Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 125, Finished.

(This is going to be a long and in-depth post, so by all means, save reading it for an hour when you can settle in and mindfully enjoy the time it takes)

One Year Older

About a year ago, around the time I was turning 28, this video was featured on YouTube.

I smiled and laughed a little but inside I was thinking, "Dude, that's exactly how I feel." I have spent my whole life thinking of myself as a "young person," but as 30 approaches I am forced more and more to the realization that yes, age is happening to me too.

I'm not saying, oh gosh, I'm 29, I'm so old, poor me. It just hits me in the gut sometimes that I too will lose my youth, get aged, and die, and that's a new feeling that I'm still working with.

So, that video in the back of my mind, I decided that before I turned 29 I would do something about the slow slide my body was on towards being overweight and out of shape. I can't reverse the aging process, but I sure as hell can make sure this still-young body lives up to its fullest potential. So, I'm not going to make a song about it, but I made this photo composition. One picture is from July 22, 2008, the other from July 23, 2008.

This photo kind of sums up my philosophy on aging. A birthday is a chance to look into a brighter future, not a bleaker one. As we get older we only gain more knowledge to help us live as well as we can. For example, if I happen to have a free afternoon now, I really use it to do something that makes me happy, whereas the 25 year old me would have wasted it lounging around. And when I'm 35 I'll probably do something even cooler with that time. So although our remaining years decrease, the quality of those years can increase, if we are paying attention to how we are living, rather than how long we've got left.

The Origins of the PCP

I've always been a bit of a contrarian, so I decided last year that upon turning 29 I would be going the opposite direction of most of my peers, whose jobs and responsibilities are gradually leading them to neglect their health. Not only would I be in good shape, I would be in killer shape. As the thought process evolved I realized I needed some kind of target to keep my eye on as I went through this. I had always liked Bruce Lee but had assumed his level of fitness was far beyond a normal person. But one day I was watching some old clips and I noticed that Bruce didn't have a ton of muscle mass, he was just lean as a whippet and strong where it counted. And the thought just occurred to me, "I can do that." Bruce Lee wasn't superhuman. He just stuck to some kind of plan and worked hard. If I could only find that plan!

Just as all of these ideas were simmering in my mind, I met Chen Zhongtao, who lives here in Yokohama and works at an international school above my studio. He's done it all, he studied kung fu since he was a child, and after a tour in the Chinese military he became a policeman and then a police trainer, before meeting his wife and moving to Japan. Chen mostly teaches kickboxing, but I kept pressing him about how to get a Kung Fu style look. What did I have to eat? What exercises did I need to do? I pestered him for about 2 months, until he finally said, "You really want to do this? I can make you a plan. But it's going to be a little hard." That was fine with me. Nothing worth doing is easy. So, on the back of a bank envelope, he wrote my first week's diet. He was right. It wasn't going to be easy.

I knew that if I just haphazardly tried to follow this plan, it would collapse in on itself. I needed some kind of structure. I was going to Kyoto in a week or two, and I noticed that just after my trip was the first day of spring. So I would be well rested, and the first day of spring seemed like a great starting point for a project that was all about growth and living up to your potential. I also noticed that exactly 4 months later would be my birthday. 4 months seemed like enough time to change my body. So there was my scheduling structure. A 4 month, 125 day plan.

Now I needed some kind of social structure to support my project. If I tried to do it all alone there's no way it would work. I could keep a little online diary of my efforts, and maybe a few people in my family would read it. And, I could take a daily photo, and post it online, to keep myself honest and to shame myself into sticking with it!

Now all the plan needed was a name. "In shape", "fit", "lean and mean"... all of these usual phrases didn't encompass the kind of dramatic change I was after. I didn't just want to lose a few pounds, I wanted be as fit as possible. I wanted to be in peak condition. That had a ring to it.

The rest is history. And that history has been painstakingly blogged right here.

I never meant the PCP to involve other people, or to become a book. I never thought something could work so well. I got to a point where I was getting in such good shape that I felt almost a moral obligation to share this plan with others. It's like, if you see a really good movie, you go tell all your friends, "hey, go see such and such, it really moved me." That same kind of impulse was in me, because the Peak Condition Project was having such a huge positive impact on my physique, energy levels, and that all important quality-of-life. To not share it would have been miserly.

