DIARY: “The Natural”

“He’s such a natural,” or something along those lines was the comment my dear wife overheard as I was demonstrating one of the fundamental quadrupedal (crawling) movements that we teach as part of the new “Hell & Back” training course that Jason and I are running in preparation for the Titan event coming up in November.

When Aoife told me after I was obviously happy with the compliment but not so much for vanity reasons as because of what she told the attendee: “No he’s not, he worked hard to get that.”

The bare essentials

I don’t want credit for the hard work either – I enjoy doing cat crawls (and most other body-weight work) – so it’s not work-work for me and I do not need a medal for ensuring I have the basic ability to competently demonstrate something people are paying me to learn. That’s just the quintessence of professionalism – the bare minimum.

The reason the comment made me happy was this: I was a fitness and sports no-hoper for as long as I can remember. Even when I worked hard to be able to play a bit of soccer in my twenties, I was still only an incredibly average player. So average that my image should be displayed if you Google search “AVERAGE”. I was Mr. Mediocre at anything physical I tried my hand (or feet) at.

You and Mr. Average

In things I didn’t work at, I wasn’t just “average” – I was terrible. Only through pain-staking repetition of very simple and fundamental movements could I learn anything physical – whereas academically I seemed able to pick up a college curriculum while living a Bohemian lifestyle, showing a complete lack of discipline – and a total lack of respect for the work-rate generally required by higher learning institutions.

So what I’d like you to take away from me telling you about this throw-away comment is this: if the motor-skill moron (yep, me) can learn to perform a movement with enough skill to be complimented and to professionally teach it to others – then so can you, and then so can anyone else. And this doesn’t have to be just about quadrupedal movement, or the other natural movements we teach, it can be any sporting movement you want to learn. As long as you are of sound body and mind the only restriction to learning this is a very familiar problem: it is YOU. I don’t mind this to be offensive but if YOU don’t learn, it’s because YOU choose not to take the necessary steps.  If you tell yourself “I’m not able” or “I’m not talented” enough – you’re simply making up stories to stay in your “comfort zone”.

As Lydiard said: “It’s simply about understanding what is necessary and disciplining yourself to do it”. This works for the gifted and the not-so-gifted alike.