“The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected.”-Sun Tzu
Guest Blog by Dustin Winnikens
I could write about a unique training system that I have developed. Or how I have struggled to get to where I am today. Next time!
I believe that all knowledge is present within our universe. It is a process of accessing or perceiving the knowledge you have obtained.
An example: I have had instances where I will come to a conclusion about training, nutrition or life only to find someone else has written about it. Even when I have no clue who this person is I find our view of the Truth to be similar.
WARNING! My bachelor degree is in Philosophy (Ancient and Cognitive Science). I am not saying that as way to brag, or say “I am smart.”
No! Instead if it seems like there is no point, and I am going into some really weird places with my references I want you to know, “Wait until the end.” It does have a point.
We are all at war. For now I will use little “w” as to not offend. W(w)ar within our minds and world around us. A world that has lost the way and no longer has heroes. A place replaced by the dollar. What ever it takes to make money!
Gurus and experts want to sell you all kinds of programs. You read countless books about success or how to be successful, but very few of those individuals have read what I will be discussing. If they have read them, they do not apply them or reference them.
All you need to know about success was written over 2,000 years ago by two great men:
Sun Tzu and Socrates.
Ok! It is actually Plato. The debate has been going on for years-Is it Plato’s philosophy or Socrates. Blah Blah- focus on the message!
Plato’s Republic Book Seven. This is “The Cave”.
Imagine a group of people that have spent their whole life sitting in a chair facing a wall. They have been taught that the shadows they see are real things (dogs, people, trees etc).
One day a person wonders, “Is this really the truth?” So they turn around. He notices a wall, and stands up. As he walks closer he notices a fire burning. “This must be the sun?.” Walking past the wall he comes across statues of people and animals. As his eyes focus from being so close to the bright light he notices down the tunnel another light.
He proceeds towards the bright light. It becomes brighter and brighter. Barely able to tolerate the pain he feels he should go back to where it is more comfortable. “I don’t know if the pain is worth it! Maybe I should go back to where I feel the most comfortable.” But he has a feeling inside that he should keep pushing forward.
Finally out of the Cave he is covered in a warm, bright light. As his eyes begin to adjust he can make out shapes. He can see people walking, the sun in the sky and the smell of the flowers. “This is Real.”
As he descends back to where the other people are sitting he is excited to tell them about his find.
When he arrives he explains that the shadows are casted by a fire and some statues. They are not real. He urges them to follow him out of the Cave so that he may show them “The Truth”.
Angered by his claims (and fearing that all they believed to be true was a lie) they killed the man.
I know some of you may be saying, “What the heck does this have to do with training, business or life?”
Think Zach Even – Esh, Coach Glassman, Louie Simmons, Dave Tate!
Now you could go and buy countless books about how to be a “sheep” SORRY! “Successful”. You know, “Do this….”, “Blog this….” “Sell that…” OR My favorite
“You will never be a success unless you…….” BLAH!
I can meditate while vacuuming, driving or lifting weights. “OH Master show me the WAY!” The biggest misconception about meditating is that you think of Nothing. “I can’t think about nothing! That is why I don’t bother meditating!”
*Just Breathe Baby!*
In through nose, out through mouth, breathe from chest and breathe from the stomach. Yes, there are ways to breathe to channel certain energy patterns. Right now-Just Breathe Baby!
I will admit starting in a quiet area will help at first. Get comfy and start breathing. As you are focusing on your breathing you will start thinking about this and that.
Let it Go! Do not direct the flow! Your mind will start jumping from one thought to another (similar to your computer defragging). Be an observer and you will be amazed. And when done you will feel better. Like you have solved a days worth of problems in 15 minutes.
When you began your quest to be a strength coach you probably followed a certain training template. Maybe you went to college for it, or you followed something that was popular. You followed it to a “T” and it was the truth. But then something happened. You one day realized that you train and coach something that is not yours. You are a “Copy Cat.” Now I have heard individuals state that being a “Copy Cat” can work to your advantage, but that is in reference to Money! Not life! I know “Money Good” and I will work on my “Life” tomorrow. Hope you don’t die! Harsh, but true!
“Wow he was a great coach! He followed the trends and he made great money doing it! Sometimes he stepped on people along the way, but Heck that is business! Only the strong survive.”
Funny thing about the “Strong Surviving.” That is only in reference to the physically strong. I would lump “Mentally/Intelligent” in with that but that is self evident. Having to say that a person is mentally and physically strong is like having to say, “Fire is always Hot!” DA!
“Wait I know some strong people that are bone heads!”
“Ah! The road ahead of me on a hot day appears to have water on it, but as I drive closer I never find water.” Perception and reality are seldom the same.
