You’ve probably considered a personal trainer for your physical health, but what about your mind? In this new Tough Things First podcast, Ray Zinn and guest host Rob Artigo weigh the pros and cons of letting someone else inside your head.
Rob Artigo: Welcome back to Tough Things First, the podcast. I’m Rob Artigo, I’m a writer and a business owner in Northern California. Thanks for having me back again, Ray.
Ray Zinn: It’s always good to have you on the program, Rob, you always ask good questions.
Rob Artigo: Ray, I know from listening to you over the years that, as we’ve been doing these podcasts, you advocate fitness, physical fitness as well as mental fitness and I know you do your workout first thing in the morning, it’s your number one way of starting your day. We all know there are personal trainers out there in gyms, even some who do house calls, that come over and they’ll work out with you in the garage, or in the living room or something.
I saw one guy in Silicone Valley, he was a business start up owner, he had a truck that would drive up and park in front of your house, not a big rig, but a large transport truck so it would have an area in the back, you roll up the door and he had all the gym equipment in there. So the person would come out front and he would do the workout with them right there in the back of the truck and I thought that was a pretty clever idea.
So you’ve got those people out there that do the kind of fitness training. Do you think when it comes to personal growth, and we can talk mental fitness, but also just personal growth in general, does it make sense to have somebody you would consider a personal trainer for personal growth?
Ray Zinn: Having a mentor is always a good thing. Now, do you need to have somebody come and help you exercise? It depends. If you’re a highly disciplined person, then you could probably have your own exercise regimen and you wouldn’t need a personal trainer. But if you’re not a highly regimented and disciplined person and exercise is important, then certainly, have somebody come and work with you, whether it be a friend, a spouse, a professional trainer, it’s all a matter of what does it take for you to get to the place you need to be? So that’s the key, doing whatever it takes, no excuses.
Rob Artigo: Can you make a mistake in who you ask advice in that sense? So if you want to consider the person who’s doing the personal growth training would be a mentor, so can you make a mistake in choosing the wrong mentor?
Ray Zinn: Sure. You have to have somebody you can trust. This is a side note, it’s not exactly on topic, but my wife was telling me about this Pilates wheel thing that’s been mentioned on Facebook and she says, “I ought to get one of those, they’re really good and it will help me exercise.” And I said, “You already have all this exercise equipment, just use what you have.” So it’s a marketing tool these guys use to get you to buy their particular fitness program, but you can exercise without even having any equipment. Just pushing your two hands together and pushing away and doing push ups and calisthenics, I know, you’ve been in the military, you know that in the military when you do calisthenics, push ups and jumping jacks and sit ups and stuff, you don’t have any equipment-
Rob Artigo: No, none.
Ray Zinn: You’re not using any equipment, but yet the military are very fit, well most of the military are very fit, but you’re not using any equipment whatsoever. You can tuck your feet underneath your pit frame and you can do sit ups, or your coach. There’s various ways you can restrain your feet to do sit ups, or have a friend sit on your feet and do sit ups. When I grew up, I didn’t have any really equipment… exercise equipment, nothing like what they have today, they didn’t have any treadmills, didn’t have any [inaudible 00:04:32], didn’t have any weight hoist and Nautiluses and stuff like that, we just constructed our own. I used to do jumping jacks and deep knee bends and push ups and I did all those things and I was pretty physically fit.
So I don’t think you need to have all this fancy equipment to stay physically fit. Get up, walk with your dog, or go take a little jog around the block. Climb up and down your stairs, they call them hill repeats, if you have stairs, just run up and down the stairs 20 or 30 times, there’s a lot of things you could do just to stay physically fit. The main thing is, watch your diet.
Rob Artigo: And I think that watching your diet also works on the mental fitness side. It’s kind of easy if you compare the idea … or it’s easier to tell if you’re not physically fit. Maybe you get tired easy, maybe you’re heavy, your blood pressure’s high, there’s all kinds of indicators that you’re not physically fit, but it’s harder to tell when you are not necessarily mentally fit, really handling challenges of the day, and fit for having some personal growth. How do you know when you need to reach out to somebody, somebody who can help you get on track when you’re not mentally fit, when you’re not experiencing quality personal growth?
