I want to be strong. I think you do too. Having strength simply makes living life easier. And that’s a fact, Jack! If we want to be strong, or get strong, we have to add a resistance to our bodies. You’ve probably heard this before. “Lift heavy” if you want to be strong, if you want to build muscle. Adding resistance is adding a stimulus, a stress, to the body that, overtime, forces the body to adapt to the resistance. The body says, “Ok, i need to make this easier for Timmy. This is taking too much effort. I need to adapt.” Well, the body says something like that, anyways.
The point is, to build strength and become resilient, we simply have to engage in resistance and force our bodies to adapt. This is strength training 101. It works. It’s true.
So why then, if we want to be strong, and we want to be resilient so we can live life better, do we often look for the easy way? Why do we try to skip steps, hack life, cut corners, avoid effort, avoid confrontation, or simply run from the difficult? Basically what i’m asking is, if engaging in resistance is what makes us stronger, why do we often look to go with the flow or status quo instead of going against it?
There are always parallel truths in life. Always. If the body grows stronger through engaging in physical resistance, then the mind and soul also grow stronger through engaging in mental, social, ethical, moral, creative, and “life” resistance. I am not saying throw out the logic of work smarter not harder, I’m saying don’t run from challenges and don’t fold to conform. I’m saying taking the deep breath (diaphragmatically, of course), cinching up your pants, gritting your teeth, and lowing your ears against the resistance that would stop you from reaching your goals, or stop you from doing the “right thing” is a great way to build strength and become resilient.
Stepping out to speak in public, stepping up for someone who is getting harassed, making eye contact, smiling when you’re down, getting off your butt and helping a friend, all of these are fighting resistance. Deliberately fighting against resistance, counting it all joy, will make you stronger. Resistance is your ally, not your enemy. From your weakness, you grow strength until the point where resistance is not resistance, it’s just something you call Tuesday.
I don’t know if you read my post about training for the RKC without using kettlebells, but in that post I had a principle: Make the hard things easy. The best way to make the hard things easy is to go at them, or run into them, not away from them.
Yes, we should all strive to work smart. But then, working smart is engaging in resistance. Using your brain to be smart, thinking when it would be easy to just be fed the world’s nonsense, is engaging in resistance. It even helps you become smarter and think easier.
Anyway, we should also desire the opportunity to work hard as well; to have the experience of building strength, calluses, thick skin, and resolve. Knowing how to get up after you get knocked down comes from getting knocked down and then struggling to get to your feet. It has to happen so you can rise. It may have to happen so you can get hit by something much bigger later – and survive, and then get back up.
Strength is not just physical. But the principles of building strength are universal, regardless of the realm strength lives in. If the sword is too heavy to swing, you must keep trying to pick it up until it’s not heavy. If the situation looks like it wants to eat your lunch, lick your sandwich and smile, and then offer it to the situation. Don’t be afraid of resistance. Wink at it, and use it to make yourself stronger and live your life better. Remember, the easy way is not always the best way.