Thursday, November 10, 2011

Achieving growth.

We all strive to grow. As a lifter, I strive to get bigger, stronger and leaner: those are my measuring sticks for growth in the weight room. As a person, my goals for growth are slightly less measurable: I aim to continue growing in terms of compassion, understanding, intelligence and open-mindedness. In a totally macho way, of course.

What is the stimulus for growth, though? There is something that must always be the constant as it relates to growing physically, mentally or emotionally. Well, I'm pretty sure that the pre-requisite for growth is...pain.

What's pain? FRENCH BREAD!
Nope, not that kind of pain (anybody get that movie reference?) I'm talking about pain that you can feel. It doesn't have to be the kind of intense pain that makes you cry, but sometimes that is what we have to endure. As it relates to the gym, the pain/discomfort you endure is obvious. It's the discomfort of a heavy barbell on your shoulders and throat during a front squat. It's the soreness in your hamstrings and glutes after a great deadlift session. The few minutes you can't even breathe after doing hill sprints. That is the "good" pain that let's you know you're getting better. You know that once you have gotten past that physical discomfort, you will be stronger. There is always a purpose to the pain. 

Unfortunately, the ability to grow as a person requires some level of pain and discomfort too. This type of pain, sadly, can often manifest itself as the kind of pain that makes you cry; but not always. The important part of growing as a person is, I think, to be outside of your comfort zone. In my experience, you always learn the most about yourself when you are hurting. It's not the happy times that lead to growth, it's the bad times. That's when you really find out the most about yourself; when you find out who you really are and what you can be.

Go for it. Do something outside your comfort zone today. Talk to the random person on the train next to you. Do lunges until you can't breathe, and then do some more.

Make yourself better.

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