Stand Up Tall and Make Demands of Yourself


Image courtesy of FLIKR

I had such great posture when I came out of basic training, but the years have slowly pulled my shoulders forward, and sent my gaze back to my less than confident gait.

I could blame my downcast eyes on the frozen and slippery tundra, but I remember that the Naval Station at the Great Lakes, during winter, doled out plenty of icy marches.

Our heads were still up, but our eyes would do the tedious work of making out the slippery patches. If you were really good, you could step so perfectly across the black ice that the recruit behind you would get over confident and end up on his ass in the snow.

Laughs were rare out there, so we took what we could get.

Remembering this made me wonder why, after all these years, I don’t still walk with that stature. It’s simple really.
I’ve been lazy.

If you think about it, it is more difficult to over reach your eyes than to drop your head a little bit.

That’s the thing. Back then it was never about how difficult things were. It was about how right they were.

The body is a slave.

It is either a slave to compulsions, feelings, or intents. We all learned this through boot camp, where our bodies were slaves to demand.

When reveille rang, every recruit would be hard at work tightening their sheets and situating their bunk area in anticipation of the Petty officer entering for inspection and first orders.

Once your morning duties were complete, there was one simple thing left to do.
Stand at attention at the foot of your bunk and wait.
Shoulders back. Chin up.

If our bodies were vehicles, that was our neutral. Parade rest was perhaps park.

This is just one of the things I have tried to retain after all those years ago. What they were putting us through back then is exactly what we all need to put ourselves through once in a while.

Life is easy when there is someone doing all of the organizing for you; when there is nothing else to do but what is demanded of you.

One question:

What do you demand of yourself?

Recently, I saw Steve Harvey making an argument for how hard it was in Hollywood to make good money.
“These millionaires aren’t sleeping 8 hours a day,” he says. “That’s a third of your life! People on the East coast already three hours ahead of us. Stock market open and they’re already making decisions. We gotta be up, making moves early to stay on top!”

Then, I once told a co-worker that if they wanted to finish the book they were writing, all they needed to do was designate an hour a day to do nothing other than write. If you don’t write, just sit there and do nothing. But don’t let yourself do anything else.

Better yet, stand or sit at attention. Be aware that you’re doing nothing.

Standing at attention is good for you. It corrects your posture and tells you that there are currently no demands. It is important for you to be very aware of when there are no demands. Only then will you be conscious of your free time and of any procrastination.

A friend of mine once told me that he just liked drinking beer too much to spend his evening exercising. So I gave him my collection of Beach Body Fitness videos and told him to watch them a few evenings in a row while he drank.
“Don’t let yourself do anything else except watch the tapes,” I said.

A week later he came back and told me, “I forced myself to sit on the couch and watch the videos and started feeling like such a lazy person I started doing the exercises.”

The body likes to do things right. It likes to improve its faculties. In fact, it is made to get better with use. The problem is, our mind doesn’t like idle time and when we give into it, the body misses out on opportunities for growth.

I hear it all the time. “I don’t have time to do this or that.”

The truth is, your mind doesn’t know when it has idle body time because, you are not in control of the demands on your life.

Even if you don’t have someone bossing you around all of the time, still, you are not in control. Something else is dictating your action whether it be compulsive behavior, fatigue, indecision, procrastination, or skepticism.

Perhaps, you think of the word demand as demeaning?

In fact, demanding things of yourself is empowering! When you are after your children or your students to make the grade, or push a little harder, isn’t it because you care for them and want to see them rise up — aspire?

Shouldn’t we treat ourselves with the same high standard of pressure?

Will Smith says, “I love you too much, Will Smith, to let you eat that pizza, because it’s not good for you and I want to see you exceed! I’m sorry you have to do those extra sit-ups, Will Smith, but I love you too much to watch you fail at this.”

So, stand at attention.

Be alert that you are awaiting orders. Orders from yourself.

What can your body do if you put your mind to it?

Jay Horne is an author out of Bradenton, FL.
He enjoys writing teen and young-adult.

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