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Stop researching and give it a go

I get body slammed on my face. Then next thing I know, I have been twisted into a human pretzel. My arm is being pulled one way then the other and I am hanging on for dear life until eventually all hope is lost. I tap. Take a deep breath. Then get right back to it. This has been what my Tuesday and Thursday nights have consisted of for the last month since starting at South Bend’s Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu. I have been humbled in ways I could have never imagined and have also been tapped out in more ways than I can keep count. Even with all that struggle and zero success, and by the way, I mean zero success, I am thrilled I entered the cruel, ego-crushing world that is jiu-jitsu.

For the last year and a half, I’ve wanted to start jiu-jitsu. Guys like Jocko Willink, Joe Rogan and Lex Fridman have been preaching the profound impact it has had on their lives on their podcasts for years and I was convinced it would be a great idea for me to try it out. Jiu- jitsu helps you learn to defend yourself while avoiding serious head injuries, thanks to its practice of no striking. To me, that was a no brainer. Everyone should learn to defend themselves for their own sake and those around them. In addition, it would be a great way for me to get active a couple times a week outside of weightlifting. Even with this logic sitting in my brain for a while, I managed to push off my start date with ridiculous excuses. First, it was having no car, even though Uber was an obvious solution. Then, it was not wanting to start for a couple of months and have nowhere in the summer to train. Then, I thought I should focus on weightlifting even though I had plenty of time to do both. Finally, in late October, I decided enough was enough and called up Ribeiro to get started. Over the last month, I have learned a lot, but I wish I had a year and a half of experience instead of just a month.  Even with that regret in mind, I am just happy that I started. I have learned plenty in just a month’s time and am excited to see where I can go in the future as I continue training. While most of my learning has come from getting chucked around the mat and getting tied into a human bow, I’m glad I know my current limitations and knowledge of fighting than be living in ignorance of what a trained mixed martial artist is capable of. 

Now that I have started jiu-jitsu, I have come to realize how wasteful it is to not try new activities that I’m interested in. As with anything new in life, I was reluctant to jump in and get started. I researched the pros and cons a million times and found just about any excuse to leave it until later. While I would still advise doing some quick research on anything new you’re adding into your life, this game of researching until you can be absolutely convinced it’s right, is a complete wash. At the end of the day, you can’t ever be fully convinced of something until it’s put into practice. Unless you’re planning on trying something that can cause severe damage to you on day one, then you might as well just give it a shot and see what it’s like. Let me put it this way. I could be the one tying noobs into pretzels by now, but instead I am the noob dancing around the mat and tapping out 20 times a class. And believe me, I would much rather be in the other guy’s shoes every once in a while.

With that said, I urge anyone reading this to try out something you’ve been putting off, whatever it may be. Join a club, read the book, take the elective, hit the weights. Assuming it’s not something obviously detrimental to yourself or those around you, I don’t care what it is, but give it a go. It may not pan out, but sticking with the same stuff limits growth and leaves you in the same spot you started in. Those with the highest expertise in any field are constantly adding skills to their repertoire in order to stay at the top. Whether it is Jayson Tatum adding a floater to score more efficiently at the rim or Patrick Mahomes mixing in a flip pass when the entire defensive line is closing in on him, these small additions to your own capabilities can make you a more complete athlete, artist, person or whatever it may be.

So try it out. Pick something you have wanted to do and just go for it. Think about it like this. If my new experience involves getting arm barred and triangle choked and I am enjoying it, most other activities should be fine, or less painful at the very least.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston majoring in finance and ACMS. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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The addictive aspects of ‘Lord of the Rings’

When people brought up “The Lord of the Rings” in the past, I used to laugh at the series. Why would I want to watch a bunch of tiny hobbits, dwarves and elves go on a journey over some fuss about a gold ring? It all sounded far too mythical and fantasy-like for me. In other words, I thought it was too nerdy.

However, this summer I decided to give the trilogy a go after hearing about the wisdom brought to life by the hobbits, dwarves, elves, orcs and other creatures in the series. Admittedly, it took me a little while to adjust to the oddities of the characters in the movies and especially long to not be creeped out by Frodo’s eyes, but with time, I became enamored with the series and its prequel, “The Hobbit.”

