Driven or stupid?

Driven or stupid?
July 2, 2012 Derek Fournier

Man, that is a fine line sometimes. I am what is described as a ‘Type A’ personality. I rarely half-ass things I am really behind. That sort of evangelical zeal can be useful, but you have to be careful that your passion does not blind you to logic.

If you know me or have looked at any of the pictures or videos of me on this site you know that I am no model for a fitness magazine. That being said, I recently retained the services of a personal trainer and have committed to get healthier. This has been going very well, as the combination of better diet and working out in some form or fashion 5 days a week have certainly led to a better cardiovascular state, lost weight and improved self-worth.

So what’s the problem?

Well, like anything that I get amped up about, I switched into monster mode. I was working out Monday doing lateral rows with free weights. We tend to work out hard and to be honest, I push through minor aches and pains. I am old school in that I believe that hard work is, well, hard. My form for this exercise has been very good in the past, but when I started my first set, the weight seemed very heavy. I continued through the first reps, but as is often the case, when the weight became too significant my form suffered. Not ready to be defeated by the weight, I fought through. No way would I be beaten by some stupid weight. I just had to get to 10 and then do 3 more sets!

On the 6th rep I felt a pain in my lower back on the right side. Nothing catastrophic, but I felt it. I actually took time to process it and thought again to my instinct that the weight was too much for me.

“Quit being such a %&^*$!” my inner (and obnoxious) conscience screamed.

Well, I pushed through. I made it through the workout and performed well. I knew though that I had done something to my back. I had the heat on in the car on the way home and knew I would suffer through a sleepless night and be down for the count.

Here I sit drawing a similarity to your everyday passions.

Had I been as smart as I tell you folks that I am I would have listened to my body. I would have stopped the set and adjusted the weight. Had I just done that, I would not have missed three sessions and dealt with the pain that I am going through.

How many times have you used my same false bravado and short-sighted zeal on a project? It is sort of scary when you think about it. Being passionate is great. Passion drives action, but when passion crosses the chasm to the kind of zeal that I demonstrated it can be counterproductive.

In review, I am not telling you to calm down and kill your passion. I am telling you to learn from my stupidity (always easier to learn from others stupidity).

Listen to feedback. Watch the reactions. Pay attention during your efforts, whether they be in the gym or in the boardroom. Do not be afraid to change your course. Take the small victories. They are the path to the larger victories.

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