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Our Ability To Adapt Is Remarkable

The law of adaptation

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Our ability to adapt is remarkable - My Home Vitality

Cauliflower ear

I’m the type of character that is intrigued by pretty much everything and, like Gaz, I have recently become obsessed with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Up until recently, I was training four to five times per week, including additional “open mat” sessions mixed with MMA and self-defence classes.

This, along with my usual running and conditioning, meant that I had to be careful not to overtrain.

Overtraining is just as detrimental as undertraining. The key is aligning the fine balance of skill acquisition with physical work.

I was well aware of this from my history of preparing for long distance challenges and other sporting events.

Unfortunately, you can’t prepare for all eventualities, and after hours of repetitively “closing distance” and “filling the space,” the constant trauma to my right ear resulted in a pinball like bulge right in the hole.

Three times I tried to drain the bloody thing but every time it refilled like a self-inflating water balloon.

I had to bite the bullet and visit my GP, who then referred me to the hospital, and after an evening of waiting rooms I finally got to see the doctor that would be inserting a scalpel into my bulging ear.

I sat on the rigid hospital bed as he jammed needles into my scull and jaw to numb the misery that was to come.

He drained my ear with a needle that looked like it came from an alien autopsy, then he sandwiched it with two plastic splints, lacing them with fine wire stitches, until I was left with a plastic ear sandwich hanging from the side of my head.

Cauliflower ear operation - My Home Vitality

The healing process

So why am I telling you about my “eerie” experience?

Well, within a week, I went back to the same doctor, who cut the stitches and showed me how my ear had healed right back to normal.

It was a bit sore and still not ready for Jiu-Jitsu but isn’t it amazing that just one week of constant pressure achieved the desired result.

Healed ear after surgery - My Home Vitality

Applying the healing process to life

I started to think about this in terms of skill acquisition, practice and self-improvement.

If I practiced guitar 168 hours (24 hours per day for 1 week) would my brain and body adapt so I could play the guitar?

If I stretched for 168 hours would my body adapt to become more flexible?

If I practiced a striking technique for 168 hours would my body adapt to throwing that strike comfortably and somewhat unconsciously?

In my opinion, the answer is yes, of course it would.

If you practice the guitar for 1 hour each night, 164 hours is nearly half a years’ worth of practice.

The law of healing

Now I know it’s not possible to practice for 168 hours straight but the premise is clear.

We are what we consistently do or constantly expose ourselves to.

When you hear “successful” people say, “you can do anything you put your mind to,” I believe they are referring to the law of healing.

Our minds and bodies are remarkable adaptation machines, and if you consistently practice your chosen skills, they will become you.

Granted, you may not become a maestro, maven or master, but you don’t have to be.

If you enjoy it, do it.

Do it so your mind and body have no choice but to adapt.

Do it all the way…

If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start.
If you’re going to try, go all the way.
This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe even your mind.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail.
It could mean derision, mockery, isolation.
Isolation is the gift.
All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.
And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.
And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.
If you’re going to try, go all the way.
There is no other feeling like that.
You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. All the way
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Go All The Way by Charles Bukowski

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