Embrace The Suck: Win At Life By Loving Your Struggle

by Peter Spina
Embrace The Suck: Win At Life By Loving Your Struggle

Mike Tyson began boxing competitively at the age of 18 and became the youngest boxer to win the heavyweight title at 20 years, four months, and 22 days old in 1986.

He earned this title after spending 5 minutes and 35 seconds in the ring with 33 year old Trevor Berbeck. Before that, his first 19 professional fights were won by knockout or stoppage; 12 of those wins were in the first round. [1] [2] 

Just a few years earlier, at the age of 13, this same person had been arrested 38 times, was sentenced to a Juvenile center, and was described as “pudgy, extremely shy… and afraid of getting into fights”. [3]

What pushed Mike Tyson through the daily 4 a.m., 5 mile runs; the 55 hours  of training in the ring every week; and evenings spent studying fight videos, all of which transformed him into the 1986 Heavyweight Champion?

The Iron Mike Rule. It goes:

Do what you hate to do, but do it like you love it. The Iron Mike Rule

Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave

Yes, embracing the suck and digging through the grind with a smile on your face is one way to fast track your journey to physical greatness. Because how else do you show you love something, if not by smiling wide when encountering it?!

This tactic is even held up by science.

Science shows that grinning and bearing it – literally – can lift your mood and help you manage stress. The physical act of smiling activates neural messages and the release of neuropeptides. Dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are released when you smile - even if you are smiling forcibly - all of which can relax your body, decrease your heart rate and your blood pressure. [4]

Think about it – have you seen someone repeatedly walk into your gym with a frown on their face?

Or do you have a friend who huffs and puffs whenever you suggest working out or going for a run?

How successful are these individuals in achieve their workout goals?

Do you see that frowning person return to the gym often? Does your friend still complain about his/her lack of motivation and progress?

People who think negatively and wear a permanent frown while working out resign themselves to fighting a physical as well as a mental battle every time they step up to bat.

Fight the urge to complain. Turn that frown upside down. And cast off the heaviness of hating to workout by adding smiling and positive thinking into every warm up 

With each rep, tell yourself, "I LOVE IT!". Even if you don't, keep saying it until you do; or at least until your workout is over!


Be Genuine, Too!

What the Iron Mike Rule also teaches, I think, is beyond acting like you love something to make it more palatable. 

Although smiling and positive thinking are important factors, I think what this tidbit of advice can teach us is:

Put your heart into your struggle. Genuinely put effort into achieving your goals. Do what you would do if you actually loved the process, or if the final product were going to be given to someone you love.

Let's use our imaginations for a second.

Picture your best friend – the one who has been there for you through thick and thin – calls you up one day and says, “Hey [insert your name here]! I am SO sorry to spring this on you! But I’m stuck at work, I need you to do this favor for me, it’s really important!”

Whatever they ask of you, you’ll probably do it for them. You’ll probably say, “No problem!”. You’ll complete the task as if it were a top priority: with precision, in a timely manner, and to the utmost of your ability. And you'd probably feel great doing it, because who doesn't love doing nice things for their besties?!

Now, imagine some annoying person who you haven’t been in touch with for a while, who is ALWAYS asking for favors whenever you are in touch, and who is a really loud and annoying chewer (the worst, right?!) calls you for a favor instead.

How would you carry out the task differently? Would you half-ass it? Would you grudgingly drag your feet, wait until the last minute, maybe even flat-out refuse to help? Would the task get done? And if it did, would it be done satisfactorily?

This is the difference between doing something we love/for someone we love, versus something we hate/for someone we dislike.

When you do something you love, or for someone you love, you put your heart into it. You make sure it gets done. You’re efficient. You’re passionate. You’re proud. You’re invested.

Put this sentiment towards your workouts: love yourself to the point where you give your body the workout it deserves; treat yourself to a longer, healthier, happier life by getting after those fitness goals; and embrace the difficult, sweaty progress because it's the going to allow you to enjoy the awesome benefits.

Thanks for reading! Thanks for being a Synergee Athlete!

And love your struggle!

Until next time, Athletes ;) 

[1] https://medium.com/mayooshin-com/the-iron-mike-rule-the-one-thing-successful-people-do-differently-9805b3658bab

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Tyson

[3] https://medium.com/mayooshin-com/the-iron-mike-rule-the-one-thing-successful-people-do-differently-9805b3658bab

[4] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile