by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Quality Input means Quality Output…or Garbage In means Garbage Out

You don’t want to put the cheapest gas in your Ferrari, so why would you do this to yourself?  Not a tough concept to grasp, but let me paint the picture for you in a couple of ways.  Let’s look at what might seem like a strange place for a guy my age: TikTok.  Yes, I spend a little time there, more some days than others of course.  It is not my sole focus in life by any means.  But I do like it a lot, and because I am selective about what content I consume, I have “taught” the algorithm to feed me videos and content that is useful to me.  My feed is full of videos that are motivational, educational or interesting in some way.  I learn a fair amount from what I do watch, it is not geared towards mind-numbing entertainment or distraction.  I have made it into a quality input of information that I can look into and verify elsewhere, as best as anyone can these days.   If I just randomly consumed content from TikTok, it would be a lot of garbage in, and therefore not make the cut for quality input.

Another thing I am currently using it for is as an accountability exercise.  I decided I would undertake doing a cold plunge once a day.  So to assist me in staying consistent with it, every day I post a video of me getting into that cold water.  It helps keep me accountable in some way.  Its not that I have a million followers who are waiting for me to post another video, but I consistently have someone ask a question or post a comment about what I am doing.  I use it as fuel to keep doing something that has not gotten any easier to do since day two of the experiment.  It is part of my quality output program; I am trying to share information for others to learn from or get a spark of motivation for, so they can do something that is good for themselves.

I am a huge fan of people like Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, Mel Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Rich Roll, David Goggins and more, and each of these people have either their own accounts or others are posting clips from the aforementioned group of people.  This means that I am inundated with soundbytes and clips of people who I admire and am trying to emulate in some way.  It keeps me sharp, thinking in a focused and productive way.  In fact, when Joe Rogan posted a video of him climbing into a tub full of ice and water for three minutes and not even flinching, I decided to give it a try.  I didn’t leapfrog to where he is today, I set myself up for success over the long haul.  I eased my way into it, day by day and literally inch by inch.  But today will be day 12, and I am still going.  I have learned to like the challenge on the daily, the opportunity to quit that isn’t taken.  In the famous words of Kobe Bryant, “You sign a contract and then there is no negotiating with yourself.”  That is how champions are made, that mindset right there.  Getting a steady trickle of that mindset is great for me, and I assume for others as well.  This is quality input, even if it is from a non-typical source.

Another example of quality input generating quality output is my diet.  I do not do anything radical like a straight Keto diet, but I do focus on good quality food to use as fuel for all I do.  I buy organic when I can, avoid sugary items and sodas, despite loving them far more than I wish I did.  I don’t buy soda for the house, otherwise I would drink it.  My wife and I do food prepping about two days a week, so I always have food at the ready.  This means two things:  A. I have better quality food on hand than I could get from a drive thru if a lazy moment catches me and B. It is far more cost-effective to cook at home than go elsewhere to have someone do it for me.  Since I work out a fair amount each week, doing a good job at eating clean is a big help to making my efforts in the gym pay off to the highest level.  High quality protein and good carbs are essential for fueling the workouts and recovery.  Quality input equals quality output.

I use supplements regularly to add more nutrients to my diet.  Despite eating clean and avoiding much of the bad stuff, I know that I need to have some additional assistance.  I like Athletic Greens or Jocko Fuel as a well-rounded dose of greens and vitamins/minerals as an easy way to get an all-in-one dose.  In addition to this, a night time dose of things like Magnesium L-Threanate, Apigenin, L-Threanine and Vitamin D as recommended by Dr. Andrew Huberman has been working well for me.  If you struggle with sleep, there are a lot of different options out there that you can try and hone in on one that works for you.

Sleep is a superpower when you use it correctly.  You body and brain need good, deep sleep to repair and recover from the rigors of being human.  Physical, mental and emotional stress all take their toll on the body, and so having a good sleep routine is crucial.  Ask any athletic trainer and they will tell you, the athletes who do not sleep well are the first ones to get injuries.   Not scrolling on your phone or watching TV until you fall asleep goes a long way to getting your brain turned off and letting your body run its “repair mode” sooner and more effectively.  A good mattress and the right pillow are a key factor as well.  Lots of studies show that the optimal temperature to sleep in is about 68 degrees.  All of these inputs are going to affect the output.  Make sure you lean towards the quality side of the options you have.

You may ask yourself why I operate in this manner.  Well, I am not looking to operate like everyone else, I want more than just average.  I want above average health, income, and lifestyle in general, and that means that this equation has to be top of mind for me to do so.  I have cheat days, I drink a soda on occasion, I take a nap when I feel like I need it.  I don’t drink any alcohol, I don’t smoke anything, and I take care of my body and mind.  The outcome of this is that I do have a life I am happy with, but also can see areas of improvement that are still available to me with some more work or adjustments.  I may not sound like I am a lot of fun, and depending on your definition of that, you could very well be right.  But I operate at such a higher level than every before, I have zero concerns on what I may be missing out by being  in bed by nine o’clock on New Years’ Eve.  These are choices we all have to make, but for me,, I had decided a long time go to separate myself from the masses, and the mindset of Quality Input equals Quality Output is a key component to accomplishing that.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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