So if you haven’t already read the original 10-Minute Hero, in which I explained the idea of devoting a mere ten minutes a day to something, anything, in order to kickstart progress at it, you probably should. Go on, I’ll wait.
Back? Then you’ll know that I did this particular 10-Minute Hero with boxing, which I simply don’t have time to do otherwise. So the obvious questions are:
1. Did it work? And…
2. Would it work for everything?
I’ll tackle those in order.
Firstly, 1 is a fairly unqualified yes. Firstly, I can now box southpaw (with my right side forward, non-boxers) with a reasonable degree of proficiency, since that’s what I worked on whenever I couldn’t be bothered with more structured self-teaching. I’ve probably thrown something like 40,000 jabs in my life with my left hand, and now I’ve done about 2,000 with my right – so there’s still a gap between the two, but it’s closing. I’d previously thought of boxing southpaw as the sort of thing you had to be a supernatural genius to think about, so that’s nice.
When I had a bit more time to think about what I was going to do, I worked on practising angles, from Jack Slack’s book Elementary Striking. I’m getting better at them, in that I couldn’t do them at all before. I’m going to find someone to spar with so I can see just how effective it’s been, but I feel good.
As for 2, I’ll start by pointing out that this was a busy month. On Day 4 of the plan, I had a 14-hour flight (one connection) to Arizona, and arrived at 10:30pm, horribly jetlagged. Instead of going straight to sleep, I got ten minutes of boxing in before bed, and set my alarm ten minutes early so I could get some in before setting off at 7:30am for a day of canyoneering. This is crucial to the plan: 10 minutes is such a short amount of time that it seems ludicrous to claim you can’t do it, even on the busiest days. And doing things every day is the key to reinforcing habits.
Secondly, I had a couple of people suggesting extreme examples of things you couldn’t do in 10 minutes a day, for various reasons. Climbing, say, or skiing, or doing gymnastics. To these I say: lay the foundations. True, you might not have a climbing wall or a foam pit in your house, but if you really care about improving, there are dozens of things you can do with minimal or no equipment that will prepare you for the one hour a week/month/year you can train properly. Ten minutes a day of hangboard practice, for instance, might mean you can climb harder, with less rest, when you finally hit the climbing wall. Ten minutes a day of dish rocks and tuck jumps will mean you’ve got the basic strength and body awareness to hit that back somersault when you’re on the sprung floor. Ten minutes a day of squats, lunges and burpees will mean you can put in eight-hour days for the one week of the year you hit the ski slopes, instead of having to rest after a couple of runs.
My next 10-Minute Fix is going to be split in two: I’ll be doing five minutes a day (minimum) of kanji practice, and five minutes (or a minimum of 50 words) of working on the sequel to Zombie Titanic. How much better will I get? Better than I’d have got by doing nothing. Guaranteed.
HOMEWORK: Since working out your own 10-Minute Fix was last month’s homework, I’ll assume you’re still doing that. If not, I’ll invite you to consider the words of entrepreneur Jim Rohm:
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”