Achievement unlocked – Punisher MTB Challenge

On Saturday, June 3rd, I partook in an urban mountain bike race around Johannesburg which included riding through stormwater drains, climbing man-made scaffold bridges, navigating mountainous rocky patways and blindly cycling through dark underground tunnels.

Early morning – Race starting line

The course was 72km (45 miles) long and was very tough. I do not think I was fully prepared for what lay ahead (considering I was close to being one of the last to cross the finish line and around 3hrs behind the race leader) but I know I did the best I could with the time and resources I had and you know what? I did it. I finished the race.

Gareth and myself – waiting for the race to begin.

I completed the race in 06:03:27 and couldn’t be happier. This was the furthermost distance and longest time spent on my bike in one sitting. Funny enough, the following day I was a lot less sore than what I  thought I would be. The next day I  experienced mild discomfort in my shoulders, neck, and traps. This was from being hunched over in one spot for several hours.

It was a long race and would put my body, mind, and training to the test. Going into the race, I kept experiencing nagging thoughts of wanting to ‘know’ that I could ‘definitely’ finish the race. But even when being faced with the “3,2,1” countdown to the race start, I had no evidence that I would be able to conquer the figurative and literal mountain in front of me.

32km Check-in – Feeling great. We just passed through some large stormwater drains.

During the race, there were many times where I had to talk myself down from thoughts of quitting and giving up. Through burning thighs, an aching back and lungs aflame I had to keep going. There was work to be done and no time to complain.

Gareth and I, at the finish line with our Punisher medalsI love moments in life like these. Moments where you do something that should not have been possible. Moments like these are very addictive. We humans, love progress. Defying the odds. Being the underdogs. Sticking it to the ‘man’ etc. Whatever you call it, it is deeply satisfying to conquer these mountains and inevitably move on to the next challenge to overcome (next up – 94.7 Challenge).

Whose with me?!

Trav’s Tips for taking the challenge and completing it.

  1. Don’t give yourself a chance to escape. Register for the event, buy the ticket, say yes!
  2. Do not wait to see if you are ready for it. Decide to do it and then start preparing. You can spend weeks debating whether or not to do the challenge and it could have been spent training and getting ready. Trust me, this was my major downfall with the 2017 Bealieu 45km MTB challenge (which was much harder because I decided to do the race the morning of the event).
  3. Get a Partner to do it with you. Look for someone who can support and push you through it. This was vital for me – thanks Gary!
  4. Physically prepare yourself and get sufficient training.  You will honestly stand on the start line feeling like you could have done more. You probably could have, but you’re here now and it’s ‘Go Time’. Forget about the “Maybes” and “What ifs” and go for it.
  5. Get ready – mentally. Build some mental toughness. Be realistic with yourself and the challenge ahead. Even though I diligently trained my body and ate clean, the day before the race I kept repeating “It won’t be easy but you will do it”. I was right.
No one said it was going to be easy. It wasn’t but it was worth it.

 

Getting things done. Simplified.

A black and white shot of a man stretching his right leg before running on the road

It is really, really easy to over complicate things. Even when it comes to getting things done. This last year I was able to get the ball rolling on a lot of personal goals some big, some small and I was making some great progress too!

Hmm, progress…

Progress is something that makes me happy, so a good few months back I started reading more, journaling and watching videos on how to do things better, quicker and load more tasks on my plate because of my efforts.

It was around this same time that I started noticing that I was not able to get as much done as I wanted to and my progress sort of stalled, in almost all areas of my personal development journey.

The reason?

Well, I think it has to do with overcomplicating things and although books and media are really a great way to motivate and educate yourself. I found myself thinking more, doing less. Then I took a look at what lead to my previous stretch of progress and how to return to that state. Admittedly it was a particular motivational video (I know, ironic) that lead me to my “Aha” moment.

Solution.

Go back to the basics. When I was making the most progress in my endeavors§ was when I simply showed up and did something small that lead me to my ultimate goal.

For example:

Goal: Be ‘day to day’ fluent in Norwegian
Action: Do one Duolingo lesson every day.
This should take no longer than 5-10 minutes at most.
This was easy enough for me to consistently do for over 230 days (incl. weekends)
Best Progress Results

New Commitment.
Goal: Be ‘day to day’ fluent in Norwegian.
Action: Study Norwegian every day for 1 hour. Break up the hour session into different lessons that include conversing, reading, writing and watching something in Norwegian.
Lowest Progress Results

No doubt about it, option 2 would yield substantially better results. If I was able to accomplish this intricate regime I set for myself. Mix this regime in with having a busy schedule, family, work and quite a few more goals I have set for myself like: Follow a strict eating plan, Read a certain amount of pages per day, cycle/gym a certain amount every day, Code an hour a day etc, is a recipe for having too many ‘well-meaning things to do’ on your plate. Getting overwhelmed and ending up doing none of them.

Back to Basic. Do. Even if it is a little.

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself and ‘increasing the bar’ on your goals, but something that I have come to learn is that taking some form of action of your goal every day for 5 minutes(or less) is far better than having done nothing at all.

 

After Effects.

After learning to do a simple animation in Adobe: After Effects

ME: “behold.”


I love the Adobe Creative Suite. I use at least one or two apps of the suite daily. My top used applications (this list will change depending on the type of work I am working on at any given time – especially when I used to freelance.)

