I look around and I see far too many people preoccupied with being beautiful. The media is dedicated to selling image in order to peddle false hope and products that fail to deliver, and people soak up the message and do their best to emulate it. People spend vast fortunes and innumerable time striving to achieve some sort of beauty ideal that can never be reached. But many of these people would be better served striving to be ugly. To become completely ugly, to embrace ugliness, to instead, reach the fullest depths of ugliness possible and become a paragon of all that is ugly.
Do it for yourself before someone else does it for you
Why is this? Because strength, in both demonstration and acquisition, is ugly, not beautiful. Many would be poets try to convince us otherwise, that there is some sort of pure, unspoiled beauty in strength, but this is merely an attempt to employ some sort of psychological deception in order to avoid the pain inherent in the pursuit and demonstration of strength. This is Stockholm Syndrome; we are attempting to sympathize with our captors in order to alleviate the fear inherent in the situation. Attempting to operate under a perpetual delusion is Quixotic at best; we must instead drop the illusion and invest all efforts into achieving maximal ugliness if we hope to achieve maximal strength.
Still people argue. They tell me that, when you watch a skilled strength athlete excel at their sport, it is a thing of beauty. You may be correct, but when you watch excellence in performance and competition, you are not watching the acquisition of strength, but instead merely a display of strength ALREADY obtained. You do not observe the athlete BECOMING strong; only the end result of said becoming. In truth, when we observe the strength athlete actually acquiring strength, THAT is where we find the true ugliness. This is where the straining occurs, the red faces, the burst blood vessels and capillaries, the vomit, the gruesome injuries, the tears, the profanity, the pools of sweat and all other ugly human things occur, and the more ugliness present, the greater the strength.
Beauty not found
But people don’t WANT to be ugly. They want life to be beautiful, and, by extension, themselves to be beautiful at all times. People are so pre-occupied with always being beautiful that they lose out on the opportunity to acquire strength even when that is their alleged goal! It is especially egregious in the current era, where people are uploading every single set and meal onto Instagram in the hopes of likes and sponsorships, and in doing so they must ensure that they remain beautiful at all time, lest they offend their audience. But even without social media, you had people who are so preoccupied with their reflection in the gym mirror that they dare not strain, lest they see a bulging neck vein or a red face. And what of the “good form champions”, who are so terrified of the aspect of less than beautiful form while lifting that they end up never actually exerting themselves to the point of actually accomplishing something in their training. All vanity, all for the pursuit of beauty; why not instead the pursuit of ugly?
Beautiful products are NOT the results of beautiful processes. Far often it is the opposite. A sculpture is beautiful; sculpting is ugly. It is gruesome, sweaty labor that takes the ugly and MAKES it beautiful through sheer force of will. A well presented meal is beautiful; the process is ugly. Animals are slaughtered and rendered, vegetables are dug up from the earth, much hand washing occurs to prevent the spread of potential deadly disease, and through that labor the beauty is produced. If all were afraid to get their hands dirty, there would be no beauty in the world.
And keep in mind, this was before Depp was a heartthrob
Strive for maximal ugliness instead. Train with ugly equipment, in ugly clothing, at an ugly gym with ugly technique. Why? Not to be “hardcore”. Not to be some brooding jackass in an Animal Pak advertisement speaking melancholy about the war with the weights and the beast inside with perfectly manicured hands and laser removed bodyhair. Not to pretend to be Rocky in Rocky IV. Not for some sort of LARPING or men’s retreat, but to simply stop concerning yourself with beauty and focus more on effort. To no longer be concerned with how you look WHILE you improve your imagine, self and otherwise. To understand that, the uglier you are when you train, the harder you are working, and the better you grow.
Lace up your shoes, put on some music and tell yourself it’s time to get ugly.