"Everything is training."
I sat on the floor in Chiba with Marcus and Rob, both expert martial-artists, biomechanists, and entrepreneurs.
Most people don't and can't understand why you'd analyze, re-engineer, and repeat doing a small action over and over again to make it slightly better. But these guys got it. "Everything is training," as Rob says.
And it strikes me that there's the core things you're trying to achieve, the skill and habit-building that gets you there, and that two are very harmonious. In terms of producing more, the best training is often immediately applying what you've learned in an attempt to produce.
What is the rest of life, then, except the time that facilitates doing what's most important to us?
Why sleep? Because you need to sleep to be alert, for your memory, and to heal - so that you can do what's important to you.
Why eat? For fuel, to keep doing what's important to you.
If your goal is purely hedonism and living for pleasure, doesn't the rest of your life end up supporting that? Don't you, then, work for the income that lets you do pleasurable things or for the pleasure of the work itself? You don't go to the Immigration Office and apply for a visa because you want the visa, but rather because it supports you in traveling and getting the pleasure from that.
Of course, not all of us live for hedonism. For the ideal me, food is fuel, sleep is fuel, air is fuel. Learning is fuel, physical training is fuel. I burn that fuel to produce. I build the support systems that let me produce.
Everything is training. But not theoretical, academic training. Read a good idea. Immediately go apply it in order to get what's most important to you, or to keep training in what's most important to you.
What's the ideal amount of sleep? Whatever is optimum for producing and for what's most important. The tradeoffs include alertness, hormone balance, longevity, and the opportunity cost of the time of being asleep.
The pleasure of, say, sleeping, matters insofar as having more pleasure helps me do what's most important. For me, that's not pleasure itself. It's building. It's expansion. It's serving the strong and virtuous people, it's building art and commerce, it's advancing science and knowledge, it's having children and raising the next generation up to be stronger and smarter and better informed than we are.
Music? Fuel. Danse Macabre is on. Memento mori... produce. Action. Training.
Food? Fuel. Peanuts have a good mix of protein and fat. The fact that it goes nicely with black coffee is a bonus - I'll take the bonus, sure - but it's not why I eat them. I had plain black beans with pickled bamboo shoots for breakfast. It was a bland and mediocre eating experience, but I feel energetic now. I'm building. Constant training.
Coffee? Fuel... or is it? I quit coffee in '06 when I quit liquor, tobacco, sugar, and recreational drugs. I re-started coffee a few years later after I saw the research on how reinforcing vs. antagonistic caffeine usage can improve performance, and because it probably speeds the metabolism. But now, I need to improve my sleep quality (so I can sleep less, so I can be awake more) - so maybe I'll cut caffeine next time I have a relatively calm period and can handle the withdrawal effects.
Piracetam? Non-amphetamine stimulant with neuroprotective qualities. I'll take it in countries where it's not controlled. After researching, I'm comfortable with the side effects, tolerance building, toxicity, etc - they're within the bounds that are acceptable to me. Fuel.
Hyaluronic acid? Improves my joint and connective tissue, especially necessary after the various injuries I've had and how hard I run my body sometimes. Why do I need good joints and connective tissues? To do what's most important. Fuel.
I'm not there yet. But I want to be training 24 hours per day. Sleeping as training, producing as training, training always. Developing my mind, doing more, producing more. Trending upwards. Serve more, build more. Every action should be investigated - does this serve me? Does this let me actualize the highest level of myself?
This does not mean being stupid and running yourself into the ground. Going for a swim, going for a hike, snowboarding, scuba diving, crawling through some ruins, listening to nice music, getting a massage, taking a nap, eating healthy, laughing, joy - I do all these. But why? In a way, it's still all training. Relaxing is training. Having a masseuse pound the lactic acid out of my muscles is training. Good training isn't stupid, it's sustainable.
Yes, I want to make every minute of my life into the best it could be, into doing the highest and most important things for that moment. But that doesn't mean grinding nonstop until exhaustion, collapse, and breakdown. Relaxing is training, sleeping is training, eating is training.
That's the theory, anyways. Not there yet. Maybe never will be, since every time you climb higher you see that higher can be climbed. But I see it, slowly life is becoming a series of doing the best possible things, with the best possible people, developing celerity, understanding the numbers, connecting with good people, doing more. Building. Build. Train. Build. Same thing. Building is the best form of training.
This is the first time I've heard of piracetam. IDo you know of a reputable place to purchase it in the states?
Amen! I particularly like the line:
Read a good idea. Immediately go apply it in order to get what’s most important to you, or to keep training in what’s most important to you
Training is more important than learning. You can study the same idea/concept/skill for days, but it won't 'stick' until you've applied it in reality multiple times. Language learning is a great example of this. I often wonder what the optimum ratio of learning to training should be, but I'm betting it's far heavier on the training side.
hmmm. Something about this is quite alarming to me, but I haven't quite decided whether it's just the language or not.
I enjoy the process of growth. The journey is the purpose, not the destination. But to cast every single action and thought upon the altar of efficiency and decide whether they serve you well enough seems like fetishizing the journey.
Perhaps this method is functionally identical to radical mindfulness, but the focus on efficiency that gives me the heebie-jeebies. ,More evil done in the name of faith, and all that...
If I ate the finest cuisine every meal, every day, for 10 years straight - it still wouldn't be as satisfying as the joy that comes from creating something worthwhile.
Building things that matter. Doing things that matter. This is so much more satisfying than consuming.
I eat plain oatmeal, brown rice with tunafish on it, drink black coffee, eat some fruits and vegetables, and try to eat light. Nutrition, not pleasure. But still - there is quite a lot of pleasure in a simple bit of tuna on rice or pasta. That right there is pretty enjoyable - it gives me fuel, keeps me going, gives me life.
How much better is the finest chef's meal than plain tuna on brown rice? Somewhat better, I guess. I've eaten really, really nice food. My favorite is chutoro nigiri, the slightly fatty part of the tuna. It's a delicacy. I had a $15 piece of chutoro once. It was great.
But was it much better than plain tuna on brown rice? Not so much. Creating, producing, building - that gives so much more satisfaction.
Great book by Marshall and Zau. In fact, this book is really, really good. It is both deep and broad, and it mostly aligns with my personal thoughts, then extends them in ways I hadn't considered yet. It's like paying somebody else to finish my thoughts for me!
I also really like that the book both presents a framework for basically leading a meaningful, healthy, and productive life, and comes with a bunch of practical tips and concepts that you don't necessarily need to dwell on to use.
By the way, bravo to the authors for standing up for "thinking" in an age where everyone seems to require the "18 actionable life hacks to reach heaven today". Actionable is for robots and slaves. Big ideas have a much bigger and longer-term impact than "hacks". I don't know how the word "hack" came to mean something positive ("You're such a hack!", clearly negative IMO). And I don't know why so many people eschew frameworks, abstract thoughts, philosophy, and anything else above 140 characters.
Marshall calls himself a "strategist" sometimes, and I used to roll my eyes when reading it. What does that even mean? But after reading Gateless, I'm hooked. I don't think there's much to learn from history (it's just a bunch of anecdotes), but the use of long-term, strategic thinking vs. short-term tactics has become clearer and clearer to me in the last years, and this book hits right home in that regard.
Just buy it, I'm not going to bore you by repeating everything in it. Also, there's too much in it to repeat everything. I'll have to re-read it in a few months, only about 1/3 seemed relevant to me now, and I'm sure more will become relevant later.