Upstartist Diaries

The Pull-Up Principle

Motivation is closely tied to our expectation of success.

Our motivation is closely tied to our expectation of success.

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The Pull-Up Principle.

This is Jimmy.

He’s an amazing salsa dancer and teacher, and he also loves food, especially this Mini Stop ice cream.

This is what he taught me:


Plus , it’d be nice to have some guns like that guy.

So I did. I started at 10 pull-ups a day along with Jimmy.

I mean this guy was a beast. It sucked. My hands were ripped, my shoulders were sore, but I kept going.

Honestly, the first two to three days were the toughest to continue, but I did.

10 pull-ups became 15 pull-ups. Then a couple weeks later 30 pull-ups a day. Then a couple months later 60 pull-ups a day

But I still couldn’t do a damn muscle up.

Being a gymnast I used to visualize my routines so I thought this should work here. I’d literally imagine myself doing one muscle-up, but I couldn’t get over the bar.

Then one day, when Jimmy wasn’t looking, it happened. And I did it again.

This was a special day. I did my first muscle up on September 23rd and that was also the name of our beloved park in Saigon. Full of savory and unsavory characters, kids, randomness, and of course, the bars.

It took me two and a half months to go from 10 pull-ups to 1 muscle-up. Two days later I did 10 muscle-ups. And a week later I even added my own moves.

So why does the pull-up principle work?

Our motivation is strongly tied to our expectation of success.

When you’re sure you can win your motivation is high.

I knew I could do at least the same number of pull-ups as the day before, and while I was there, why not try to do one more?

Plus, by consistently doing something I valued every day, I was telling myself, “Yeah Darren you’re getting stronger homie!”

So back to the bars.

How can you apply the pull-up principle to your fitness, to your work, and to your play?

How can you design tasks so that you know you can win?

So that you look forward to the challenge?

[Jimmy: I don’t know if I can do another one.
Darren: You better try!]

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