In my most recent post I’ve been talking about some key elements I’ve learned over the past three years of training. In that article I explained how motivation is key to succeeding in any endeavor in life.
If you are reading this post I presume you have lost the reason behind your actions (or you’re just looking for something cool to read ;)). In both cases -> You are awesome (and in the right place).
But for the purpose of this post I’m going to assume you are here for the first reason. (If not, just imagine you have lost a sense of importance in the work you do.) And in this post I’m going to try to show you a way in which you can regain (or alter) the reasoning behind your actions. I’m going to use my strength training as an example but this technique can be used for anything (I’ve also included some motivational rambling in the end like I do so very often ;)).
I truly believe that everyone needs a compelling reason why they do what they do. If we want to overcome challenges and adversities on our path, it is critical that we have a damn good reason to do so. Why would anyone do something if there’s no purpose, reward or achievement linked to an action?
Lately I’ve found the training I do pretty trivial and almost comical. Like brushing my teeth with a toothpick instead of a toothbrush. Sure I could do it, and it will eventually clean my teeth, but there is no real benefit for doing so. So I decided I needed to reassess the reasoning behind my strength training if I want to stay motivated (or perhaps choose something entirely different if I’m not on the right track.)
Basically, reaching any form of success, whether this is educating others, self-improvement or any other form of contribution is fueled by motivation .
“Without a strong enough “why” there can be no growth.”
I’ve been training for three years now (four in October) and I can honestly say it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve found the training and the diet to be pretty difficult (and expensive). It also demanded a decent amount of planning and prioritization to combine with other (required) activities. Things like school, commuting, vacations, maintaining social relations, reading, … .
I’ve had times where I’ve been down. Not knowing if the path I was taking was the right one for me. I’ve been confused so many times. Not knowing who to listen to or what to believe. I’ve even cried over this. Knowing I wanted more in my life and that I was not going to settle for anything less than I rightfully deserve. I’ve been weak, sick, depressed, frustrated, sad, angry and alone. Sometimes it even felt like the world wanted to see me fail. But I kept believing that I actually could achieve what I’ve set out to do. I envisioned it, I dreamed about it, I reminded myself every day.
This has made me stronger; mental as well as physical. I’m more confident and I’m starting to believe that I can overcome any challenge life throws at me. Lately, I’m even confronting more fears and looking for new experiences than I ever have. Not only in my training but also in my professional life, social life and intellectual endeavors. If I would say that picking up weight training is the best thing that has ever happened to me, than that would be a serious understatement. Training my body has created the foundation on which I have built my life. And I’m very grateful for all the knowledge I’ve learned and the knowledge I’m going to learn in the future.
I’m also certain that these feelings of weakness, doubt, confusion, frustration and so forth will strike again. But by overcoming previous challenges through persistence and motivation I have grown the belief that I can eventually overcome any challenge life throws at me. The way motivation works is pretty cool, right? :)
I started training when I was sixteen years old. I quit soccer practice but I still wanted to stay in shape. Or at least that’s what I told others (and myself). But to be completely honest. I started of training to get more respect from people and to get attention from girls. In all honesty; I started of training for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to be “cool” and have a cute girlfriend. I wanted to get respected by others, I wanted to impress others (especially girls) with my physique. I started to act really cool, behave like an outcast/’bad boy” and started to feel better than everyone around me. I was narcissistic and didn’t respect other people.
I used to be a huge video game nerd with a lacking social life. I was confused and alone and wanted that all to change. Looking back now I’m proud to say I’ll never be that person again. Training my body and mind has opened my eyes to self-development and has been the best decision in my life.
I’ve learned different truths now by aligning myself with right principles. But at that time it seemed like a great idea (and hey, training itself wasn’t a bad decision). Although these superficial reasons were my main drive when I first started , they did get me in the gym to improve myself and that is what counts in the beginning! Actually putting in the work to improve yourself.
So my vision and reasoning about training has altered dramatically. It has been in my head for quite a while now but only recently I’ve decided to write it down. Writing down your beliefs, vision and purpose is a great way to materialize abstract concepts. I use this technique often to visualize my future.
Today I’ve decided I want to share my philosophy about why I train;
I believe in order for a boy to become a man. He needs a challenge in his life to express himself. A way of proving to himself that he is valuable, that he is a man. Some purpose/direction to give his life meaning and improve himself. Whether this is social, physical, spiritual, economic, work-related or by mental challenges.
