Giving up booze is often touted as the miracle cure, for me it turned into something quite different…
A Journey Into One Mans Dysfunction.
I hadn’t drunk alcohol in 6 months…
and I felt terrible for it.
Sure I hadn’t suffered the hangovers, but I’d developed something much worse…
Before I gave up the bottle I was working 16 hour days and doing the work of 6 people.
I thought my ability to do this consistently was a sign of my high performance lifestyle. I was eating well, exercising plenty, taking handfuls of supplements and following the advise of a bunch of Peak Performance gurus, I thought I was Bulletproof.
Now the fact that I was sleeping for around 4 hours a night, waking up with my stomach in knots and my mind racing and was still able to do all that only served to reinforce this fact in my misguided mind.
I was resilient and could take it.
I knew however, I still had one crutch. I’d go out most weeks, get absolutely smashed and then spend the next few days feeling terrible. I realised if I wanted to be truly high performance this habit had to go. So I gave up.
Suddenly I started falling asleep the instant my head hit the pillow, didn’t suffer the apathy and depression of hangovers and had a TONNE of energy…
Well that all sounds great Sam, well done…
And that’s exactly what I thought, but…
Let’s Explore The True Depths Of My Dysfunctionality.
What did I use this new found energy for?
- Did I go kitesurfing and set out on crazy adventures like I really wanted to?
- Did I use it to spend more time with friends?
- Did I maybe just use it to read more and feed my brain?
Of course not…
I used it to work even harder!
I was now doing the work of 8 people…not only was I a high performance human being I was now a high performance human being who didn’t drink…how incredible was I? Just look at me you mere mortals as I run around from 4 am to 12 am and never stop…
What a perfect example of a High Performance Human Being….
What An Idiot!
The short story is giving up booze drove me towards burnout even faster….it gave me the energy to bugger myself up properly!
And for that I am actually grateful. Had my journey towards burnout been slower I’d still most likely be living that way now.
Now funnily enough the message I want you to take from this post isn’t that giving up booze is bad, when I actually sorted my life out this proved to be one of the most empowering steps I’ve ever taken, but instead to highlight my fundamental problem with the world of high performance at the moment.
Nootropics, bio hacks, handfuls of supplements…all these are great if you have the fundamental foundations to build on…ie a healthy biology and a healthy lifestyle which supports high performance.
Mainly one which combines ample recovery time in-between your bouts of high performance.
If you don’t have these you’re just…
Putting Rocket Fuel In A Skoda.
And can just sit back and watch as the poor vehicle shakes itself apart when you put your foot on the gas.
The key here is to build a lifestyle of high performance first. And that doesn’t mean running out and ordering all the latest nootropics. The most important aspect of high performance isn’t high performance itself is how you recover from and prepare for your next bout of high performance.
Just like a top class athlete knows the time between training sessions is where the magic happens (as this is where your muscles grow and your brain lays down new neural pathways) so the same is true of high performance. We must learn to recover effectively, to prepare the body for its next bout of high performance.
And the way we do that? By switching off, powering down, chilling out and giving our body time to do the heavy lifting it needs.
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