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The Point of Good Form for People Who Produce

Proper form is about no wasted effort and maximal effect with every rep. It requires that you slow down a bit and focus on doing and feeling the right things. It’s about more than just moving weight.

The lat pulldown machine is a showcase of people throwing proper form to the wind. Though they deserve kudos for doing something to stay in shape, you’ll see people swaying back and forth with each rep as if they’re in a rocking chair. The problem is typically that they’ve never learned the proper form in the first place. They’re focused on moving the weight by any means necessary, but the excessive motion takes away from training the lats properly.

The point of targeting a muscle is to train it effectively. Ideally, no effort is misdirected, and every rep is a building block towards growing or strengthening the muscle. And I know that if you’ve read this far, you’re going to be super motivated to keep good form the next time you work out because you don’t want to be in the gym wasting time and energy, right?

If that is true inside the gym, it must be equally true outside of it. Even if your form is always great when you work out, here’s the big question: how’s your form outside of the gym?

As I pose that question to you, I assume you are not a lazy loafer but actually trying to accomplish big things in your life. You see yourself as a producer. So ask yourself whether you’re focused on doing the right things with enough repetition to produce the outcomes you seek. If, for example, you’ve been working on something for the past year, then you should be seeing some progress in your life as a reflection of those efforts.

Your network of friends and contacts is supposed to be growing. That app you’ve been developing for the business you’re launching should be in beta testing already. You’re supposed to have applied at least one useful idea from every book you read over the past year to see if it works well for you. In fact, the book you’re authoring should be finished by now. I’m sure you get the point.

If you’re not making progress despite working on things, it’s likely because you’re doing things with poor form. They're efforts that are ineffective. Perhaps you’re convinced that you’re squeezed for time when the truth is that you’re busy doing things that lead nowhere in particular, much like doing those rocking, rolling lat pulldowns. So ask yourself how much of the time you’re spinning your wheels or how often you’re busy for the sake of being busy.

Looking at your behavior with a critical eye is the first step towards improving your effectiveness. Some things you do can be delegated or eliminated altogether. If they’re not moving the needle towards a flourishing life, it’s time to redirect your focus onto activities that do. The same goes for unproductive habits. You can break them, but the first step is to identify them. Think about the things you might be doing without thinking about them. Ask other people about the questionable habits of yours they notice.

Your form will suffer at times despite your best efforts because focusing is work, and work eventually brings on fatigue. It could also be that you’re climbing a learning curve and some missteps are inevitable. Or maybe a relationship is not as productive as you want it to be. I deal with these issues too, so I know it’s not easy to be efficient and effective all the time. But if you’re a producer, you’ve got to keep perfecting your form.

Sayonara until next time.

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