Ascending the Peak of Adversity
As the year's progress and technology advances you’ll soon be hard pressed to find those hard souls who live for the glory of achievement, and more importantly the rocky path that led them there. The reality is with all of the modern innovation around us in 2018, the average and mediocre see no reason to push themselves past their self-imposed limits. “Why do I need to deadlift 500 pounds?” “Why would I want to sit in a cold river in the dead of winter for 5 minutes?” “Why do I need to wake up at 4am to workout?” These are just a few of the remarks I hear from those who lack an internal drive.
As a jiu jitsu practitioner, self-defense educator, fitness advocate, and writer I often come across individuals who lost their “Vegvisir” which is Old Norse for sign post/wayfinder/compass. They’ve lost their bearing and have ultimately given up on themselves. It proves to be ironic to me. especially with the ample amount of opportunity that is literally available at their fingerprints. You see this happen a lot with people who’ve never purposely been placed in adverse situations. If you’re constantly given things with little to no hard work involved, then your “fire” of internal growth is bound to turn to ashes. So how does one fight against the current norm of society? You fight every single day and embrace pain, struggle, fear, and adversity as pillars to your personal success.
When others ask me the “why” behind submitting myself to uncomfortable situations, my simple and frank rebuttal is “Why not?” Our lives on this floating rock are but a flicker in the grand scheme of things. I ask why not because I can’t mentally conceive how one accepts the mediocrity of day to day life as even somewhat acceptable. How does one go through life and never push themselves to their utmost potential? To add to that, no I don’t mean getting your spot on the varsity team in high school and settling for that as your best achievement in life. Your “best” is raising the bar every new sunrise, and crushing the numbers from the day before. This concept can be applied everywhere in life, not just the gym. In the office, as a parent, as a student, as a teacher and of course as an athlete you have a silent obligation, an unwritten oath, to mold yourself into the very best version of yourself.
Most fail to even leave the trailhead of this journey due to the fear of the naysayers, the pain they will receive, and the personal sacrifice that will be necessary. Instead, the vast majority stay inside their bubble of safety as to what they already know. The downside to this is you can’t get better by doing what you’re already good at. Personal advancement in the mind and soul is cultivated through unwavering pressure, like how diamonds are formed in the Earth. To start, you need to take that first step into the black void. It may be signing up for that gym to find the old you again, quitting your job to follow your passion, or learning something new in order to bring the best information to your clients.
Weakness in both the mental and physical should be looked at as a disease. It can very easily lead you on a path of self-destructive behavior and ultimately the death of your personal progress. Your reasoning behind ascending along this steep cliff face of discomfort needs to be personal to you and your core beliefs. For some their reasoning may come easy, for others, it may require some soul searching to answer the why behind pushing themselves beyond their limits. Your purpose should drive you forward and keep you steady every day, like the sails and keel of an old clipper ship from centuries ago. So go forth and push beyond your self-imposed plateau. The journey may be tiring, painful, long, and lonely but what you will receive at the summit is far beyond your wildest dreams. Train to live every single day.
Written for Norse Fitness by Ian Strimbeck