Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More on being a lifer - Digging your own grave

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”  ~ William Gibson

I love this quote, and used it as my facebook status last night.

One of the key tenants about life control, is understanding that you get all of the power in how you let things affect you.

At first this sounds very simple, almost like one of those sayings I hate, such as "everything happens for a reasons" or some such bullshit.

It's not.

Life is 10% of the shit that happens to you, and 90% of the way you respond to it.

The great thing in that is, YOU get to decide how you are going to respond.  There will always be things that happen to you over the course of your life, that are completely out of your control.  However, the great majority of your life, you get to decide what kind of life you are living everyday, from a mental or emotional standpoint.

For example.....

You've been busting ass everyday at your job for the last year.  You put in for a promotion that you know you deserve.  Then your boss brings you in and tells you that it was given to someone else.

What is your reaction to said news?

Anger, sadness, bitterness..........

And you tell yourself that you are justified in feeling that way.

Of course you are!  Why not?  You busted ass for a year for that promotion.  You know damn well you were qualified.  You also know that this assclown of a boss has a personal vendetta against you, as well.

Now you're really pissed off.

But you really make a decision to be pissed off about it, don't you?

To hold a grudge.  To be bitter about it.  This is your CHOICE.  And that's ok.  If you want to make the choice to hold a grudge, to live with venom and bitterness, that's fine.  Just own up to the fact that you are making the choice to do so.

You could just as easily say "well, that's that.  I have decisions to make.".  You could give zero fucks about it, and not let it ruin your day.

When you decide, DECIDE, to let it stress you out, you put the shovel in the ground, and help death dig your grave just a little faster.............

From the mayoclinic -

The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
Heart disease
Sleep problems
Digestive problems
Memory impairment
Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema

That's why it's so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.

Basically, choosing to be stressed out, pissed off, and butt hurt kills you.


This shit can just as easily be applied to training.

You've trained your ass off for the past 3 months trying to hit this goal.  You go into the gym, feeling good, feeling psyched.  LET'S DO THIS!

You go for it..........and miss.

If you have trained long enough, you've had this day, and you've also probably let this failure do all the same shit to you, that ol boy who didn't get the promotion do to him.

Pissed off, stressed out, mad at the world.  Day ruined.

Why?  Over a god damn PR attempt?

Was that it?  If you didn't make that attempt your family got killed?  Did you contract cancer because you missed it?  What happened other than a missed PR attempt?

Oh wait, NOTHING.  It's a missed lifting attempt!  Something you can try again the next day if you wanted.

Chalk it up as what it is.  A missed PR attempt.  It's not the end of the world, or even the end of training.  It's just a learning experience.  Quit sweating bad workouts and missed PR attempts so much that you literally allow to steal hours or even days of joy from your life.

Worth dying for - 

Stress management can be pretty easy, if you want it to be.  Part of your code to live by.

Just ask yourself a simple question.......

Is this worth giving up a piece of my life over?

Is a job worth dying early over?

"Missed a PR attempt?  I shall come early, then"

What about the break up of a 6 month romance?

Someone who cut you off in traffic?

A creditor calling your house?

Missing a PR attempt?

Not being as "big" as you want to be?

Not being as lean as you want to be?

Defending your loved ones?

The death of a loved one?

Watching your son leave for war?

Giving your little girl away in marriage?

What is WORTH giving up a piece of our life over?

Do you see how some things clearly stand out, and others seem quite stupid?

Now step back, and realize how stupid it is to let certain things ruin minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months of your life.

This is a lesson I am learning daily myself.  This is not a "preach" session.  I write most of my opinion pieces as reminders to myself.  How I need to be living, and what is worth giving a shit about.

And part of being a lifer, is learning how to decide how much energy we are going to put into the things we cannot control.  This is why I always talk about not giving a shit about what someone else can do in the gym, or how they look compared to you, or any of that shit.  You have ZERO control over it.

So why the fuck invest energy into it?

Deciding to be apathetic doesn't mean you are lazy.  It means you just decided to give a shit about the things only YOU can control.  It is NOT the "average joe" mentality.  Every Average Joe gives WAAAAY too much of a shit about what everyone else is doing.

A lifer is elite.  Because he trains without a care as to what anyone else is capable of.  Because it doesn't pertain to him.  He trains to perform at the highest level he can.  He constantly asks himself how he can get better.  Not how he can be as good as the next guy.  Because there is someone better than the next guy....and there is someone better than him.  It pertains to him not.  So his world is his own.  And he trains to dominate there.

Part of dominating in that landscape, is making choices as to where your energy goes.  It's hard to be a fucking lion when you're all butthurt because you missed a PR attempt or aren't as jacked as the guy you saw doing curls in the squat rack today.

Never seen an engraving that read "still kicking ass"

Stop giving a shit about things you have zero control over.  It only ends you early, and it's hard to kick ass in a grave.

Back to the quote......

The next time you think your life is in the shitter, that you suck and your life sucks and your job sucks......ask yourself how much of your life REALLY sucks, and how much of it sucks because you think it does because you CHOOSE it to be.

Those are very different questions.

Ask yourself if you have people around you that make your life better, or if the people in your life bring you down and want you to live in the emotional abyss they do.  Remember that misery loves company.  Most people don't want to watch you rise above them, and above the place they CHOOSE to live in.  Leeches will always choose to try and hang on, all the while sucking your life out of you.

Cut them off.

And then make a choice, A CHOICE, to decide what is worth dying for in this world.


