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The Paradox of Clarity


Stu McMillan, pictured above with Andre De Grasse, is a world-renowned speed coach who has worked with dozens of Olympic calibre athletes.  

Considered one of the best, Stu still constantly audits methods/program.

He recently raised the following question:

"Is what we are currently doing still aligned with our purpose? 

It's too easy to take this for granted.

Each day we need to remind ourselves of our purpose; what is our vision/mission, and is what we are currently doing still aligned to this?

Without these daily reminders, we risk falling into what Greg McKeown author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, calls this the 

 'Clarity Paradox'".

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success. 

Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.

Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.

Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, success is a catalyst for failure.

It's a trap we all fall into.

I wanted to bring this to the group's attention because this 'clarity paradox' can really stunt growth both inside and outside the gym.

Trying to improve your Deadlift 1RM, focusing on getting a Muscle Up, knuckling down on a sub 7min 2k row, all while chasing an 8 pack is not going to end well.

So what's the fix?

McKeown suggests “constantly reducing, focusing, and simplifying.” 

Apply a more selective criteria for what is important to you.

This can be fluid, but you have to prune away the non-essentials to regain progress.