Someone asked me recently if I would do a blog post on how to be strong like “me”. I’ll spare you from a post about what I think could help you become stronger “like me”, instead we’ll discuss how to be stronger “like you” and I’ll tell you what I mean by that. For starters, no one is born “strong” in the same way no one is born “smart”, while some people are born with more aptitude in some areas, WE ARE mostly a product of our choices and efforts. Unfortunately for some, men and women ARE NOT created equal, we are all different. Some choose to study late into the night and get accepted into Harvard university, some choose to train all day and deadlift eight or nine hundred pounds like some sort of gorilla. But no one is equal, that does not exist in nature, it never has and never will. What many don’t actually know about me is I was actually a very nerdy, undisciplined and weak (active but weak) kid. I was also shy especially when it came to girls but that’s a whole other story. The change of course to being one of the top Jiu Jitsu competitors in the world did not come from ONE THING, so I will try to lay out what I find to be necessary for the sort of change that might benefit someone looking to get stronger. Understand it is a process. Below is nerdy me, cute but weak.
- Know your why – Nietzsche said “he who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – if you don’t know why you’re putting yourself through the pain of growth it’s likely that you will give up before actually receiving the benefits. Whether it’s to impress some girl or defend yourself know WHY you are doing it and pay the price!
- Support – Growth is pain, when we get seriously hurt we need a crutch, that is your family or support group, who holds you up when you want to quit. CrossFit gyms are an excellent example of developing a strong community where the members truly care about each other’s individual success unlike most fitness gyms.
- Routine – This comes back to “1.”. With your “why” you can develop a plan and have a consistent routine that you follow. Once you commit to working out 3x a week for example, it is critical you NEVER allow yourself to miss. It’s not about having a great workout every single time, it’s about following the plan and developing discipline while incrementally getting stronger over time. You will ALWAYS feel better when you get done, showing up and getting started is the toughest part.
- Give your best – This seems like a no-brainer but you would be amazed at what a struggle it can be to give “your best” in every single task, daily. The only person you ever compare with is WHO YOU WERE the day before so make it a point to be better the next day, this takes effort.
- Accept criticism – You would be surprised at how many high-level athletes do not accept criticism, myself being one of them. Rather than trying to understand the flaw that has been pointed out I would waste energy trying to defend the reason I made a mistake. When really, who gives a shit? Bruce lee said “absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own”. It doesn’t matter if it’s a technique or advice on how to be more productive but as soon as you think YOU are right you remove every opportunity for growth.
Here I am carved by years of lessons from Jiu Jitsu, taking photos to send in for my upcoming fight.