Ray Zinn: That’s an interesting one because I just heard this story, I was talking to a friend of mine about this fella who was coming in, applying for a job at his company and the fella is a young man, probably in his early 20s or late teens or something, but he couldn’t even fill their application out. So my friend said, “Well I’m not going to fill your application out for you.” He said, “You want to take it home and have your wife fill it out or your parents?” The guy says, “Well I kind of have learned the ability to read and write.” And I says, “Well that’s the problem these kids have now coming out of school,” because they’re so focused on their electronic devices that they’ve forgotten how to write by hand and how to read, because they listen instead of they don’t read it, they don’t see it and read it, they just listen, so they’ve lost the ability to read and write and that’s a real concern in colleges today. These kids are going into college, hardly can read and write.
So if you have a difficulty reading and writing, yes, you need to bone up on that. You should be reading regularly, not just watching TV, or listening to an audiobook, you need to pick up a book and read it and study it. If you’re not doing that, you’re not going to stay mentally fit. Another way to stay mentally fit is engaging in conversations with other people, just getting together and having a good old debate. Doesn’t matter the subject, just have a good old debate and you should be studying on a regular basis. Just like exercising your physical body, you need to exercise your mind. You should be avidly studying and trying to gain more knowledge in a particular area.
Rob Artigo: I think you’ve done it many times, you have learned other languages and I think that even if somebody is not necessarily working towards fluency, working on learning another language will help fire some of those synapses in your brain that can get lazy over time. I think learning a new language is a great way of doing that. You don’t just have to do puzzles, and … crossword puzzles I find pretty fascinating, and Sudoku too, but those kinds of things can work your brain, but really learning something at any age. I remember my mom when she was in her 70s, still had her little learning Spanish. She would learn … she had her audiotapes and things that she would just sit there and practice her Spanish. Lot to be said about working that brain if you want personal growth and being really mentally fit.
Ray Zinn: Yeah, they say, “Use it or lose it.” So your mind is the same way. If you don’t use your mind, you’re going to lose it. So work Sudoku, that’s a good one, working mathematical problems, I know it’s a chore, but exercise, physical exercise is a chore. But you need to exercise your mind and not just sitting and watching the boob tube, you need to actually get a book, pick it up.
Rob Artigo: Right now, more important than ever, particularly for the younger generations because like you said, the way that they’re communicating more often through Snapchat and other methods, whereas … I talked to my wife about this just yesterday, the idea that they can have whole conversations using emoji, just pictures of something-
Ray Zinn: I know.
Rob Artigo: … instead, now they’re looking the just pictures of something, that’s what primitive humans used to do-
Ray Zinn: I know.
Rob Artigo: … they would write stuff on the walls using pictures, they would have the tiger and they would add the spear, the guy chasing the tiger with the spear and the wooly mammoth coming up and you’d have a story there. Now, modern human is going back to the most primitive, basic communication levels, that they can’t write in cursive and they have a hard time writing in complete sentences.
Ray Zinn: That’s because we’re lazy, we’ve become a lazy people.
Rob Artigo: The last writing class I went to at a college, we would share our writing. I would get something from some younger people and I would look at it and go, “Why aren’t you putting capitals at the beginning of the sentences?” They’re not capitalizing at the beginning of the sentence, you have written something that you are submitting to the whole class and you’re not capitalizing the beginning of a sentence. It’s the most basic element of writing in complete sentences, starting with for example, Ray, capital R.
Ray Zinn: Again, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. You take that person that just passed away, the …
Rob Artigo: Hawking.
Ray Zinn: … physically he was a wreck but mentally he was a genius, so he was handicapped because of his physical problem but his mind, he was just an absolute genius. So I recommend becoming a genius, physical and mental. Go to it, learn it. Do the Tough Things First, it’s one of my books I wrote.
Rob Artigo: And as always, you can find Ray Zinn on Facebook and LinkedIn and … where else can we find you? On the internet, you can just go to toughthingsfirst.com, all the stuff’s there too, right?
Ray Zinn: It’s on there on LinkedIn and over on Twitter and you can find all kinds of stuff.
Rob Artigo: Do you tweet ever day? You try to tweet something every day?
Ray Zinn: Oh yeah, twice a day.
Rob Artigo: Oh wow, okay. Well look for those. When you find this podcast and you have chosen to follow it, also go in there and click your … give it your star rating or whatever the format happens to be, and then put a comment there and invite people, many of your friends to come out and check it out because there’s lots of good information. Check out the past podcasts, go in there and look at the different subjects that are available to … If you pick out the ones that most interest you and listen, and you’ll find that Ray is offering some really great advice to entrepreneurs everywhere. Also, be on the lookout for Ray’s new book, the Zen of Zinn. Thanks again, Ray.
Ray Zinn: Thanks, Rob.