At the same time I was getting dozens of emails asking if I could tell people how the PCP worked and if I could "PCP them." But I knew just giving someone the diets and exercises would result in failure. The PCP is a whole package. You have to have the social aspects in place. You have to have a hero to aim for, a community supporting you and holding you accountable. So I decided to take on 3 people, but to try and replicate my experience as much as possible.

You see, a few times a week I was meeting with Chen. He was checking my gains and making small adjustments to my diet and exercises. I wanted the three other PCP participants to get that same "personal trainer" feeling. So we use the blogosphere and Flickr to keep in touch, along with a daily email. And David, Corry, and Sean have been doing great, each of them having a very different but successful experience with this plan. As my project ends I hope everyone will click over to their blogs and follow their progress with as much enthusiasm as you followed mine. And starting soon 6 new people will begin their path towards Peak Condition. 3 international and 3 Japanese participants.

Chen and I have also completed a book version of the PCP which anyone can use at home. It contains everything we've learned about how to have a successful project. We're in the process of looking for a publisher now, so if you have any connections in that area please please (please) get in touch with me.

Ok, so, you've all been waiting for the jumpsuit pictures. Here they are, along with some of the lessons I learned from the Peak Condition Project.

What the PCP taught me.

  • Anything can be done. You just need 3 things. A plan. The discipline to stick with the plan. And the flexibility to change the plan when need arises.

  • I learned that I love fruit.

  • Having a strong, fit body makes a huge difference in daily life. It's like you've grown a set of wings.

  • Drinking your calories is a dumb way to live. Sodas, mochas, frappachinos, even juices, they all aren't worth the caloric intake. It's much nicer to chew your calories.

  • Flexibility is not lost with strength gain. If anything, it increases.

  • Your body wants to be fit and healthy. It's desperate to be like that. Even the smallest encouragements of a healthy diet and some exercise will get it moving towards wellness. It's not an uphill battle.

  • Keeping a daily blog for 125 days straight is not impossible. There are so many interesting and unusual things happening all around a person that there's always something to talk about.

  • Bodybuilding really is a sport. I gained a lot of respect for those guys, especially the all-natural ones.

  • For every fitness plan you find there's another one that will tell you to do the exact opposite. It doesn't really matter, just choose one and stick with it. Changing back and forth will only end in ruin.

  • Box splits are really, really hard.

  • The vast majority of the food we eat is spectacular in its unfitness for human consumption. If you stop eating crap you stop feeling like crap. Who would've thunk it!?

  • Doing something like this brings the best out in people. They get a gleam in their eyes that says, "I can do this!" It's a beautiful thing, that gleam.

  • 4 months is unnecessary to reach Peak Condition. 90 days is plenty.

  • The kids section has pretty cool clothes.

  • When you eat right, the people around you eat right. Assuming you care about the people around you, eating right is a supremely loving thing to do for them. You don't have to sign them up or force vegetables down their throat. Just eat right yourself. You'll see what happens.
  • The entire fitness industry is a scam. You don't need to spend more than 20 dollars to get in the best shape of your life.

  • What you do need is time. Everyday. This is much harder to come by than money. Which is why the fitness industry is so big, as they promise to deliver results without the investment of time.

  • Jumpsuits are really easy to move in. I can see why Bruce Lee chose one.
  • The key to losing fat is not eating less, it's eating more of the right things.

  • The human body is capable of incredible energy levels, you just have to unlock them.

  • Even skinny people have a lot of fat inside them. It's just inside the muscle tissue.

  • 95% of the people at a gym have no idea what they're doing. If you're spending a few hours a week working out but you don't look like me, something is wrong. Probably your diet.

  • The clothing industry mislabels everything so that people don't feel so fat. If you're wearing something that says 32 inch waist your waist is really 34 inches. And that "medium" shirt is really a large. When you get down to a body size that actually mimics what people are supposed to look like, nothing fits anymore.
  • Peak Condition is a state of mind, not body. The moment I decided I was truly fed up with eating poorly and not looking my best, I was in Peak Condition.

  • Anyone can do this. Anyone. You can do this.

Closing Thoughts

Finally, I want to end on a kind of serious note here. As you know Bruce Lee was my ideal and my inspiration throughout this project. No one else combined technique, discipline, and philosophy so completely. Bruce Lee was a self-made man. Through his own hard work he transformed himself from a skinny kid in the back alleys of Hong Kong to one of the most recognizable people in the world.

