[This post is part of a series on Cold Showers. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view that series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
I got this email from a reader this morning:
This caught my eye this morning. Watched the video. I’m accepting the 30 day challenge which will conveniently end the day before my 46th birthday.
I first thought of how exciting it was for someone to take up the challenge. Then I thought about how February is probably the coldest water month. I did my thirty days with only cold water December into January and the water got colder over the month. In that month I took minimum five-minute showers and five minutes under water this cold starts to hurt.
Since then, for my ongoing every-fourth-day cold shower I haven’t required five minutes. I do my regular washing and then count slowly down from sixty, probably making a two-and-a-half to three-minute shower.
I wondered, “should I suggest relaxing the five-minute requirement since the water is so cold now?”
Then I realized thinking about talking about minimums and relaxing them would take too long and sounds like complaining. I should just take a five-minute cold shower.
So I did. A gratuitous February cold shower. It was just like old times. It reminded me of the feeling that inspiration gives, as I wrote in “How inspiration feels, in depth“, that inspired people look back fondly at the crazy amount of work they did after the project is done and inspired people value missing less rewarding activities, no matter how fun they would have been.
I set the timer to five minutes and ten seconds to give me time to get in. When I began to psych myself up to get in, I did what I used to do that worked better than psyching myself up. Without thinking about it, I pressed the start button. Acting works better than thinking! With ten seconds to jump in, I jumped in in less time than I would have taken to psych up.
The water was cold. There’s a temperature where if you keep your head under the water for long enough it hurts. Today was below that temperature, but I was surprised how well I handled it. After five minutes I measured the temperature. It was 46.5 degrees. While cold, that’s a solid five degrees warmer than yesterday.
You know the feeling when you realize something you used to consider hard doesn’t seem hard because you’ve done harder? I had that feeling, a mix of accomplishment, satisfaction, and surprise. I like that feeling.
So I congratulate the reader and thank her for inspiring me to take an extra cold shower that gave me that feeling. That feeling endures a long time. The discomfort of the cold stops the second I turn the water off.
Aren’t enduring inspiration, accomplishment, and satisfaction worth temporary discomfort?
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