For those of you who know me, I’m going to finally admit open and honestly that I kind of have a brogrammer thing going on. It’s funny; whatever. Anyways, I wanted to share some things i’ve picked up over the years i’ve been going to the gym that I believe can be applied to life in general. Hopefully your brain will get that same awesome pump you experience after doing a few sets on the bench.
I’ll give you the lesson, where I see this at the gym, an example of where you may see this outside the gym, and wrap up with some inspiration that might help it sink in.
You may notice that I only refer to 2 places: At the gym & Outside the gym. Why?
Because that’s all there is.
- Progress over pride.
- At the gym: You refuse to perform a specific movement because you are afraid of how it may appear to others, that you won’t perform the movement very well, or that it’s just not “manly” enough.
- Outside the gym: You get in a heated debate with someone only to realize that you were wrong. Embarrassed, you change the subject and choose not to learn from the experience.
- Inspiration: “Discipline is based on pride, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of the goal or the fear of failure.” – Gary Ryan Blair
- The first rep is always the hardest.
- At the gym: I give you a weight you have never “officially” lifted before, so you start to get unsure of yourself. I watch you tremble with the first rep but then confidently pop off 8 more. What happened? You became more knowledgeable of your physical limitations – which were actually higher than you realized. You stopped riding the brake and started pushing the gas.
- Outside the gym: It’s New Years Day and you have a shiny new list of the things you’ve always wanted to try and goals you want to meet. You soon realize that creating goals is much easier than creating change and taking that first step is much tougher than you initially thought.
- Inspiration: ”Face new challenges, seize new opportunities, test your resources against the unknown and in the process, discover your own unique potential.” – John Amatt
- The last reps are the ones that count.
- At the gym: You are in the middle of doing a set of crunches and realize the movement is starting to get really difficult. You could quit now but then remember why you are doing crunches in the first place. It’s a decision you will face every single time you are at the gym — consider it an opportunity to practice making the decision to continue forward.
- Outside the gym: As a skilled developer, you like to frequently challenge yourself with new problems that lie just outside of your current ability. Sometimes solving new problems takes longer than you expected and were much more difficult than you estimated but after everything, you are now more capable than before.
- Inspiration: “Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.” – W. C. Doane
- You may even eventually like the pain.
- At the gym: When you’re new to working out, you will feel discomfort and even pain. Not the “oh shit I just broke something” kind of pain but the kind that makes you question how much more work you want to put in. After a few weeks, the pain you previously felt loses it’s sharpness and it just becomes that annoying thing you have to force yourself to work through. Eventually, you realize that sensation you previously referred to as “pain” is just the side effect of growing your own determination.
- Outside the gym: You are trying to raise money for a startup but keep hearing “No” from potential investors. Instead of thinking it as rejection, you instead see it as an opportunity to improve your company and eventually convert a non-believer into an evangelist.
- Inspiration: “I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
- It’s always good to have a spotter.
- At the gym: Like me. I’m awesome and I also accept credit cards.
- Outside the gym: Who are the people that challenge you every day? If the answer is yourself, you need to get out more.
- Inspiration: ”If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
I’ll leave you with a last piece of inspiration that I hope digests slowly like a nice blend of casein and fish oil. “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect”. Damn, that was a Reagan quote. Let’s go with: “Do or do not. There is no try.”