#029 | Calmness in the midst of Chaos

One new actionable knowledge each week to help you take more actions and live more intentionally, all towards happiness in life ❤️

Hey friends,

This week’s newsletter is about calmness in the midst of chaos; how I have experienced the power of staying mentally calm in driving performance results and share one simple yet effective exercise for developing mental calmness / flexibility

I hit the 6 years mark for gym / working out on 30th June 2021. As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I am now looking to “quit” gym and transition to bouldering training, which will happen in September 2021.


Before I “quit” the gym, I gave myself two EXIT PRICE to pay:

  1. Lift 40kg incline dumbbell chest press for 5 sets of 5

  2. Squat 2x my bodyweight for 1 rep max

I have 5 weeks till the end of August to hit these two exit price. I tested my progress this week. Check out my current stats below :)


How does this relate to calmness in the midst of chaos…

Well… it has something to do with squatting a shit tonnes of weight!!

On a “lightweight” day, my training programme requires me to squat 130kg for 5 sets of 7 reps.

That’s 130kg for 7 reps each round!

Here’s what going on in my brain through each rep…

1st rep: Wow, this is heavier than I thought, how am I going to lift 7 reps of this?!

2nd rep: Okay, it’s not that bad, I just need to control my way down and explode upwards!

3rd rep: This is easy, I can do this!

4th rep: Let’s go!

5th rep: Damn, I am running out of gas… I need to slow down and make sure I have enough energy to get out of the dip (lowest point of the squat movement).

6th rep: Breathe… and stay calm. Collect yourself. Breathe… and stay calm. Okay, I am ready for this rep!

7th rep: Breathe… and stay calm. Stay calm! Last rep, you got this! Okay, let’s go! UPP!!

That’s the end of ONE set. Repeat this four more times.

Here’s what I have learned. My ability to hit the last two reps of each set almost always come down to how mentally calm I am. When you are getting tired, your ability to stay mentally calm becomes extremely important because the less calm you are, the more energy you waste, both PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY.

Physically, when you are not calm, your body tends to fidget a lot more and that’s not good when you are getting tired and have 130kg on your shoulder. You just ended up wasting energy trying to keep yourself and the weight in balance.

Mentally, when you are not calm, your mind starts to wonder off about the possibility of how you will fail to get out of the dip and ended up either killing yourself, injure yourself, or feeling embarrass; all of which a) takes up a lot of energy, and b) not to mention, you are NOT focus! You are out!

And this doesn’t just apply to lifting heavy weights… it applies to all aspects of life, from embracing yourself in cold shower early in the morning to fear of public speaking in front of tens and thousands of people etc…

Our ability to stay calm mentally is important in determining our ability to perform in the moment.

The question now is…

How to train yourself to be mentally calm in the moment?

Two words.

Mindfulness Practice.

Visualisation, Meditation, Breath Work, etc…

I will dive deeper into what I have been doing in this space in upcoming newsletters but a simple yet effective exercise that you guys can start doing right away is as follows:

🔥 Actionable Knowledge

Belly Breathing — 4 seconds in, 2 seconds hold, 6 seconds out

Note: this is a breathing exercise to be done outside of the gym and not while you are working out!

Most people breathe in through their chest. That’s actually not the right way of breathing. The correct way of breathing is to breathe through your stomach. If you observe how babies or animals breathe, you will realise they are breathing through their stomach.

  1. Belly Breathe in for 4 seconds (your stomach should expand as airs start to fill in)

  2. Hold the air for 2 seconds

  3. Breathe out slowly for 6 seconds

Gym stats as of 25th July 2021

My current weight is 84.55kg.

Incline DB Chest Press:

40kg — 3 sets of 5

38kg — 5 sets of 6


160kg — 1 rep max

135kg - 137.5kg — 5 sets of 5

130kg — 5 sets of 7

I would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts by replying to this email 😊

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a good week ahead! 🎮

All the best,

Ryan O

Current Stats: 12.2% action rate <— Read 41 books | Taken actions on at least 5 books

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