Days Beat Dreams

Somewhere out there, there’s the perfect workout for you. It maps exactly to your height, flexibility, and muscle-to-weight ratio. If you did this workout every day, you’d live a hundred years.

Unfortunately, you don’t know where this workout is. You don’t even have a map to find it. Sure, you could start drawing your own, but you’d have to explore the terrain from scratch. In a foggy swamp, the only path is to fail your way to success.

You might start by looking at cardio, from running to cycling to swimming. You’d research weight training, read lots of books from lots of people with varying opinions, and buy weights from 1 kg to 100. Soon, you’d have to understand more niche sports to cover dexterity, like archery, pen spinning, or rope skipping.

Ten years in, you might be right back where you’ve begun: Your body has changed so much, you need to start over. Worse, however, between all the research, planning, assembling, and synthesizing, you forgot to train! You barely worked out at all!

In a better world, they’d have laid a single sheet of paper with your perfect workout into your crib the day you were born. In the one we have, you must start before you’re ready.

The best workout is the one you do every day. Not necessarily with physical ease, but definitely without mental strain.

I have averaged about 50 push-ups for 686 days in a row. That’s 30,000 push-ups. On some days, I don’t feel like it, but on most days, I do. It wakes me up in the morning. It gets my blood flowing. My workout only takes a minute. I can manage it well, but I still feel the effort. When I’m sick, I just do 10 push-ups. Or 20. Or 1. But come hell or high water, I work out every day.

I know swimming is ideal for me, but I don’t have a pool. Public ones are hard to access, often crowded, and cost good money. Maybe one day, I’ll have a pool of my own. Until then, I’ll keep doing push-ups.

Days beat dreams because dreams are, by definition, impossible to attain in their purest form. Every day, on the other hand, holds the potential to make a little progress. If you keep adding days, they’ll grow into something big, and sometimes that something is bigger than your wildest dream. It’ll never look just like your original vision, but it’ll come with the unsurpassable benefit of you knowing it’s real.

Don’t hope for the perfect workout, the perfect job, the perfect relationship. Don’t try to map the entire terrain. Start where you are, and take it one day, one task, one connection at a time. That’s how you finish the marathon, win her love, or wow your customers.

The only dreams that matter are the ones we make true by choosing to wake up.