Throughout my project I kept a little Bruce Lee pin in my pocket or bag, and when times were tough, when I wanted to push through a grueling set or was really craving some cheesecake, I'd look at the pin and think, "Every good choice I make is a step towards Bruce, every bad choice I make is a step away." So in a very real sense the spirit of Bruce Lee infused this whole project, and infuses the others' PCPs, and I'd like to thank him, for whatever it's worth to thank a deceased person.

Which leads me to my second point. Bruce Lee should be 68 now. He should be around inspiring us, leading Jeet Kun Do trainings, writing books on philosophy, and kicking ass. But he's not. He's dead. He died when he was 32 years old.

There's a lot of controversy regarding cause of the brain swelling that killed Bruce, but one thing's for certain, his training and rigorous schedule were contributing factors. He had been working hard on two movies, on top of a training regimen that I couldn't even begin to do. His body fat was so low that he was hypersensitive to the drugs they gave him after a collapse the previous week. On top of that cannabis was found in his system as he sought relief from the pressures of fame and the pain of a back injury he suffered while weightlifting years before. And all of that stuff combined to end his life much, much too early.

It's clear to me that Bruce Lee, despite being "the fittest man in the world," was not in Peak Condition. Peak Condition is a matter of balance. Being at your absolute maximum without teetering over the edge into unhealthy overtraining. It's also keeping your schedule free for things you enjoy, keeping your stress levels in check, and choosing a lifestyle that makes you happy, not simply successful. It's having that piece of cake at a friend's birthday party, skipping a training session because you want to continue a good conversation, and realizing when you've achieved enough and dialing back your program.

It's easy to get carried away with this kind of thing. It's easy to suck the fun out of it and mercilessly hold yourself up to impossible standards. I was on the edge a few times, but with good friends who grounded me I kept my perspective and have learned how to live a normal balanced life while maintaining excellent physical condition.

Above the place where I do sit-ups, I put up this picture of Bruce Lee to inspire me. I took it down tonight, because I'm finished with that part of the project. Although I'll never say a bad word about him, I don't want to have the body of Bruce Lee anymore.

I want to have the body of Patrick Reynolds.

(Patrick's Peak Condition Project is finished. But he'll be back with more news and new participants very soon! Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 124, What's in the Box? And the Answer is...

Thanks everyone who cast their vote for what was in the box given to me on Day 78.

You all came up with the suggestions yourselves and I must say I'm really impressed. Have you ever read James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds? The book talks about how in experiment after experiment, a crowd's average guess is always better than a single person, even if that person is an expert. So, if you ask a roomful of people how many jelly beans are in a jar, their collective average answer will always be closer to the correct number than any one person's guess.

Well, let's see how The Wisdom of Crowds worked for my little contest, "What's in the Box?"

Here's the box.

Here's me opening it...

No way, it can't be....

It is! Damn! A Yellow Bruce Lee jumpsuit!

Which is exactly what you all predicted it would be. That's really incredible. Thanks everyone for your guesses. I'm not going to put it on until the project is really over tomorrow, that just wouldn't be right. Check back then for pictures of me in it, and for my final posting of my Peak Condition Project. What a ride!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 123, I Know This Great Little Bar...

I can't believe this! As you remember, on Day 83 I detailed my efforts to find a suitable chin up bar around the Yokohama metropolitan area. The one I found was ok, but it was always populated by kids giving me a hard time, which is cute for, oh, about 45 seconds.

So recently I've been going to a community gym to use their bar set up, which is really out of my way and which I have to pay money to access.

Anyway, today, I took a walk because the weather was nice, and I took a backstreet behind my yoga studio which I rarely use. After about 30 seconds I came onto a little playground in front of Shinto shrine. And there it was. A perfectly designed chin-up bar. All by itself, without being attached to a jungle gym, in front of a peaceful little shrine and under a cherry blossom tree. I couldn't make this stuff up!

So, here's my magical bar. Isn't it great!?

Here's the most important exercise you can do from a bar. The classic pull-up. You'll notice the fingers point forwards. This will put muscle on your back faster than anything else.

