Trying to slow down Dai Manuel is like trying to stop a freight train with a flyswatter. Athlete, coach, author, connector, media personality, husband, father, speaker – Dai rumbles through life like a rocket sled on rails. But we managed to put the brakes on the big man just long enough for him to share some personal insights on training for life. Dai is always inspiring, but here he shares a particularly profound perspective we can all adopt.
I DO IT FOR ME
When I discovered CrossFit in 2007, I rediscovered a new side to myself. I found that pushing myself to try new things, challenging myself to improve as an athlete, and ultimately the dynamic nature of the sport was in perfect alignment for me on a personal and business level. Quotes like “Embrace the suck!” or “Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable” which proliferate the CrossFit communities resonated with me. So I’ve adopted these ideas and discovered new things about myself through each workout, through competition with myself, and a desire to constantly be improving.
I do it for me. Not for anyone else. That’s a choice I make every day. And I love it!
I’M TOO FAT. I’M TOO SLOW. I’M SUCH A FRAUD.
I’ve always been my own worst critic. It’s the voice inside my head that I’m always competing with. I know based on my mentoring and coaching of others, there’s a lot of voices preventing people like us in life, from doing the things that matter most to us.
Telling that little voice to “shut the fuck up!” is a constant battle. I have to remind myself I’m not that little, overweight teen any longer. I’m not that person that consoles and masks his pain with alcohol any more. I’ve grown and moved beyond the limited boundaries I created for myself.
TOMORROW IS AWESOME. BUT TODAY IS BEST.
There’s days when I’m frustrated with myself, I’m tired, I’m irritated by something outside my control. It’s on these days I have to remind myself about all the things I’m proud of, remembering that I can control my thoughts and actions today which will impact my future tomorrow. The past is past. Learn from it and then move on. Don’t dwell. Tomorrow is awesome, but today is best! I’m the boss of me, and negativity doesn’t serve anyone, especially me.
I CHOOSE MY ACTIONS
We are for the most part human beings, and human Doing. For most of us we look to make connections both internally and externally. Internally I want to feel good about the choices and actions I make. When I do things out of alignment with my personal vision/mantra/goals/lifestyle, then I don’t feel good. I feel stressed, depressed and the like. I impose my own ideas, I choose my actions, no one is the boss of me. Owning this is key. I own it all the time. My action or inaction is always my own doing. And because of that, it’s easy to ‘forget’ why we do what we do – or to be part time with our commitments to ourselves. I don’t allow for that in my life.
I NEVER LOSE
If I learn from my choices and actions, and constantly adapt to improve, then I never really lose. Instead I’m faced with opportunities to learn and improve. Like a martial artist who practices, practices and practices some more, you never really master anything without consistent, measurable progress. So I am always looking for ways to measure what I’m doing. Asking myself the following: Is it in alignment with my life pillars? Does this add value to my life, my family and my community? Am I being the man that I would want to marry my daughters?
PLAYING TO WIN
If I improve my self-confidence, abilities, skill sets (and personally develop my 5 pillars), I am that much more skilled and confident when facing competitive situations with others. But at the end of the day, like anyone else, I like to win. I strive to do my best in every situation. Why else would I do it after all? It’s the primal drive in me. I PLAY to win for me.
I RESPECT MY UNIVERSE
Without self-respect, external respect can’t be as deep or meaningful. Cliches for the most part are based on some commonplace level of truth or observation. If you can’t love yourself, will you ever really understand and appreciate love of another? I love my kids… and in further deepening my love of them, do I find deeper love in myself. Funny how that works. As I allow myself to be vulnerable and open to others, as I constantly respect my universe, I find it builds strength, character and adds mortar to the bricks of the house I’ve built for myself.
Written by Dai Manuel
About the athlete:
Formerly Chief Operating Officer of Fitness Town Inc. Dai Manuel was traumatized by the stigmas he experienced as an obese teenager. So at age 15, he made a decision to change his lifestyle and hasn’t looked back since. His passion is to engage as many people as possible in living healthy, more active lifestyles, with a specific focus on supporting families so that childhood obesity is no longer a global epidemic.
Shop Dai's Outfit Here