Monday, November 17, 2014


We are in such an odd era of history due to our ability to instantly exchange information with almost anyone on the planet.  In doing so, we have developed unrealistic standards for all things, fore the internet has made it as such that, at any given moment, we can witness the absolute zenith of ability on display.  We can witness artists crafting masterful portraits in minutes off of memory, musicians expertly weaving sound and melody together, and athletes performing feats that seem impossible by human standards.  Unfortunately, the nature of this exchange is such that we tend to only ever witness either the absolute best at a craft or failure on such a level that it is comical.  Rarely do we ever get to witness the mediocre, the “work in progress”, or the “pretty good”, and in turn, we as a people are led to believe that such people simply do not exist.

This has led to an unrealistic expectation of ourselves, and in turn a sense of shame whenever we are unable to be amazing at something.  There is no point in doing something unless we can be the absolute best at it, and if there is a slight chance anyone is better than us, it’s better to abandon course and find something new versus actually compete with an equal.  Additionally, if we ever DO find someone who is better than us at something, it is vitally important that we find some way to damage control the blow to our ego by emphasizing something WE can do that THEY cannot, and then explaining how our specialty is MUCH better than this potential threat.  Above all us, the ego must be preserved.

"5 time World's Strongest Man?  Well, I bet he is TERRIBLE at Guitar Hero!"

It is this mentality that has retarded the development of the strength training community.  One of the biggest hurdles is simply getting someone INTO the gym itself.  They are terrified that everyone at the gym is watching them, judging how much weight they can lift and the size of their muscles.  Many people in fact try to get in shape BEFORE going to the gym.

Let us analyze the blatant ego-centrism of this belief.  How conceited must one be to believe that an entire facility of people is watching them, concerned with their every action at all times and analyzing exactly what they are doing in the weightroom.  It is once again a reflection of how warped we as a people have become, unaware of how a normal functioning human society actually operates and so preoccupied with ourselves we are unaware of others.

If you see this and assume they are all talking about you, you have a problem

As silly as this may seem though, the trend continues.  If one finally musters up the courage to enter the gym, when it comes time to compete in some manner of iron sport, we witness the exact same trend.  They want to build up their deadlift before they powerlift, or get leaner before they sign up for a bodybuilding comp, or play with the implements some more before they enter a strongman contest.  It’s always the same thing though: they don’t want to be bad at something when they are new at it.

Folks, being bad is a part of the process of being good.  There is no escaping this fact nor avoiding this experience if the end goal is greatness.  We all must spend our time at the bottom of the totem pole before we can climb to the top.  Those who willfully embrace this reality are those that will eventually become good, while those who spend all of their time prepping before they put themselves on display will simply never step up to the plate, and though in their own minds they can justify how they probably would have been great had they ever stepped up, the reality is they were a “never was”.

At least this guy did it

I am not a good strongman.  This is why I love competing in this sport.  I put myself in situations where I HAVE to work on my weaknesses, and if I don’t, my failures get displayed in competition.  Additionally, the ever looming threat OF a competition inspires me to become stronger.  If left to my own devices, I would never work on my conditioning or footspeed, and just spend all my time lifting heavy weights.  Knowing that I will put myself out there inspires me to  work harder and get better, whereas telling myself that I NEED to do these things BEFORE I compete will just inspire me to do nothing to make myself better. 

No one is born great.  Even those people who seem blessed and have things come naturally to them at least ventured into the unknown the very first time they picked up their sport, having no idea of if they would be talented.  Risks must be taken for rewards to be received.  If you are bad at something, great, it means you have nowhere to go but up.  Enjoy the journey and appreciate the lessons it teaches. 

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