Athletic Training · Philosophy · Resilience

Limitless, Jason Bourne and the quest for superhuman skills


With sadness at the news that the CBS show Limitless is ending after one season and the joy of anticipation of another Jason Bourne film, I ask myself, “What is it about these films that resonates with some people at the core of their being?

The answer is obvious really — people, especially men, want to be superheroes. Plain and simple. You want to hook a guys attention? Tell him about a new skill or ‘hack’ that will get him that much closer to the Jason Bourne archetype — a guy who can handle himself in every situation imaginable.

Men’s magazines and Tim Ferriss probably lead the charge in this respect. I mean, it’s no coincidence that Jason Bourne features in the intro to Tim’s podcast and I think he’d agree he’s intrigued with the idea of becoming an all-round badass.

So what’s this got to do with calisthenics? A lot really.

See, one of the biggest motivators of us blokes is the idea that we can get by on our own. It’s probably the cause of many of our neuroses (we don’t want to ask for help), but it is also something that gives us intense desire to better ourselves.

So calisthenics — just you, gravity and a bar or park bench is all that is necessary.

Mastering your body weight is something that will make you a better athletic specimen — a more capable human and it’s immensely fulfilling.

Whether it’s being able to your first Pull up, Muscle up or Pistol squat, there’s enormous satisfaction in those moments.

Genetic potential


Underpinning Limitless is the idea that we could be more. Do we really know the depths of our brains and what it’s capable of? For years this idea has been mired in the pseudoscientific musings of faith healers and remote viewers but the idea of chemically stimulating the genetic potential in our brains is something of a hot area of research.

Beyond chemistry and biochemistry, I believe we can train our bodies and minds to be incredibly resilient and strong and that’s my mission in life. Not some futile quest for the unattainable archetypal superhero.

Real strength, real adaptability and real intelligence requires application. We need sustained attention on certain tasks and exercises every day to carve the pathways in our brains into the superhighways to excellence we desire.

Every day is a chance to be better in some way. Life is training. I know there will be challenges down the way that won’t be easy. I can either crumple in the face of those challenges or rise to the challenges and thrive.

So you’re in training right now, whether you like it or not. Train your body and mind to handle external stress and you’ll meet the definition of a thriving organism.


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