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January 30th, 2021
Moderation in everything. Or so goes the traditional wisdom. Frankly though, it’s an excuse for being mediocre. Many things improve due to extreme bursts of input - the farthest thing from moderation. Exercise for example: a short intense workout does more good for the body than a lacklustre couple of hours at the gym. A good diet actually isn’t balanced across all food groups but is ruthless in the exclusion of certain foods: sugar and processed, for example. This lazy dependence on moderation perhaps gets it’s clearest censure from one of our oldest texts, the bible:
Revelation 3:16 states
I know thy deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other, But since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold I will spew thee from my mouth.
The imagery is intense. No one likes a room temperature frappuccino and hot buttered rum that’s been sitting out for hours is anything but delicious.
A lack of moderation creates a charge, a pent up energy that can be directed into power. Where moderation dulls the blade to make sure no one gets hurt, a conscious lack of moderation keeps the edge so that when the need comes, the slice is clean.
Fact is, extraordinary results require extreme measures. Sometimes the extreme measure is to work on something every single day without fail for years. This is routine at work, and strangely the word routine feels as though it’s in the same arena as moderation. Both evoke a sense of thoughtful control, temperance and general lameness. But this is only because so many people have uninspiring routines. An extreme routine compounds into extraordinary results. A strict routine of maintaining an ironclad diet for 26 days of the month is anything but an example of moderation, and it’s immoderate measures such as these that achieve the results we pine after.
But the original axiom dictates all of this. If we should exercise moderation in everything then this would include moderation itself. Meaning, we should moderate our moderation, and therefore, with some things, we are wise to be extreme.