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  • Scott Bowman

Stopping and Frog Jumps

Was thinking of a great lesson Tosh Stone taught me about stopping - which I do a lot. Tosh trained me in Kung Fu and... well, life I guess, for many years - an outstanding coach. One day he said:

“Today we’re going to learn about muscle failure.”

‘Great!..?” Right? Who wants to hear that from your trainer? So I started doing push-ups.

‘You never stop because your body can’t do it.’ He said, ‘that’s not why we stop.’

I knew that - intellectually. He always had me do frog jumps as part of my warm up and workout. A frog jump is a deep wide squat and then you jump back up and bring your feet together. Sometimes he’d have me do a hundred. Every now and then, a hundred and twenty.

When you start off on the journey to a hundred and twenty frog jumps it’s a pretty innocent affair. You get to 10 and it’s like... ‘Hey I’m not even breathing hard!” ...then you make it to 20 - and you ARE breathing hard.

‘I can’t do 120 of these f%$&! things’ my head would say, ‘..there’s no way I can do this 100 more times!’

‘I WILL do this 100 more times!’ Some other part of me would say.


Then I’d get to 40. ‘Jesus H. F$!*g Christ! This sucks!! I can’t do this!’ The first part would say.


“YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP GOING!” Tosh would say.


‘Okay, I’m not going to stop...’ I’d say. Then I’d get to 60.


“I’m halfway there!!” I’d exult. Then immediately after “Oh my god I’m only halfway there! I’ll never make it...’


Then while bemoaning my fate I made it to 70, then 75.


“I CAN do this!’ Feeling really tough now... and crossing 80,


‘No I CANT!’ With my breathing getting ragged and painful.


“YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP GOING” Tosh would say.


‘It’s too embarrassing to stop.. Don’t stop...’


85


90


“Jesus Christ I’ve got to stop!!”


95


Starting to see 100 coming, then I’m there, then I’m proud! Then I’m like... ‘God I’ve got 20 more to go??’


“YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP GOING” Tosh would say.


105


108


“Do 2 more” He’d say. I can’t even think at this point. I can’t feel anything but the pain in my lungs and my wobbling legs.


“Good, do 2 more.”


“Do another one. That’s it - one more.” Until finally...


120.


Then I’d do one more to show that I was tough. ...ha.


He decided to teach me about stopping a while after that. He had me do push-ups, and push-ups and push-ups. Just kept doing sets, smaller and smaller sets, and encouraging me... “Do one more!” Until I was finally doing that ‘one more’ and totally set to do it - I knew I could do it - and was growling and pushing up off the ground and then... face-planted straight into the grass. My arms just gave out completely.


I thought it was funny, and laughed as I panted, catching my breath.


We don’t ever stop because we can’t do it. We stop because we won’t. Stopping is a choice. It has nothing to do with our actual capacity. It has to do with the story, the narrative we’re living in. Stopping always comes with a justification. Failure comes as a surprise.


You know what’s more exhausting than doing 120 frog jumps? The frickin dialogue in your HEAD as you do 120 frog jumps! It’s amazing the energy I put into debating and trying to deal with the discomfort and the not-wanting-to and the pain, when the only thing worth thinking about, the only thing there is to do... is one more frog jump.


And then one more.


Whatever it is you think you can’t keep doing, believe me, you can do one more. Sometimes you just need someone there telling you, who knows you can.


‘Can’t’ is a BIG limit. ‘Can’t’ is WAY WAY out there, past most anything you THINK you can’t do.


Thanks for that Tosh.


Right now my Frog Jumps are days without eating sugar. Sometimes parts of days without sugar. What are your Frog Jumps? What’s the thing you keep fighting in your head with the belief that you can’t do it?

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