Workout of the Day for Thursday 09/15/11
3 rounds of:
Run 400 meters
21 Kettlebell Swings, 53/35 pounds
Where Are the Warriors?
By Mike Snader
Maybe it’s the long work weeks, maybe it’s the hustle of running the kids around, or maybe it’s the lack of self-discipline and you find yourself making excuses as to why you can’t do something. It’s easier that way. Only deep down, you know it’s a lie. Deep down, you beat yourself up because you know you could do better. This brings me to the question, where are all the warriors? I mean has America become that soft that we can no longer strive for excellence? Except for the Navy Seals, Special Forces, and military servicemen, are we just a bunch of whining, out of shape pansies?
Personally, I’ve never served in the military, but my training regiment is somewhat militant. I enjoy pushing myself and seeing what’s inside. When will I quit? When can I push and take no more? For me, that’s what it’s all about. In addition to lifting heavy weights (well, what to me is heavy), I also participate in trail runs and triathlons to test not only physical strength but mental strength as well. Say what you want about endurance events and training. One thing is for certain—in every endurance event, there comes a point when you really want to give up and quit. It feels like the pain is too much to go on and the mind starts talking to you saying, “You can’t make it. You didn’t train hard enough. You aren’t good enough.” Often, it’s the person willing to suffer the most who will win the event. To me, pushing through these mental barriers is what life is all about. To live is to suffer. Your job as a human being is to find meaning in the suffering.
It isn’t any different when moving a loaded bar. You start to question yourself on that last rep. “There isn’t any way I can get another rep,” your mind screams. But the body is an amazing thing, and when you think you’re done, you’re only about 50 percent into what your body is capable of. It isn’t the body that limits your potential—it’s your mind.
It reminds me of a part in the movie Fight Club where Brad Pitt asks Edward Norton, “How much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” While we can learn a great deal about ourselves from a physical fight, it’s often the mental battles that benefit us the most—mental battles not only from physical training and competition but from the war of life and its adversities.
Dealing with life’s hardships requires a thick skin, something most people today just don’t have. This speaks especially true of today’s youth. If something goes wrong in the pursuit of achievement, the response is usually curl up in the fetal position and ask the question, why me? Why do bad things always happen to me? I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I give up. I quit. This isn’t the warrior mentality. As Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, stated, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
This brings us to the question, do you have the warrior mentality? Are you willing to get more uncomfortable than the next guy? To me, what being a warrior is all about is the constant pursuit of excellence all while remaining humble. Lately, the Navy Seals have been frequently shown on the news. Besides being some of the most bad ass dudes on the planet, they have one unmistakable characteristic in common—humility. In general, people today have a real problem with needing attention and recognition. Whatever happened to accomplishing something without needing a pat on the back or a gold star? Unfortunately, kids today are made to believe that everyone is special and frequently use the statement, “That’s not fair.” Well, let me share a little valuable insight. Life isn’t fair, so you’d better get used to it. In my personal life, I strive for excellence and humility every day. To me, it’s something that can’t be obtained but a continual work in progress that won’t end until the day I die.
My hope in writing this article is to encourage everyone to embrace the warrior mentality and look toward the pursuit of excellence each day. You may have things going wrong in your life right now, things you can’t control. Warriors don’t whine and complain. They embrace the pain and use it as fuel to move forward and find meaning in their suffering. Walk through life humbly. Help people even if you’re in a worse spot than they are. Push yourself to limits you never thought possible. When it’s all said and done, your legacy will be one of a warrior who can truly be celebrated.