I Never Thought I Could Dunk

Dunking a basketball simply wasn’t something my brain would accept as a possibility. At 32 years old, and being a  5′ 10″ white guy – I’ve done an excellent job of building an argument against myself.

Here are the main points:

  1. I’m too old. If I was ever going to be able to dunk, it would have been when I was younger and in my prime… whenever that was.
  2. I’m too short. How many guys do you know under 6 feet tall who can dunk? The shortest person I’ve ever seen dunk was 6′ 2″.
  3. I’m white. Everyone knows white men can’t jump. They made a movie about it. But wait! Harrelson dunked in that movie, no? Harrelson, also standing 5′ 10″, did dunk in the movie… but the rim was 6″ lower than the standard 10 feet.

Lame. Look at how they avoid showing how far his feet get off the ground:

The belief that I was not physically capable of dunking was holding me back for one simple reason: it became my main excuse to not train harder.

Then something changed when I saw this 5′ 8″ white kid dunking on YouTube:

And again when I learned that this guy is my height:

The main difference between Anthony Lugo and myself, is Anthony has put in the work to get that explosive. And I haven’t.

So I bought his “Flight School” vertical jump program, and I’m 5 days in. This is as sore as I’ve ever been in my life – and that alone tells me something. A new level of sore probably indicates a new level of training. A new level of training probably means a new level of jumping.

So, without any concrete evidence whatsoever, I now believe I will be able to dunk.

To put a bit more pressure on myself, I’ve made a bunch of $20 bets that I’ll be able to dunk a basketball by the time volleyball season returns in September. 5 friends have put $20 down, so I’ve got $100 on the line.

This money and social pressure adds motivation to my workouts.

Publishing this blog post further commits me to training hard.

If the 8 week Flight School program doesn’t get me dunking, I’ll re-commit by getting an online assessment with Chris Korfist. He’s a trainer with experience consulting for the NFL, Big 10 Universities, US Olympic team and U.S. Special Forces.

Update: before doing the Korfist one, I’ll try coach Donny: http://www.elevateyourself.org/online-training.html

Here’s my starting point:

 

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 62

I’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. which has left less energy for working out during the day. But it has made other areas of my life explode.

Those first hours of the day are awesome for doing the things that otherwise just don’t get done, which for me include studying new code for web design and learning other things for business in general.

These first hours end up being what I will probably look back upon later in my life and realize have shaped my career most profoundly.

But they come at a trade-off.

I can no longer stay up past 9:30pm and have a reasonable expectation to get up at 5 a.m. This means I’ve sacrificed doing some things that I really love, at night, like playing sports. I now only play organized sports once a week, and when I do I wake up at 7 the next morning, not 5.

I’ve set some very aggressive goals for 2018, and in order to properly approach these I’ve had to switch things up pretty hard. My new rule for drinking is I can’t drink past 8 p.m. I’m not allowed to have coffee past 2 p.m. I don’t check my email until 10 a.m. And then again at 4 p.m. 30 minutes total (15 minutes each check).

I don’t always succeed in meeting my email goals or my drinking goals or my caffeine goals but I’ve being tracking it and I’ve been pretty damn consistent – with one or two slip-ups.

The overall change has been very dramatic and does actually cause me a lot of anxiety and stress. Apparently the ego produces these feelings when the status quo is threatened and your very identity starts to change.

This is a protective mechanism designed to keep us from doing risky things and generally has served well over the course of evolution, but for one person trying to change his behavior, it creates such insane internal dissonance that quitting becomes very attractive.

However, simply knowing that that’s what’s going on helps me not quit. I keep getting up at 5 a.m. even on the days that I don’t want to. I think a big part of this is having a piece of paper on my wall where I write the times that I wake up every morning, and tick off the hours I spend in deep practice.

On that same piece of paper I give myself a daily score out of 10: 3 points for family. 3 points for work. Three points for learning. 1 point for myself.

Knowing that I’m being graded, even by myself, cues me to focus on the area of my day that I’ve been lacking in. So if I put up a pretty big work day, I’ll hang up the computer and work hard at being present with Isla and Lia. It sounds funny to say “work hard” but I think it’s important to realize that the same level of effort applied to my learning and my work needs to be applied to my family.

