Mario Villalobos

How (Not) to Be Like Leonardo Da Vinci

I wrote once about how much Leonardo da Vinci inspired me as a kid. Remnants of what I learned from him still influence my thoughts and actions. He taught me to always carry a notebook, to live with integrity, and to keep fit and healthy. I’ve said this many times before, but I’m going to say it again: I’m in the best shape of my life. This, above everything else, is something I notice and feel every day, more than what writing, reading, and journaling provide. I understand this sounds vain, but I really enjoy pulling my shirt up and admiring my abs. I’ve never had abs before, and now I have them, and I like looking at them. In a sense, they’re the clearest and most visual example of what I’ve accomplished during my journey.

I’m starting off with this because I haven’t felt well during my past few workouts. There have been a few moments where I felt dizzy, or moments like today where my lower back hurt mightily. It didn’t help that I had double the workouts today, but I had to push through because I really did not want to fail. Even though I’ve felt like my “mental toughness”, something Shaun T says all the time, hasn’t been all that tough, I pushed through, for good and for bad. I always knew that I was more physically fit than where I believed I was, and that it was my mental toughness that held me back during some of my workouts. There are days when I’m not motivated enough to workout, but I do it anyway. I don’t push myself as hard as I do when I’m more motivated, but I’m still sweating buckets by the end of it. Thankfully, tomorrow, and all Sundays for the next month, is my day of rest, so I’m going to try and heal as best as I can.

A few days ago I wrote:

Numbers measuring my progress have kept me in check, and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them, but I believe I’ve outgrown them.

I have an app on my phone that I’ve been using since Day 1 to track all my habits and behavioral adjustments. Every day I open up the app and check off every goal I accomplished that day. Sometimes, as I go through my day and about to succumb to some urge, I stop myself because I want to check off that habit in the app and not feel disappointed in myself if I fail. This has included stuff like no alcohol to writing 300 words to eating well. I hate failing, and this has meant that I’ve lived a very restrictive life the past six months. They’ve been very happy days and I’ve accomplished a lot, but I really think I can start relaxing just a tad. I don’t expect to start drinking wine by the gallon or eating fast food every night for dinner for a week or lying in bed 24/7; but I also don’t expect — and, frankly, don’t want — to live this way forever. I shouldn’t hate myself for missing one workout day, even though just thinking about that while I’m this close to finishing my current hybrid workout freaks me out.

Coming back to Leonardo da Vinci, he didn’t finish many things he started. He was a perfectionist and highly curious. He wrote thousands of pages in his notebooks, and he even planned to go back and organize them coherently, but he never got around to it because he kept working until he died. My very regimented and strict lifestyle leaves no room for curiosity and improvisation. I need to change that if I want to improve, and that’s all I really want.