The first aspect of the movie that made me curious was the choice of Frodo as the ringbearer. Frodo was immature and had next to no life experience. He lived in the comfort of the Shire and knew very little about the violent history of Middle Earth and the sacrifices made to maintain the peace. Instead of giving the ring to a highly capable individual like Aragorn or Gandalf, a god-like figure, the future of Middle Earth hinged on a child-like hobbit. To highlight Frodo’s underdeveloped mind and will, the writers literally made him exceptionally small. Not only was he a mental-midget of sorts, but he was also physically tiny. As the four hobbits embarked on their journey to destroy the ring, Frodo showed his flaws after multiple near-death experiences which could have been avoided with better judgment. Luckily, with Aragorn at his side, Frodo and the hobbits survive and he grows from the experiences. 

At the Council in Rivendell, Frodo’s growth becomes evident. When the One Ring is put up for grabs, fighting breaks out over the best solution. Although Sauron is the only person that could unlock the power of the ring, the leaders of many races of Middle Earth wanted to use it to fight back against him and empower their people. This showed how ignorance, arrogance and greed can become oversights for the most talented and capable individuals. Simply put, superior ability does not translate directly to mental fortitude or wisdom.

After witnessing how the ring impacted these powerful people, Frodo took the lead and decided the bear the great burden of the ring. Frodo had questioned time and time again why he should hold the ring, but now he could see why he was as good as anyone else. Without aspirations for great power or wealth, Frodo did not want to use the ring for anything. He just wanted peace and tranquility back in his life and those he loved. Even though many of these great men and women wanting to bear the ring had positive intentions, as Gandalf said in the first movie, the power of the ring would be too strong. No man or woman was meant to have power that great, and corruption of the mind and ensuing actions are inevitable.

So with the ring in hand, Frodo and the fellowship of the ring began the trek to Mordor with seemingly insurmountable challenges in the way. Even with knowledge of the ring’s effect and Gollum as a physical symbol of where it could lead him, Frodo could not overcome the temptations it presented. After seeing countless friends and allies die in the hope of destroying the ring, Frodo is finally given the opportunity to end it once and for all on top of Mount Doom.

Then came the moment that frustrates me to no end every time I see it. In a moment of immense weakness, Frodo places the ring on his finger. After all the suffering he and Middle Earth endured, Frodo could not throw the ring in the fire. He could not think even slightly outside of his immediate desire, and just drop it. Luckily, Gollum’s obsession with the ring saved the day, but that ending always leaves me so disappointed. After Boromir’s death, Gandalf’s battle with the Balrog, Sam’s loyalty through Frodo’s insanity and the deaths of so many in war, Frodo still cannot muster up the courage to close his eyes and chuck that ring in the fire.

Over time, I have come to appreciate how poetic that scene is and determined it’s a main driver for why I continue to rewatch the series. Even though Frodo had grown tremendously from his time in the Shire, he still makes the fatal mistake he knows he absolutely cannot do at the very end. He had every reason in the world not to give in, and he still did it. As a third-party observer, I was most frustrated by his giving in out of all scenes of the movie. However, this is also when I started to see Frodo as the perfect ringbearer.

Frodo was not some crazy, mystical creature with unreal powers. He was just like any other human. He was a small blimp in the universe with the same weaknesses we are all susceptible to. Even though you would never expect it, the decisions of this little, immature hobbit were crucially important. It goes to show you that the choices we make everyday matter. It may be difficult to see on a grand scale, but every action we take means something.

Every time we hold onto the ring, we fail. We fail ourselves and all those around us. Now we don’t hold some powerful ring of sorts, but we all have flaws and harmful habits that hold us back from doing what we know is right. Every time we choose to give in to temptation, we choose an immediate desire without giving mind to the ramifications of the action. Ultimately, we all strive to live up to our highest respective ends. In order to move towards those ends, we must identify our habits and decisions that represent the ring and push back against them. In other words, develop key virtues and set clear objectives as Frodo did over time, then bear down and chuck the ring in the fire when familiar temptations do their best to veer you off your path.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston majoring in finance and ACMS. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Earn your dopamine release

It’s too easy. I just stop looking at my work for a second to check my phone. A notification pops up. I click on it. After viewing my notifications, I want to put off work just a little longer. So eventually, I think to myself: why not check on some Celtics or Patriots news? Then, a minute break suddenly turns to 20 minutes of completely wasted time. I look up from my phone and realize what I’ve done. I feel disappointed and try to get back to work. Now, a question I’ve had a tough time addressing is why I continue this vicious cycle when I know exactly where it will lead me. Thanks to a podcast hosted by Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, with guest Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at the University of Stanford, I finally have discovered a scientific explanation of why we are inclined to waste time and ways to address it.

