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Make Progress By Pushing Through

I love the science of fitness and weightlifting. In most cases, you spend a ton of effort and time to tire your body out, just so the last few moments of work can cause your body to grow.

In weightlifting, it is only last few reps that cause your muscle to grow, everything else is a glorified warm-up.

In my yoga practice, the same is true for building not only mental strength, but a stronger mind. B.K.S. Iyengar, who is largely responsible for popularizing yoga in the West, says that “your yoga pose begins when you want to come out.” This is absolutely the truth.

In any physical practice, I’ve found the best results by sticking with something when I feel it is time to quit. 100% of the time, my body can go further, it is my mind that takes me out.

In my workplace, it is often by sticking with the uncomfotable situations that I am able to make a breakthrough on a project, or in bridging the gap in a relationship with someone I need to work with.

Make progress by sticking with it and pushing through, not by checking out.

For more on this topic, check out Seth Godin’s great book, The Dip. I like the audiobook – he has a great delivery (it’s a short listen just over an hour).


  1. Olga says:

    How else can you make progress? 🙂 I think, though, point here is in different types of situations: sometimes you push through because you know what your goal is or even can see it, but do not have strength or knowledge or resources just yet; but there are times when you have no idea either what to do or when to do it or where to go or all of the above, but know – or maybe just feel – that it is time for change/growth. And in the second case, I think, it is important not to just push, but slow it down and figure out if you are pushing in right direction..
    Also, I think, that pushing ALL the time is not a good strategy. Stopping to (re-)evaluate, see the changes, and enjoy status quo for a little bit is crucial to recognize that progress IS being made.
    But in terms of necessity of getting uncomfortable in order to move forward, I agree 100%. If you pay attention to how you react to changes and uncertainty, you can alter your attitude at almost any given situation. And then, you will be able to think about pushing through not as a struggle, but as a curious circumstance, in the development of which you are highly interested.

  2. Ken says:

    First- I am new to your site and I cannot even remember how I found it, but Iam very happy with its focus. Breathing, mindfulness and physical training are some of my central focuses in life. I am a former bodybuilder but now have shed down to 200lbs. This has made my Judo, hiking and climbing much better-and I am a firm advocate of cardio. You are spot on. The attitude that is required for intense or long periods of physical exertion is one of maintaining a positive will to endure. In seemingly thousands of situations my mind has been the lynchpin that either advances me to stay on course- vs. dramatically hitting the wall. One thing that helps me-if there is pain (not serious injury related), like blisters on long mountain hikes in the desert-or the muscle trauma from lactic acid coupled with sore joints-I try hard to dial into it. When I was young and in the Marines I tried to escape it and experienced the extreme opposite-but allowing myself to fully feel the pain…down to the tiniest discomfort usually has the effect of diminishing it-and in a totally non-sadistic way-somewhat enjoying it(great to be alive!). Thank you-and once again-I love this site. Peace-Ken

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