Breaking the Bonds

I’ve been reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins recently. What a phenomenal book! It’s definitely going to make my book list. I love the idea of neurolinguistic programming, that if you just change the words that you use to describe how you think about things it changes your entire perception of those things and the meaning that you ascribe to them. I’ve taken to searching for all sorts of synonyms for words to describe my attitude and feelings. A couple of my favorites are “fervid” and “enraptured”. Those ones very aptly describe my state of mind these days, especially as I was reading the Tony’s chapter on “Creating a Compelling Future”. It totally went hand in hand with the sequence of events that led me to this project.

I mentioned in my last post how I felt like I had been unleashed when my daughter Brynne gave me her blessing to go to Mars. I was thinking about that yesterday while I was in the shower (I do most of my best thinking in the bathroom), and the image came to mind of the down locks on a rocket being released during launch. This video gives a great illustration of the down locks (they’re referred to as “hold down arms”):

These down locks are really important for testing the engines prior to launch and for making sure that all systems are operating properly before liftoff during launch. However, if they don’t perform their job properly and release at the appropriate time, the rocket never lifts off. It occurred to me that many people (myself included) have been running their engines full blast but have never been able to launch because we have these down locks of limiting belief.

The other thought that came to mind was the story of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. My grandfather gave me this book for Christmas when I was really young, and I remember reading about the seafarer Gulliver who is shipwrecked and stranded on the island of Lilliput (in truth I remember the cartoon more than the book, but I did actually read it!). Gulliver awakes on the island to discover that he has been completely immobilized by the Lilliputian populace, who though only 6 inches tall have bound Gulliver with hundreds of tiny strands. He could certainly have broken any one of the strands alone, but the combined strength of so many little things frustrate his best efforts at escape. I know that for myself I’ve used so many little excuses to not live up to my potential. The good news is that once you break just a few of those strands, the others become easier to overpower.

One of the things that I want to do on this forum is provide an accounting of my progress toward my goals, in particular what I’m reading, what I’m studying, and what I’m doing to get in shape. My goal for getting in shape is to get down to 180 pounds (no small endeavor since I’m currently about 210). I know that it’s achievable and I think that it will be a healthy weight for me. In addition to just being in good health, I want to minimize the amount of weight required for launch, and reducing my body weight also reduces my daily caloric requirement and the mass of food that I would need to bring with me. I have some specific estimates for those masses, but I’ll share that another time. The point right now is that I’m trying to exercise regularly and track my meals to get down to “fighting weight”.

I’m on a trip right now, overnighting in Atlanta, Georgia. Usually I like to get out and run when I get a chance, but we’re in the downtown area here, and we got in right as the sun was setting. I did spend some time in the gym lifting weights for a few minutes and running on the elliptical machine. My workout was interrupted by the fire alarm here (there are several hundred high school kids staying in the hotel tonight for a conference- it could be a long night!), but I still managed to get in about an hour in the gym.

I usually use a few different apps to track my workouts and meals. I like My Fitness Pal by Under Armor for tracking my caloric intake and expenditure. I can look up different foods just by scanning the barcode on a package, and I can also create my own food library. For running (my preferred method of self flagellation) I like to use Runtastic to keep track of my distance and help me find my way back to the hotel when I run out of steam. Uber helps in that department too. I’m going to see if I can set up a Progress page to link to some of that information, but that’s forthcoming.

I’ll close with this quote from Awaken the Giant Within: “When we first set large goals, they may seem impossible to achieve. But the most important key to goal setting is to find a goal big enough to inspire you, something that will cause you to unleash your power. The way I usually know I’ve set the right goal is when it seems impossible but at the same time it’s giving me a sense of crazed excitement just to think about the possibility of achieving it. In order to truly find that inspiration and achieve those impossible goals, we must suspend our belief systems about what we’re capable of achieving.” Thank you Tony. That’s what I’m all about!

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