Think about the moments leading up to watching your favorite show or listening to the same playlist you love so much. The anticipation builds in your mind, and you probably feel a little excited. Then, you watch the show or listen to the music and it’s enjoyable as you’re doing it. However, the experience itself generally does not beat the anticipation. Once you stop watching, especially if you over-did it, you will probably feel a little down. This is all part of the dopamine cycle. The anticipation of an event raises your dopamine levels, then after it’s all said and done, your dopamine dips below baseline levels, causing a low feeling. This cycle is a leading cause of addiction in the form of drugs or even social media. In the podcast, cocaine was used as an example. When an individual uses cocaine, there is an immediate dopamine release followed by a harsh low below baseline. So, to get out of the low state and reach that high again, an addict will keep taking cocaine. A major problem with this form of dopamine release is that there is next to no sacrifice involved in attaining it. If a person wants to feel this high, he or she simply must pay for cocaine and use it. The dopamine release is too easily accessible, which causes a reliance on the drug.

Now, this issue leads into the question: What form of dopamine release should we strive for? While I wouldn’t say there is a set-in-stone ideal action we should take, Huberman and Peterson agreed that choosing activities that require some sort of sacrifice and lead toward a goal are best. It can range from higher-level goals to smaller ones. Say you want to be in great shape down the road. This means you will have to sacrifice time and effort exercising day in and day out. In that exercise, you will experience a healthy dopamine release and still have a goal to look forward to and chase as you slowly attain good health. You could also just want a clean room. So if you vacuum and do your laundry, you will enjoy a dopamine release for completing your task. In addition, you will receive the benefits of a clean room and continue enjoying releases of dopamine if you maintain its cleanliness over time. The combination of goal-setting and dopamine can also explain in part why healthier foods may taste better as you age. As a kid, eating vegetables serves no greater purpose to you and just tastes bad. However, when you are older, it is easier to view things from a deeper lens and see how vegetables lead to good health. Since your goal is no longer just good-tasting food, eating healthy is a sacrifice that leads to your larger purpose and allows you to feel the dopamine releases along the path. This creates a positive association between healthy food and how it makes you feel that did not exist as a child.

So, at this point, I’ve made a clear distinction between the positive releases of dopamine (those requiring sacrifice pointing towards a positive goal) and negative ones (easily achieved with virtually no sacrifice required at all). I think it’s great to shoot for as much of the positive side as you can, but there will have to be balance if you’re trying to shift your habits. Sticking to a long-term outlook sounds great on the surface, but it’s difficult to sustain a prolonged focus on the future without giving any attention to the desire for short-term dopamine release. To properly toe this line, you can regulate your quick releases of dopamine instead of eliminating them entirely. For example, if you have a sweet tooth and want a better diet, you could consider allowing some treats with your friends on the weekends. This could help you avoid burnout on your diet while mixing in a quick release of dopamine with a positive long-term goal of strengthening your relationships. Regardless of how you approach it, taking control of your addictions, big or small, and regulating them in a positive, repeatable manner can aid in controlling your releases of dopamine.

With that said, I urge you to take control of your dopamine cycles. Instead of allowing your dopamine spikes and lows to control you, set goals and plans that allow for healthier, sustained releases of dopamine.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston majoring in finance and ACMS. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu.

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Prioritize and execute

In my last article, I covered the overarching topic of Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s Extreme Ownership, and I wanted to follow up with another important leadership principle covered in the book. During an operation in Ramadi, Platoon Commander Leif Babin and his men commandeered a building right in the enemy’s backyard. Their goal was to disrupt the insurgents’ safe haven and weaken their force. Upon entering the building, the platoon faced immediate fire from the enemy. Fortunately, these men had the advantage of high ground, which allowed them to fight back against large numbers and assert their position. While this building had clear advantages, it also presented one glaring issue: the stairs to exit the building from the top floor were located outside the building. This meant they could not move up or down when facing fire from the enemy. It also reminded them of a frightening recent event in the area. Another marine sniper team faced similar building conditions. As they were inside the building, the enemy placed an IED on the stairs, and it detonated as they exited. Now the team had to be sure the stairway was clear before returning to base at night. After hours of fighting, darkness swept over the area and the team prepared to leave.