The scoring format is extremely informal. On weekends I’m actually being scored in the work category for not working.

I look for excuses to give myself good scores, and will give myself a perfect self score of 1 even if I just managed to lay down for 15 minutes that day and prevent myself from pushing through exhaustion. In therapy, my counselor told me that the big area for me to improve is my self-care. Naps, longer showers, meditation, journaling, and other ways of relaxing have paid off huge in my bigger picture.

Being better rested has allowed me to work a lot harder, get up earlier, and be more creative. More work has been coming in than ever before. I’m always at the edge of what I’m able to do, but I’m learning that the discomfort that comes with this is a good thing.

To quote a book I absolutely loved (Peak Performance): stress + rest = growth.

And, struggle = skill.

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 59 and 60

Still in recovery mode, my neck isn’t 100% so I’m mixing in some restorative workouts (yoga) with some pull-oriented training. I’ve been doing so many handstands that it felt like it made sense to use “pull” muscles instead of “push” muscles today.

There are only 10 more videos left to publish in order to complete my 70 video goal and formation of a daily workout habit. Lia’s due on the 28th so that gives me 4 days of buffer if the baby comes early. I guess I won’t be taking weekends off haha!

How to Be Really Fucking Productive Whenever You Want

I feel like a big bag of shit today. Last night I drank right after sports and I think when that happens my body gets extra dehydrated. The water I need is replaced by beer and so I wake up with angry little alcohol molecules all throughout my system (and probably a reduced ability to excrete them via breathing/pissing due to my lowered overall body hydration).

But I’m still going to dominate work today, and here’s why:

I Have Magic Headphones

Yep. Magic fucking headphones. According to Olympic coach Todd Herman, creating a secret identity or alter ego can unlock peak performance in elite athletes and everyday Joes. Think back to being a kid, and pretending to be a superhero (or an animal, or whatever). Kids have this natural ability to step into another identity and behave how they imagine that other being would behave. It’s pretty awesome. But we stop make-believing when we grow up, and we think we get better at stuff by “taking it seriously”.

Apparently that’s not true.

It would seem that Todd has created some freakishly dominant athletes by encouraging them to go back to creating alter-egos. These athletes have ways of getting into character just like kids do. A name, such as Batman works. As soon as you become Batman, Batman is on the hook to deliver, not you. And we all know Batman fucking delivers! Ideally, there will be some token item associated with the change. Todd has a special set of “business glasses” that he puts on to become his superhero of business. He takes them off to be with his family, because who he is in business isn’t who he is at home. But when those glasses are on, he’s only the Todd that dominates whatever he’s working on.

Todd talks about a Tennis player who thought Wonder Woman was the epitome of badassery, so she decided she’d be Wonder Woman when she competed. She connected the identity of Wonder Woman with wearing an actual Wonder Woman bracelet.

wonder woman

So for me, it’s headphones. I have a set of those big studio headphones that completely engulf your head and blast epic sound right through your skull. When I put those on, smash a coffee and hit play on something like this, work happens really fucking hard.

I make sure I only have the headphones on when I’m working. I take them off if I stray into a YouTube session or Facebook tunnel. That way I’m physically signalling (and training myself) to respond to the headphones with only epic productivity.

That’s how I get into the zone for work. It’s different for every identity I have. For frisbee, I become the super-hero version of me by taking my shoes off. I play barefoot, and almost nobody else does in my city. So when those shoes come off, it’s time for me to play like a god damn animal. Funny thing is, when I play with shoes because it’s too cold for bare feet, I’m not quite the same. There was a game where this happened and a few points in I took my shoes off. What followed was my equivalent to Clark Kent taking off his shirt and revealing the Superman spandex beneath. Without shoes, I feel like a force of nature, and I play like one.

What are Your Alter Egos?

This is where you get to reflect on what alter-egos you step into, maybe without knowing it. How can you reinforce them with a physical item? Or an action, like taking your shoes off. If you don’t have an alter-ego, is there a super-human version of yourself you could create? What would that person wear? Try it and let me know how it goes!

For the full talk with Todd Herman and his take on becoming super-heroes, check out his episode on the Tony Robbins podcast.