After that is the chin-up, which mainly works the biceps. I don't need any bigger arms than I have so I don't do this one much. You can see that the fingers point backwards in a pull-up.

A fun variation is one hand in chin-up position, one in pull-up position. This will work a lot of muscles along the diagonal of the back.

I've done so many crunches over the course of this project that they don't really challenge me much anymore. So Chen started me doing my abs-work on the bar. Here are a few of the abs-workouts you can do with a parallel bar.

First is lifting the legs up to touch the bar. This requires every muscle of your abdomen at some point along the movement. The key is to control the return movement and not just swing down like a monkey It's a fun one!

Next is the same idea, but with the legs coming up at 45 degrees. This hits the entire line of obliques along the side of the body.

And finally, adding a fully extended kick at the end will require your entire core as well as superior upper body strength. This one isn't for the faint at heart! Holding the legs for a moment static in the air is even harder.

And lastly is a half kung-fu situp. With just a bar it's a little tricky to get the full Jackie Chan version, but this one works almost as well, with one arm providing stability. Start hanging from the knee joints.

And do a side crunch just like you would if you were on the floor.

It's almost funny. For all these weeks this perfect bar was just 30 seconds away. All it took was me breaking out of my habitual patterns and walking down a different street to find it.

Which is the PCP in a nutshell. Inside all of us is a strong, healthy, slim person who we just haven't found yet because we are stuck in the same old habits. Breaking up these samskaric patterns is hard at first, but the rewards to be found are immense.

Two more blog posts and my PCP is history! Tomorrow I'm going to open that box!

If you'd like to apply for round 2 of the PCP shoot me an email at thepeakconditionproject (at)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 122, Admitting Defeat

Man, I just can't get these box splits. I've still got two inches to go and that's not going to be made up in the next three days, so I'm going to admit defeat right here. Sadly, I will not be doing this before the end of my Peak Condition Project.

I worked really hard to get this split ready in time for the end of my project but it just wasn't in the cards for me. Part of the problem was that the leg training and squats I do for muscle building are exactly opposite of what you'd want to do for splits training. Getting thick, shortened quads makes getting this split take forever.

Still, I'm not very happy about it. I've never spent so much time working on one pose and not gotten it. Box splits are pretty unforgiving. If just one hip abductor is tight or wonky the whole thing is a shambles. It's been pretty humbling.

But I also enjoy the challenge and tonight I ordered a new book about how to work with your nervous system to get the most out of your stretches. Here are some of the highlights from the table of contents:

  • How Kabat's PNF fools your stretch reflex
  • The function of the Renshaw cell
  • Taking advantage of the inverse stretch reflex
  • Shutdown threshold isometrics
  • Mastering the Golgi Reflex tendon
So fun times ahead for me. A lot of people express bewilderment that I spend so much time learning these relatively silly things. Like, who cares if you can do a box split? But these physical goals are kind of a hobby for me. Some people make model airplanes, some people play raquetball, and a depressing majority of people just crash in front of the TV at night. I choose to spend my hobby time working on my body, not in a narcissistic way, but just because it's so interesting to see what it can do. And I turn this knowledge around for my students as soon as I've gotten a decent handle on it. I believe that information should flow smoothly and that giving knowledge away is always better than trying to hoard it for a few coins. So I'll stick to my weird stretches.

But I don't expect anyone to understand. I personally don't get much out of making model airplanes, but I'm sure it gives some people a tremendous feeling of well being. Whatever works for you, as long as it doesn't harm others, go for it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 121, Productivity

This week I got a commission to do 35 personlized logos for each member of a bank staff for an upcoming bank event. I had 5 days to finish this task.

I got it done in two, and the logos look awesome. I'll post them in this entry once they've been used.

I've noticed over the course of this project that new ideas come faster to me now that I'm fit and I can simply sit down, think about a design problem, and come to an elegant solution. Before I would spend hours in trial and error, or just procrastinating.

So the PCP is really paying for itself, if I take into account how much more work I can get done in a given day now.

