Girl Power – Part 2

Fall seven times, stand up eight

If you follow this blog on a regular basis, you’ll probably recognize the woman featured in the video below. Madeleine Leander was featured in a previous entry in October of last year. In that original video, she highlighted her first summer of calisthenic training. Now six months later, she shows her latest accomplishments. As you’ll see, she has continued to improve. Throughout the video, she demonstrates a variety of challenging bodyweight movements. Yet despite her impressive abilities, there’s a brief statement towards the end of the video that stands out most to me.

Patience and Perseverance

Before I elaborate on that statement, I encourage you to first watch the video in its entirety. The movements that this woman performs would be impressive for anyone. She’s not just strong for a girl. She’s just plain strong.

Sadly, there will be people who watch this video who assume that they lack the ability to ever perform these movements. And it is for that reason that I particularly enjoyed Madeleine’s statement towards the end. At approximately three minutes into the video, she states the following:

“I can finally balance on my hands for a long time. It took a lot of training though, as I worked on it almost every day for about 9 months.”

The significance of this brief statement is monumental. Nine months is a long time to repeatedly practice an exercise that you cannot perform. Plenty of people would have given up long before. They wouldn’t continue to practice day after day if they kept falling after every attempt. Fortunately, Madeleine didn’t give up. She isn’t the type of person to try something once and then quit if everything doesn’t go smoothly on the first attempt.

Recognize The Journey

Videos such as Madeleine’s can be quite inspiring, but it is important to recognize and appreciate the journey that took place before these highlights were captured. In today’s world of instant gratification, there are many young athletes who do not understand the significance of patience and perseverance. They want everything yesterday, not tomorrow.

Therefore, it is great to see Madeleine remind everyone just how long it took for her to improve. I wish more people were willing to share their failures, rather than simply highlighting their achievements. Because contrary to popular belief, there really is no such thing as an overnight success. True strength requires a significant investment in time. Just because an athlete captures headlines out of nowhere does not negate the hours upon hours of work that he or she performed previously when no one was looking.

In summary, if you plan to separate yourself from the crowd, be prepared to fail. And if you haven’t failed, you haven’t truly challenged yourself. In many ways, I consider failing to be a prerequisite for success. Speaking for myself, many of my own failures have proven to be invaluable. Failing (often repeatedly) has provided me with many of my greatest learning experiences. Thus while falling flat on your face may not be fun at the time, you’ll often look back and be grateful that it happened. You just can’t quit before you’ve given enough time for those failures to blossom into future successes.

Related Entry: Girl Power


“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.” – Will Smith


  1. Hey Ross,

    Long time reader. Just started your Never Gymless 50-day workout schedule. I struggle with discipline and staying focused day in and day out, so I figured a public statement on your blog will help hold me accountable.

    You will hear back from me in 50 days.

    Thanks for the motivation,


    Thanks Ross for the hard but true words of wisdom.
    I love it when people who you would underestimate at first look, achieve great results and teach everybody a lesson.

  3. If you read her workout blog, she posted half a dozen videos of sample workouts. What was most admirable is that after each set, she just grins to the camera. This is fun for her. Do what you love and you will most surely succeed it!

  4. Hey Ross. Longtime reader and calisthenics enthusiast.
    Just want to drop a line and say I’ve been Handbalancing since late 2012. I spent months just trying to get upside down, then morn months trying to get to a fifteen second hold. Now I’ve spent the past two years inching towards a one arm hold. Still not there, progress has been a millimetre at a time. The point is to never give up on your goals.

    Thanks for all the great work and inspiration

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