  1. Premiere
  2. Photoshop
  3. Illustrator
  4. InDesign, and
  5. After Effects

The latest application to join my arsenal of Adobe After Effects. Let me say that opening up this app and taking a glance at the dashboard was nothing but overwhelming. None, the less after some time I managed to make the following simple animation:

Music by the man himself – Jason Coleman

Do more.

I really don’t mean to always bring Casey Neistat quotes into my blog posts, promise.

But, the famous “Do more” tattoo on his arm that is written in his very own trademarkable handwriting speaks some truth, we can’t ignore.

For the past year or so, I have felt much better. Much, much better. Better than I have felt in almost a decade (more on this later). So with feeling much better, I took a journey of self-discovery, healthy living and finding purpose and meaning in the things I choose to immerse myself with. Deep, I know.

This journey of self-discovery has led me to spend quite some time in self-help books, blogs, motivational videos etc, etc. For the first time in almost 10 years, I was not merely just getting through each day in survival mode but I could actually (dare I say it) enjoy, experience and live in each moment of that day.

All this self-reflection and self-help books are great. They get you thinking. I started thinking, a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. And, as I sit here now, in the last couple of weeks my thinking has led to this… Okay. Enough talk. This is what you came here for.

Do more (again).

Thinking is a good start but without action, it is a waste.

We can not move forward without action. If you have an idea or motivation to do something. Do it. Try it at least.

Today is all we had, now it is gone. Start putting things in action that matter to you as soon as you can. We are constantly feeding ourselves excuses of why we should wait, or give up on that thing we wanted to start. I am a pretty poor blogger/writer(in my mind anyway) and heck. Here I am.

Failure is almost a guarantee.  If we are not failing, we are not progressing.

Just do something. Get the ball rolling. Everyone starts at zero and works their way up from there.  If you make one phone call for that important thing, it is one phone call more than zero. You may have failed at the end of that call but at least now, you can review the call. Make changes. Try again.

We fear not being good enough. Newsflash, we all are not good enough. That person who you look up to who achieved that thing that you admire? They did not just wake up and fall into the position they are currently in. No way.  They had a thought, showed up and started working.

Maybe their original idea was something completely different to what they do now. Just think, if they did not try to take action on their original idea, they may never have gotten to where they are now.

This is not some ‘motivational’ post to inspire you. This is me, talking to myself. To do more.

Not for financial gain or fame. But for the chance to live the best life I can possibly live.

When I was 19, I started an automotive internet business with a friend. We needed a brochure. I went to another friend and asked him for a freebie brochure. He sat me down in front of my laptop, handed me a copy of Macromedia Freehand and said: “You make it”. I loved it, so became a graphic designer. Years past and I started my own freelance graphic design business. I need a website. Heard about WordPress, decided to give it a go.

I now work for Paid Memberships Pro as a Customer Support/Designer/Marketer/Content Creator.

Before the automotive internet business. I was studying to become a welding inspector. Man, I am glad I answered the call when a friend of a friend said: “Hey Trav, want to start a business?”

Do more. You never know where you will end up.

Blog more.

I recently watched Seth Godin, in an interview where he highlighted the importance of blogging. Daily. Yup, I know…

Now, one of my overall and somewhat vague goals for 2018 was to “Blog more“. At the beginning of the year, I kind of had a bit of an idea as to why I wanted to publish more blogs and as the months rolled out, more and more reasons pilled up and this in this interview, Seth Godin mentioned that blogging is one of top 5 best career decisions he ever made. He went on to say:

“Even if no one read it. I would blog every day, I think everyone should do so.” – Seth Godin

The thinking behind this is that if we blog every day, we are naturally placed in a position where we will form opinions, thoughts and “thoughtful examination of (our) World. You can’t help but get better at whatever it is you seek to do.”


Image result for do more casey neistat
Do more – Casey Neistat

My initial reason for wanting to blog (do) more in 2018 was to become better at writing. I write every single day as a Customer Support Engineer at Paid Memberships Pro and at the moment blog weekly or even bi-weekly for PMPro (see some blogs I have recently written here), so the importance of effective written communication has certainly moved up on my skills-to-improve priority list 🙂

I am also a notoriously lazy editor and a poor speller – another great TWO reasons to blog more.

But like, daily. That’s a bit hectic. Isn’t it?

Truth be told, I can already tell you that although one of my ‘mentors from afar’ encourages daily blogging, I just don’t see myself committing to daily blogging.

Regular blogging, sure. (By the way a friend of mine Dwain, wrote a blog post on “How to Blog Regularly – Here”)

In addition to blogging more, I have also revved up my reading list and have started keeping a daily ‘regular’ journal and am chipping away at creating habit creation.

Some reasons why you (and I) should blog more.

  • Improved written English communication skills. Tip – use and learn from  Grammarly
  • Leave a thought trail – in some ways, it is much like journalling which helps bring clarity to your thoughts.
  • Improves trustworthiness. You are taking a leap and opening yourself up to others. This can have an amazing effect (or is it affect – my nemesis) on peoples view of you.
  • A thoughtful examination of our world will lead to improvement and progression in that which we seek to become good at.

If not now, when? If not you, who?

A great quote that comes to mind every now and again. It reminds me that ideas are nice but ideas with action are much, much better.

So this is me, doing more, by blogging more. Even if no one reads it 🙂