*I’m not a doctor. Nothing I mention here is medical advice.*
I was on hour 47 of what was to be a 48-hour fast. And I was fine. Not just fine, but perfectly content. My hunger pangs were minor and I felt good. In fact, I heavily debated extending the fast out another day just for fun. Not wanting to let our groceries go to waste though, I decided to stop at 48 hours. There would surely be opportunities for longer fasts in the future.
And just like that, I completed something that many people would either find insane or impossible. Two days without food. Now, before I go on, let me preface this article by stating that I’m not a doctor. Nothing I say here is medical advice by any means. Consult your doctor before trying anything of this sort. Furthermore, this article is not a how-to in fasting. I won’t cover any of the detailed aspects of that process.
Instead, this article focuses on something powerful. Something that you can take advantage of to achieve the amazing. I’m talking about slow, steady, gradual progress. From here on out, I’ll refer to it as simply, slow growth. Slow growth is underrated. It’s not an overnight success story and thus doesn’t have the appeal that many achievements can claim. However, one thing that it has that rapid growth doesn’t is sustainability.
Is one better than the other?
Imagine that the furthest you’ve even run is a mile. And before you now are two options. You can either go do a marathon today or you can train for the next three years and do a marathon then. Which one do you go with? If you hate running, you probably roll your eyes and say neither. For the sake of example though, let’s say you go with option one: run a marathon today.
It’s possible. Anything is possible. And so you go out and run it. Well, you at least try. After 12 hours of walking, jogging, and limping, you finally complete the marathon. You did it! It was painful, exhausting, and you’ll probably never run again. Not from injury, mind you, but from the bad taste you had of the experience.
In the second option, it’s a much longer journey. You train for months before running a 5k. You train for many more before running a half marathon. Finally, after years of training, you run your first marathon. And love it. In fact, you not only love the experience, but you find it to be incredibly easy. Over the years of trial and error, of the experiences gained, you’ve gradually leveled up. Achieving newer and grander heights along the way.
Leveling up to 48 hours
There’s nothing wrong with either option. You run a marathon in both instances. In the first case, you do it and are done with it. You are not a runner, per se, but are instead someone that ran. It’s past tense. In the second case, running has become part of your lifestyle. You are a runner, actively pursuing bigger challenges for the love of the sport. In the first case, you never want to run again. In the second, you can’t wait to get back out there.
Slow growth is sustainable. It builds gradually over time. And with each step you take, the thing becomes that much easier. For instance, that 48-hour fast was not my first time fasting. In fact, it probably wasn’t even my 20th time fasting. It was my first time going 48 hours without food*, but I had done fasts of varying lengths for years leading up to that point. Most of which were 24 hours.
Prompted by a book I completed that provided a guide to longer fasts, I felt excited and inspired. Not only that, but I felt ready for it. I had been wanting to level up in the fasting realm for some time but didn’t know how to do it in a healthy way. With that book, it was like someone gave me the map I needed. I wasn’t going to run a marathon having never run before. I had been training for years and was prepared.
*For the sticklers out there, I did consume a serving of spinach at one point. Not because I was hungry, but because I needed to take medicine and couldn’t do so on an empty stomach.
Slow growth leads to more rewarding challenges
Granted, I didn’t set out on my fasting journey determined to do longer and longer fasts. I didn’t do my first 24-hour fast with ambitions of going past that. They simply interested me and so I pursued them. The more I did them, the easier they became. And they continued to get even easier. Until the point where I completed that book and was excited about all the future challenges I could do in that arena.
My experience with writing follows a similar progression. In the early days of QuickBooost, it took me several days to publish an article. Now, I publish an article each day with relative ease.
I started slow, gradually learned and progressed with time, and now am writing more than I ever thought possible for myself. I could have started out publishing once a day, and it may have worked out for me, but there’s also a high chance that I would have quickly burned out and quit.
Moving forward with slow growth
Looking at your own life, you too can embrace slow growth. If anything, let it reassure you that so long as you continue to put in the work, you will continue to improve. Eventually, you’ll get to a point you never thought possible. Now, that doesn’t mean you should use slow growth as an excuse to do less than you’re capable of. You should still push yourself.
It means that, so long as you do push yourself, so long as you continue to put in the work, you will continue to level up. Maybe not as fast as someone that chose to run that marathon today, but you’ll do it so much more sustainably. Where they run today and never do so again, you keep running. Which, if it’s something you get fulfillment out of, is a great place to operate from.
See you on the trail.