However, their fears had come true. The EOD operators located an IED on the stairs. This meant they needed to find a new way out. The solution was brute force. Men with sledgehammers taking on a wall. Soon the wall fell and the departure would begin. The EOD operators set a timed detonator so the IED would go off safely where no soldier or civilian could be wounded. After setting the timer, they immediately started moving across buildings to be clear of the blast. However, on top of one of the buildings, a platoon member fell through the ceiling due to a missing piece of concrete hidden by a tarp.

Now Leif had to make a decision. Amidst all the chaos, he calmed down and stuck to the principle: prioritize and execute. If they all went running helter-skelter after the fallen man, they could be left susceptible to enemy fire. He wanted to locate and save the man below immediately, but an irrational rescue attempt would make the entire crew’s survival chances much lower, including his wounded team member. So Leif laid out his top three priorities: Set security, find a way off the roof to the wounded man and get a head count before continuing the departure. Quickly, the team ran through the list one by one and made their way back to base safely. By enacting the principle, prioritize and execute, Leif was able to stare down an extremely high-pressure situation and make it more manageable for his team.

While this situation may not be likely for most of us in our lives, prioritizing and executing can be a solution to many stressful occasions. With midterms coming up for most of the school, this can be especially helpful. If you have three tests and homework assignments in the same week, determine everything you must get done each day, then determine the importance of each task and then execute. Having this step-by-step mindset allows you to take a large problem and make it seem much smaller through clear, effective prioritization.

Jocko, the co-author with Leif, even related this principle to the business world to make it more applicable for the average reader. When working as a leadership consultant, he helped a CEO determine how to turn around his company’s performance. During the discussion, the CEO rattled off countless initiatives with solid rationale. However, there was one problem: there were too many initiatives. The frontline workers would not understand what to focus on to better contribute to the company’s success. Jocko suggested the CEO start with priority one, execute, then move to the next one. So the CEO placed all of his focus on his salespeople. If their performance continued to lag, the company would be out of business. Their success was a necessity. Soon, the focus on one initiative propelled the company forward and put them in a better position to prosper.

As is evident from these stories, the principle of prioritize and execute settles down an overwhelmed mind. In addition, adhering to it during the small-scale weekly issues we all tend to face will make you better prepared for the larger problems life will inevitably present you. Whether we like it or not, bad days will come, and having a grounded approach will make it much easier to handle them. When problems are getting thrown at you left and right, the best solution is to take a step back, think and determine the best course of action step by step. Being able to handle problems, small or large, with a calm demeanor and clear, intended actions is vital to all aspects of life, and I believe that this principle can set the foundation for handling the challenges life throws at you. So the next time you feel overwhelmed by your many responsibilities, I urge you to practice the principle of prioritize and execute.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston majoring in finance and ACMS. He can be reached @mcolgan2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Apply extreme ownership

In 2006, SEAL Team 3’s Task Unit Bruiser entered Ramadi with one goal in mind: drive insurgents out of the city and build up the Iraqi forces to create stability in one of the most violent areas in the world. On the first major operation, Jocko Willink commanded his SEAL forces alongside U.S. Army and Marine men and women and inexperienced Iraqi soldiers.

Almost immediately, trouble struck the operation. Iraqi soldiers had been shot at by what appeared to be enemy forces upon entering a building and had called in for backup. One Iraqi soldier was killed in the battle and air fire was being set up to rain down on the enemy’s position. After hearing the news, Jocko came over to the building’s vicinity. With men and women on the ground ready to engage, Jocko realized his team of snipers were in this area and had recently moved buildings for a better vantage point.

With that in mind, he and some of his men entered the building to find his sniper unit holed up. This was a SEAL commander’s worst nightmare. Fratricide. Blue-on-Blue. A man killed at the hands of his own teammate. In the throes of battle, the group of Iraqi soldiers had gotten confused and entered a building they were supposed to never be near. This resulted in the sniper unit mistaking them for the enemy and engaging in back and forth shooting. A man was dead and one was injured. An airstrike was almost called on his own men. Jocko was soon contacted by upper level military and an investigation would be conducted as soon as possible.

