A litmus test is a question asked of a potential candidate for high office, the answer to which would determine whether the nominating official would proceed with the appointment or nomination – Wikipedia
The litmus test comes from the chemistry lab, where it’s used to find out a liquid’s pH. A filter paper is dipped into a liquid solution. Under acidic conditions the paper turns red and under basic conditions the paper turns blue. It’s not a perfect test and it’s not the only test you can use to find out a solution’s pH, but it is a pretty reliable test that provides measurable outcomes.
I have a confession to make.
I use cold showers as a litmus test.
I use cold showers to find out whether or not the people I meet are the type of people I want to be around (people who will challenge me). The Cold Shower Therapy™ challenge is really simple. If you take cold showers, you pass. If you don’t, well, you don’t. I use cold showers as a litmus test (or as an indicator) because:
I find that the people who take cold showers are more likely to:
- Go on adventures with me
- Take risks
- Not be afraid of a challenge
It’s important to note that this is just a litmus test. It’s not the final say and it doesn’t tell me where specifically on the spectrum anyone falls. It’s not a judgment of a person’s mindset as much as it is an indicator of it. As such, I don’t think you have to take cold showers all the time.
- I don’t think you have to take a cold shower in order to be a courageous person.
- I don’t think you have to take a cold shower in order to be able to learn to embrace the suck.
- I don’t think you have to take a cold shower in order to choose to be uncomfortable.
In fact, you don’t have to do anything.
There are other questions we can ask politicians. There are other tests you can run to figure out a liquid’s pH. But a litmus test is a quick, simple, and accurate indicator of what you’re made of.
There are other ways you can find out if people are willing to challenge themselves. However, the Cold Shower Therapy™ challenge indicates almost perfectly whether or not someone will be willing to do challenging things.
You don’t have to take cold showers in order to go on adventures, take risks, or challenge yourself, but those people who are willing to be courageous, to embrace the suck, and to be uncomfortable aren’t the ones resisting cold showers. They’re not scared of experimenting with them. They simply look at the idea, decide to do it (because there really is no downside to taking cold showers), and move on with their lives. They don’t tell me about how they took a cold shower this one time in India or spend time making excuses. They just do it.
For some people, cold showers change everything. For other people, cold showers are not a big deal. But these people are willing to experiment.
And that’s what I find so incredible about cold showers. They cause the attitude and character of the person taking them to evolve. Even the people who don’t take them reveal their characters through the excuses they give.
I’m not saying cold showers are the meaning to life, but I do believe that you find out a whole lot about yourself when you choose to do something uncomfortable and the only thing that’s at stake is five minutes of cold.
Cold showers are a litmus test. Which color will you turn?
The Official CST App
Photo credit: Alejandro Hernandez
I did my first 5 minute cold shower this morning, and managed to get it done. It was bloody cold, and a real struggle to stay under (cue lots of wriggling about) but I did it. To be fair, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I’m going to do it again. The worst part is having your head constantly under the stream which hurt a bit but that’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. Felt super awake post shower.
Justin Archer says
So I set out this past winter to tackle the 30-day cold shower challenge. Funny story, apparently I can’t count because I did 33 days. Or perhaps I subconsciously like them. That must be it because my 1st ever cold shower was taken in Poland during the middle of winter when it was 8 degrees out. In fact I filmed the experience and it is funny as hell to watch. I now regularly take cold showers and find them quite relaxing (if that’s possible). So thanks for the challenge.
BTW, on the complete other end of the temperature range, have you ever tried hot coal walking? It’s pretty awesome! I did 20 feet in fresh hot coals with bare feet and didn’t get a blister, scratch or anything. So if you haven’t already tried it I highly recommend you give it shot. You won’t regret it!
Take care and keep moving,
Gotta say, this is one I’ve heard a lot and been like, “That’s BS. They’re making that up. I don’t need a cold shower anyway. I’m perfectly happy with my comfortable, steaming shower.” But, I decided, “F*ck it, I’m not doing anything right now, anyway, and I’ll be back here in ten minutes.” So, I threw some boxers in the dryer (in case I did, in fact, freeze some anatomy off) and tried it. Gotta say, it was five minutes of all the hell I thought’d be, BUT, for some unknown, masochistic reason, I look forward to doing it again…
This looks interesting!
Gonna try it myself and see what I’m made of.
Thanks for sharing, man.
Del Nogal says
I’ve decided to only take cold showers as a contribution to the climate of my children. Just that saves more than 1GWh each year. It’s a lot.
It’s one of my ways to walk my talk, and not to wait motionless that some grand universal political will acts on my behalf.
I read about this on New Years Eve, I found the 1st week or 2 difficult but it gives me a different perspective and outlook each day. If I have time I’ll have one 1st thing in the morning and another after a workout (or 2). The most intriguing benefit is that if I workout right after I have 2 or 3x the amount of strength and stamina. Or just more energy for the early part of the day. Also, a great way to embrace the cold winter.
A girl who was my roommate for a week in hospital, we both have MS and she kicks serious butt, challenged me for thirty days CST. Where I’m at exactly I’m not sure, but I must be around week 3. I started reading more and more about cold showers lately and I think it’s funny how Joel seems to have made a religion of some sort around it.
I downloaded the app last night and this morning I will be jumping straight under cold water. Previously I chose to shortly enjoy the comfort of warm water to wash my head, to quickly switch to cold soon after.
MS and hot showers don’t match for me although I love them, cold showers make me feel I’m kicking ass instead. I wish I had come up with this idea myself. I bet I have though, I’m wondering which of the excuses kept me from doing it. It must be one involving comfort zones.
“Cold showers are a litmus test. Which color will you turn?”
Sometimes my color doesn’t change, sometimes it turns red.
HAH! I wouldn’t quite say I use it as a litmus test, but I believe small things tell a lot about people and have found that their reactions to the concept of cold showers is incredibly telling.
My attitude in general is that anything that’s potentially good, I’ll at least try once to see if it’s worth the effort (or in the case of things that are not good I’ll see if it’s worth the consequences). However I’ve come to realise that it’s much easier for me than for most because trying new things is interesting and fun for me, so it’s not much effort.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I like cold showers, they make me feel alive and ready for action. My man tried them but could never get to like it.
Do you mostly take cold showers of still do hot ones on a regular basis?