Can’t or Won’t.

Can’t = Cannot.  Won’t = Will Not.

“Troy, what are you on about? Where are you heading with this?” 

Week four of lockdown and some people are beginning to break down. We spend so much time on making ourselves comfortable that we tend to forget what real hardship is. Lockdown is not a hardship.

“Oh, but Troy, you aren’t in a small space with your spouse, three children, and two dogs; you have no idea what it is like!”

Don’t make excuses. This is your life, accept your circumstances, step up, and deal with it. Harsh?

A nice ‘pep talk’ will only make you feel ‘briefly’ better and help justify the attitude. I deal with reality, and we need to follow some rules and enforce them it needed. 

I quote from last week’s blog: 

“Stoic rule 6. Never play the victim: 

Do your job without whining. Excuses = whining. Why me? = whining. Complaining / whining is an enemy to mental toughness.”

We are all in this together. How badly do you want to come out of this mentally and physically sound? The reality of the situation is this; lockdown will go on for some time, and the restrictions aren’t going to be removed overnight. There will be a very long, slow reintroduction to normality. 

What does this have to do with can’t -v- won’t?

Well, can’t implies that you don’t have the ability to do something and won’t implies that you are choosing not to do something, whether or not you have the ability. Therefore, the first relates to your skill, capacity or talent; the second is the expression of a personal choice or decision.

Now take these two words and apply them to your daily lockdown routine.

One of my passions is photography; the other is fitness – all things fitness that test the mind (a physical test of the body to test the mind – mental toughness,  the ongoing theme to these blogs).

Can’t -v- won’t test (a Gym Jones test). This test is one of the first things that I get a person to do that wants me to train them. It looks like a physical test; but no, it is a mental test, an aptitude test.

The test: For this, I use a concept rower. A rowing machine:

  • Program the machine: under intervals, set it for 30 seconds of rowing and 90 seconds of rest.
  • Row for 30 seconds.
  • Rest for 90 seconds.
  • On the first round of rowing, 30 secs, you must row 140 metres.
  • Each following round you must gain 1 metre.
  • If you gain more than one metre, then tough, you must gain one more based on your last round.
  • Example: 140, 141, 144… then the next round has to be 145.
  • You keep going until you physically can’t or won’t. Won’t means you quit. Yes, it is called quitting, not ‘I tried my best’, it is quitting! It is a pass or fail. If you quit, you learn something about yourself and move forward. This is life.
  • This test can be done with any exercise; running, walking, push-ups, air-squats etc. It is a test of character and mental toughness.
  • Over the years, the data shows the following:
  • Group A:       
    • The talkers who think they are fit and look the part, but won’t go on, they quit and won’t keep going because they become mentally defeated.
  • Group B:       
    • The people who want life changes, they stand up and go until they are physically drained. Can’t go on. A sizeable proportion of these people don’t look and aren’t very athletic but have a massive heart and the willpower to achieve their goals.

Be on the B – Team.

This blog isn’t about you doing the test, but please do. It is about how bad do you want it. The ‘it’ being, getting through this lockdown in a good state of mind. Do whatever it takes, legally, to come out the other end intact.

Your house might need some new rules. Rules are only useful if enforced. The person who enforces them might be labelled the bad guy/gal, who cares? They will get over it. These are ‘hard-times, not hardship’, it needs leaders, people to stand up and be held accountable. It needs doers, not talkers, talking is not ‘necessarily’ leading.  Lead by example. Be the leader in your group; household, work, friends, etc. Be the enforcer. Either you can’t or won’t enforce the rules. This is not about living under a draconian dictatorship; work hard, play hard. You have to find the right blend of the enforcer / friend. Firm, fair and friendly.

My current can’t -v- won’t test.

YouTube is full of amazing people challenging themselves during this period. I came across Everesting, and I am in.

  • Everesting: Pick any hill, and complete repeats of it in a single activity until you climb 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest. Complete the challenge on a bike or on foot.
    • I have a hill of 20 meters, That equates to around 443 ascents to equal Everest at 8,848 m. I am 740 meters in, join me?

Weekly tips:

Exercise: Build a stretching routine into your workout, stretch every day before you train.

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Walk.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: The prison (see last week’s blog).
  • Sunday: Rest and reward yourself.

Book of the week: Travels on my Elephant.

  • Author: Mark Shand. 
  • Mark Shand buys an elephant named Tara and rides her over six hundred miles across India to Sonepur Mela. From Bhim, a drink-racked mahout, Shand learned to ride and care for her. From his friend Aditya Patankar he learned Indian ways. And with Tara, his new companion, he fell in love. “Travels on my Elephant” is the story of their epic journey across India.
  • Purchased from Amazon books:

Movie of the week: The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young.

  • The Barkley Marathon is an ultra-marathon held every year in a state park in eastern Tennessee. Runners have to complete five loops of a 32km course, 160 km in total. The race’s total elevation change means finishers do the equivalent of climbing and descending Mount Everest twice. Since 1989, only 15 people have finished the race. 
  • Available on Netflix and Amazon.

TEd Talk – Sport psychology – inside the mind of champion athletes: Martin Hagger.

  • Martin provides an overview of the kinds of techniques that elite athletes use to prepare psychologically for their sport, gives details of the scientific research into these techniques and how they work, and how the techniques might be used by competitive athletes and coaches to maximise performance. You can use these techniques to manage your lockdown days.
  • Link:

Until next week, Stand Tall.

Be The Enforcer.