  1. just told someone about ur blog today and this is exactly what they need to read theyre having this problem, im showing them this asap now, talk about perfect timing, heaven sent paul carter

  2. I always say this to people "Are you going to give a shit about this in 2 months or even 2 weeks time?" usually the answer will be no, so it's not worth stressing about. I remember when I crashed my car which was a huge ballache and meant my insurance premium was going to skyrocket etc etc but I just thought... I won't actually give a shit in a few day's time when it's all sorted so why get worked up about it.

    If I was diagnosed with some kind of terminal illness then yeah, bring on the acid reflux.

  3. Really needed this today as my grandfather is sick and dying, I'm missing workouts and the usual things we endure daily. It's good to get some perspective on things. Have you read "mans search for meaning" victor frankl? It's amazing and really explores the idea of deciding how we react to things. Thanks again.

  4. Perspective is the word of the day. We should know this but it's always good to read something like this. You're a philosopher at heart Paul :P

  5. You know this one came in at just the right time for me, I'm not the type to usually stress about shit but lately I've been carrying around way too much mental baggage from my training. It's hard to let go when you're passionate about something, but it's usually what's holding you back atleast that's what I think in my case. Thanks Paul.

  6. You're a good man Paul Carter.

    1. I'm just a man, Joe. Trying to get better. But thank you.

  7. Life is 10% of the shit that happens to you, and 90% of the way you respond to it.
    Man aint that true.

  8. Thought this was relevant to the topic on hand (sort of)...

  9. Good stuff Paul. I think you echo Arnold a bit here. I recall a story about when he got his car stolen, he simply called his insurance agent and went right back in the gym to train, no muss no fuss. Stress can burn you straight the fuck out. I do think that a bit of hate is a good ration for deadlift days, however.

  10. every living being wants to be happy and free from suffering,this is not possible until we accept that everything external comes from the mind,so therefore the problem is internal.

  11. Damn, your book is gonna be the shit. Quick question, I've decided to focus on rep strength during my summer cut phase and have adapted Jamie's DL routine (slightly modified). I'm pulling AMRAP of 425 in 20 min every Friday. Last Friday I pulled 19 but afterward my jaw and neck have been pretty sore and stiff, from excessive straining I presume. Have you ever dealt with anything like that and if so how did you go about training around/ through it? Thanks!

    1. Yeah I've actually gotten that from benching before. It goes away after a few days.

  12. These are your best articles Paul. I especially like how you seem to write at least one every week so each week serves as a reminder for something I seem to forget. Thanks!

  13. Dude, been reading this blog for a few weeks now, found it when wendler posted one your articles. Good shit on here no b.s. I really enjoy reading it. I'm a 42 year old lifer that's been under the bar for 20 plus years now. Really enjoyed this post. Keep it up man,

  14. I see what youre saying but sometimes you need to get angry to change shit.I think theres too much apathy in the world,people just walk past stuff and let it happen.

    1. Two completely different things Stone cold. I wrote about such people in SLL. I call them life bystanders. They are cowards. The same ones who won't step in to defend a woman who is getting beaten.

      When I talk about not caring, it's about not caring what other people can do or are doing in training or their personal life.

      If you see something wrong going down however, you step in and peel someones fucking scalp. Never be a bystander and allow an injustice in your presence. Getting angry to change a moment like that is always right.

      It' even ok to get angry with yourself for allowing yourself to become complacent. Just don't wallow in it. Move forward.

  15. When I channel my hate to productive, I don't find it hard to impress.. - Pantera

  16. I see your point Paul its dealing with the shit you can change and not letting the shit you cant drive you crazy.p.s my names Paul too,people called Paul are awesome.

  17. Boom the truth in your face, and so true

  18. This article came out a perfect time for me. I swear I was just about to go apeshit because I signed up for a new cable provider to save a few bucks, and received my first bill which showed zero of the savings he promised so now I have to go through a bunch of BS to get the savings that was promised.

    I bombed out at my meet 2 weeks ago, at a weight that I get easily at the gym...totally blindsided by the shit showing.

    My dryer isnt drying my clothes well.

    My new couch hasnt been delivered yet.

    This is all peanuts, minutia and drivel. Yet it was actually getting me stressed out. It really isnt a big deal at all.



  19. This is the best thing I've read in ages. Good timing for me also. My boss is killing me with stress (or I'm allowing him to). On a couple pills now to cope with it and it pisses me off that I'm struggling.

    Learning how not to give a fuck about him will save my sanity. I can't control what he does, so I'm gonna read this once a week to learn not to give a fuck.

    Thanks for the common sense you written here, its gonna help.

    The only time I feel really good at the moment is in the gym moving weight. I go for any type of PR or PB to give me that sense of achievement that no-one can fuck with, its mine.

    cheers Paul.

  20. I came here to buy the shirt and got the sage wisdom for free.

    I teach at a Community Day School (one step out of juvenile hall) and I'm printing this off and posting it my classroom. I need to remember this as much as they do. The best of everything Paul.

    1. That's an awesome compliment, Jason. Thank you!

  21. i liked this alot - me and my GF split in jan just after our baby was partum had a lot to do with her wanting to go. im good with it off and on ( her leaving- i have joint custody, so i get to see my son alot ) and this article hit home a bit for me-i had let stress get to me to the point i had lost 30lbs - always went to the gym just not eating alot..anyway,thanks!

    btw, good to see the blog Paul-