Use it, don’t lose it

I am fascinated with people’s stories. That may explain my penchant for memoirs and obituaries (my Saturday morning ritual along with the crossword puzzle!). I love to learn from their experiences and glean a deeper understanding of what makes them tick.

My boys and I love comedy; it’s one of our love languages for sure. When I came upon an article written by Jeff Haden about Jerry Seinfeld, I was curious about what he had to say, and I looked forward to sharing it with the guys.

While the article leaned towards the business-side of things and focused on his financial success, I did find some pearls of wisdom that had a universal application.

Haden spoke of Seinfeld’s “success as being a by-product of consistent, focused effort rather than being the driver of it.” Seinfeld is quoted saying, “‘I like money, but it’s never been about the money.'”

The article went on to describe how, in order to improve his joke-writing ability, Seinfeld had to, well, write more jokes! He cultivated a daily habit of writing a joke which earned him the right to put a big X on his wall calendar.

Another quote I found interesting was this:
“…when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. …you must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop.”

While discussing this article with my friend Joanne, she mentioned that her orchestra conductor said the same thing. In his opinion, daily practice is essential not only to improve, but to prevent decline.

The same principle certainly holds true with our physical body and its capacity. In one of our Conditioning for Vibrant Aging classes, we discussed this phenomenon. I said to the group, “Especially as we age, declines in capacity happen quicker than gains.” In other words, if we wish to maintain our physical capacity, we need regular movement input.

On a more hopeful, optimistic note, the body will respond favourably when given the right input with the right frequency. A source of pure joy for me is when students report back various success stories of not only avoiding decline, but experiencing a new capacity for movement: to sit on the ground from a standing position without assistance; opening jars; squatting; playing a sport or activity they had given up years earlier; walking without pain…the list is endless!

One of the lovely, unanticipated benefits of the online studio is that I’m hearing that many of you are practicing more frequently. Without having to adapt to a studio schedule or having to commute to get to a class, there is freedom and accessibility to practice when it’s most convenient for you. Twenty minutes daily will trump 60 minutes one or two times per week every time.

So whether it’s joke writing, playing an instrument, or tending to the physical needs of your body, we need steady, consistent effort.

To share one final nugget from the article:

“Consistency increases capacity
Consistency increases ability
Consistency breeds success”

May your actions, thoughts and deeds uplift others.
Warmest regards,