Sunday, May 21, 2017

How To Have A Healthy Day

As Ice Cube said, "Today was a good day."

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

During the era of emotional grunge and decadent hip hop, came a song from Ice Cube about simplicity. The rock scene was full of sensitive male screamers lamenting over lives never living up to expectations. On the other end was hip hop and lives of excess — where anything other than excess was failure. These disparate perspectives on living is to be expected, when we have the haves and the have-nots. The haves regret never having enough, the have-nots aspire to have more.

Cubism: Expectations

On why he wrote "It Was a Good Day," Ice Cube said in a 1992 interview, "I rap all this gangsta stuff — what about all the good days I had?" Where other songs were pretentious, Ice Cube reminded us how to notice all the goodness in ordinary days. We discount the ordinary because they don't stand out. We pretend we never have good days because they don't stick out in our memories. Most likely there have been too many to count. Bad days, however, are infrequent enough to remember. There is an art to living a good life that contemporary Western living does not acknowledge, for a good life is subtle and takes practice to master.

From the moment he wakes up, Ice Cube says:
“Just waking up in the morning gotta thank GodI don’t know, but today seems kinda oddNo barking from the dogs, no smogAnd momma cooked a breakfast with no hog...”

And then in the park:
“Called up the homies and I’m askin’ y’allWhich park, are y’all playin’ basketball?Get me on the court and I’m troubleLast week fucked around and got a triple-doubleFreaking brothers every way like M.J.I can’t believe, today was a good day...”

And then after some contemplation:
“Then we played bones, and I’m yelling dominoPlus nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A.Today was a good day.”

For a rich and famous rapper, this is a pretty mundane day. "Nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A. Today was a good day," this iconic line is the song's central tenet, Stoic expectations and Buddhist minimalism. And whether you have studied these schools or not, its concepts are familiar to anyone who's survived hardship with their mental health intact. (You learn these lessons the hard way.) And to Ice Cube, what is most important is life (this is a virtue); as long as he's alive and everyone else he knows is alive, it's a pretty good day. The expectations are simple. The song is within reason. The elements mentioned are attainable. We enjoy living in fantasy but that escape from reality only worsens the thoughtlessness we feel for daily reality. In street-philosophy, a Stoic might be called a gangsta, but the core principles are the same: manage expectations while maintaining grit when things don't go your way.

Admiral Yi Sun-Sin: Simplicity

In the living aspect of martial arts, you are taught to maintain daily attainable rituals that make each day successful. Make it simple and consistent. Admiral Yi Sun-Sin is what Ice Cube might call an O.G. (Original gangsta.) A legendary commander, Admiral Yi Sun-Sin is famous for defeating 333 ships with only a fleet of 13.

He writes:
“My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity, and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed.”
The Admiral had no room for clutter. Clutter, excess wants, and complexities make us obsessive, neurotic, and busy. In the case of the Admiral, it would get his men killed. Simplicity affords us clarity. And the life saved could be our own.

Do Not

Do not value too many things. Do not worry about things that are not actionable. Do not attempt to control things are are unattainable. And never allow expectations to exceed your level of resilience.


Be alive and find joy in living. Keep it real. Do not live to be perfect.

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Source: Must Triumph

Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.

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