also enjoying yourself a bit more too. 

Well those were some of my key thoughts from this past week. Before I go I want leave you with this quote; “The day I stop learning is the day I stop growing”.