Yes, this is a post about Pokémon. And you’re going to learn something from it.

So last weekend, some of my friends decided it would be a cool idea to buy some rum, vodka and other mind altering substances and proceed to spend the rest of the night seeing the world a bit more blurry than usual while attempting to seduce the opposite sex.

Other friends in the house, though, had decided to do something a little different – have an epic series of Pokémon battles. And you know what? That seemed like a lot more fun than clubbing to me. So I decided to join the two and pick up a DS to relive my childhood with them, while seeing the world through a different lens.

Playing this game again, while having entered a not-so-sober state, got me to thinking about whether or not Pokemon really was a waste of time. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that maybe – just maybe – there were a few things that we’d all learned while investing countless years of our childhoods into it. Here’s a list of five life and fitness skills I believe playing Pokémon actually helped us learn. Now, keep in mind that I came up with this list at 3am, while drunk, so some of it may be a stretch. Still, you should be able to go home and tell your parents or spouse how all those hours of Gameboy addiction actually made you a better, healthier and unknowingly a wiser person.

Lesson #1 Persistence is King

Working to catch every Pokémon, or at least beat the Elite Four, takes time and dedication. It requires persistence. The game does a really good job at helping you stay persistent by providing periodic and foreseeable rewards (gym badges), as well as spontaneous rewards (Togepi!).

The conventional definition of persistence is: “Refusing to give up or let go; persevering obstinately; firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”

Is it any wonder then, that persistence is the fundamental difference between a successful outcome and a failed outcome? In that case, it behooves us to develop the vital quality of persistence.

As you go about your workout routine, regardless of whether your goal is fat loss, muscle building, or simply to level up your hotness factor, one thing that you must make sure to have in place for success in your chosen endeavours, is a high level of persistence.

Nothing is going to help you continually make sure you move forward and see the progress you’re after like sheer determination and persistence.

On your journey you are going to have great days, and some pretty crappy ones.

The key to maintaining this persistent attitude is to focus on any and all progress you’re making.

Regardless of whether you simply lifted five more pounds while doing your squats or ran another minute, celebrate that victory. It’s a step in the right direction.

No matter how small, take the time to acknowledge your success. If you do this, you’ll get a nice boost to your own self-belief in your ability to achieve what you want with each step that you take.

This in turn leads to more effort on your part and a greater desire to achieve everything that you set out to achieve.

Far too many people get caught up focusing on all the negatives of any situation. Each time you make a mistake, you feel like a failure and this decreases your persistence even further.

Look on the bright side of everything. It can be hard but regardless of what’s happened, always look at the positives and you might just be surprised at how this influences your persistent nature.

Keep this in mind when working towards your current life goals as well. Sit down and figure out smaller “mini-goals” that you can achieve more quickly in order to keep your motivation high. Also, learn to recognize the spontaneous, unpredictable rewards that come up and appreciate them.

Lesson #2 Expect the unexpected

Expect the Unexpected written on the road

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Over the years, I have learned that you can plan all you want, obsess over every detail, and sometimes things just don’t work out.

One of the craziest yet best part about Pokemon was the critical hits. The enemy might only take away 4 HP (health points) from you with their first attack, but on their next turn they may KO your Pokemon and do 10x damage with a critical hit.

On your fitness journey your going to have kick ass days and then the next morning you may was up feeling like you got hit by a truck. One day you may see your abs and then 3 days later – *poof* – there gone. You may be going hard for a few months, then all of a sudden you injure yourself and undo all the hard work you just put in…

Similarly, things in real life can be sailing smoothly, but in the blink of an eye the course of your whole life could change. On any given day you could be laid off or a friend or a family member could get into a car accident. It’s not always a pleasant thought, but it’s important to realize that things can change for the better, or worse at any moment.

The reality is that there is no way to predict the future. Things can go wrong just as easily as they can go right. It’s so important to rise above disappointment and to turn a negative situation into a catalyst for positive change. The worst thing you can do is use a negative situation as an excuse to let it all go because it’s ‘easier that way.’

I don’t know what will happen one week, six weeks, or 12 months from now, but I do know I will stay true to my original goal; which is to get in the best shape of my life and make my dream life a reality. I’m ready to face any challenge head on, and I’ll learn and grow from each experience.

Lesson # 3 If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail

Winning at anything requires strategy. One of the things I got really caught up in while I played Pokemon was the strategy of it all. Pokemon are classified by their unique type. Some are grass, fire, water, ghost, dragon, etc. Each type is weak against a few types and strong against others. So fire is strong against grass, but weak against water. This unique setup is what made Pokemon the game so addictive. If you played your cards right, your attack would be “super effective” – which meant doing double damage to the opponent and almost always winning the battle.

