No doubt you have heard the expression that less is more and how true it is. Well, I’m here to tell you – not only is it true – but it’s TRUE! And not only in both work and sport, but in all things. My wife and I took this to the extreme when we lived in a tiny house – 240sq ft – for three years. Our biggest take away was, even after you sell or give away all the ‘stupid stuff’, you still have more than you want. Taking that further, you have more than you need.
I have always been very minimalist and, especially as a mountain athlete, looked at most things with a practical eye. If it doesn’t serve a purpose I’m not going to carry it, and if it doesn’t help me get in, or back out of, the mountains, I’m probably not going to buy it – except for gear of course…
I found all my philosophy and masculine bullshit went away whenever you put me in an outdoor shop or fitness store. Watch out, I’m coming home with a car load of ‘stuff I need’! Luckily, through my bodyweight and kettlebell training the past 7+ years, I have relearned the valuable ‘less is more’ lesson by increasing my skill set, rather than my footprint, mastered what I have, rather than be distracted by the new and shiny, and gone an inch wide and a mile deep, rather than the other way around.
When I first began training with kettlebells, I excitedly signed up for a three day instructor course and was agog at the new things I would learn – and the new gear I would buy. At the event, I trained with a Master Level Instructor and told him my limitation of ‘only’ having five kettlebells and how I needed to buy X, Y, and Z in order to make gains. Shaking his head, he told me how he had successfully trained for his Instructor Certification using a mere three kettlebells and that, really, what I needed to increase was my skill set.
Disbelief quickly gave way to acceptance as he showed me how to use what I had in new ways to improve and do more with less. His exact words were: “Don’t buy anything. You don’t need it… Except a pull-up bar. You need a pull-up bar.” After wrestling with that for a few years, I have found, the more I do a deep dive into my Instructor’s Manual, and the more research I do, the more I am reminded of how mastery of what you have is more important than amassing new distractions.
While this is important in sports, training, and recreation, the same goes for your life. When you’re working full time, especially with a spouse and/or kids, there is a lot of pull on your time. Minimizing distractions and time sucks will enable you to focus on less things and, perhaps, enable you to have both a higher output in your sport/hobby, but also, the things you mindfully choose to do.
How often have you seen someone playing guitar only to wonder where yours went off to? Perhaps you watched a scene on television, or in a movie, of a family sharing a meal around the table – no screens in sight – or playing a game and wonder ‘Why don’t we do that?’ You can. But without choosing to focus on the things that fuel you, your life, your spirit, and your day, you may find the more you amass, the less time, energy, and focus you have.
My Lesson Learned
Regardless of whether you’re a hiker on the Appalachian Trail for 3-6 months and only have your pack, a climber traveling the country in your station wagon (or van) for the summer, or a skier renting a room (or garage) for the season while the snows in – you don’t have room for a lot as your sport, and it’s gear, takes priority. As such, you think long and hard about every single thing you take with you. But where’s this attention to detail, where’s this awareness, where’s this thoughtful minimalism when you’re not adventuring?
Perhaps you’re not a mountain athlete, but you travel often, live out of a suitcase, or are on the road. Well, a minimalist mindset may work for you too. I have learned, both in training and in life, that with little to no equipment, and mindful decisions, I can reap the benefits of maximum output. And, while this can be increases in mobility, strength, conditioning, and flexibility, it can just as likely be measured in increased energy, focus, relaxation, and output.
Want to learn more? My new books are actually DIY courses, which include both an ebook and video lesson:
–Find Your Coach teaches how to find an expert and move forward faster with expert help
–Think Better will help you improve focus, decrease fear, and gain forward momentum
–Move Better by learning minimalistic, functional, real-world fitness solutions
If you would like to learn more, please go to my website.