That pull-up was a goal of mine. It was a huge goal.
Because in my search for stress-relief I learned the magic of exercise. The more I exercised, the more I wanted to know.
I was especially fond of body-weight exercise because I didn’t hurt myself when I did it.
I eventually learned that there were just 4 core body-weight exercises and their variations.
The four are:
- The squat
- The leg lift
- The push-up
- The pull-up
I could do the other three. But I couldn’t do the pull-up. And that bugged me!
So, I started to work on it. I did all the easier variations of the pull-up that I could manage. The easiest one is to get under a low bar with your feet on the ground and pull up in what looks more like an inverted push-up. Sometimes you can find a crossbar on a swing set that is at the right height for this.
So the day I did a full pull up was special. I cherished it.
Read The Art of Focus to help you get focused on what matters to you the most.
I love martial arts. I know just enough to look stupid. But I love it.
All of my children have participated. Three of them are black belts.
Years ago, I enrolled my children in a Tae Kwon Do class. Great class in a garage. The instructor was a cranky yet fun overweight man who obviously knew his stuff.
After watching my children have all the fun for two months, I joined.
A few months later, the cranky one said, “It’s time to spar.”
We had a makeshift bunch of gear. But it was enough to make-do. None of us had head-gear.
Still, we were tough, so I thought that was fine.
The very first time, I stepped onto the mat to spar, I was feeling my oats. At one point, I got around behind the teacher and hit him a few times, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to take advantage of that. By the way, he never let that happen again.
But he took me more seriously all of a sudden.
I dropped my hands and wham…. He hit me with his hockey gloves in the side of the head and I went down. Greyed out for a second. Twisted my ankle badly as I fell.
See I thought I was focused on the right stuff. But I wasn’t.
It takes a lot of practice to keep those hands up. Especially when your opponent crunches a few into your ribs.
Always have to keep moving and take in everything he does. Adjust to every movement.
We all need help focusing sometimes.
I wrote The Art of Focus for when no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get the marbles in your head to all roll in the right direction. For when focusing takes everything and it still isn’t enough.
Read The Art of Focus.
Get the Art of Focus right here, Kindle or Paperback… bit.ly/aofbook
“I love to read Art’s writing because he finds interesting new ways to present information. A lot of the other books I’ve read on the topic of living intentionally all sound the same. But reading Art’s book is like chatting with a friend.”
“I read this book in one sitting! I loved the way I felt like I was sitting down and having a conversation over coffee with Art. He offers practical strategies for reducing stress and ultimately living a more fulfilled and healthy life. Art is supportive, encouraging, provides many resources and helpful tips. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to refocus, reboot and re-energize. Great read!”
“I really enjoyed this quick read. While my summer list is packed, this was a powerful, yet quick read to fit in. Art’s casual tone made it feel as though I was having a conversation with a good friend as I read. I feel like this book is very well suited for any reader from any profession.”
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Humor me as I tell you a story.
This is the story of Doofus.
Doofus was a good dog. But he sure laid around on the front porch a lot. One day, he looked across the street and saw the neighbor dog, a German Shepherd named Hansie, leading a pretty blind girl down the street. And he got excited because he knew that helping people was an important job, but he also felt a little bad because all he ever did was sit on the porch and scratch himself.
He knew he wanted more out of his life than laying about on the porch all the time, but he wasn’t sure what.
Then one day he overheard a story. He had never heard anything like it. It was a story of a rescue dog. A dog named Max had saved a family from a burning building. And right then and there, he knew. That’s what he wanted to be.
Doofus got excited. In fact, he trotted into the bathroom, jumped up on the sink and looked at himself in the mirror. He was all ready to see Super Doofus Dog. But all he saw was a fat, scrappy looking dog with droopy eyes and dog biscuit crumbs dotting his jowls. His first thought was to give up right there. He was no rescue dog.
