Everything In Moderation Makes You Mediocre At Everything
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of TG.com regular, Dr. Nicholas Licameli.
Nick normally writes about stuff like how not to eff up your shoulders during a bench press or how to address your low back pain when you sit in front of a desk all day.
Today, however, he’s throwing us a curveball and discussing a topic that’s a little more nuanced, albeit something that we can all appreciate: the “grind” and the work-life-training “tightrope.”
I think you’ll enjoy it. I did.
One of my least favorite sayings is, “everything in moderation.”
Everything in moderation makes you mediocre at everything.
Everything in moderation makes you mediocre at everything.
But we must realize a truth that is self-evident, undeniable, and timeless: saying yes to one thing is saying no to another.
Whether you’re Betty White, Barry White, or White Goodman, we are all given the same number of minutes each day.
Life, then, is a constant series of choices and decisions as to how we spend our time. There is no arguing that dedicating time to each of our roles is essential. However, everything in moderation makes you mediocre at everything. Instead of creating balance, which is usually the reasoning behind taking everything in moderation, it creates mediocrity.
Some of my roles, in no particular order, are bodybuilder, husband, son, brother, friend, and medical professional. I would venture a guess that majority of those reading can relate, at least somewhat, to these roles.
At the core, they are sport, family, friend, and profession.
When walking across a tight rope, one does not stay perfectly straight for the duration of the walk. While still maintaining balance, the walker is able to lean this way and that way with each step. Similarly, a plane does not remain on a straight path for the duration of its flight. The pilot makes adjustments up, down, left, and right depending on weather, air traffic, etc., but it manages to stay the course and eventually reach its destination.
Life is sort of a balancing act, leaning this way and that way, with each step. Think about your life. There will be times along your journey when you’ll have to grind in certain areas.
Sometimes that’s going to be sport. Other times it will be family. Other times it will be your profession. Sometimes you will have to dive 100% into one role in order to accomplish something great.
So yes, you may be sacrificing, but you’re just leaning, not falling.
Side note: When I say, “grind,” what I mean is a temporary grind. The grind occurs due to special or unusual circumstances. If you’re always grinding, you need to find a way to improve efficiency and effectiveness because at the end of the day, there are always people who are better than you, busier than you, and have accomplished more than you who have never missed a training session, a birthday party, or a day of work. So remember that next time you feel yourself grinding.
Ask yourself, “Is this grind necessary or are there things I can do to better organize my day?”
If you’re training for a bodybuilding competition, you’re going to have to grind. Training, nutrition, sleep, and more will all take you away from other areas of your life in one way or another. For that time, you will be leaning toward bodybuilding on your tight rope, understanding that saying yes to bodybuilding is saying no to other roles.
Death in the family? Special birthday party? Holiday or family tradition coming up? Get ready to lean toward family on your tightrope, understanding that saying yes to family is saying no to other roles.
If there’s a big project coming up at work that you are passionate about, you’re going to have to grind, understanding that saying yes to work is saying no to other roles.
How Do We Make It All Work?
Here’s the key to making this work: while leaning on the tight rope and grinding in one area of your life, be sure to truly be present and give it your all.
There is a very good chance that other people will not “get it.”
They won’t understand why you’re so passionate about bodybuilding or that family tradition or that silly project at work.
Being truly present in each moment will help lessen negative kickback from different aspects of your life. Thinking about training or work while you’re spending planned time with family won’t help training or work and will hinder family time. It doesn’t make sense to choose to grind at work but fog your brain with guilt that you are not with your family.
Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to miss a birthday party to finish that work project if you’re not going to be fully present and committed to it in that moment. You’re essentially becoming a mediocre professional and mediocre family member.
You are limiting your productivity at work and wasting quality family time. When you choose to grind, proceed with confidence and understand that those other areas of life will have their time, it’s just not now.
1. For example, if you have to sacrifice family for work or for training, it’s going to be OK as long as the time that you do give your family is 100% undivided attention, presence, and love.
2. When you sacrifice from work, it’s going to be OK as long as you’ve given work your 100% time and effort when it was work’s turn.
3. If you can’t stay late for that meeting because your son has a baseball game, it will be OK because you’ve grinded for work during work’s time and have made it clear to everyone at the office the type of person you are.
4. If you have to sacrifice training/nutrition to give time to your family or work, it’s OK so long as committed and productive work has been put toward training during its time.
Being 100% committed and present to a role during its allotted time will lessen the sting when the time comes to grind in a different role. While grinding in a particular role, think of making deposits of trust.
Stephen Covey uses the metaphor of an “emotional bank account,” which describes the amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship1. For the purposes of this article, we can call it a “role bank account.”
While leaning on the tight rope, pennies are deposited into each role’s account if and only if you are 100% present and committed to it. Being partially present or dividing your attention results in no deposits at best and a withdrawal at worst. Debt will never be accumulated while grinding in a certain role so long as you’ve been making genuine and consistent deposits in each role.
What Are Some Deposits?
For a bodybuilder, deposits may be meal prepping ahead of time, hitting macros while at a social event, keeping perfect form during the last set of deadlifts as fatigue sets in, or getting a full 8-9 hours of quality sleep.
As a member of a family or as a professional, deposits can be as simple as saying a kind word, going out of your way to offer a compliment, going above and beyond the job description, being honest and truthful, doing a favor without expectation of something in return, being present, listening with the intent to understand rather than be understood, showing deep empathy, saying, “I love you,” apologizing sincerely, and much more.
By making these deposits, we are able to grind in certain areas of our lives without feeling guilty or hurting people and/or roles we love.
Go build up those accounts!
Keep in mind that if you lean too much on a tight rope, you will fall.
If you lean too much to one side for too long and neglect the principles of physics, you will fall and once you fall, no amount of counter balance will help. If you excessively withdraw trust, you will accumulate debt.
Understand, however, that it’s okay to grind every once in a while. You are not a bad person. You are a person who aspires to be great, not in one role, but in all roles. You are a person who understands that at times it is necessary to sacrifice and grind in order to achieve and exceed high reaching goals and dreams.
Take what I say with a grain of salt. I don’t know everything. I could be completely wrong. I may look back on this (maybe when I have children some day!) and feel differently.
However, right now, I truly feel that everything in moderation makes you mediocre at everything. The occasional grind, together with confidence and steady deposits into our various accounts, will allow you to achieve balanced greatness in all of your roles. Don’t settle for mediocre.
Go get ‘em!
About the Author
Nicholas M. Licameli
Doctor of Physical Therapy / Pro Natural Bodybuilder
Every single thing he does, Nick believes in giving himself to others in an attempt to make the world a happier, healthier, and more loving place. He wants to give people the power to change their lives. Bodybuilding and physical therapy serve as ways to carry out that cause. Nick graduated summa cum laude from Ramapo College of New Jersey with his bachelor’s degree in biology, furthered his education by completing his doctoral degree in physical therapy from Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences (previously the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey) at the age of 24, and has earned professional status in natural bodybuilding. His knowledge of sport and exercise biomechanics, movement quality, and the practical application of research combined with personal experience in bodybuilding and nutrition allows him to help people in truly unique ways. Love. Passion. Respect. Humility. Never an expert. Always a student. Love your journey.