Saturday, April 19, 2014

The slave and the master

I've written more and more about "the journey" lately.

That is, the undertaking of being on this path of trying to achieve goals and wish fulfillment in regards to lifting.

Mainly because, I feel like so many significant goals that I've had are finally within reach.  I won't write about them because I've really found that not doing so tends to keep me far more focused.  But another strange thing has happened as I've gotten closer to them.

I've become more patient in the attainment of them.  Almost apathetic to it.

I no longer obsess over them.  I let shit training sessions go far more easily, and I don't ruminate on every nuance of training trying to decipher what I need to change in order to make things happen faster.

I've developed a greater sense of of learning how to let something come to me, rather than trying force something that's not there.

I'm no longer a slave to feeling like shit because things aren't where I want them to be at this moment.

I know my task is to put the work in.  Put HARD work in, and that I will eventually see these things come to fruition.

I think the single hardest thing about training is learning that concept.  Finding that balance between wanting more, but not letting it enslave you.  Once you become a slave to something, whether you like it or not, your will is taken away.  Your options are limited.  As badly as you may want "freedom", it won't arrive until you take the shackles off.

The worst part is, this slavery is self inflicted.  When we want something so badly that it envelopes us wholly and then we often discard logic and sound reasoning.

All those months spent "training" to get stronger now turn into session after session of "testing" to see if "it's there".

All those months or years you were on the job just kicking ass turns into kissing ass because you feel that promotion is within reach, and that puckering up might move things along faster.

One of the hardest feelings to fight off in life and in training, is when something seems so close to happening, and you just need to "stay the course".  To just keeping doing the work that brought you there.  To stay within that masters domain.  Now that we find ourselves right on top of it, we stop paying attention to the little details that brought us to this place.  We begin to disregard the method and the vehicle that got us here.

Then we begin to toil around for lengthy periods, or even lose ground, because we stopped doing all the things that got us so close to the crest.  And we begin to feel frustrated.  That's when we start to lose ground, and we begin to doubt ourselves.  Confidence wanes and we start to second guess and question what we thought we knew.  What we thought worked, and what we thought was efficient.

Consciously we may not have even seen the change in ideology happen.  The evolution of it may have been so gradual that we may believe nothing we were doing really changed at all.  We can't understand how it is that things had been going so well, that suddenly it has all come crashing down.

Once our eagerness gets the best of us, we often make hasty and foolish choices in order to obtain what it is we long for.  And when that happens, we enslave ourselves to that thing.  We lose patience.  We get tired of waiting.

And the shackles get thrown on.

Liberation can only arrive when you decide that you don't give a fuck about the number, and that putting the work in is, was, and will always be what it's about.

"The work" is always going to be what it's about.  Because without it, there can't be an end goal.  There can't be an arrival.

There's a difference in a "chase" and a "journey".

There's a difference in being a "slave" and a "master".

The slave is constantly chasing his freedom.  The master is free because he's just walking the path.

It's funny that when you stop caring about forcing things to happen, and just care about putting the work in, that it all eventually comes about.


  1. Wow, this really helped me today. Thank you.

  2. Good post Paul. It's always been a problem for me to keep patient - whenever I'm getting strong on the regular sets of 5 that I do, I start thinking "I'm so close to hitting an all time 1 rep max if I just peak out now, I gotta start going heavier"... when I really should just stick with the weights I'm using, keep my form perfect, keep all the reps smooth, and put the work in. Then, I won't just break my 1 rep PR when I peak out, but I'll break it by 30+ pounds.

    Just gotta keep the weights at the right intensity, not waste time/dreaming of hitting a PR, put the work in... and occasionally get a bit obsessed for a few weeks at most, when peaking out. Shouldn't happen too often though.

  3. Damn good post. Something that I have came to realize lately. I been working so many hours for the past 8 months, and yet still "chasing" those numbers I wanted. Then I came to this point of my life, just put in steady work and maintain my strength. Pretty much like an EDM. But rep wise and EDM wise. I have complete confidence I can still hit whatever rep or EDM because I put in steady work rather than chasing it like a wacko dog chases a speeding car.

    But thanks for the reminder.