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Physical Training vs. Mental Training

Published or Updated On: 
November 7, 2022

Sam Harris once shared an idea that I think about a lot.

Paraphrased: In the 1950s, you were a weirdo if you ran on a treadmill.

Not that long ago, the idea of physically training your body was not mainstream. If you did it, you were an odd duck. I think that's pretty different from today, with billion dollar fitness companies like Peloton and an entire category of clothing dedicated to exercise.

A cultural awakening happened with physical training. Sam thinks we need one for mental training.

This totally checks out to me. You already know why physical training is worth it: boosts your energy, health, makes you attractive and it can be really fun. Overall lift to quality of life.

Mental training can offer almost all of the same benefits.

You can test this idea for yourself - what would your experience of life be like if it was easier for you to see & appreciate the good parts of life? Or if you could bounce back faster after a bad day? Or if you just simply got frustrated less often? How much better would your life experience be, and how might those around you benefit from that?

These things are attainable.

Sam's preferred form of training is a specific kind of meditation. I think that's a good one. Other forms I've found useful are tools of thought from the Stoic philosophy. There's also CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, which has primarily been utilized by people with clinical conditions, but can be used by anyone to improve their lives. More for another post!

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