Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...my American readers just got chills reading that. My philosophy fans realize it’s a bastardization of Locke’s “life, liberty and property”. That aside, let’s analyze one of the key parts of that phase; the PURSUIT of happiness. What is implied there? That you don’t HAVE happiness, that you are in fact pursuing it. Why is this the case? Because you don’t become better while you are happy, but only while you are pursuing happiness do you achieve some manner of greatness. This is a lesson many young trainees need to understand.
And don't trust everyone who calls themself a trainer
I bring this up because SO many trainees bemoan whenever their lives are not a constant state of happiness and joy. Any degree of misery is considered insufferable, and all avenues must be taken to avoid it at all costs. This is why these young trainees insist on having a routine that is “fun” and not boring, demand that a diet allow them to eat the foods they enjoy, cry foul whenever they must spend time or money or effort on anything that will actually help them achieve their goal, and in general refuse to at any point in their existence feel even the slightest hint of discomfort.
Does the above sound like the life of a warrior? Does that remind you of the Spartans? Or is that instead a life of decadence, hedonism, and depravity? Can you name any significant historical figure that accomplished ANYTHING while living that sort of existence? The only people that I know of that can live a life like that are sponges; leaching off of their parents, or friends, or their government, or the kindness of strangers, encountering no personal hardship and simply flowing through life. Consequently, those people tend to not have the best physiques. Rather shocking, no?
But at least their WoW characters are jacked
In order to be successful, at one point, you have to be miserable. This is simply a fact. This is not to say that misery equates success, as there are plenty of miserable people that are failures, and in many cases it is the fact that they are failures that MAKE them miserable. However, the reality remains that one must endure some pain and suffering in order to make themselves something better than they are. In order to be better than the herd, one must be willing to suffer in ways that others are not.
I know it’s cliché’ to bemoan the current generation in contrast to one’s past, but I can’t help it; the degree of uncomfortableness that people are unwilling to encounter is mindboggling these days. I’m not even at the point where I am telling people that they have to squat until they puke to make the progress they want; I’m talking about telling people they have to wake up early to be able to train. I’m talking about telling people they have to learn how to cook 3 meals with a slow cooker to be able to eat right. I’m talking about telling people that they have to ASK someone using the squat rack if they can work in (human interaction?! God forbid!) so that they can actually get in a decent workout. The threshold for discomfort has reached an all time low, and so has our physical ability as a whole.
Next time, go for diet soda
There are rewards ripe for the picking for those that are willing to suffer even the slightest. He with zero fear of human interaction in many cases finds themselves a free squat rack where, upon asking the current trainee if they’d like to share, finds that the previous owner has literally fled the scene rather than risk having to speak with another human. Someone that is willing to bring lunch to work just 3 days a week will end up with a significantly more impressive physique than the office lacky that eats potato skins at TGIFridays everyday of the week (you’d feel like that would violate their own policy). And hell, while we’re discussing office lunches, he who is able to get OVER themselves and not care that people make fun of them for bringing in boring lunches and skipping out of office birthday cake will be significantly more accomplished than the trainee who caves to social pressure. And for all that is holy, these are such INSIGNIFICANT sacrifices to be made, yet so many won’t be able to put in the slightest bit of effort.
For those willing to perform any manner of sacrifice, it’s an amazing era, as the average population is so far gone that it takes incredibly little to stand out as impressive. For the trainee willing to push even further? You can be a god. If you are willing to perform a routine based on how effective it is versus if you find it fun or safe, you will surpass those that managed to make it to the gym but are running Starting Strength for their 28th consecutive month. If you are willing to eat food that you know benefits your training regardless of its taste, you’ll triumph over those that are desperately performing nutritional voodoo in order to justify eating a sleeves of Oreos (hey, it fit my macros, right?). Are you willing to put it all on the line, get in front of an audience, and perform against other competitors rather than just comparing your numbers online? Congrats, even greater sacrifice, even greater reward. It goes on and on.
Just saying....it could happen
Life is not a constant state of joy, at least, not for those that are actually succeeding. Sacrifices need to be made, discomfort must be experienced, pain must be reality. PURSUE happiness, don’t actually experience it. Let happiness be just on the horizon, something that you crawl through broken glass after, something you run through hot coals to get to, something you smash through walls to have. As soon as you get happiness, you get soft, but as long as you keep pursuing it, you’ll accomplish something.