I discovered this barrier to success a little while ago, but up until that point I’d been doing it for years.
The insight came while I was taking the routine shower after a workout.
I finished at the gym around 8am (I prefer to get my workout in first thing to set my energy level for the day), got my towel and shower gel and strolled into one of the cubicles in the men’s changing rooms.
Now given that there has to be an almighty boiler at the gym to power that many showers, when you turn on the water it comes on warm almost straight away, which is lovely.
So I step into the stream of scattering water drops and feel the warmth of the water on my skin. I noticed the contrasting temperature compared with the cooler air of the changing rooms.
A little while later when I’d washed my hair (more accurately, my head) and my body I would stand there for a while facing away from the shower letting the water hit the back of my neck and run down to the floor.
All pretty much the same as any other day, except this one. On this day I suddenly had this awareness of how long it had been since I’d actually finished washing. It had been a good five to ten minutes since I had washed all the soap off, yet I still found myself stood squarely in the shower cubicle with the water running.
It was also about this time that I noticed something else. A very subtle, internal wall of resistance preventing me from getting on with my work day.
Some part of me didn’t want to step out of the shower. I then realised what the problem was, I didn’t want to step out into the cold.
A little voice was saying “just a few more minutes”.
I suddenly then had a flashback to all the times when this had happened before. The way I would weasel around it would be to turn the shower temperature up to a hot but not painful level until my body temperature would get to a point where the cool air would be welcome.
If I had to put a label on it, it would be procrastination.
There’s nothing physically stopping me from stepping out into the cold but I put off what could be done right now.
I thought about how many extra minutes I had spent in the shower procrastinating in the past and what that would add up to. I could have spent that time doing some good for my life or someone else’s life.
So it was that day that I came up with my solution.
I remembered back in 2009 when I was in New Zealand after having walked through some rather dark caves with nothing but a wet suit, a head light and a hard hat.
A couple of the guys that were in the group seemed to take for granted what they did to avoid the problem I’ve been describing.
They would take their towels into the shower and hang them over the top of the cubicle and then as soon as they finished washing they’d quickly turn off the water, grab their towel and furiously start rubbing the water off themselves.
It struck me that it’s precisely because you are wet that it feels so cold when you step out of the shower. So if I take literally 10 seconds after turning the water off to just run my towel once over the main areas of my body, suddenly it doesn’t feel cold anymore.
You might say come on Chris, that solution was obvious, everyone knows that!
And my response would be “obvious to whom? And obvious to everyone?”
There are still a few moments of discomfort between turning the shower off and doing the rub down, but there are few absolutely perfect solutions in this world. This solution is good enough to get the outcome that I wanted and it didn’t harm anyone else, so it’s good enough for me.
So what did I learn about success while taking a shower?
That you still might have to step out into the cold sometimes, but the more knowledge you have, the less time you’ll have to stand the discomfort until you get your outcome.