We like to train and compete in optimal conditions with full equipment availability, no distractions and a clear mind.
But how often is this the case?
Oftentimes, the squat rack is unavailable and heinous music plays in the background. Meanwhile, you can’t get your mind off that damn Johnson file from work. Your training suffers and you walk out of the gym muttering to yourself about the unfairness of it all.
Josh Waitzkin in his book, The Art of Learning, makes a point of inviting these distractions. Instead of searching for perfect conditions, he recognises the importance of thriving on the chaos that the world creates.
Let’s jump back to the gym example and imagine you’re an aspiring powerlifter preparing for a meet.
Following Waitzkin’s advice, you download music that you’d normally save to torture others with and decide to train at an unfamiliar gym. Also, you give yourself a limited time period to complete the session.
Adopting this approach has benefits…
- It makes you comfortable with chaos so you won’t be shocked when it does arise
- It forces you to dial in your focus and block out distractions
- You learn to keep your cool under duress rather than cursing the world and all inhabitants
Although you’re unlikely to produce your best performance, you’ll improve under imperfect circumstances. Next time something unexpected crops up, such as leaving your training shoes at home, don’t write off the session. See it as a challenge in bettering your ability to adapt.
We can’t expect consistency from the world so prepare for chaos.