Ever felt something was simply impossible for you to achieve?
Me too, and it is a very natural feeling. We simply don’t know what we don’t know before we know it.
Humans are creatures of reason, driven by the instinct to survive and preserve an equilibrium. Our brain constantly runs mental simulations of their current situation and environment in order to detect its opportunities and especially its possible threats and lurking failures. When we observe a challenge which appears greater than our perceived resources, it is only rational to back down. Indeed, we are more likely to engage in actions in which we are already good at.
However, in order to evolve, thrive and reap the benefits which delving deeply into our resources can bring, we must sometimes step out of the zone of familiarity and engage in activities which stretch our mental and physical reserves.
Another question: have you ever surprised yourself with something you thought you couldn’t do but tried and ended up doing it anyway? Me too! Remember the joy and satisfaction that followed?
Imagine if you never took the first step.
All change comes down to our ability to somehow see beyond our current capacity —seeing into what might be. Dream a dream of your future self. In addition to being a strength potential, sisu is an enabling force and seems to be especially useful in generating the impetus to tackle highly challenging tasks. I call this capacity the action mindset (a consistent, courageous approach toward challenges) because it conveys the dynamic nature of sisu as a quality which simply enables us to get stuff done.
Having an action mindset invokes visions of one´s future self, inspires ACTION and hence, allows us to expand our capacities. It pulls us toward the future.
For me, the beginning of my life as the adventure that it is, began with a simple question: What all could I do I you didn’t get in my own way?
If we dare to even just glimpse beyond our present situation and capacity, we start to act and move toward our goals, pushing past our barriers. Transforming mental barriers into frontiers. The conceptual difference between the two realities is potentially quite significant.
This is where the plank challenge comes in.
Doing a plank for 5 minutes might sound like a major nope t-shirt moment for most of us. However, dividing the challenge into 30 daily sub-goals will keep you moving forward and progressing.
I did this challenge a couple of years ago and succeeded in reaching 5 mins on day 30. Furthermore, the principle of relentless, incremental forward movement the same simple principle I used to train to run 2400 km’s across the length of New Zealand earlier this year.
Your only real job is to commit to the daily, bite-sized goals, stick to the routine and that way, let your body show you s/he is capable of doing the rest. The reward of this self-inflicted discomfort? A gift to yourself which goes way beyond tight abs–a strong body and core begets a strong mind and I’m a huge advocate of physical challenges as a way to explore our potential–but no one really needs to stay in a plank for 5 minutes, unless you work in a circus. In which case we’ll come up with a different challenge for you involving ropes, lions and cannons).
The reason to take this challenge, and follow through, is that you will:
A) train your ability to see into what might be, see into a potential reality which is non-existent at the moment
B) show yourself you are able to take action, stick to a goal and therefore bring that new potential reality into existence
c) cultivate an action mindset and train your willpower, which then transfers into other areas and challenges in your life
Commit and add a quick daily shout-out [DONE!] on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #SisuPlank. Perhaps challenge someone nice to do this with you to be held accountable and to celebrate the wins, discuss the challenges and reflect on the progress. I’ll be posting my progress and updates on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Ps. Remember to smile and take it easy – especially if things feel hard. A second blog post on self-compassion and using challenges like the plank to cultivate kindness toward oneself is on the way : ) So, breathe out the worry, lean into the strength of your body. We are here to experiment, learn and surrender… and we’re all winging it as there is no ultimate handbook on how to live this life.