I first ran into the idea of taking Cold Showers from Joel Runyon’s blog “Impossible HQ.” On his post on Cold Shower Therapy he says the following:
If you can’t do something uncomfortable and difficult for 5 minutes in the shower, how the are you going to do something uncomfortable or difficult in real life?
He has a point. The most important thing you can do to get any task done is to just do it. The bulk of the reasons why I don’t get things done when I need to is because I kept procrastinating, or talked myself out of doing something because it was uncomfortable, or didn’t sound like much fun at the time.
Cold Showers are the cure for this.
When I was working at summer camp this last summer, I started taking cold showers in the mornings half-way through teen camp. I noticed a distinct change. When I started out a day telling my whining, sleepy-eyed self to get over it, and turn on the cold jet of ice-water, for the rest of the day I found it much much easier to do things that needed to be done, but weren’t the most enjoyable.
But it didn’t stop there. I think every teenage boy (and most non-teenage boys as well) want to feel macho, boss, masculine, etc… As a cabin, we did all the manly things we could think of together, including pushup competitions whenever we could. When they found out that I took cold showers every morning, and I explained reasons why it makes me “more of a man” when it comes to getting stuff done (and not being a sissy and coming up with excuses) they all wanted to try it to.
Well, after summer camp came August, with it’s ice bucket challenges. I watched video after video of my friends (some of which are pretty massive guys) wimp out from having a gallon of ice water was poured over their heads. Mostly because they were intimidated by something that looked really uncomfortable.
Anything worthwhile that you want to achieve is going to require some discomfort. The people who get the most done are those who put their big-boy pants on, and start doing the things they need to do to achieve their results. One of the ways that I discipline myself to get the uncomfortable things done is to turn my shower on to cold every morning when I get up. It takes zero extra time out of my busy schedule (and in fact saves time and water most days) and helps me to start out every day energized, and ready to tackle difficult tasks.
For another perspective on this topic, you can check out Asian Efficiency’s post Eat that Frog