Why training hard makes you a better human being
“Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become” (Jim Rohn)
Personal Growth Feeds and Limits Success
You want success. You believe in it. You are willing to work hard for it. That’s all well and good, but guess what — if you don’t also grow as a human being, you’re not going to be successful. You’re gonna be stuck. And you’ll suck.
I very strongly believe that, in the long run, your capacity as a human being will set an effective upper limit to everything you can accomplish in life.
Career and financial success, love and rewarding relationships, joy and happiness — all will directly flow from to the person you truly are.
Responsibility, Mental Strength and Positively Impacting Others
What constitutes your capacity as a human being?
What do you have to focus on if you want to become a better version of yourself?
Although there are many ways to view this, I find the following three dimensions particularly useful:
First, the degree to which you claim responsibility for the outcomes of your own life.
Although there are many things that you can’t control, things that you will have to accept and live with — the degree to which you control the outcomes of your life is much much bigger than you probably think.
It is very hard yet absolutely essential not to get lost in worrying about circumstances you truly can’t control and blaming other people for what they did or didn’t do. Because it simply won’t get you anywhere.
How much you focus on what you are capable of doing within your circle of influence is what counts. Realizing that you yourself are the creator is the only way to create. Claiming responsibility for the outcomes of your own life is the only way to achieve the results you want.
Second, your degree of mental strength to overcome barriers and be resilient to whatever life throws at you.
Often coined willpower, this dimension of your character is essential to exercise self-control and not fall prey to all of the obvious and more subtle influences around you — and there are plenty.
Doing the things you do not want to do and not doing the things you want to do is often pivotal for success. And, as paradoxical as it might sound, it is liberating: not falling prey to your inner drives and urges all the time will set you free to do whatever it is that’s truly good for you.
Finally, the price of discipline is much lower than the price of regret. Discipline weighs ounces. Regret weighs tons.
Third, the degree to which you have a positive impact on other people.
Contributing to other people’s happiness is one of the most important and, at the same time, most fulfilling aspects of life. You don’t have to be Mother Theresa to have an impact, though. Your influence on others is omnipresent. If you like it or not.
You affect others by your everyday behavior, the integrity between what you say and what you do, the example you set by your priorities and values. The people in your life will inevitably be affected by the character you radiate and the person you truly are.
Now, how does physical training feed into this?
Well… in a very meaningful yet often underrated way. Here’s how:
First, physical training shows you more than anything how much your end result is tied to the effort you are willing to put in.
Whatever you wish to achieve through training — gaining strength, building a sixpack, toning your body or losing significant amounts of fat — you will be able to get there all by yourself. It might take time but it is you and only you who is in charge.
If you experience this once, you will not only transform your body but also your view on how much your decisions actually matter and affect your future. Realizing that the results you get from training are simply a function of the constant decisions you take on a daily basis will have a spill over effect and impact other areas of your life. What you do matters. It matters a lot. And physical exercise is maybe the most transparent manifestation of this principle.
Second, training vigorously builds mental strength like little else.
There is substantial evidence on how physical training develops willpower and discipline.
Going out for a run although the couch looks and feels much more comfortable teaches you to take uncomfortable decisions and to focus on priorities. So does hitting the gym instead of chasing after that well-deserved beer after a long day in the office. Pushing through the last reps during a squat or picking up speed in the last minutes of your run develops discipline. And it teaches you not to be distracted by the voices in your head begging you to take the easy way out.
Third, you putting in the work and sticking to your training routine will inspire others.
There is always someone who is looking up to you. There is always someone who will be affected by how you behave in front of them. There is always someone who will be impressed by how persistently you are sticking to your principles. There is always someone who will be influenced by you setting the right priorities and being disciplined about what is important to you. There is always someone who will silently respect and even admire you for putting in the work.
And all of them will be impacted by what they see in you. It might not change the world for them but it will contribute to how they evaluate their own decision making in some way or the other.
Training is about more than just looking better, running faster or lifting more. There are hidden gains to be uncovered if you look carefully. Gains that make you grow as a human being and help you become a better version of yourself.
Your Good Deed of the Day
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