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...Tell Me More
I saw someone wearing a t-shirt the other day that read “Do More of What You Love.” It was a simple message but a welcome shift from the deluge of difficult news and negative media we’re often met with. I wasn’t in a hurry that day and let my mind wander with it while I waited for a friend. The fact is, over the years I’ve managed to revamp my life in such a way that I am indeed doing more of what I love. It’s taken time, but I’ve combined what I should do to take care of myself with what I enjoy doing. Trading hours of training each day for beach sprints, surfing and Ultimate has been a part of that. But so has taking more time to be in community and to write. I’m in a profession now that I find fulfilling, and I pursue a whole range of hobbies that bring me a good share of joy in addition to well-being. Going Primal rebuilt my health, but it’s also transformed my life and helped me stumble into passions I didn’t realize I had. Beyond being in the business itself, however, I think there’s truly something to just living the Primal way that’s conducive to discovering what you love.
There’s something ironic to all this of course. Grok and his kin didn’t have all the opportunities we do—not in the incredible span of possibility available to us anyway. The priority was survival, and a lot of time and energy were invested in that most basic of pursuits.
Grok wasn’t funneled into a minute specialization from an early age or expected to work a 40-80 hour work week on top of a long commute. The guy had a fair amount of leisure and choices in the very rough and rudimentary scheme of things.
On the other hand, many people today lead lives of flatness or even despair in which they take paths dictated by cultural or familial expectation—or by the pursuit of money over passion. They go whole decades of life never asking what they’d rather be doing, and those frustrated inclinations end up coming out sideways in a midlife crisis or just a subtle resentment that smolders each day.
Some might scoff and mutter, “first world problems,” but I’d argue it’s a natural human instinct to want more in terms of actualization. Human evolution didn’t stagnate after all. Our ancestors were curious and ambitious, and we should be grateful for it.
Rather than minimize the inner call for passion and purpose, I think it makes sense to go with it. While we may be searching within a framework bigger and vaguer compared to the clearly defined communal goals of Grok and his kin, we don’t need to get lost in the “burden” of choice.
So, how can a Primal lens help us discover and go after our passions? Here are some thoughts…
For me, this is what The Primal Connection was all about. What are the fundamental human inclinations and genetic expectations beyond mere survival? What have tens of thousands of years selected for by way of physiological impetus and reward? The answer: living in and contributing to community. Having a family or supporting the younger generations. Giving of oneself altruistically. Communing with the natural world. Telling stories. Passing on traditions. Pushing our physical limits for euphoric enjoyment and healthy competition. Engaging in creative pursuit. Making music. Dancing. Honoring seasonal shifts and life passages through communal ritual and ceremony.
There’s something about going Primal that separates the modern, manufactured priorities from the essential, timeless pursuits. At its best, living primally teaches us how to live more deeply in our humanity. It roots our lives in the richest elements of life’s original design—elements that are accessible to everyone.
Bring an inner barometer to these fundamental pastimes. Then compare them to keeping up with the Joneses and living a life that follow theirs in lockstep. What inspires you more?
It comes down to this question: what have you done for your Primal mind lately? If all the modern trappings fell away from your life and you found yourself in Grok’s shoes one day, what would you gravitate to? Who would you be? Do more of that in your life today.
There’s no failure, only feedback, as they say. Human evolution was one long chain of trial and error. (Luckily, our stakes aren’t typically as high.)
What would it mean to take up the banjo? To go back to painting? To try your hand at sailing? To join a hockey league? To travel to Antarctica? Embrace your Primal sense of adventure, and see what happens.
What about our lifestyle choices isn’t working for us anymore? For a while, it was enough to ask this question about food and exercise. But the inquiry seldom ends there.
When we realize we enjoy feeling good, it’s pretty natural to set your sights higher. Once healthy is checked off, how about fulfilled? Self-investment takes on new dimensions. Limitations aren’t set in stone. We have a bigger sense of what’s possible for us—and the courage to ask what needs to change in our lives and environments for us to live the life that really serves us.
I know a lot of people who talk about the toll their sub-optimal physical health took on their mental well-being. The fatigue meant they were stuck in getting through the day, in conserving their energy just to get by.
As they reclaimed their health, their energy skyrocketed, as did their enthusiasm for life. They took on new physical goals and pursuits. Vacations became active. Time at home with the kids meant everyone played—including them. They flourished as a result and took up new hobbies that reflected their desire for good health and a great time with the people they love.
The space between people’s visions and their actual lives is often measured in excuses. To go Primal even in the circumscribed physical sense, however, obliges us to cut through the crap. How much do we want our health after all?
The thing about the Primal Blueprint is that it’s a loose template rather than a mindless plan. The principles are there, but nothing is handed to you. You create it. You customize it. You decide what it needs to look like for you to follow it.
What kind of exercise are you motivated to do? What daily movement inspires your commitment? What outdoor activities excite you? What kind of balance and routine do you need in your day to make sure the truly important things get done? When you’ve opened up your life by giving up the old time-wasters, what do you start dreaming about doing? What incites euphoria? What gives you something to look forward to? To paraphrase some famous words, what have you decided you will do with this, your one Primal life?
Thanks for reading, everyone. Have you found your passion through Primal living—or are you enjoying the ride as you experiment and move into new territory? Share your thoughts on the board, and have a great end to your week.
Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.