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?
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Photo credit: Alejandro Hernandez