“There’s a thin line between a breakdown and a breakthrough, Rick. A very thin line.” – Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James
I’ve learned through my own military and martial arts training as well as studying elite soldiers that we rarely push ourselves hard enough. When in doubt, push harder. When you feel like you can’t take another step, you take 1,000 more.
You push through, but eventually something’s gotta give.
Everything hurts. Moving hurts. Walking hurts. Lifting hurts. Standing hurts. Thinking hurts. Talking hurts. Writing hurts. Sleeping hurts.
I don’t like taking no for an answer, so I keep moving.
Then I fall on my ass and have no choice but to rest.
I found my breaking point.
I started to break around the time of the New York Meet-Up. Some of you commented that you heard exhaustion in my voice. I knew my body and mind were giving out on me and thus scheduled a vacation.
But I worked during my entire vacation and came back even more fatigued and beat up.
It’s hard to stop pushing when you keep growing.
I have had ten months of consecutive growth on the website and the podcast. The Danger & Play Podcast is more highly rated than Ask James Altucher.
(The summer is a slow season and yet the site grows. September will be another record-breaking month.)
I’m launching an eBook.
I’m working on a nootropic.
I am working on a concept with a close friend that will offer some men a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have no idea how the fuck we are going to pull it off, but we will.
The how is nothing. The mindset and the will is everything.
— Victor Pride (@victor_pride) September 13, 2014
And I’m broken.
What went wrong?
I should have stopped lifting weights.
Growing a business and growing your body violates the fundamental rule of Gorilla Focus, which provides, “A gorilla eats one banana at a time.”
I could have dropped my training off to twice a week, maintained most of my muscle, and kept growing Danger & Play. But I broke my own rules, and then broke my own body.
I finally hit my breaking point doing box jumps.
I had had a small knot on my back. This created tightness on the left side of my body. Rather than wait until the knot was worked out, I insisted on training through it.
I missed the first jump, but refused to take no for an answer. Jump! Made it. As I went to stand up in triumph, my equilibrium shifted.
I’m sitting on my ass with a stinger on my left glute. The shock of the fall gave me a mild concussion. My instinct was to lay down.
I stand up.
“Oh shit,” I think to myself, “I’m about to pass out.” I can see stars and the rooftop where I train is spinning.
“Just take a few more steps. You can’t fall down. Walk three more steps and then you can rest.”
I didn’t pass out and I even jumped rope a bit in defiance of the injury.
Even so, now I have a knot in my back, a knot in my ass, and a sprained wrist.
As I type this post wearing a wrist brace, I feel that my Achilles is about to tear.
Muscle knots are one thing. An Achilles tear is something else. Time to chill.
“No regrets, no apologies, no remorse.”
If you keep pushing yourself, you will eventually break. But there is beauty and majesty in destruction.
The harder you push, the stronger you get. The more you break down yourself, the stronger you build yourself back up.
We have been conditioned to believe that a breakdown is the end. A breakdown marks a new beginning. A breakdown offers a chance for what psychologist Kazimierz Dąbrowski calls positive disintegration.
What breaks you today will be your new baseline tomorrow.
Push hard. Recover harder.
When I get beat down, I use the recovery methods of professional athletes.
In the next part of this series, I’ll talk about some of those methods.
Let’s just say the pros have advanced well beyond the R.I.C.E. method.
Have you ever had a breakdown?
Let’s hear your story in the comments below.