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The Path and The Course
Written by Marc Heileman on 20JAN2018
Where we are Coming From – and Where We are Going. Come with Us

“The Path:” is what we call the overall Treadstone program. It includes – among other things - the Treadstone Awards Program of custom Patches that can only be earned with consistent training. Nothing is anything without an intentional Path to improvement. This is true for Fitness and the other Seven Areas of Life into which you can arguably categorize everything you are and do. People who are committed to Intentional Living are committed to this Path to self-improvement. 

You are on a path (maybe with just a little ‘p’) whether you know it or not - whether you choose it or not. Accidentally finding yourself wandering in the woods at night without a compass or a light is still a path – just an aimless one. And yet this is quite literally how most people live. The exceptions to this approach are what we mean when we use the word “exceptional” to describe someone … and they are – by definition – in the minority. Be one of them. Be exceptional. That’s what we are working towards at Treadstone, and that is more our product for you than Climbing or Ninja is. 

“The War Path:” For an even smaller number of people (quite literally only 1 to 3%), there is what Treadstone calls “The War Path.” These are not necessarily Soldiers with weapons, but they are people who have embraced The Warrior Ethos in their approach to life … in business, sports, academics, etc. It’s an embrace of competition and performance as things that make us better, without the all-too-common, inspiration-sapping protestations about performance-orientation that have led to our “everyone-gets-a-trophy” (EGaT) pop culture. 

Only actual achievement can have the self-esteem-building properties that EGaT says it is trying to produce. It cannot be done artificially. Even small children learn quickly that “achievements” are meaningless if you try to reward mediocrity. You are robbing people of true achievements if you try. The pee wee baseball league that doesn’t keep score robs the Little Johnnies of their spectacular triple plays, the joy of winning, and fails to inspire teams to get better so they can win next time. 

And Winning is important. Yes, do it with style and sportsmanship, but run the race to win, as “even” The (imminently compassionate) Bible says as well. The ability to Win translates into making sales, having a healthy family, getting her to go out with you in the first place, make a production quota that keeps jobs around for thousands of people, beat back a global Nazi threat, or defeat cancer. The list is endless. Try to imagine a Story without such a quest. Why do we seek such stories? We wouldn’t if the story line lacked such a quest. It’s the universal theme of every story line precisely because the need to quest and win is written into our DNA. 

So why live without that same mentality? Yes, it can be done cheaply. Everything is corruptible. The “bad sport” is to Winners what lust is to Love; what greed is to Work Ethic, etc. But don’t confuse the two. They are different, and a discerning person can see that. When EGaT becomes an epidemic, a society loses the ability to compete in larger arenas, and is open to conquest – militarily yes, but also economically and otherwise. Sports and Fitness are important in a larger sense precisely because we can learn winning attributes off of a battlefield or outside of a corporate board room … where we will be making decisions that affect thousands of soldiers or employees in a life and death - or livelihood - way. The Arena and the Gym, then, are laboratories for developing Winning habits. 

In everyday life, people on The War Path are your competitive athletes who sign up to win triathlons, get advanced degrees, or go to Ranger School; all because they set their sights on goal-oriented Paths. They don’t embrace excuses, and they seek correction without getting their feelings hurt … because they are “questing” to Be All They Can Be. They seek Mentors they respect, listen to them when others would argue, then they go forth and do the work they’ve been advised how to do. 

People on The War Path can stick to goals. They may lose battles, because they are far from perfect - in fact, their failures are spectacular precisely because they reach so far out of their depth - but they are secure and determined enough to Press On anyway. They stand on the shoulders of others, rather than have such an inflated estimation of their own opinion that they can only achieve what they can learn for themselves from scratch in their short lifetime. Generations, centuries, and millennia of the Mentor approach would truly elevate the individuals of a society. 

None of this is judgmental. If you hear it that way, you are not on The War Path. If you wish to be, it can be learned. But learning it is a paradigm shift if you are an adult coming to it from a past collection of alternative approaches built on excuses, insecurities, EGaT, cynicism, etc. That is why drill sergeants have to take a painful “shock and awe” approach to recruits … because those raw recruits are adults with ingrained habits that are hard (but vitally important) to change if they are to survive in combat. For this reason, and a few others, we associate this mentality with Soldiers.  

For the sake of clarity, The Path is simply about being intentional and goal-oriented. The War Path is all that, but turned up to eleven. It describes the people who are competitive. Who are trying relentlessly to be Rocky, or Winston Churchill. 

“The Course:” as in “Stay the Course” and how it differs from a “Path.” As we said above, everyone reading this is on a Path. Some are aimless. Some in this gym are Boulderers. Some are Sport Climbers. Others are on the Mountaineering Path. Others are on the Fitness Path. Others are on the Cardio Climbing, weight loss, or Ninja Warrior Path. In all of them, there are ways to intentionally train, but they are all very different. A Course, by contrast, is something for an entire ship. Everyone on board is on the same Course. There is a Captain, a Leader, who decides that Course. All Crew Members are on it. So are the passengers … of course. 

The Treadstone Gym is that ship. And our Crew is called that because they are more than just "employees," with the "minion" connotation that word carries. Our Crew is important, vital. We seek their expertise and input, but when the Captain decides where we are going, it is time to haul the lines, and contribute to getting us there the way (s)he says to do it. The metaphor of a ship is appropriate for so many reasons. One, it still communicates the all-important hierarchical structure that is highly important in any type of organization … but without necessarily having the military overtones. After all, despite being life or death in importance, operating a cruise ship or merchant ship – or corporate HQ - has the same hierarchical structure. And adherence to that structure is life-or-death important. That’s why such Crew members on a ship, or Green Berets on an A Team, operate at higher performance levels than their counterparts elsewhere. 

Additionally, Columbus, GA was a sea-faring, maritime town at one time … named for a man who drove tall sailing ships, which are just … really cool anyway. One of Marc’s favorite things, so please enjoy the metaphor with us and understand all the many reasons we use it. 

We don’t have all the answers, but have some experience, and we are on The Path. When we find we are off Course, we humbly adjust the rudder and sails. When you are on the Path for The Answers, you will find more of them than you would wandering the woods at night without your eye on The North Star. 

Welcome Aboard! We are here to humbly help you navigate Your Path.

 - Marc sends
Written by Marc Heileman on Monday, January 1, 2018 
Happy New Year!

Ladies and gentlemen. I hope your New Year is amazing. Happy Super Monday to you. I LOVE Mondays - because I set Resolutions every week. As I’ve read about and experimented with Intentional Living and Organizational Excellence concepts over the years...
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