7 a.m. yoga in the park lesson tomorrow, so I better get to bed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 120, Your Turn

Hey everyone. It's hard to believe but my Peak Condition Project will be finished in 5 days. I just wanted to take this chance to open up the blog to questions from any of you who have stuck with me through all of this. So, if there's anything you've been wanting to know about the project, ask it in the comments section, and I'll give you honest answers. If you prefer to ask me privately feel free to do so at thepeakconditionproject (at)

I know from the numbers that there are hundreds of lurkers on this page, which doesn't bother me, I'm a bit of a lurker myself, but consider this weekend a "lurker amnesty" and go ahead and unload your questions or comments, because, for all intents and purposes, it will be your last chance. And to everyone a deep gasho from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement.

Also if you'd like to try the PCP for yourself apply soon at the above mentioned email!

Okay, the questions are coming in fast, so I'm just going to add them to this post as they come in. I'll paraphrase, if you want to see the original question it will be in the comment section.

Q. What type of resistance bands did you use?
I just got a cheap set of three from some no-name maker. The key thing is that your set have detachable handles and a door anchor (which I will always think of as a "dongle") My set was nice because you could add a band or two for more resistance as you got stronger. It took me snapping two bands to figure that out.

Q. What's wrong with bananas? Why do all the PCPers fruit servings say "no bananas?"
Because we really hate yellow things. Nah. Because bananas are really high in carbohydrates, which we need to keep close track of during the weight loss Phase. There's nothing wrong with bananas, but they can throw off your plan a bit if you're not careful, especially when eaten at night.

Q. Is it really healthy and or sustainable to eat all those eggs? Quite apart from the gas issue, how about cholesterol ?
-You'll notice we only eat egg whites. The yolk of the egg contains all the fat and cholesterol found in eggs. So, we boil the eggs, open them, discard the yolk and just eat the protein rich egg white. No cholesterol! But it's not sustainable to eat all the eggs, it's just during the project. After the PCP ends we'll teach you how to maintain your muscle without eating eggs all day.

Q. How do you target your legs without weights? Is there a danger of developing "big torso, skinny legs" syndrome?
-We do squats, just plain old squats without a weight. Also lunges. And for big quad work we do floor jumps, which involves sinking down to the heels, and jumping two or three feet into the air, and repeating down the length of the room. We also do a ton of jumprope, which tones the legs. However to get at the second part of your question, on the PCP no one will develop a "big torso" because the weights are low and the reps high, you will get a strong, lean look, much like the man Bruce Lee himself.

Q. How can one "keep it PCP" in a college dorm setting?
So much of living in a dorm is "Home Alone" syndrome. No one is watching you, no one cares what you eat, so you order pizza 5 nights a week, just because you can. And don't even get me started on the drinking. Just remember, it's true, no one has any say over you anymore, once you move into a dorm. That also means when you gain 20 pounds and have the same complexion as that pizza you're eating, there's no one responsible for that mess except the person in the mirror.

This isn't to say I didn't eat all manner of horrible things in college, and gained 20 pounds. Everyone gets to be a young fool once.

Q. Is it more beneficial to build muscle, strength, and vitality with yoga or kung fu? I can choose only one for an upcoming class.
-Yoga. Yoga gives you the base for any other physical activity, because it builds core strength, improves balance, increases flexibility, and most overlooked, improves the quality of your breathing. Without those things, your (insert sport here, kung fu, tennis, curling, etc...) is going to suck. True, you can eventually build those things in your given sport, but getting a handle on yoga first is the fast track to success. I've spent a few months in all kinds of dojos in Japan, and I've found my yoga conditioning has me passing guys who've been there for years in just a few weeks. They find a million ways to dismiss this, but I know it's from the yoga.

But, if you just want to have a good time and kick some stuff, do the kung-fu.

Q. What will you focus on next? Mental Peak Condition?
- I'm going to take it easy for a few weeks before starting my next project. I'll be working on flexibility and using my in-shape body for martial arts. Chen and I are also working on The Kung Fu Body, which will be like the PCP but for the longer term, more of an overall approach for life.

Q. Will there be a PCP convention?
-That would be awesome. I'd really love to meet everyone in person and swap old war stories.

Q. Will the PCP ever really end?
-Yes and no. The strict diet and exercise will be toned down a lot, in fact that's what I've been learning to do this month. But the philosophy, that you should challenge yourself to be at the top of your form every day, even when you know you're feeling like crap, will stay with me forever.

