Bake your cake from scratch

By Barton Tanner

Lately the weather is throwing all the joys of outdoor training our way, having trained through all types of mornings. What is amazing to see is that our training hasn’t wavered. The amazing thing is, people are still there punching out the training and no matter how uncomfortable the days have been, everyone still turns up. This is a true testament to our commitment to training goals, the community of people around us and to be honest I cannot be more proud. I’ve said this before but – ‘tough is what we do’.

Training outdoors, in the elements and being uncomfortable adds an extra layer to your training that you cannot get in an indoor space. The comfort and convenience that is praised by modern society, simply does not exist when you’re at the mercy of the natural environment. I believe that this statement extends well past just the training environment but is true in life. I believe it is essential to extend these ideas into all aspects of your life, hence I am writing this before I head back down to Kangaroo Valley to be in the comfortable discomfort of nature. It is the challenge in life, that pursuit of meaning, rather than the meaning itself, that allows for self-fulfilment and worth.

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I like to use the analogy of baking a cake from scratch as opposed to from a packet mix. When you start from the beginning, go through all the steps along the way and make your cake from scratch, the end product is almost irrelevant. As you go through all the easy and hard components of baking your cake, you connect completely to the process. It is this connection that makes the end result largely irrelevant in your mind. Sure you may be disappointed if it doesn’t end up exactly how you thought it would but you created it and you are proud of being involved with the process. Compare this to pulling a cake mix out of the packet. You pour it into the bowl, put the cake mix in the oven and off you go. The lack of connection to process leaves you with a slight level of apathy. This apathy also gives you an excuse for your success or failure, rather than taking full responsibility for the outcome of the cake. If someone loves the cake and praises you on it, in the back of your mind you feel that it was not really you who made it. Conversely, if someone hates the cake, telling you it’s disgusting, you can simply say “it’s from a packet mix and I won’t be buying that brand again”.

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When you are engaged with what you are doing – pushing through the uncomfortable times – it ultimately breeds enthusiasm. Motivational psychologist George Zalucki, claims that you only have two types of people, those who are inspired and those who are not. If you are inspired and enthusiastic about what you are doing, watch success follow. You can not have success in anything you do without enthusiasm and genuinely wanting to engage. This want to engage with what you are doing gives you meaning, even in the most uncomfortable of situations. As Nietzsche claims; “he who has a why to live, can bear almost any how”.

So, as we go on the uncomfortable journey for fulfilment and happiness in life, remember the words of Muhammad Ali: “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe”

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