The Power of Physical Work for Mental Recalibration
For years and years, I looked at my morning routine as another item to check off. I have to exercise. I have to do push-ups. I have to do pull-ups. I have to do sit-ups. I have to run. Check off the list. Get on with the day. Rinse and repeat.
But there’s so much more to this hour of the day. I now think about my morning workout as the most creative hour of my day. No, I didn’t just change the word “have to” to “get to” and it changed my perspective, like many people would have you believe. What I did was change how I use that time.
I still get up early and put on my workout clothes, but my perspective no longer focuses on the reps. I focus on collecting my thoughts as my body puts in the work. It’s how I process my thoughts from the day before. I take all of those thoughts from the previous day and figure out how to deploy those rough ideas into polished action points.
It’s now the most creative hour of my day. I think about my competitors and how I can turn them into collaborators. I think about how I can turn a necessary resource into another product or service for my community. I listen to an audiobook someone suggested to me while I’m running. I let these ideas move and grow until they turn into something I can build or create.
It’s no longer an exercise to-do list but another opportunity to be creative. I get to learn. I get to build. I get to improve myself. I don’t even have to think about the exercise anymore. Maybe you’ve heard stories about Albert Einstein doing mindless work at the patent office as he came up with inventions or even Bill Watterson hanging on to his editorial job well after Calvin and Hobbes made him famous.
It’s not because they were afraid to cut some safety net. It’s because physical work leads to mental recalibration. Exercise, even something as simple as a walk each morning not only enhances your mood but frees the mind to be more creative. Humans need to move. Just ask my fussy baby who calms down after I put her in the stroller and step out into the sun.
Years prior, I felt dread around this morning routine. After all, when you’re just counting for the sake of counting, it’s just another push-up. Just another pull-up. Just another sit-up. Just another mile. But it can be so much more than that.