Episode 21. When Health, Fitness and Training is a Positive Force in Your Life

Sep 5, 2016 | Episodes | 0 comments

Show Notes

We’ve talked a lot on this show about what happens when fitness becomes the opposite of what it should be — when fitness gets perverted and starts subtracting things from your life instead of adding to your life. This episode was about going the other way: looking at fitness as a positive force in your life, and what that looks like, and how to get there. This was based, in part, on several comments we got (many about episode 18) from listeners on the survey where we ask for feedback and question. This was our attempt to address the comments more directly!

Here are the comments:

This society is long overdue to hear, and be taught by example, a very different message – that weight training and bodybuilding can be very much at the heart of spiritual health and growth. I explained to my wife recently that when some people look at me they might think “I’d like to get into that kind of shape”. But, I told my wife, they don’t understand that, to me, the physical manifestation is the bonus after the payload. The actual payload is the training itself. Now, it’s a world of cause and effect and so the physical transformation certainly inspires me also. But when I am doing the training itself I am simply happy to be doing it.


The next person wanted to here more about…

things like visualization, meditation, positive reinforcement, maintaining focused, deliberate and progressive mindset; perhaps explore these in different scenarios: eg when reaching a really high goal, when not really having any goals, when overcoming setback or injury and so on. And of course, from a critical perspective also – what people experience when they don’t tap into these aids. I get much more out of these podcasts when people are talking more from a personal, experiential place.

And finally, this person…

would like to hear Scott talk on something he briefly mentioned about not having any goals at this point for his training. Am not sure exactly what he meant, if it was exclusive to training or if it had broader meaning. Things like – what his experience in this mode has been like, what took him there, what changes he’s noticed in mindset, in quality of training, in residual life effect, in connecting more with his motivators or perhaps changing or altering motivators, what his goals are (haha).


So here we go!


  • How do you know when fitness is positive? It’s not all-consuming; you’re not just consuming it; you’re part of it, and it’s part of you.
  • Scott mentioned internal (I-Factor) versus external (X-Factor) motivation.
  • I-Factor Motivation (internal) is much, much more powerful. In fact, as research in Daniel Pink’s Drive shows, external rewards can actually hurt motivation! Now compare this to fitness. Is it internally motivating? Or are you doing it only for the external reward.
  • Fitness should be self-connecting, so that you enjoy the process and it’s part of you and who you are. Scott’s files this under spiritual fitness, as well as being character-driven.
  • There is a big difference between mastery and obsession. When you’re obsessed, the object of your obsession owns you; when you’ve achieved mastery, you own it.
  • Scott’s advice: make it about who you’re being; make it about a reflection of who you are. If you say you are going to do something, do it. (Scott even tries to avoid saying he is “going” to do something. He just says, present-tense, “I am doing ____.”)
  • How do you know if you’re taking it too far? Look at your life. Eventually, it will start to be a reflection of the choices you’re making, whether positive or negative.
  • Mike suggested that a good “test” in terms of who are you being is to think about your death bed, which is one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (“begin with the end in mind”).
  • Scott and Mike debated a bit about how they would look back on their life, how much “others” would affect that judgment of whether or not they were satisfied.

Scott also mentioned an excellent quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. (Although some digging reveals it might originally be from Bessie A. Stanley). Here is the version Scott read:

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.


Links & Resources from the Episode

The Tao Archer bit is in Scott’s book, Zen Fitness, Tao Health

Download Scott’s old parable of the Capitalist and the Fisherman (right click, save as).

Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People