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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Warm-up or Bust-up

The title of this blog is deliberately ambiguous, since it seems to imply that we either opt for ‘warm-up’ or ‘bust-up’ as if it were a choice between good and evil. This is not entirely true, although I will propose here that ‘warm-up’ and ‘bust-up’ are mutually exclusive, at least in my little world of humble existence where I tend to procrastinate and have trouble getting myself motivated. The main reason for my habitual procrastination, in addition to my fear of the unknown and my unwillingness to step out of my comfort zone, is that I often lack the spark of energy, that little combustion, which is needed to get me going, even though I know full well that once I get going, it will be totally fine. We have all been well advised to do proper warm-up before starting anything strenuous, something that I often disregarded when I was young since in my boyish demeanour I tended to just dive into whatever form of exercise that I had committed myself to without paying much attention to whether I was physically ready for it or not. I have come to appreciate this timeless piece of advice more and more though, not least because my physical form is *very* slightly more fragile than it used to be when I was a child and I can no longer dismiss my body’s needs, but more importantly I have realised the many benefits to taking appropriate actions before tackling anything difficult, which I have summarised before in doing things slow, at least to begin with. There are times, however, when it is not possible to take it slow and get your body ready for the task, and one might just have to dive into it along with all the insecurities and rustiness, which is a pretty horrible experience. Moreover, in moments like these one is at risk of engine failure and stalling, since one may be asking too much of one’s unready body, which is absolutely not desirable. What I have learnt, however, is that at times of ill-preparedness one could use a little spark of motivation, which may be idiosyncratic to one’s predisposition and come in many shapes and forms. For me, I would need to rely on (pleasant) surprise, something totally unexpected like an email from a long lost contact (whom I still want to hear from), a phone-call from someone unknown (a bearer of good tidings), or a forgotten yet necessary task that suddenly resurfaces in my mind, all such things which I have realised can have a major boosting effect on my system. Fear preys on inaction and feeds into paralysis, but whenever I receive some new and/or unexpected stimulus my system gets disrupted with the effect that it is ready to go again. In an ideal world, one would hope to take one’s time at the beginning of one’s task and get into it slowly and smoothly until one hits peak performance, but in the interest of time a practical alternative to such a slow and gentle warm-up might be a total bust-up, encountering something totally unanticipated and being thrown off one’s chair, which may have the same effect in getting us started. As I have said before, slow heat is better than quick fix when it comes to cooking a hard frozen piece of meat which should go through gentle and thorough defrosting in order to be properly cooked (something which I never achieve!), but in the interest of time, especially in our frantic modern lives, a little spark of gas and fuel may just do it for us, or at least it does for me.

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