“If someone gave you a million dollars to hold this pose, would you do it?”
Most Sundays I go to my favorite yoga studio, Tiger Dog Hot Yoga in Evanston. I feel lucky when the teacher is Stuart, who is also the studio owner. He’s the perfect blend of humor and intensity, and he’s also a musician and former baseball player in addition to being a yogi. That’s a combination you don’t see everyday.
Stu likes to ask probing questions once the class is warmed up, after I’m a sweaty mess and my heart is racing more than it should. “Who ARE you when things get tough?”
My favorite question is the “million dollar” question. We’ll be in the middle of a pose, like my nemesis, the aptly named “Awkward Pose.” As the time begins to run out, Stu will bellow to no one in particular, “If someone gave you a million dollars to hold this for 10 more seconds, what would you do?”
So I ponder the question, and more often than not, there’s just enough gas in the tank to get to the end of whatever the challenge is. We’re stronger and more capable than our “thinking” minds would have us believe. Even in Awkward Pose, when I’m on my tip-toes and squatting as low as I can go on a given day, for what feels like an eternity.
This particular question can be incredibly helpful outside of the studio. Here’s the recipe: think about something you want to do better. Maybe it’s getting to the gym on a regular basis, learning some skill you want to pick up, or having a family dinner four times a week. Whatever. If someone gave you a million dollars to do it, could you make it happen? How?
Most of the time, the answer is yes, it’s doable. Even if you choose not to act on it, just thinking of the possibilities makes you a better strategist.
I ask myself this question a lot because it has amazing clarifying powers. It never feels like I have enough time to fit everything in, and the answer helps me evaluate my priorities. It also reminds that we always have choices. If you are the curious sort, give it a whirl sometime and let me know what you think.