With so many variables leading to this tragic result, Jocko had to come up with an explanation for what happened. The Iraqi soldiers should have never been there. His men should have positively identified them as the enemy before engaging. Movement of the sniper unit should have been better communicated across the board.

When the time came to talk to the investigators, Jocko had come to a decision on who to blame: himself. As the leader of the operation and these individuals, it could be no one’s fault but his own. Even with his back against the wall, Jocko stuck to a crucial leadership principle: extreme ownership. No matter what situation arises, you must take responsibility for your actions and of those you are tasked to lead. Luckily, Jocko stayed on as leader of Task Unit Bruiser and the mission was a raging success. The city was brought to relative peace and stability thought to be nearly impossible.

This excerpt was taken from the first chapter of Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s New York Times Bestseller, “Extreme Ownership”, a book detailing the leadership principles they applied in Ramadi when facing a nearly insurmountable enemy on their home turf and how each principle applies to everyday life.

When reading this story, what stood out to me most was the decision to take complete ownership for a situation which seemed to be out of his hands. There were so many factors that led to the shooting making it easy to blame the situation on the men under him. However, as the head of his unit, Jocko stood tall and let the blame fall on himself.

He then explained to his bosses what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how he would ensure it would never happen again. This principle is incredibly difficult to apply to your life. It is so easy to blame failures on situations around you. I do it all the time.

When a test question is not clear to me, I think about how the teacher did not teach it well enough. Or even when I play a video game with my friends, a bad performance immediately falls on the random player I was given. The biggest problem with this mindset is that you cannot grow if you live by it.

If the teacher is at fault for a complex problem, then it’s not my responsibility to address the problem and get it right next time. If the random player caused my poor performance, then I should not change my strategy to do better next time. While I don’t think video game performance actually matters, the principle stands true.

As students, we may not be leading Navy SEALs into war, but I think there’s immense value in applying extreme ownership to our lesser leadership roles and our individual decisions. If you want to grow and become better in all your pursuits, the first step is taking responsibility for your actions and their results, good or bad, and determining how to improve upon your next go around. As Notre Dame students, we all saw a great example of this in Marcus Freeman after losing to Marshall.

In his press conference, he answered reporters saying, “It starts with me, it starts with me as a head coach.” Through individuals like Jocko Willink and Marcus Freeman, it is clear that leadership starts with the willingness to own one’s decisions and the results which follow. With that said, I believe that applying extreme ownership is a crucial step in growing as a leader and individual and is a principle that we should all strive to live up to, no matter how difficult it may be.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston, MA majoring in Finance and ACMS. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author, not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Get it done early

Class ends and it’s 4:30. I just had a long day and the last thing I want to do is work out. I’m tired, there’s homework I have to do and I want to stop by my friends’ room and shoot the breeze. So then I think to myself: I only need to workout four days this week and I’m tired. Why not do it when I’m refreshed tomorrow? Well here’s the problem. I’m almost never feeling refreshed on a weekday and certainly not motivated on a weekend. And if we’re being honest, most of us feel very unrefreshed to say the least for most of our weekend. Now the vicious cycle begins. I lose consistency and things start to break down. Four days a week turns to three. Soon, three turns into three weeks off, and apples turn to apple crisps. Now I’m playing catch up to get back into shape. This struggle besets everyone and is very difficult to overcome. Over the years, I have tried a million methods to combat this when it comes to working out, getting homework done early or any other task I don’t want to complete in the moment. Alerts on my phone, motivational videos, written-out schedules. While some worked better than others, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon my favorite solution this summer thanks to the time constraints of my job.

The long hours of my internship this summer gave me one option to stay in shape: get a workout in before work. This meant I had to wake up earlier and build up the energy and motivation to exercise. At the beginning, I figured this would be a huge problem since I commonly struggle to get up for a 10:30 a.m. class ten minutes from my dorm. However, I soon discovered the freedom that early morning work grants an individual. Each day, my friend and I would trudge out of our apartment in the morning, exercise, then start a grueling workday. On paper, this sounds horrible. Waking up early for exercise after a 14-hour workday sounds like the last thing I would want to do. However, I soon discovered that these “grueling” workdays were made much easier by a morning workout. Whether it’s exercising, homework, or working on any other personal goal, now that you have accomplished a very crucial task in the morning, you will feel more relaxed the rest of the day. You’re not playing catch up. Instead, you can feel the relief of knowing you got your work done and have a sense of accomplishment throughout the rest of the day. This allows you to feel more cheerful and present in the moment because you’re not caught up thinking about the painful task you don’t want to do but know you have to later.

