“Training – The Power of Modulated Challenge to Transform and Add Life,” by Nev Sagiba

The real emergency makes demands of its own accord and takes not into account the participants. Most, the unprepared become its victims. Some survive, injured, but carry post traumatic after effects. Few are able to take charge.

Conversely, the too comfortable too easily fall into decay. You seldom hear of someone graced with cheaper public housing setting about utilising that opportunity to develop a chain of supermarkets. They are more likely to expend inordinate efforts to get more handouts instead.

Where is the balance between extremes and how can it be found?

If you have a goal, when you believe it, and then follow up with regular manageable installments, you will see it happen over time. It’s much like walking, persistence, one step at a time. Everything in nature teaches us, but only when we choose to be open to learning.

The mind being a dispassionate tool, it will magnify and bring about whatever material you feed it. Equally as powerful can be self defeating beliefs. We defeat ourselves with the assumptions we make, excuses being the most destructive.

Excuses can only be made when you are sufficiently comfortable to do so.

Nature’s processes can not be second guessed; we usually discover the potential after having met real survival need in harsh circumstances.

In nature you either move and live, or simply die. There is no time for excuses. High risk has immense value in enlightening the mind. I can’t recommend it enough.

Most of the things excuse makers fear, they magnify and interpret as “high risk,” are in fact unremarkable and relatively easy adaptations.

Adaptations give life. Stagnant complacency, slow death. The stresses of adaptation and overcoming the irrational reticence often interpreted as “fear,” do us good.

We are designed to meet challenge, having known nothing else since the very beginnings of the universe. We are designed to be on the ball and relaxed about intense situations. But we have forgotten and so this gift needs to be revived.

How this?

One thing is certain: Excuses will not cut the thick layers of death that wrap around the complacent, years before the final breath.

Now, too sudden change will cause straining to the unprepared. Strain causes damage through breakdown as effective as the decay of complacent neglect. By properly preparing we remove the “s” and it becomes training.

Training has to be progressive. To be progressive it needs to be an evolution, not a revolution. Revolutions do not bring about sustainable change, because destruction does not create. Evolution triggers life in the form of adaptation response. Adaptation is our nature and has been our nature from the very beginning. Those ancestors who adapted and found ways to adapt, survived and you carry their genes. Those that failed to adapt are now extinct. You come from a long lineage of winners.

Training must be regular and manageable but also contain an element of intensity, change and challenge in order to release the numerous benefits and life bearing effects it brings.

Only you can determine how hard or how softly it is safe for you to train. Only you can determine that you will train.

The most empowering attribute of training is that in honouring a promise and commitment made to yourself, you empower yourself at a deep, core level.

The opposite of this is making excuses. Nature, in her changes does not listen to excuses or excuse makers. She kills them. Nature provides no alternative to moving and surviving since hers is a process of attrition where the weak, the despondent and the lazy are weeded out. Nature gives a damn about being politically correct or any other fabrications in the weak minds of her subjects. She made you, she can remove you.

Primary to our existence is not money, but the breath of life. You can live well without money but you die without the next breath. Training should stimulate the breath. It should stimulate the body and the mind and during the intense periods, when you’ve built up to being able to take them safely, also the spirit.

The beauty of training is that it is a choice. Your choice alone. You can train as hard or as softly as you know will be safe for any given time. You can stop, skip a session to rest and recover, train hard or train extremely hard. You know what’s best for you.

In today’s world we are either fortunate or unfortunate to be able to have time on our hands, depending how we spend it or waste it.

We can either kill time making excuses or use it to increase life in training of some kind.

In these golden era pockets of comfort, the power this gives you is that of modulating intensity, of choice, of control, of such self determination as many of our ancestors never had. They lived or died on the turn of a dime.

We have choice.

We are in a position to manipulate that dime so that when confronted with real emergency, we will have increased our chances of continuing that survival; thereby making it possible for future generations to continue to continue this journey of exploration which is: Human.

Whether you have bred or not is irrelevant. Some do, some don’t. Some pass genes, some pass memes and others do both. The scourge is in living an unproductive, self-serving life that fails to offer something of value to the newer generation and leaves nothing behind for the greater good.

Make sure therefore to “let you life so shine” and pass on the value of any wisdom or skill you may acquire whatever the field, instead of “hiding it under a bushel” of selfishness.

Empowered in the knowledge that you have the freedom to modulate challenges in the form of regular training and that this does indeed transform; all that’s left is turning up at the dojo, the gym, the art studio, the drama school, the riding arena, the school, the floor where you do yoga or whatever; and wherever your personal choice to increase and refine excellence lies.

Good wishes on your journey and know that you are never alone, even when you think you may be.

It doesn’t mater whose footsteps are left in the sands of time. Just walk on as best you can! You will find that indeed training does contain the power of modulated challenge; and when done properly, it will transform you.

You will learn a lot in a dynamic and practical way that will enhance your life.


One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along
the beach with the Kami.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed
two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Kami.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This bothered him and he questioned the Kami about it.

“Kami, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life there is
only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me.”

The Kami replied “My precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand,
it was then that I carried you.”

And from:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

A psalm of life: What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

‘Life that shall send a challenge to its end,
And when it comes, say, ‘Welcome, friend.”


  1. Nev, this is another really fine and inspiring essay. Must reading!

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