The horrible truth is that all of this fitness business really starts with a promise.
A promise to expect more from yourself than you currently do.
To hold yourself to a higher standard than you currently do.
To unapologetically and without a shred of compromise live the rest of your life as the strongest version of yourself.
I say this is a horrible truth because promises are scary. That’s why we have such a hard time keeping them with other people, but more importantly with ourselves.
This seemly gargantuan promise of committing to a better life isn’t actually one promise but a series of promises that you hold yourself accountable to each and every day.
And with that in mind, lets take a look at what I have come to refer to as the ‘Game of Promises’.
So, yes. It is a massive Game of Thrones rip off… but hey – I said I was passionate, not inventive.
And at the risk of belabouring the point, the ‘Game of Promises’ is also played for keeps.
Promises, if nothing else, are simply an oath of accountability. I have mentioned time and time again, accountability is the foundation of compliance. And compliance is the foundation of success.
No one ever got the body they wanted by accident.
But no one ever got the life they wanted by accident either.
In older and some might say wiser times, an oath meant everything. To break an oath to ones brothers, family, kinsman, or lord, would result in shame, banishment, and sometimes even death.
But the presence of a life built around oaths created an opportunity for amazing feats of strength and loyalty.
In Japan there is a story of forty seven samurai who upon the murder of their master, took ritual vengeance in his name, declared themselves to be Ronin (masterless samurai) and took their own lives in Seppuku. Rather than be dishonoured, and forced to serve another masters.
“The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (becoming rōnin) after their daimyō (feudal lord) Asano Naganori was compelled to perform seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was Kōzuke no suke. After waiting and planning for a year, the rōnin avenged their master’s honor by killing Kira. In turn, they were themselves obliged to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder. This true story was popularized in Japanese culture as emblematic of the loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor that people should preserve in their daily lives. The popularity of the tale grew during the Meiji era, in which Japan underwent rapid modernization, and the legend became entrenched within discourses of national heritage and identity.” – Kanadehon, Columbia University
Now, while I am not expecting you to have a death and dishonour moment each time you reach into the cookie jar for a boredom snack, lets get one thing straight.
You have not evolved far beyond these forty seven men, who were so committed to the promises that they made in life, they were wiling to fulfil those promises even in death. That’s powerful.
Their commitment to extreme ownership of their promises and accountability to their code of conduct was so strong, that people from all of japan, and indeed the world, travel to the grave site of the forty seven Ronin to pay homage to their sense of honour and duty.
It fundamentally comes down to sticking to all the little promises and expectations that you set for yourself on the daily basis.
Don’t accept less from yourself than you do from the people around you.
Want to start losing that body fat? Commit to the promise that you will eat well and move more.
Want to feel strong for the first time in your life? Get out there and do something that challenges you to be strong. And promise you wont quit when the going gets tough.
Want to be the best partner that you can be to your significant other? Then promise that you will work on tearing down the walls that you put up so many years ago that stop you from truly connecting with another individual on a truly open and vulnerable level.
Everyone wants to make the big change. Everyone wants to turn their lives upside down with the next fad. The next craze. The next hip thing thats sweeping the nation and day time television. But the truth is this – that’s not how it works.
It starts by committing to your promises.Laying a foundation of success that bleeds into your life not just in a macro sense, but also in a micro sense.
You have to throw yourself into the ‘Game’ daily, and choose to win. Because if you break those promises that you made to yourself, and lose a day of living as the best version of you – you chose that.
For my final words I want you the reader to meditate on a final thought.
“Virtuosity is not the art of mastering the uncommon. Virtuosity is the art of uncommon mastery of common things.”
Go forth and become virtuosos of the ‘Game’ in your own lives.
Live with love, strength, and passion.