There are only a few things I love more than my personal down time. I’ll use it to read a book or surf the web for a source I need. I’m constantly researching and absorbing figures, facts, dates and outcomes. I may not particularly need any of them at the time but once they are locked inside my brain, there’s usually no escape. It’s a good place to be should I ever need them.
I’m not big on logic puzzles or crossword puzzles. I don’t consider any of that worth my time. I’m just not interested in that stuff. My mind stays active in other ways. I am a topic/subject thinker. I start there then work my way inward to the nuances of something. In other words, I like to start off with a very general concept, perhaps a question, and then categorically assemble my case. Naturally, this approach leads me deeper into research, compiling data, and delivering that data as a finished product. The only way the product can come about, though, is to write.
People who are scared of writing don’t understand the process behind writing. Writing is really the last step in research. Yes, you read that correctly. Writing is proof of your knowledge, claims, and conclusions. It’s necessary only because of that. But only you can present those things, no one else can do it like you. And the only way to do it is to get to know your subject first. Learn all you can. In other words, get really comfortable about your subject to the point where you can promptly deliver a summation about it while folding your laundry or driving your car down the road.
When you can do that, you’re there. All that’s left is to start putting those thoughts into words. You’ll notice writing becomes a lot easier, much less of a task. Additionally, that’s how you develop your own voice. Consider the importance of that when you are writing about something that’s been written about for a hundred years.
Let me tell you something else that’s good for the mind – getting punched in your head. Boxing delivers the goods in so many ways. If you want to box, you have to be disciplined. I mean it, no half measures. You need to train at least four days out of the week. Work on footwork, hand speed, combinations, endurance drills and conditioning. (The last two are essential, and, unfortunately, the most grueling). This is a lot like research. You are studying the movements, strategies, and fundamentals of the game. You are becoming an expert, so to speak. Much like having a library or internet access, you’ll need to find a gym to do all these things properly though.
In addition, you have to be mentally focused during each workout. The kind of training boxers go through requires constant movement with very little rest in between sessions. It’s very tiring and painful. If you are not mentally prepared before hand, it will make a quitter out of you. Moreover, you’ll train a notch below everyone else and too many of those kind of training sessions, you’ll fight a notch below everyone else, too. Trust me, you don’t ever want to fight a notch below the other person.
Don’t worry about the hardships and aches and pains. The body craves this. It desires nothing more than to be pushed and challenged. You’ll drop weight, lose fat, but your muscles will become lean and strong. The body knows what it must do to answer the challenges you are presenting it. It only asks for you to move out of its way so it can.
The mind will catch up slowly and when it finally does, you’ve turned your final corner. Seemingly it will happen over night. Both your mind and body will be in sync and you’ll be faster, stronger, and more explosive than ever before. At this point, the two can go for hours. Trust me. As for actually fighting or sparring someone, it’s much like writing. It’s the proof of all your dedication, training and conditioning. But it’s necessary if you wish to make your claims and deliver your final product.
The key to success is understanding the process. And as you can see, that goes for any two subjects.