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Wrench Time: The Essence

Wrench time, the way I'm using the term in my writings has a double meaning, I mean using a wrench literally and as a metaphor for any kind of work. With that bit tidied up, I can bring in further depth and simplicity. (If you didn't see depth and simplicity coming, we are in this together, it was made possible by the gift of backspace.)

"A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations that they are willing to have." - A quote that is very google-able but hard to figure out who to credit. I agree with the quote however, I feel it needs to be further simplified to give it universal application.

"A person's success in anything can be measured by the number of uncomfortable moments they are willing endure." Now it is capable of going anywhere!

I've recently been running as part of a 60-day fitness challenge that I decided to engage in. In my fitness journey I've had some ups and downs like anything but I've never had 6-pack abs. Partially because I feel it's not a necessary thing, especially given my main goal for fitness is to be ready for adventure; think functional fitness. Secondly, and most importantly, I believed that the work (uncomfortable moments) was not worth the reward of showing ab muscles. So when I felt this most recent plateau in fitness, my workouts were not so challenging, I had lost 20lbs and had another 10 -15 that needed to go. I decided it's high time to commit to a goal that I felt was not possible for me, because I wasn't willing to work that hard.

This is a good point to review to my perspective on goals and the purpose of them: the goal you set dictates the system or habits you'll have to break, create or improve to make it happen. Goals aren't achieved overnight, they happen with consistent effort and improvement over time.

Given my perspective on goals, I set out to bare my abs. First thing I knew was that my pizza and beer habit had to go, and that I had to seriously cut down on calories, mostly from carbs to be in a deficit everyday. The diet was going to be the hard part, I hear from most qualified folks that weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise, so I knew I had to get my diet right. To speed this story up a bit and get you to the MetaphorX4, I'll just list my new habits.

  1. No beer, except on Saturdays, switch to whiskey and wine, limit alcohol altogether.

  2. If I eat pizza it's my only meal that day, protein shakes are still ok.

  3. Workout daily, rotate between running, rowing, lifting, and yoga.

  4. Fast for 1 day periodically and include intermittent fasting, having just 1 meal in a day.

With that system of habits I've lost the 10lbs and have a few weeks left to lose the last 5 and I can see lines forming around my abs. I've gone from thinking this is impossible to thinking it's inevitable and I thought most of these habits were not sustainable beyond the 60 days and now I can't imagine going back to my old lifestyle. Mind you I had thought I already reduced my caloric intake and cleaned up my diet. Only creating a bigger goal could show me that there was a lot of room left for improvement.


Now the MetaphorX4 you've been waiting for! Actually, two of them, because this principle is that important to our growth and success.

First, if you are the kind of wheeler I am, I like to learn to work on my own rig, it gives me a sense of pride and additional confidence on the trail. Working on any vehicle means that you are going to have to hold yourself in some uncomfortable positions, especially if like me you work on your rig in the driveway on jack stands! Now you can probably see where I am going with this... The more uncomfortable moments you endure working on your 4x4 the more upgrades you'll do and the better care you'll take, which is directly related to how successful you'll be at owning, maintaining, and wheeling your 4x4.

Now to cover some extra bases, if you are the kind of wheeler who does not work on your rig, I've got another MetaphorX4. When you first get out on the trail you'll definitely have a few moments of "Whoa! That was a little scary!" As you continue to get out on the trail and wheel and with others who have been doing it longer, you'll start to get more comfortable with the basic obstacles and start looking for more complicated and sometimes scary ones. The more you are willing to try harder obstacles that make you uncomfortable, the better you will get as a driver.

To wrap this up I want to prescribe a process for locating your comfort zone and the edge of it, so you can actually grow and not just hurt yourself. I don't recommend going on a double black diamond trail in a stock Jeep on your third trip out. I do recommend trying obstacles and things that you are comfortable with (safely) until you find something that makes you tense up and gives you that feeling in your belly and, for the wrencher find that project that you are not quite sure you can finish yourself and give it a shot.

In any aspect of your life find something that will make you uncomfortable but is not too much of a stretch, commit to it and do whatever it takes!

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