The likelihood of success is directly correlated to strategy and proper planning. This type of constant questioning has led me to becoming an extremely analytical thinker and it’s not often others have to point out details to me. I have the ability to see variables and think in an “if this then that” manner like few others are able to.

The same is true in life. It’s impossible to succeed without a plan. It’s the diligent planners who are “super effective” in life.

When it comes to getting a panty-dropping, head turning physique, organization is vital. Counting macros and making foods fit your macros is really just a nutritional game of Tetris, if you think about it. And obviously, the more you practice it and the more reps you get it, the easier it becomes.

The people that do however are only successful because they are phenomenal planners. They strategically plan everything, from workouts to diet to full blown food benders that give your tongue a continuous orgasm for hours. Be one of these people!

Key Takeaway : Be an expert planner to win at life and at pokemon

Lesson #4 Always be evolving (pun intended)

One of the interesting things about Pokemon was how your means of transportation gradually improved throughout the game. In the beginning, you had to travel by foot and constantly deal with annoying wild Pokemon jumping out of the grass.

Later in the game, however, you were able to fly (on a pokemon) as well as travel by bike. You were also able to purchase repels, to prevent the constant onslaught of Ratatta while traveling through caves.

The Missingno glitch, perhaps the most famous bug of all time could be used to duplicate whatever item you had 6th in your inventory. Missingno could be encountered about two-thirds of the way through the game and using him to duplicate rare candies was a great work around to having to spend extra time leveling your Pokemon up.

When my best friend first told me of this trick I didn’t believe him because I thought the developers would be too smart to let a glitch like this pass. I was wrong.

Although there’s no magical shortcut that’s able to multiply your “gold nuggets” in real life, going against the grain of social conditioning often produces great rewards.

One of the best changes I’ve made in my life over the last few years is to always be on the lookout for ways to improve my life and change the way I do things. I’m always asking myself…

How can this be done quicker and with more accuracy?

Who else has done this that I can learn form and emulate?

How can I do this differently to achieve a more impressive result?

Things like developing your dream body, starting a business, or learning cold approach are often frowned upon or doubted by the majority of society, but they’re also among the most rewarding things you could ever choose to do.

Don’t lose this skill. Approach your work every day and every gym session with the mindset that there’s a better way to do it. Find that better way, apply it, and perfect it. Too many people will lazily accept the first solution and never look to improve it. Not only is this inefficient, but it leads to complacency and stagnation. You want growth and progression, so work for it! 

“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.” Lou Holtz, author of Wins, Losses and Lessons.

Lesson #5 Follow your dreams

Dream big, set goal, take action word on blackboard

Maybe I should’ve started with this one; nonetheless it is the most important lesson so pay attention!

The best lesson Pokemon taught me was to dream fucking big! Ash (the main character) was a twelve year old nobody, but he understood that he wasn’t going to be a nobody for the rest of his life.

This 12 year old kid decides he wants to be the best pokemon trainer there is. He’s got school. He’s a little kid. He can’t even drive yet. He doesn’t care though, he has a dream.

He knew that if he put in the work he had the potential to be the best in the world. He got off on the wrong foot; waking up late on the day he was to be given his first Pokemon and he almost missed his opportunity, but against all odds, him and Pikachu  (badass electric pokemon) were able make it to the top, proving all the haters wrong.

When he decides to throw everything out the window and go be a pokemon trainer, does his mom try to stop him? Does she tell him to go get a proper education and a real job? No. She tells him to go for it and sends her kid out into the world all by himself to follow his dream.

Ok so maybe sending a 12 year old off on a solo trip around the country isn’t necessarily A-level parenting, but that’s not the point. He ditches everything to go follow his dreams and doesn’t let himself be stopped until he’s at the very top. He’s got an weirdly supportive mom to help him along, but I get the feeling he would have done it even without her approval.

You should have the same attitude. If you’re not happy, don’t just settle. Set a goal, an ambitious goal, and work toward it. Of all the things you can learn from Pokemon, learning to follow your dreams is the most important.

Big Dreams Lead to Massive Fucking Success

Many people I know have no goals beyond finding their next meal and what twist is going to take place on family feud tonight. They have no desire to dream big or shoot for the stars. In doing so, their lives become a continual string of mediocrity. We exist to do meaningful work. So many people waste their precious time doing something they despise. I don’t think it has to be that way. Find your passion. Find what you love and pursue it. Don’t forget though, you’ve got to take action. You can’t sit around twiddling your thumbs and expect that your dreams will magically come true.

“The architect of the universe didn’t build a staircase leading to nowhere” 

Earl Nightingale