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Human beings have always been fascinated with the idea of the “Sensei” or the Zen Master…

The mysterious person who dedicated his or her entire life to mastering a vocation, skill, or art.

In particular, we have an undeniable affinity towards the Zen martial arts master or “Ninja”… 


They’ve appeared in movies, TV shows, and books since the dawn of time…

 

 We watch in awe as they effortlessly glide through deadly feats without wasting a single breath…

 

Laughing off their students futile attempts as they duke it out in training…

 

I’m talking Morpheus from The Matrix.

 

Master Pai Mei from Kill Bill.

 

Raz Al Ghoul from Batman Begins.

 

Now hold up…

 

I’m not asking you to put your entire life on hold…  say F it all then go find some wacky old man in a cold mountain to train you to stop an invasion of villains.

 

But hey… if you’re feeling inspired I won’t stop ya.

 

What I am asking you is to pay attention to the secret behind all the prolific ass-kickin’…

 

It’s not the boatload of skill…

 

It’s not the movement with the grace of a world-championship calibre figure skater…

 

It is the way they bask in tension.

 

They’ve conquered every form of physical and emotional tension a human being can experience… It barely registers.

You see…

 

Most people buckle under that kind of pressure…

 

Those characters made it their second home…

 

This isn’t just “movie” life either…

 

The same applies for top performers in entertainment –  Dave Chapelle on live on stage in full-swing is nothing short of magical…

 

Or watching your favorite athlete knock-it-out of the park…

 

The question is…

 

Can mere mortals do the same?

 

Well.. you can definitely come close with what I like to call “The Tension Chopping Block”…

 

What the hell is that?

 

It’s training your mind and body to chip away at the physical tension barrier little by little…

 

 Basically…

 

if you can train yourself to handle some physical tension, it translates to you being able to handle emotional and mental tension (also known as the stress monster)…

 

Because the physiological effects of physical and mental tension are essentially the same: increased heart rate, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, and mental fog or choking on your words.

 

So…

 

how do you develop your stress-handling muscle?

 

I find the best way to do this is physical stress under time.

 

Plank and squat holds are simple to do and get the job done without equipment…

 

 

You don’t even have to put clothes on and go outside to face the world…  do them in your living room!

 

If you’re an absolute rookie at this… start with 30 seconds and work your way up by adding 15 seconds each time you feel you’re breezing past your current marker…

 

You’ll find as you hone your physical stress-under-time chops… things which used to trigger stress easily now have to try a lot harder to poke at you…

 

As a hot word-slingin’ copywriter or cutting edge entrepreneur… It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzied momentum of client work or stacks of new projects.

 

The ability to better handle stress is like going into battle with thicker armor… you’ll be able to absorb harder hits and throw back more heat of your own heat of your own.

 

Here’s a bunch (uh, 1024) variations to the traditional plank if you get bored.