Challenge October 2012

This month I said I will do following things:

  • 200 press ups every day
  • yoga every day
  • push myself out of my comfort zone by doing random things I don´t like doing

And here´s how it went:

200 press ups and yoga every day

I skipped about 3 days of press ups and about 4 days of yoga, mainly when I was completely knackered or had visitors. Although I did yoga with some of them, as an instructor, which was a challenge on it´s own too! But overall, I´m pleased with the result. Not just because I did it (not bothered about the few days I missed), but also because now, doing press ups and yoga is not something I *have* to do, but something that´s part of my every day, something I *want* to do.

So the 30 day experiment works well. First, you have to force yourself to do it every day, because it´s not natural, not part of your daily routine, and circumstances not always allow it. But once you get going, once you find ways around certain circumstances, or once you stop giving a shit about some circumstances and disturbances, you start enjoying it. And then, it will become normal, you start missing it, when you don´t do it. When you do it another day, you feel a good sense of satisfaction.

And that´s how it worked for me. I´m not saying I´ll be doing yoga and 200 press ups every day from now on, but I will definitely do it as often as I can. Easier with yoga, than 200 press ups, I´ll continue with 150 or 100, or will try a new style.

Doing random things that I don´t like, to push myself out of my comfort zone:

This one didn´t go as well as I initially thought, but not for the obvious reason (that I was too scared to do them). I´ll get to that later.

I started off well, playing my harmonica outside a busy bus station (I´m shit at playing harmonica. If I was good at it, this would be pleasure, not a challenge…), I did exercise and yoga in a semi-busy square, as couldn´t find a park to do it at, in Loja. I was waiting for a bus at night, didn´t have a hostel, so was trying to find a park. Trouble is, that there were only public squares with a bit of green patch there, no parks nearby, so I did press ups, stretches and some yoga poses right there, in a middle of a square with lots of local shoppers and work goers in it, giving me funny looks. It didn´t come naturally, I was sitting there for half an hour until I finally kicked my sorry ass into doing it and it felt awkward. But I was happy I did it.

Wherever I walked, I was asking strangers to take a pic with them, and of course, mainly women. They were surprised, but then pretty happy about it:

photo with a friendly stranger in Piura, Peru

I also walked down a street a few times, whilst shooting a video of myself talking, to see how people would react. It´s funny how much more people are interested in you when you do that. But also, it´s interesting how hard to focus on a topic it is when you do it. I was talking about random shit when doing it, but still got a lot of blank moments, so this takes a bit of time to get used to.

One of my worst enemies is singing in public. I hate the idea of it. So I decided to walk down the street and sing. It felt awkward at first, but bit by bit I got more comfortable singing whilst passing lots of people. Still doesn´t feel natural, but less awkward. Good boy.

But now to the point why I didn´t do more random acts of courage:

  • doing the ones I did, now I know for sure that anything is possible, if you push yourself hard enough. I didn´t see the point of doing more and more of them, if you already learned the lesson you were after
  • I found a negative effect of this test – it was taking over my mind and time. Instead of enjoying a walk through the town, I was walking and thinking “what else can I do to challenge myself”, “I need to do something to challenge myself” and this was taking over every free time I had.
  • A good friend said something important to me, something about not overthinking your life, living in the moment, about synchronicity, when two or more events just happen, without prior arrangement, and they occur in a meaningful manner, the feel like they were meant to happen. Those moments can´t be scheduled, planned etc. I also read about this in September, but trying to challenge myself, I stopped living in the moment, and was constantly living in the future – “need to do XYZ” or past “why didn´t I do XYZ”.

For these reasons, I stopped doing more random things, and just went with the flow. Accept who I am and that I don´t like doing certain things, don´t make assumptions or worry about how things could be, because what matters is how things are. But I am aware that I can make myself do pretty much anything, however awkward it may feel, with the right mindset and environment, there´s no boundaries :).

Here´s a challenge from a different perspective, I walked into randomly – an adventure, without any planning – these are the best aren´t they?

I learned a lesson on how to cross a raging river, the hard way – waist deep in water sweeping your feet away. Now I know that you ALWAYS have to take a sturdy stick with you, don´t even try to cross without it. Balance and measure of depth is key. And a mixture of stubborness and blind stupidity helps too…

I don´t have any pictures of it, as my head was filled with adrenaline, in survival mode and not thinking about anything else – one bad step and I´d be taken down the river, bounced around the rocks. The river is normally fine to cross, you just hop on rocks, need to cross is about 13 times to get to the rescue center. But after a whole night and day of rain, it raises to about three times the size, all rocks dissappear, so you have to just guess where to cross. That´s where the stick comes in handy, the water is also mixed with mudd, so you don´t see the depth.

So there’s me, happily walking through the entrance of the reserve, with 20kg of food for the animals and us on my back. But my smile dissappeared once I got to the first river crossing…a normal river has turned into a raging stream of muddy water, about three times as deep as normal… But then something else clicked in my head and something inside went “Challenge accepted!”. So off I was, not knowing what to expect.

Once I was about half way in, with each time, the crossing would get more difficult, I got to a point that looked impossible to cross – water too deep and current too strong, so I decided to walk through the dense vegetation to find a better place. Bad move. I realized that all other places within 100m from me were a ridge, the only low place to cross was where I started…so after cutting my way through the vegetation for about half an hour, I had to return and managed to cut my hand open too. But that got my adrenaline up even more, so somehow, I managed to cross that part, just to find out that the next ones were about the same difficulty. Picture yourself standing waist deep in fast, muddy water, not knowing the depth in front of you, just clinging on a stick, not to fall down and thinking about your next move. Every step was a calculated risk, taking into account where woudl the water take me IF it did go wrong, so at least I could hold on to some rocks and wouldn´t drown.

But after about 2 hours of me vs the elements, I arrived at the center, waist deep soaked from the river, and my top soaked from sweat. This was a risky move, but it was one of those adventures, that just happen randomly and you remember for a long time. And being a stubborn ass, once I was on the way, I wasn´t going to back down!

For November, I´m not setting myself any targets. Will go with the flow and see what other challenges come my way.

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2 thoughts on “Challenge October 2012

  1. eeeeh! I´m very glad to read that YOU SANG!!!! Súper bien Lukas! you have a bunch o vocalises exercises!! so go for it!!! I´m telling you…when you start you´ll never stop 🙂

  2. haha, yep, I kinda enjoyed it too. And I did the singing exercises you gave me, in the privacy of the jungle, but singing my throat out loud! And I´m singing more to myself now. Who knows, maybe a start of a promising singing career?

    …yeah right 😀

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