Q. In the first weeks, how did you resist the temptation of non-PCP foods?
- I used a lot of little mental tricks. One of my favorite was asking myself "how many times in your life have you eaten (___________)? (cheesecake, lasagna, etc...) The answer would usually be in the hundreds. Then I would ask myself, "How many times in your life have you had low body fat and looked really fit? The answer was always zero. So, I could do something for the 101st time, or do something for the very first time. That kind of thinking, always focusing on the positive gains rather than what I couldn't have, made all the difference. Another helpful thing is keeping your mouth busy. In the first month when I really wanted something bad I drank a cup of coffee. I like coffee so there was some small satisfaction without any caloric impact.

Q. How will you incorporate the PCP into your normal life once it's over?
-This is my main area of interest right now, and I'll post what I learn online in some way or another. Some things are easy, like the exercise and diet, others are trickier, like, what level of fitness am I willing to settle for post project?

Q. Is the PCP only for reasonably fit people with strong willpower and good genetics?
-I'll be honest with you, at the start of this project I thought that this plan would be for people who are in good shape but want to reach peak performance. But as it's gone on I've realized that it works just as well for overweight people, in fact, the results would be even more dramatic as it's not that hard to lose excess weight. The last 5 pounds take just as long as the first 2o would. Willpower isn't really the issue. The PCP is about breaking up old unhelpful habits and introducing new ones. If someone really decided they wanted to change their body they could do the Project with great success, no matter what their condition. But it won't work with a half-hearted effort. It wouldn't take very long either, even for someone 40 + pounds overweight. In fact, right now I'm looking for a substantially overweight person to sign up for Round 2. So apply! What've you got to lose! (besides your spare tire?)

Q. What's a Leg-up?
-It's when you lie on your back and instead on crunching your upper body, you lift your legs. This works the lower abdominals. When I started I did a lot of these buy now I hang from a bar and lift my legs over my head when I want work that area.

Q. When you switched from smoothies to regular food for dinner, did you continue to lose weight or did it stabilize?
-It stabilized. But we only switched to smoothies when the target weight was reached. I would've been on them longer but I lost my weight fast for some reason. The other PCPers were on them for longer but have just gotten off. The smoothies were actually one of my favorite parts and I still drink one when I don't feel like cooking or want a light meal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 119, What is Kung Fu?

When you hear the word Kung Fu, this is the image that probably springs to mind.

In America we mostly know Kung Fu as a guy with fancy moves kicking the crap out of another guy. The word Kung Fu is usually used as the name of a martial art, the same way we say "Karate" or "Taekwondo."

This is pretty far from the original meaning of the word Kung Fu.

First we have the character Gōn (功), which means achievement, or to have merit. And Fu, (夫) which means man. So to have gōngfu means to be a "man of merit" or "a person of achievement." Perhaps a rough colloquial English expression would be someone who is "worth his salt."

You can see that this has very little to do with beating anyone up. Wikipedia, which is great for info but often lacking in literary style, actually has a very readable passage on this which I'll reprint here.

"Originally, to practice kung fu did not just mean to practice Chinese martial arts. Instead, it referred to the process of one's training - the strengthening of the body and the mind, the learning and the perfection of one's skills - rather than to what was being trained. It refers to excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor. You can say that a person's kung fu is good in cooking, or that someone has kung fu in calligraphy; saying that a person possesses kung fu in an area implies skill in that area, which they have worked hard to develop. Someone with "bad kung fu" simply has not put enough time and effort into training, or seems to lack the motivation to do so."

I really love this meaning of the word Kung Fu, even though it is all but dead. It is how I try to do everything that comes my way, be it business, yoga, graphic design, or even keeping up this blog. Consistent effort over extended periods of time is the only way to truly master something.

The cool thing is that to have good kung fu in training isn't nearly as hard as gaining other types of kung fu. Eating right, working out the smart way, and just keeping at it is all you need. It doesn't take many months either as this blog has proved. So, on the scale of arts to master, getting in shape is a no-brainer. And the best thing is that having a fit and healthy body gives you the energy and focus to pursue those other, harder to attain goals.

So whatever it is that you're doing in your life right now, find the Kung Fu in it and do your best. This isn't just so that you'll be successful (which you will be), but will insure that you actually enjoy doing it.

(For a few more days we'll be accepting applications for round 2 of the PCP, apply and surprise yourself Thepeakconditionproject (at)