For me, training is the challenge I’ve chosen for myself. I want everything that overcoming this challenge provides. I want the character, the discipline, the confidence, the strength, the masculinity and everything else. For me training, isn’t about the results I’m getting anymore. (although they are a great indicator of growth). It is about the person I am becoming.
So ultimately, I train to become the person I’ve set out to be. I train to become a “real” man by challenging myself. Realizing this, has rekindled the fire inside me to keep on training.
The reason why I started training for the wrong reasons is because of the body image society enforces upon us. I thought I would be “a real man” by having a great physique. Mainstream media had convinced me of the fact that I had to look a certain way in order to become a man. This trend has created many people with a flawed body image (how they “should” look aka body dismorphia, especially in the world of fitness/bodybuilding).
Me And My Weird Opinions
In my opinion people don’t admire others because of their great physiques (even if they think they do, they really don’t.) We subconsciously admire the mental creation that has preceded the results. A strong physique is only an indicator of mental strength, as the body is a manifestation of the mind. It reveals the person to its surroundings.
It was (and still is) a promise for survival, health, procreation and a prosperous and inspiring future to the people around that person. And that is why I think people (subconsciously) admire others with a strong physique. By directly linking (consciously or subconsciously) the external (physique) with these qualities (internal) we create a false image for ourselves, hereby neglecting the defining traits. The truth is that the qualities I mentioned above are inseparable from a strong mind.
In short, the progress you make is only an indicator of your effort but it shouldn’t be the main drive behind your actions. In order for my body to grow stronger my mind must become stronger as well. I like to believe that the life you are living is the manifestation of your mind. If you truly believe you can be successful, you can. If you truly believe you are strong, you are.
I also encourage you not to focus to much on the results you are making! Rather focus on the person you are becoming!
If you want to stay motivated I would suggest to write down for yourself why you do what you do! When you lose your motivation or when things get though you can always reread it. I truly believe that a clear vision of what you want to become is the key to motivation. Because if you don’t have one, you will regret it in the future. I’ve seen dozens of people wasting their lives by a lack of action and direction.
“The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without purpose” – Myles Munroe
“Death is not sad, the sad thing is that most people don’t live at all“ – Peaceful warrior
When Things Get Tough…
WARNING: MOTIVATIONAL RAMBLING – Brain death might occur.
Sometimes life gets the better of you and will beat you to your knees (everyone has been there). You feel like giving up, like it’s all for nothing. This is when you need to dig deep inside of you and think about where you want to be. Find your inner drive and give everything you have to reach your goals. Day after day. Reread your motivation behind your actions like I mentioned above. I motivate myself in the morning, every single day.
From what I’ve experienced so far I can state that life isn’t always easy, it’s not meant to be either. You’ll see people crossing your path who make it look easy, like it was their God given gift (trust me, there will always be someone better than you. No matter what journey you embark upon) You’ll even try to find excuses why they have achieved what you haven’t (guilty ;)). You’ll accuse them of cheating or being lucky so you can justify your own shortcomings and failure. No matter how deep you are, you cannot and may not quit! If you give up you will lose everything you have worked towards and ultimately only let yourself down. Find you inner fire and fight for what you want in life. Don’t settle for what is, but struggle for what could be.
Behind all my motivational quotes and “uplifting” speeches there is only truth. I hope you realize that fact and don’t mistake me for some fraud that is trying to sell you the next “be happier/richer/healthier/whateverier TODAY bs I encounter regularly.
Anyway, all that aside; For me training is about improving myself to create the best version that I can possibly be and not to meet the requirements of others. I do what I do to get more confidence, self-respect and discipline in other challenges in my life and ultimately to achieve everything I’m capable off. Because I believe that is what is going to grant me a happy and fulfilling life. And that’s what I think training is all about; Self-improvement. It’s not about how much you can lift, how much endurance you have or how big your biceps are. It’s about who you are on the inside that makes the difference.
On this journey it is key to stay motivated. Without a reason behind his actions, a man is doomed to fail. So actually write down for yourself why you do the things you do!
I hope this has clarified the reasoning to why I do what I do. Anyway I hope you enjoyed reading this article as it certainly was a revelation to myself. If you have any thoughts or questions on this topic (or something random to say), you can share that in the comment section below. You might even tell me what you do and why you do that! Take care.