When presenting something new it is very possible that you will receive a massive backlash from the “Experts”, “Gurus”, “Been There-Done That’s”
You will get people staring, or finding what you are attempting to do as “No way can this work.” Others will be scared. They will hide or strike out. I experienced this very thing.
I did not start off the way Zach preaches, “Start small and then grow!”
Hell, my favorite song is “Overkill” by Motorhead (Metal Trivia-first song to showcase the double bass drum, and the reason Lars from Metallica became a drummer). So imagine my heart ache when I arrive at the certification on my second attempt (first one cancelled due to low attendance) and having a HELL of a trip to top (I almost didn’t leave because having my two sons crying and hanging on me to not go broke my heart, but I had to do this-for them and me) only to have Zach tell me after I told him and the crew that I was trying to get a business loan that, “It won’t ever happen. Start small.”
Zach was speaking the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts. Bad! Thank the greatness that is for family, and people that believe in you. Because without them I wouldn’t be doing this right now. I don’t know what I would be doing, but I know not this.
How much money does a person need to have to be happy? “All of it!” Screams the joker from the back.
There are billions of people in the world. A very small percentage of people exercise yet if you take the national average of people that exercise and apply to your area (no I don’t know it off hand-Look it up!) you will find that there is no way you will be able to train all these people.
Even if you did online training for everyone you would be swamped. Yet there is a driving push to take over the world and maximize your potential. Now I am not bashing those individuals that do. Hells No! Without some of them I wouldn’t be the trainer I am today. Zach Even Esh, Elliott Hulse etc the list goes on! No they do help! I mean the jack asses that just want your money and copy the real pioneers.
I once had an owner of a company corner me over my production on sale calls. I told him I search the various markets for trends and then call were I find tendencies.
He wanted volume! I told him I would rather spend more time on quality rather than quantity.
His response, “If you throw enough shit against the wall something has to stick!”
Which I responded, “Yes, but it is still shit! I am looking for gold!”
Quantity or quality? “Both!” Damn that joker in the back!
Quantity (Non Existent, Adequate, Maximal)
Quality (Maximal, Adequate, Non Existent)
Did I label the above by accident or purpose? I guess it depends on how you perceive the world.
“All that glitters is not gold!” I don’t know about that! I guess it depends on what is “glittering”. If you like material things you may be sad to find that it is not gold, but if you are a three year old girl it is a princess ring. Worn until it is too tight or the fancy jewels (plastic) fall out.
Sure it isn’t “Gold”, but does something need “To Be” in order to be perceived as being something else. Think about it! Do you need CSCS at the end of your name to be considered a Strength Coach. Some would claim you’re not a Strength Coach without them, yet there are many great minds without any letters after their name. Perception and Reality are seldom the same!
I am happiest when it rains! “I’m only happy when it rains!”-Garbage (good song-break out the black eye liner).
Many are sad when it rains, but water is essential for life. Therefore when it rains everything is greener. Thus I am happier when it rains!
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”-Sun Tzu
Do you know your enemy? (Green Day-good song) No it isn’t your competition, because if you truly believe in your mission, and what you stand for there is no competition. My enemy is not tangible. I often tell people I do not hate anyone. People can change. Although I may never want to interact with them, and to me they are dead. I do not hate them. I hate concepts-racism, ignorance, weakness, lack of commitment, etc. This list is long. So I essence I hate things that are not physical, yet can be physically represented in people.
Know yourself! Who are you? I will be honest ever since starting this quest I have not found who I am. Every day I am surprised to see how I change.
What I can tell you is to live with Passion.
And remember that Passion in action is Aggression. Aggression is good when directed. If you cannot control the direction of your mind you will not be able to direct your Aggression.
Do you get pissed when someone cuts you off, or takes your parking spot? Really!? Why?! Does that moment of rage help you in any way? What if you didn’t pay any attention to it? You’re in control of yourself-Right! HHMM?!
Sun Tzu discusses dead ground, or the place where there is no exit.
This is not a place to engage the enemy. I know what you’re thinking-Why not? A sure win! It has to deal with the mindset of the soldier at that moment. They have nothing to lose. They know they will die and will fight like mad to take as many of your men with them.
As a general it is your duty to have minimal casualties. To win without shedding a drop of blood is a sign of a great general. FYI-you are the general, soldier and emperor. As a coach to train an athlete to achieve their full potential yet have no problems from your training is a victory.
You must think on multiple plans, and perceive various situations. When coaching you are the general for your athletes. Yet within you are still the soldier to your own life, and controlling your actions like a general. And not conducting yourself like a disconnected emperor.
That is a problem when you do not know yourself. You are like an emperor conducting military action from his safe throne. What you need to do is disconnect yourself from yourself in order for the general to conduct himself. Only when you know yourself, and learn to disconnect your emperor will you be able to wage war with certain victory.
