Success is Best Served Cold

by | Jan 6, 2011 | Archives

Success can come from the cold and in small ways too.

This true story has a free health tip that might help us recover from  the holiday season.


Why my son Jake and I are in the creek and yes… that white stuff is ice and snow.

alex springs jake swim

Here is Jake on a cold, blustery January day swimming at Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest.

Yet jumping in a cold creek or pond… especially on a busy day with deadlines or when its just too cold or when a creek or pond is not available… is not always possible.

There is another way… taking one small cold step at a time.

Great luck in my early years brought me teachers who were positive role models that helped me learn about cold and the small ways to success. One example was a grade school teacher, in PE. He was a really touch but powerful guiding light. Here is a free tip I learned from him over 50 years ago that you can use now.

His name was Frank Smith, MISTER Smith, that is… no one would even think of calling him Frank. This was like the name that cannot be spoken. He was a tough guy, a former Marine who had a bunch of machine gun bullet scars stitched across his stomach, so the story amongst us guys in the jock room went. “Perhaps he was a drill sergeant.”   If not a real life drill sergeant really, he was for sure one at heart.  If any of us made a single mistake, we hit the floor and did pushups or curl ups till we ached.

This made us behave… and also made us strong, which was his goal.

When we played badly in football games we crawled on our knees back to the bus. Not if we lost, but if we did not give our best. Once when we won, we crawled.

MISTER Smith did not care if we won or lost, just that we gave our all.

I was the lousiest player on the team, but he gave me the uniform of a much better player because I tried so hard.


Me (in the middle) with two cousins at circa age 11. I was really fat!

One day during foot ball practice just before Christmas we had to cross the entire playing field in a spider walk, (on our hands and feet). This was agony for me (I was a 4 foot 11 inch 165 pound chubbo in those days) and when everyone else had reached the locker room, I still had thirty yards to go. The pain was excruciating, I could not breathe, I was hot, sweaty and was dying, but would not give up. One hand, one foot, one hand. I just closed my mind and kept plodding. He was there all the way. “Come on Scotty, you can do it. Don’t give up.”

I made it and literally tumbled down the stairs from exhaustion into the locker room.

MISTER Smith stopped all the boys and said, “This man plays in tomorrow’s game.” He knew I was not the best player being so fat and slow, but just getting that uniform changed my life.

That positive statement… that success helped me to grow.

I made two key plays as a guard in that game, once sacking the other teams quarterback (I was more surprised than the QB was) and a vital tackle.

I cannot remember if we won or lost but do know this success stunned me out of thinking I could not do physical things.

That encouragement and belief helped me learn to never, ever give up! I suddenly lost 20 pounds and as a 13-year-old boy who loved sports, believe me this changed my life in every way. I only wish I knew where MISTER Smith is now “Thanks, Mr. Smith, that Christmas game changed my life!”

Yet it took me 40 years and a shaman to understand what a powerful health tip MISTER Smith had really taught. He made us take a cold showers after each workout. When finished with PE, we hit the locker room, soaped up, cleaned off and then before we left, had to get under and stay for a bit under an icy cold stream. MISTER Smith would stand at the shower exit and test each person’s shoulder. If it was not chilled, back into that cold water!

Decades later Merri and I moved to the Andes and invited a shaman and his apprentices to live with us on our land. We lived as they did, said their prayers, ate their food, woke and rested when they did and joined in on their work and exercises.

Each morning we rose at 4:30 to 5:00am (before the sunrise) and did a series of strenuous exercises.

Then the shaman insisted that we take a cold shower and then air dry! Here is why he explained.

“The body gets heated up and our blood has lost oxygen in it. In the cold shower the body rushes this blood to the vital organs to protect them and keep them warm. This oxygen bath of the organs is healing, enhances the immune system and helps the organs detoxify.”

 This made sense to me and from that day (most mornings) I either take a cold shower after my morning exercise and hot shower, or when at home in North Carolina, jump in the creek or in Florida in the pool or lake.

This is very stimulating when the temperature is 10 or 15 degrees F in NC or 25 in Florida!

The shaman explained that the benefit of letting the cold air dry us out is that the evaporation process removes free radicals from the skin thus cleansing us from the outside in.

There is one more benefit when you get the water really cold.  On cold mornings I feel like taking a hot bath, wrapping up and sitting by the fire… fearing the cold.

If i can take just that one small step… having a little courage to face that cold water… I feel ready to take the next step.  The skin is so stimulated. The body really awakens. One feels fresh and the fear of cold is gone… taking with it other fears as well.

A stimulating start in the morning… the facing and beating back of a primeval fear… this is one small success we can build on… right at the start of the day.   Inner control you gain conquering that cold… can make you stronger and encourage success in all fields of life.

This may not seem like the easiest way to enhance your health and wealth, but it is easier than you think. This does not cost a cent and once you get in the habit, nothing feels better.

If you can’t do it, cold turkey… start with the water lukewarm. Each day turn it a little cooler until reaching the temperature you feel is brisk and invigorating for you. This is not a contest. Some body types like and need water warmer than others. Remember the important Golden Rule of Healthy Living, “Medicine is dose”.

Also “be careful” in any shower (at all times) so you do not slip. Have a good handrail and non slip surface to help you stay afoot when the chilly water arrives! 

Remember Success is Best Served Cold!


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