Last night I spent some time exploring Dan John’s website. He’s really easy to like and I can spend hours just reading his blog and the free material he provides.
His background and interest is purely athletic. If you haven’t noticed yet, there are two sides to fitness, athletics and appearance. That dichotomy is easy to miss because we, as a society, are so appearance oriented, looks dominate the fitness conversation — and the market.
But, if you look around a little, you’ll find a deeper, more fulfilling conversation that centers around the human body, not how to make it more sexy, but how to make it function better, how to increase the natural grace with which it moves and operates. Here we are concerned with a beauty that truly is more than skin deep, one of strength, poise, and fluidity, characteristics we relate to on a deeper level, that of spirit and character.
Dan’s Second Commandment of Lifting deals with performance. “Consistently strive for more weight on the bar and move it faster.” — a basic recipe for building strength.
I’m too often flabbergasted by new clients who say, “I don’t really care about being strong.”
My brain just kinda shorts out a little. “Does not compute” flashes across my brain and I sputter and spit.
With a great stretch of my imagination I can, sort of, understand. In today’s society what value is strength? Men are taught to downplay their natural masculinity, and society as a whole values mental capacity over physical.
Technology is the great savior of mankind. In every aspect of human endeavor is an effort to make whatever task more efficient, to eliminate as much physical effort as possible. We celebrate that no longer is the average employment one of toil and physical labor. As such, we view one who pursues strength as a throw back, quaintly anachronistic and out of touch. After all, why spend all that time in the gym building something that has no practical application? (Six pack abs? Well, those will get you laid and therefore have much application.)
So if we take for a moment the belief that physical strength is not valuable for itself (blasphemy, I know). Are there other reasons for becoming strong?
I’ve touched on character and personal development, but do we value those? On the whole, clearly not. Any means necessary has become the code of the day. The higher echelons of society are filled with unscrupulous cheaters and liars and the general perspective is that to expect any less is naive.
Honor, self respect, and integrity are becoming archaic qualities. Strength however is pervasive. It transcends all aspects of character. Look around. Check out the words and works of those who are honestly strong and pursue strength with a quiet determination. Their character is just as solid.
Don’t like the way the world is turning? Do something about it. Buck the trend. Improve yourself, honestly, with integrity and self respect, then see what happens.