Photo via Unsplash
Taking a shower is simple.
We do it so often it’s second nature — just something we have to do every day. It’s become a chore and something we could do in our sleep.
Turn the knob to the right. Shampoo. Soap. A quick rinse and you’re good to go.
Despite the inherent simplicity, turning on the shower in the morning is one of the hardest decisions of my entire day.
At 5:30 am when I wake up, my apartment is silent, dark, and cold. The last thing I want to do is take a freezing cold shower. However, that’s exactly what I do.
For the past year, I’ve started each and every day with a cold shower. Every day it requires the same amount of coercing to turn the shower on. To not give in when my entire body is telling me to just take a hot shower this one time.
The decision to take a cold shower never gets easier. Every day I still grapple with the discomfort that I know will come if turn that shower handle.
But every day I’m able to push past and do it anyway, I get a little bit better. A little bit stronger. And a little tougher mentally. And most importantly, slowly become a better version of myself.
As best-selling author, ultra-endurance athlete, and the “worlds fittest man”, Rich Roll, once said…
“Every time we accomplish something we didn’t think we could, that’s like mental push-ups for the soul. You’ve then had that experience and your perception of your new normal shifts.”— Rich Roll
Every time I turn the shower in the morning, it’s a tiny mental pushup for my brain, body, and spirit. And it strengthens the self-discipline to do things I don’t want to do but know I must.Photo via Unsplash
Learning How to Accept Adversity and Stay Calm Under Pressure
When I stepped into the shower this morning, I was prepared for an all-out war. A war between me and me. Between who I want to be and who I am.
The decision to get into a freezing cold shower is never an easy one. No matter how many times you’ve done it, it doesn’t ever feel warmer.
However, as I stood there naked, ready for the water to take my breath away, I recognized the true power of cold showers.
“This water is going to be really cold. I already know that much. No sense in freaking out about it.”
At this point, I’d taken a cold shower over 365 days in a row. I knew exactly how it was going to feel, and yet, every time I freaked out like it was my first.
Day, after day, after day.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to recognize the power of cold showers.
A cold shower is an opportunity to become better under pressure. To slowly develop the ability to stay calm when struggle and adversity lay ahead.
So, rather than freak out, as usual, huffing and puffing and cursing at the water, I just accepted it.
I already know the water is going to be cold. No sense in getting all worked up about it before.
That tiny decision to stay calm decided the outcome of my day. It was immensely powerful and set me up for an incredible day….
- I had one of my most productive days of work ever
- I ate healthy, nutritious food throughout the day and avoiding my typical mistake of overeating
- I ran 7 miles
- And I wrote an insightful article
It all started from the opportunity to decide whether I wanted to stay calm under pressure or overreact. Whether I wanted to let the cold take over my mind or if I wanted to take control.
Taking Cold Showers Over a Long Period of Time Will Change Your Life
There are always going to be challenges, adversity, and things we don’t want to do in life. A cold shower is a simple, daily habit that helps you practice the “do it anyway” mentality.
It’s incredibly simple yet unbelievably effective.
I haven’t taken a warm shower in over a year and my life has exploded because of it.
I moved across the country, got promoted, built a profitable writing side hustle, and even raced an Ironman 70.3 — a long-distance triathlon consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and a 13.1-mile run.
And I have plans for much more.
Now I’m not going to say it was all because I started taking cold showers. But cold showers were the catalyst that helped me build the discipline to get things done even when I don’t want to.
And perhaps more importantly, cold showers helped me develop the ability to stay calm when the proverbial shit hits the fan.
Elenor Rosevelt got it right when she said:
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
For me, cold showers are exactly that. They’re simple, but far from easy.
Most days I’m legitimately afraid to turn that shower handle and release the freezing cold water. However, starting my day off with something difficult is one of the best ways to guarantee a great day.
And if practiced over a long period of time, cold showers will develop self-discipline, and the ability to stay calm when challenges and adversity lay ahead.