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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 23, 2008

The Art of Compromise

By Worker Bee
24 Comments

We arm ourselves with knowledge. We gauge the evidence and outline a plan. We form our ideals and establish steps for carefully considered goals. We seek out support and put our noses to the grindstone. We stay focused, keep learning and hone the design with time and experience.

Goals require responsibility, commitment and fortitude, but life invokes flexibility, compromise. In the midst of all the good, the bad and the ugly we hash out here (in the name of the Primal Blueprint), there it is at the end of the day: the compromise.

We talk about both ends of the stick here: the compromises we choose and those we’re more or less handed by life. Those we elect, the sensible vices and occasional indulgences we adopt? They’re ours to own and savor. It’s the glass of wine, the dark chocolate bar, even the piece of French bread during a long awaited dinner out on the town. A compromise of choice isn’t a weak moment or a giddy transgression in which we feverishly relish cheating – on ourselves. (What’s that about anyway?) Compromise in the Primal Blueprint is a fully informed and intentional act. We consciously choose how we will balance the enjoyment of everyday life with the commitment to cultivating health and well-being. We consider and select what we let into our lives, our diets, our bodies.

On the other end of things, we find the compromise of circumstance. Just as we bring a consciousness to the choices we make, we bring deliberation to the impact of conditions we can’t control but can mitigate: aging, stress, environmental toxins, etc. We take responsibility by seeing, sensing, learning about what is going on in us and around us. When it comes to the compromise of circumstance, we own it by knowing it. We do what we can to mitigate the damage.

To maintain the muscle mass and organ reserve of our younger years, we include weight bearing exercise in our workout routines. We maintain good protein intake. To alleviate stress, we meditate, take part in yoga, and spend time outdoors. To lessen the impact of toxins, we limit our use of synthetic chemicals and toxic substances, eat a clean diet and use wise supplementation (Mark’s store) to help ensure optimum health.

Some of you who have adopted the Primal Blueprint have commented on an evolving sensitivity to the body’s messages. You might react more strongly to a dessert or alcohol than before. You might feel unusually restless from skipping a workout day. True wellness involves both a deliberate attention to and naturally heightened perceptiveness of the subtleties of our physiological response. Not to sound too new age, but when we’re in tune with our bodies, we’re in a position to make better decisions about our daily health efforts. (Our bodies seem to have a lot more to say, but it’s likely the fact that we’re listening more intently.) We’re able to develop more individually appropriate, balanced responses to life’s compromises. And when we feel that keyed in, that aware and in charge, it’s easier to own the compromises we make and not feel frustrated or powerless in the face of compromises that are out of our hands. We also don’t end up “splitting” our life and health efforts between the good, obedient and the flawed, escapist. It’s all one picture, and the perfect doesn’t have to be the enemy of the good.

Everybody’s experiences with the Primal Blueprint framework and their own implementation of it are inherently different. We’re all coming to this with varied histories, conditions, frustrations, life situations, levels of fitness and health knowledge. Some of us have been pretty aware and honest with ourselves all along. Some of us had to turn over a new leaf and take charge. We hope the Primal Blueprint, in both its ideals and respect for life’s compromises, has helped you construct your own design for a consciously healthy and enjoyable life.

What are your thoughts and experiences with the Primal Blueprint – whether you’re just beginning to try things out or you made a solid commitment to the basic principles long ago?

robsmith-qld, Bethany L King, airpark, Wes & Eli Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

What is the Primal Blueprint?

Veganism – A Very Big Compromise

Are there any good carbs?

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

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24 Comments on "The Art of Compromise"

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Barry
Barry
8 years 5 months ago

“…the perfect doesn’t have to be the enemy of the good.”

This is such a true statement, even in life beyond health. It applies to work, marriage, even raising my kids.

I used to spend so long trying to be perfect at the one task I was given at my workplace, that others were passing me by, finishing more projects, and eventually their “goods” were better than my “perfects.” Hope that makes sense!

Sally
Sally
8 years 5 months ago

“Everybody’s experiences with the Primal Blueprint framework and their own implementation of it are inherently different”. I think everyone has there own unique experience and that is what makes us different and interesting to boot.

Terry O.
Terry O.
8 years 5 months ago

/delurk

I second that, Barry. When you obsess about being perfect on what you do, you miss sight of what you’re doing. The idea is to get the right habits and let most of the hard work unfold for yourself. That way you have more fun doing it well rather than worrying whether your task is what *should* be.

Terry O.
Terry O.
8 years 5 months ago

One more quick comment:

“We also don’t end up “splitting” our life and health efforts between the good, obedient and the flawed, escapist. It’s all one picture, and the perfect doesn’t have to be the enemy of the good.”

That’s quite Stoic of you to say that, Mark! Work along with nature rather than fight it. She gives us good in return because she knows best.

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Lindsey
Lindsey
6 years 4 months ago
Great post! The hardest part about being primal for me is learning how to deal when some sort of non-primal thing presents itself. I have to understand that while I am committed 100% to being as primal as possible, I also need to learn to not sweat the small stuff, and relax and enjoy life. Marks philosophy of 80/20 applies here too, and acts as sort of a de-stressing mechanism. Instead of getting so stressed out about what a piece of chocolate will do to my daily figures on my excel food spreadsheet (hey, I like to know exactly what… Read more »
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Katia Saenz
Katia Saenz
5 years 4 months ago
2 weeks in changing to a Paleo lifestyle, I had 2 tablespoons of chocolate moose dessert. All the blood rushed to my head, my cheeks and ears felt hot and I began to feel queasy. My body was adjusting to living with less sugar and I shocked it with the dessert. So, next time I treat myself it will be more natural and fruit based. Also, the last 2 times I did Indian Buffet for Brunch I got sick to my stomach. All those carbs, legumes, curries and tubers was just too much. I plan to go this Sunday with… Read more »
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