In addition to feeling more relaxed, a huge advantage of waking up before the rest of the world is no one can distract you. No text messages are sent and no spontaneous plans can be made. It’s you and you alone with the opportunity to get your work done as efficiently as possible. Your intentions are clear because there is nothing else to do early in the morning. Essentially, if you’re awake, you might as well be productive with such limited options to procrastinate. On campus, this is especially relevant because most buildings are closed early in the morning besides the productive ones: the library and the gym.

Now that I am returning to school, I am going to try my best to stick to getting up early and getting my work done. While it may be tougher with late nights and a looser schedule, forcing yourself out of bed in the morning will make the rest of your day significantly better. So if you struggle with pushing things off and find it affects your day-to-day life, try getting something important done before your first class. It’s not a crazy change or new idea by any means, but it can make your life less stressful and give you greater control over your daily actions. Put it this way. The longer you wait to do something, the more opportunities you’ll have to push it off. So try a couple early mornings and see where it takes you.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston majoring in Finance and ACMS. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Play the long game

Since it’s the beginning of the school year, I’m sure all of you noticed that the gym is packed and it’s a pain waiting for just about every machine. I’m sure you also know in about three weeks this won’t be a problem anymore.

It’s also pretty obvious why it is the case. There’s almost no work for the first couple of weeks, so everyone has extra time. Also, it’s a New Year’s Resolution. For people that didn’t exercise consistently the prior school year, they want to dedicate themselves to it this year, so they try to start off the semester strong. Then more work comes in and motivation fades, which lowers the number of people in the gym and restores the balance.

While these are the obvious reasons, there is one that goes under the radar: insufficient planning. Going from doing nothing to working out everyday is unsustainable. Instead of just going to the gym over and over as long as your motivation lasts, a better solution is to plan out a weekly schedule that is repeatable for the entire year. Know what your goals are, then determine a sustainable way to achieve them. While dedicating yourself fully to your goals sounds great on paper, easing into the process and creating a long-term path to success create better odds of success in my opinion.

The long-term approach applies to most goals you strive towards. Sustained success in areas like diet, sports or investing often requires a long-term outlook. Greg Doucette, a former bodybuilder and YouTube fitness coach, preaches choosing a diet that keeps you in shape but is also repeatable. This means eating foods you like that still get the job done. As a world record powerlifter and bodybuilder, diet literally makes or breaks his ability to perform well in his profession. Even then, besides the necessary cuts right before a competition, Doucette would not attempt crazy diet changes in-season or during the offseason. Instead, he would eat a similar volume with foods he liked with slower progressions to the heights he was working towards. This also allowed him to avoid the typical cycles of eating for bodybuilders with uncomfortably large amounts of food or so little food that it becomes difficult to get out of bed. 

Sports like football and cross country have perfect examples of how taking a longer outlook is the best way to have consistent results over the years. Tom Brady has used pliability to stay at the top of the NFL up until 45. Despite being the least athletic player on the field in every game he has ever played, his commitment to staying flexible and eating the right foods has allowed him to achieve unmatched longevity.

In cross country, longevity is more about performance during a race rather than the individual’s health. At the beginning of races, a few kids would come out with a jolt of adrenaline and sprint to take a huge lead. Those kids would never win. They were running at a pace they could not sustain and the runners behind them would take the lead with more left in the tank for the final stretch.

In investing, it works the same way. Going after meme stocks may yield a big gain out of luck, but picking an index with solid returns and low risk over time will give you the best chance at making money over time. Famous investors like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger apply this approach to their work and life for sustained success and happiness.

While shooting for the fastest path to goals may seem like a high level of dedication, it often leaves people tired of the process and short of their intended goal over and over again. Motivation comes and goes, so creating a process with reasonable expectations that still leads to success over time is the safest way to accomplish goals. With that said, for school, health, fitness or whatever you are doing, I suggest you try a long-term approach and watch yourself progress slowly over time.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston, Mass. majoring in Finance and ACMS. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Mikey Colgan

Contact Mikey at mcolgan2@nd.edu