But his desire was great and soon overcame his self-made mental image. He started to draw a new image–in his mind. He carefully worked on the details. And the more he thought about it, the more he wanted it. He looked in the mirror again. And this time, he looked past the physical image. He gazed on the determined look in his eyes and began to believe in a new Doofus.
He saw a strong, muscular, confident, and intelligent dog. He pictured himself really being a rescue dog. He wondered what he needed to do to make it happen. One thing he figured out fast was this: he needed to get into much better shape. He had to run more.
So he quit hanging out on the porch. He started to run everywhere. He got worn-out easily at first. So he would rest, then run, then rest, then run. And his running got longer and longer and his resting got shorter and shorter.
Next, he started to pay attention to what he was eating. He knew that he had been eating too many scraps and dog biscuits. With a little talk around the neighborhood, he found out what the strong and fit dogs were eating.
And day after day, he started to eat better and better food. The more he did this, the sharper the picture of him as a hero dog formed in his mind. He learned how to get people to take him on walks.
He was getting stronger, but he still didn’t know exactly what to do to become a hero dog. Still, he held that picture in his mind. He knew he would figure it out.
One day when Doofus was at the park, he saw some dogs training with men in uniforms. Real rescue dogs! They were so cool. But he was scared to go up and see what was happening. When he finally got the courage to run over there, they loaded up in one of those cars with a bright red light up on top and went away fast.
At first, he felt bad, but he made a determination that he wouldn’t let that happen again, that the next time he had an opportunity to learn more, he would.
Still, that brief moment had taught him some things. He had paid attention to how they were training. Now, every time he went to the park, he started to do what he saw them do. He ran and trained and trained and ran.
One day, Doofus got up to go to the park. All of a sudden he realized that he couldn’t get up off the porch. He didn’t know why. He knew he was getting stronger, so why did he feel weak now?
That’s when he saw Hansie the German Shepherd come down the street with his girl. They went inside, but then Hansie came right back out and laid down on the porch and took a nap. Wait? The dog who was helping the blind girl was taking a rest?
And right then and there, it hit Doofus. He had been go, go, go ever since he got the idea to be a rescue dog. He wasn’t getting rest. He wondered how much rest he needed. So he started to pay attention to his body.
He knew that he still had to push himself, but realized he needed to mix it up with some rest. Doofus liked how things had been going, but now he realized that he had been pushing himself too hard. He paced back and forth on his porch knowing that somehow he was supposed to be resting. And he was very tired.
Finally, he decided to sleep on it. When he woke, the answer came to him. It was so obvious. He needed to spend time with other dogs. He was missing out on the fun of just being around other fourlegged people. He started to look for ways to play with other dogs when he wasn’t training.
The next time he went to the park, the emergency worker dogs were training again. This time he ran up to them, but he knew better than to just ask if he could join. They didn’t know him from any other dog. Instead, he watched for a minute looking for a way to help.
He noticed that they kept knocking over their practice dummies and other equipment. That gave him an idea. He offered to help pick up the things that got knocked over so that they could train harder. The dogs liked the idea so he helped. He figured out when they would be at the park and helped and helped and helped. When he helped, he never complained. He had a good time.
And because he was having a good time, they did too. He always knew how to get them to laugh when they were working so hard. He loved it. He always thanked them for letting him help. And when he got home, he remembered how good he had it.
One day the training dogs realized that he was keeping right with them. They asked if he wanted to train with them. And so he did. The rescue worker men started to notice him too. One day, they came to his porch and talked to his owner.
Just one week later, they let him go to a real rescue! He found himself running into a burning building. There was a little girl in the smoke who couldn’t get out. He pushed her with his nose and grabbed at her sleeve with his mouth to get her out. Outside he saw Hansie the German Shepherd who always led the blind girl around. He wondered what he was doing there.
Then, it dawned on him, he Doofus, had just rescued the blind girl. The girl and German Shepherd were very happy to be reunited.
And that’s how Doofus, the scrappy and lazy mutt, became a rescue dog.
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