Make Yourself a Fancy Pair of Sandals

I once read an excellent book written by a really smart dude.

True story.

If you’ve ever been kept inside from PE on a rainy day, you’ve seen ”Searching for Bobby Fischer”. If you haven’t, it’s based on a true story about a child chess prodigy who isn’t Bobby Fischer.

bobby fischer

That prodigy, Josh Waitzkin, grew up and wrote a book called, “The Art of Learning”. He claims learning is a skill just like any other. Skills can be honed. In the book, we learn how to learn so we can win at life.

One aspect that resonated with me was the chapter, “Making Sandals”. The topic is encompassed in this quote:

“A man wants to walk across the land, but the earth is covered with thorns. He has two options – one is to pave his road, to tame all of nature into compliance. The other is to make sandals.”

Sandal making skills are essential for fat loss.

Because in reality, most of the time, the earth is covered with fucking thorns.

thorn elemental

Life WILL play this asshole card

Conditions won’t change, not on our whim at least. And it’s certainly problematic to wait until the thorns shrivel and die before walking the path. That event might never happen.

Life is full of adverse, unideal circumstances.

Assuming otherwise is a flawed hypothesis.  We must accept life’s challenge as inescapable fact.

Point is, we can’t treat adversity as a fluke, as a random event that distracts from all the good stuff. The inevitability of tough times needs to be incorporated into our strategy and perspective.

So how do we ready ourselves for the storm?

One my clients, let’s call him “Gerald”, phrased it wonderfully. He said that when life was going smoothly it was a good time to build infrastructure. When the sun’s out, that’s when we bring the guns out that’s when we should start laying down sandbags.

This means we build a foundation so that our new habits are more sturdy and resilient in the face of shitty weather.  Our house needs to withstand the inevitable stormy season if we want to continue having a place to live.

What does creating infrastructure look like?

Anything that sets us up for success during a hurricane.

This often looks like cementing new habits. When life is crazy, maintaining new habits is AMAZING progress. With sturdy infrastructure, we’re in a better position to maintain our new habits during the storm. We don’t have to worry about building momentum, just maintaining it.

Building new habits during the storm, while possible, is pretty damn hard.

During the storm is when we are tempted to say, “Fuck it. I’ll start on Monday”. This is why simply maintaining inertia is so incredible. We’re not quitting our new habits when life desperately wants us to.

Progress doesn’t always look like forward movement. Oftentimes maintaining is the best progress.

While we can never predict when life will kick us in the balls, we know that it will, repeatedly.

What a dick.


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