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Stronger Every Day

I like taking up new challenges. I have always endeavored to improve myself and push my limits. Challenges help me do that. I have been working on one such challenge for the past month.

On 2nd July I went to my cousin’s place for the first time after a couple of months. He was trying to learn a muscle up which is a calisthenics move. Calisthenics is a kind of fitness training in which only the body weight is used as the resistance. I used to practice calisthenics so I started learning the same move. A muscle-up is an explosive pull-up combined with a dip. A muscle-up is one of the fundamental moves of calisthenics. I knew that doing a muscle-up is going to give me the basic strength to learn more advanced moves in calisthenics. I was really excited to try it and eventually master it. It was a big task but I decided to take it head-on.

I didn’t have a pull-up bar in my society to practice the move so I had to cycle every day in the morning to my cousin’s place. My enthusiasm went downhill after one week because I hadn’t progressed at all. I felt sad and disheartened but I still kept trying. I then took the help of a resistance band. Using a resistance band is like having the balancing wheels to my cycle. A resistance band helps me in doing the move if I don’t have the necessary strength to perform the move. Sadly, the bands weren’t helping in any way. I felt like a rookie and thought that it would take me months to learn this.

To my pleasant surprise, the second week was quite fruitful and productive. I was now able to do a muscle-up with the help of the resistance band. I was overjoyed that I had progressed so fast in the second week. Ideally, after this stage, it takes 3-4 days to be able to do a muscle-up without any assistance.

Unfortunately, this did not happen in my case. I did not practice that weekend and I was back to square one on Monday. In hindsight, I think that I shouldn’t have made that mistake and cut down my increasing momentum.

It took me 1 week to recover my progress. I had to put in the hard yards for a week not to proceed further but to just regain what I had lost. From being at the top of my progress to going rock bottom just in two days was difficult for me to digest. I still pushed myself and in one week I was able to recover my lost progress. Even after doing all of this I was not able to do a muscle-up without any assistance.

I felt frustrated so I tried to compare my progress with that of my brother and his friends but soon realized that I shouldn’t do that. Everyone’s body is different and thus it reacts and adapts differently. What I should have questioned was whether today was better than yesterday. Did I progress further today? But sadly the answer was a NO. I wasn’t improving every day in the first week but eventually, it did help me. It gave me a new lesson, efforts never go to waste. Whatever efforts I took in the first week paid off in the second one. What I learned was that I should stick to it even if I am not seeing immediate results. The work that I am putting in is helping me inch closer to my goal.

The Progress/Time graph is never linear. It is mixed with ups and downs. What matters to me is that it should eventually point upwards. What I care about are my relentless efforts which I believe are going to lead me to my goal. Also, everything takes time. A wonderful quote I remembered was “ Samay se pehele or Bhagya se adhik kisiko kuch nahi milta”. I was sure that I would be able to do a muscle-up eventually. If not today then tomorrow, if not tomorrow then the day after but I was sure that it is going to happen. My job was to stick at it and keep trying without losing hope. Finally, after one and a half months, I can now do a muscle-up. I know that there is a lot of ground to cover and this is just the start but I am happy that my efforts paid off.

This is a small experience but it has given me the foundation and confidence to tackle bigger situations in life. It has taught me the importance of being patient. I have understood that patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a positive attitude while waiting. Small experiences often teach you a lot of things, only if we make the effort to ruminate over them.

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