What happens when you live with pure uncontrolled emotion? You then end up like Hannibal. The great Carthigian king that crushed the Greeks during his reign. Yet never attacked their capital and died never fulfilling his dream.
His hate for the Greeks pushed him to have one agenda, “Destroy their precious army, and then they will give me the capital.” He wanted them to quit and surrender. Hannibal utilized the double envelopment in one of his battles.
If you follow military history you will know that the Greeks fought in a “V” formation. What Hannibal did during one of his battles was to approach the Greeks with a “U” formation. As the Greeks point penetrated the bottom of the “U” Hannibal instructed his soldiers to slowly sink back so that they started to look like a “W”.
As the Greeks pushed forward, and thinking that Hannibal’s army was falling to the superior strength they failed to notice that the infantry was coming around the outside of the battle field. Instead of collapsing, the walls of the “U” were turning to resemble an upside down “U”. By the time they realized their mistake the infantry was in place and slammed the “U” closed. It was written that Hannibal’s army had the Greeks so tightly enclosed that the Greeks could not even raise their swords from the sides.
They sat there as arrows rained down. Imagine seeing the swords and spears coming, yet having no way to protect yourself. This was one of the bloodiest battles in history. Thousands of Greeks were killed in one day, and Hannibal’s army suffered very few casualties.
Yet he never went after the capital. His desire to have them quit controlled his every thought. Similar to the car cutting you off. You may dwell on this for hours. Maybe days!
Let go! Use the double envelopment when attacking training, business or your life. Completely consume and over whelm every situation.
Zach often talks about, “Attack”, and has great blogs about mindset. This is what he means. Approach a situation with the intent to utilize the double envelopment, but always remember that dead ground is not the place to engage the enemy. Do not attack with a blind eye!
Employ spies. Individuals that will do the work for you. This is your “Tribe”. Now I have just started my business, and had no athletes to start with. No one would talk to me without having a place of business. In one of his business courses Zach states he wasn’t legit until he had a physical location (other than his garage). Your spies are the athletes you train and their parents. Screw social media sites! Yes, I said it!
Ever see the commercial where the 20 something daughter is talking about the sad state of her parents because they don’t know what living is or have any friends. She boosts that she has over 600 friends as she stares at her computer.
Yet the commercial splits to her parent’s mountain biking and getting outside with friends. She then comments they only have eight or so friends, “Sad!” she proclaims as she flips to saying, “That’s not a really cat.” Call me old fashion, but I see no need for it. I am not stupid to how it works! I get that, and the potential business leads from it. I have better things to do with my life! Why do it if your Tribe is willing to do it for you?!
OK! Let me wrap this up with your plan for success, or the way you should approach it.
-W(w)ar is of vital importance to you. It is your mission in life. How you conduct yourself each second of each day is vital. You will never be perfect, but strive to be 1% better each day.
-If you have a burning desire, or feel that all you know may not be the truth then search for the Truth. Understand that you will be made fun of or dismissed as a quack but if you feel that there is some shred of truth in what you believe don’t give up. It is better to die knowing the truth than live a lie!
-Perception and reality are seldom the same thing. Be careful of those that seem to know it all, or come off as experts. “Never fear a person that claims to be imperfect. Fear the one that claims to be perfect.”
-You are the general, soldier and emperor of your life. As emperor you need to release your ruling power and allow your general to lead. As a general you need to know the best time to battle, and how to conduct your soldiers. As a soldier you need to follow with an open mind and heart.
-Do not live solely by emotion or passion. That will lead you down paths and into situations with no return. Attack what you have passion for but allow a way to escape. In doing so you will reduce your casualties and maximize your success. Remember Sun Tzu’s advice on “dead ground” and what happened to Hannibal when he did not have an exit for his own emotions.
-Find yourself. It will not take one day, and may take a life time. Too often those that search for themselves come off as being disconnected from the world around them, but you are a strength coach and know about the mind/body dichotomy (connection).
-Just Breath Baby!
-Live with No Regrets!
About the Author:
Coach BiGD, or as Zach called me at the certification “DW the VW” is the Owner/Strength Coach for Inception Athlete Training LLC in the land of cheese and beer. Father of two wonderful boys (Spencer and Zach-named before I knew of Zach Even Esh) and husband to the greatest woman in the World (next to my mom, grandma’s, and other female family members she is freaking awesome!).
Strongman competitor for 12 years, student of powerlifting and Olympic lifting, and fan of classic strength training books.
Schooled in Philosophy after abandoning his pursuit to be a doctor because, “It will help me find out who I am.”
“All I know is that I know nothing, and what I do know I cannot prove to be true.”-Socrates