The following video was recently passed along by a reader of the site (be aware of foul language). It’s focused on power lifting which I’ve never pursued but the narration resonates with me clearly. The mentality discussed is applicable to athletes from many sports.
The message will likely appear harsh or extreme to many exercise enthusiasts. That’s okay. I am not sharing this video in hopes of creating an army of maniacal followers. Clearly, you must pursue goals that matter to you. Those goals could be casual or extreme. The choice is yours.
More importantly, I am sharing the video as a reminder to promising athletes of any sport. Rarely does one achieve greatness by playing it safe. There will be times when you must take risks if you wish to separate yourself from the majority. No, I’m not suggesting that you seek out injuries or hardship, but you can’t live in fear of them either.
It’s also worth noting that such decisions will often lead to criticism from those around you. Many people in this world do not understand why others live and train with the intention of becoming everything but average. They do not understand the sacrifice, dedication, or work that is required. They will not understand what you do and why you do it.
That’s also okay. They don’t need to understand. Don’t waste time justifying the passion you have to someone who doesn’t share it.
Regardless of how or why you train, there will always be those who disagree with your approach. A week rarely passes without someone asking me why I train as hard as I do. I even have people suggest that something must be missing in my life. They assume that anyone who works harder than them has no life outside the gym.
I am here to suggest otherwise. It is quite possible to live a rewarding life despite training like a beast. I live a regular life outside the gym, but I’m everything but normal inside. Normal is boring. It’s the last thing I want to be.
We all have the right to push ourselves as hard and often as we wish. The critics of the world don’t need to understand why someone opts to be different. There is nothing worse than living your life constantly seeking approval from others around you. If your goal is to become a special athlete, don’t let others dissuade you.
Unfortunately, such words are rarely heard in the industry today. The fitness industry is one that thrives on deception. Supplement companies want you to believe that you just need to pop their pills. Trainers want you to believe that you just need to follow their routines. Equipment manufacturers want you to believe that you just need to use their gear.
It doesn’t work that way. If it was easy, everyone would do it. You can’t train like everyone else and expect to be different. There will be times when you need to train or compete despite pain or fatigue. There will be times when the only decision that makes sense is a decision that doesn’t make sense on paper. Don’t expect to separate yourself if you aren’t willing to separate yourself. At some point, you must be willing to raise the bar to surpass those around you.
Be different, do more, do better, and ignore the haters. When in doubt, follow your passion. It may take you down a bumpy road, but the journey promises to be everything but boring. It’s clearly an individual choice, but I’ll take a few bumps and bruises over a life of mediocrity any day.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard M. Baruch