Post 3: Happy New Year – too much, too little: Emotion vs. Logic
Dem new year feels. A time when we may perhaps, be feeling a little more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed than usual. You know that high; all gung-ho after having sussed out the comps/PBs ahead for the year and brushed aside the painful mistakes from the year just past.
Maybe that’s why starting the new year feels like a ‘fresh start’ (although it’s merely a technical Gregorian calendar thing). We’re moving on from the (painful) errors we made and (making the effort towards) moving onto better things. Out with the old, in with the new as they say. Personally, it feels a bit therapeutic to be able to look at my mistakes in hindsight and laugh/cry/cringe. To acknowledge that yes, I was an idiot at certain times last year and yes, it actually happened and dear God, let’s resolve to never repeat the same errors shall we?
Hindsight can be such a cheeky bitch though. There are things I look back on and I just wonder what was going through my head; “Where was my logical thinking hat?”; or “How do I lose heart and fall off the bandwagon?”.
I realise now (as you do with hindsight), that when you emotionally invest yourself in something significant (e.g. prepping for a major comp, changing jobs, starting a new relationship), the heart seems to override the head. Being objective, logical and rational in making decisions is a heck lot easier said than done. Thus, opening the gates for emotionally-driven errors.
I can look back now and easily pin-point the how’s, when’s, what’s and why’s that led to the errors I’d rather have not made. But I can’t say for sure I would have avoided it otherwise when I had been struck with emotionally-driven, logic-deficient, myopia.
Now that I’ve found the source of some of the problems, it’s only apt that I find a solution. And therein arises the almighty question: Emotion vs. Logic (aka Heart vs. Head). Can you have too much of one and too little of the other? Too little heart may not drive you to pursue something so willingly, too much head..wait what? I digress.
I don’t know of the pages and pages of PubMed approved research publications to identify how much and when it is more advantageous to rely more on logic than emotion.
50% emotion, 50% logic?
80% logic, 20% emotion?
0% emotion, 100% logic?
This time last year, I hit a milestone - flipping the big boi 300kg tyre >5xBW of a beast! Was a good (hot)day @strongmelbourne □. I remember when I first started lifting, I'd be lucky if I could even scrape any rubber off the 200kg toy from the ground. The funniest part too is the only reason I gave the 300kg tyre a go was I couldn't be arsed to get out the lighter tyre, and the big donut was already there. So, here's to big donuts □□□. Because PBs appear in all sizes, shapes and forms. Often when you least expect it.
And this applies, hell, across all facets of life (not just lifting). The Goldilocks balance of “just right” – may be easier said than done. I find certain circumstances do well with more emotion than logic (e.g. stop overanalysing the lift and just fcking pick up the barbell), while others (for example: deciding to have longevity in the sport rather than chasing rapid, short-term gains) do better with taming the emotions and utilising more rational thinking. But my barometer of emotion/logic (heart/head) may very well look nothing like yours. My definition of “balance” is not necessarily an ideal yin/yang for you.
In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to rely on more logic than emotion. Last year alone, my heart (emotions) drove me to dive straight into every other strongman comp in the Melbourne locality, with a couple of powerlifting comps in between. My head (and the rest of my body) were overpowered and well were not too happy; bearing the brunt of going hard out perhaps a little often, a little too frequent. I won’t deny that my heart was for the most part fulfilled, the comps being plenty of fun, and massive personal achievements for me. (And perhaps, if I never pursued these sports with such fervour (heart), I wouldn’t have pushed my body to work as hard). But my head took awhile to settle down - I’m no longer a spring chicken with ample time for recovery; peaking for comp after comp really wears the body (and mind) out after awhile. Comp highs can sometimes be like a sugar rush – massive peak…followed by a bit of a crash.
Heart. Head. Heart. Head. Heart. Head. Nope, I’m still not 100% certain of what balance of the 2 I’d be best to follow. (Or if I were to be more honest – if I’d want a balance in certain circumstances). What I do know is that I’d rather not repeat the mistakes made last year, particularly those fuelled by too much (or too little) of 1 of the 2 ingredients.
One possible approach to use is treating it akin to taking supplements – generally, it’s the dosage that makes the toxicity. The package itself can appear seemingly innocuous – but once you dose up, it’s not a bad idea to watch out for the signs. Or even better, listen to others who have already made the errors so you don’t have to repeat them. You’re not a bigger hero when you make avoidable errors; not even for the Instagram fans who don’t even know your real name.
Here is where I’d insert a happy, feel-good phrase to know when to use your head and when to follow your heart. To not repeat the same stupid mistakes from the year just gone. To make this year a better year. And create awesomeness. Or something along those lines that is equally saturated with saccharin and yet, still fits your macros.
*In other news: I will be competing at the deadlift only competition at this year’s ProRaw 8, Arnold Classic Australia! Wish me luck and that I use the right doses of my head + heart