Michael Grogan is a Personal Trainer/Movement Coach in Melbourne CBD & South Yarra, Australia. He uses a combination of Gymnastic Strength, Advanced Mobility and Barbell Strength & Power exercises to achieve increased levels of performance and body composition with his clients. For more information follow him on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelgrogan_movement/ facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelGroganMovement and for enquiries contact [email protected]
Over the past 3 months I have spent a small portion of each day, 10-20 minutes, throwing around 3 tennis balls in a consecutive manner. What started out as a basic brain training and skill acquisition drill has ended up literally changing my outlook on life.
It all started upon recommendation from Keegan Smith of the Real Movement Project, a mentorship group for growth & success, where he recommended juggling as a skill that provides many mental benefits including left/right brain co-ordination, pattern recognition and building motor skills. I thought I would give it a crack just to see what happened.
What happened over the next 3 months was a wave of emotions from absolute frustration when things were not going so well to absolute ecstasy when things began to finally fall into place. I began expanding my microcosmic experience into other parts of my life and taking the lessons I was learning through juggling and applying them to bigger causes in my life such as building sustainable wealth and progressing professionally in my field. This is when I began to feel the profound effect of this experience.
What I am going to share with you is 6 Life Lessons I gained through the process of learning how to juggle and how this has changed my outlook on life.
1. The Ability to Learn an Abstract Skill
For whole life I had usually remained firmly in my lane. Sport and fitness always came naturally to me growing up and into adult life and I would naturally gravitate towards them.
The concept of juggling was abstract to me and something I would normally shy away from. This made the initial phase painful for me, as I would fail over and over again at something I had never really tried before. This went on for at least 2 months!
However this made it all the more invigorating when I finally started to get the hang of it, and when things started going my way, I started to think of other abstract skills that I could potentially learn.
2. The Ability to Crush Self-Doubt
Being completely honest here, I almost quit learning to juggle altogether approximately 32 times in the first 2 weeks. I really thought that it was not for me and was something that someone like me would never be able to do.
The change came when I was able to juggle continuously for at least 3 throws. I felt the sweet sensation of progress and it liberated my self-doubt about whether I could do it. Every time I made some small progress I thought that if I could just keep going then I would soon be all over this!
3. The Gift of Patience
This was one of the big ones for me and one I can really apply into my everyday life. Every time you drop a tennis ball it always seems to roll at least 5 metres away from you. This multiplied by 3 balls, amplified by the fact I would drop the balls within 5-8 seconds of picking them up led to some excruciatingly frustrating moments in the initial phases.
What I had to remember was that if things were easy, everybody would be doing them and that success does not come overnight it accumulates over time through consistent and persistent effort.
4. Breaking Down a Large Goal into Manageable Pieces
I knew my end goal was to juggle for 5 minutes. However, in the early stages focusing on the 5-minute duration did not work because I couldn’t even catch the second ball and had quickly dropped the third ball. Instead I had to focus on achieving 3 consecutive throws, then 4, 5, 6, 7… Persisting with this I started to develop some rhythm and was able to start juggling for time instead of numbers.
So all I focused on initially was getting 3 consecutive throws, then 4, 5, 6, 7….. Then before I knew it I was able to get some rhythm to it and I was able to start juggling for time instead of numbers.
A huge reason why people do not achieve things is because they set out to achieve a big goal without breaking it down into manageable pieces.
5. Progress isn’t Always Linear
Another massive one for me! I felt the full force of this life lesson throughout my juggling experience.
In the beginning I would work really hard one day and build my throws up to 10 or 12 and think that I could pick up the next day and build to 13 or 14. How wrong I was. The next day I would come in and throw the balls like a newborn baby and not even be able to string 3 together at first. It was only after a period of throwing to warm into it that I would experience any gains, if at all, on those kinds of days.
The lesson here was that things don’t always happen logically. Just because you perform well one day it does not mean that the next day you will be better. The journey is long and the road is not always straight. BUT through consistent effort over an extended period of time you will get to where you are aiming for.
6. The ability to apply this logic to something bigger
Number 6 is the apex for me. The journey to learning to juggle was, to me, like a condensed period of time where I felt the full force of what its like to do something new, uncomfortable and worthwhile.
I can now take this logic and apply it to more meaningful things in my life where I will experience similar feelings but on a bigger scale, things like working towards having a successful business or having a fulfilling relationship. Both of these journeys will have a range of ups and downs similar to what I have covered in points 1-6 here.
Boom! So there are my 6 life lessons gained from learning how to juggle! It might seem a lot to take from throwing around a few tennis balls SO I encourage you to experience this for yourself and document the mental processes you go through along the way.
When you do this start to think about the bigger picture and how what you begin to feel, while learning to juggle, is similar to situations you experience in your everyday life, then work hard to overcome these obstacles through the consistent and persistent efforts to learn an abstract skill.
I am super keen to know how you get on so please contact me with any questions:
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