A Clear Vision For Your Journey
copyright Justinian Miller
This article is dedicated to all of my kindred souls out there who love our sport with a passion! The sport I refer to is of course Bodybuilding. Whoever you are I ask you to listen to my words with an open mind and heart in the hope that it makes some positive contribution to your life. Our life is a journey, as is our passion for bodybuilding. It's a journey that needs a clear vision, unspoiled by self-doubt. It's a long-term commitment and at times one that deeply challenges our character. It can be a confusing journey however! If we don't use proper insight, forethought, balance and patience, it may not be a positive one. Not positive for us as individuals or the sport that we love. Don't let our passion become our destruction, but rather let it become an awesome part of the masterpiece we call our life!
You may not want to hear this but failure is usually part of our journey. When I say the word "failure" I mean having your vision not go quite as planned. Believe it or not this can be a positive thing for us. How? It's real simple, all we have to do is change the meaning we associate to it. Instead of a "failure", change that vocabulary to "a learning experience". One that will empower you in your future endeavors! Hey, I understand disappointment but the key is not letting a "letdown" pull you down to a lower level. It was a shitty feeling at my last competition watching the other competitors get called out before me during the pre-judging comparisons while I stood there a victim of my own pre-contest mistakes. Unfortunately it has happened to most of us, from the pros on down. Sometimes it's not even our fault! The point is it's not a good feeling, but we must learn from all these "learning experiences". It will make future victories that much sweeter. The biggest mistake made is that many of us lower our standards because of challenging moments. For a competitor a bad defeat may make them say, "maybe I'm just not good enough to win this caliber of competition". This is when "failure" becomes negative because it makes us settle for less than our dreams compel us to be. When asked about his 999 "failures" prior to inventing the lightbulb, Thomas Edison said that they were all necessary for his creation. One of his most famous quotes is "I am not discouraged because every attempt discarded is another step forward". Don't let a learning experience become a failure! Lower your standards or give up because of a challenging moment and you've done just that.
We need a magnificent and compelling vision to drive us forth with power! That vision must be clear and distinct. Once we make this "decision" to achieve we must visualize it over and over again so that we believe. If we don't believe in our dreams, they won't ever materialize. Almost anyone throughout human history that has ever achieved anything magnificent has had a strong vision. They'll change their approach as many times as needed but they won't abandon their vision! In contrast most of us "settle" on a more comfortable goal. While this is not always a bad thing, in many cases it certainly can be. It's the point in the timeline of our life where our destiny "veers off" in a less challenging but also less fulfilling direction, down a path of unrealized dreams. Let's say you had a strong vision of starting a business that you foresee will be a tremendous success in the future. The problem is that you need a very large loan to start it. How many banks would you go to and get rejected by until you quit? 3, 5, 10, 20, how many? For most I'd bet no more than 3 banks and they'd lower the standards of their vision. Well, that certainly wasn't the case for one man. This particular man had a vision of building an amusement park in the middle of vast fields of orange orchards in southern California. When he showed his plans to people they weren't very receptive. Bank after bank rejected him in fact. How many banks? We'll it wasn't until his 303rd attempt that Walt Disney got his loan to build "the happiest place on earth" in his own words. That's right 302 banks rejected Mr. Disney's vision of what Disneyland would be! My point here folks is that in order to achieve anything outstanding in life, you need an outstanding vision. The great Michaelangelo spoke of the importance of this truth almost five centuries ago when he said, "the problem most people have is not that they aim too high and fail to reach it, but that they aim too low and they do".
Great dreams and aspirations are fulfilling to us. They can change our life and make it feel "extraordinary". People become extraordinary through the actions that they take, we weren't born that way! What we were all born with is unlimited potential and that potential still resides in each one of us today. Remember that outstanding people are ordinary people that accomplish extraordinary feats! The key however, is doing whatever it is you want to do within the framework of having a happy and balanced life. You can eventually reach your destination and still find yourself unfulfilled and unhappy. How? By losing focus on other essential aspects of your life. That golden trophy will lose it's luster if there wasn't a "bird's eye view" of your entire life at the time you attained it. Hey don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of work to be a successful bodybuilder! It takes time, determination, persistence, dedication and internal fortitude. Is that all you want for yourself though? At the end of your life do you want to look back and say, "first and foremost I was a great bodybuilder"? I know I don't! I know I am so much more than that as a person, as should each one of us. The key is not just knowing that, but taking action on it as well. By keeping balance in your life you can not only live your dreams, but live them as you are also living your life! Balance your life properly and that extraordinary vision will not only become an achieved reality but a truly fulfilling one as well.
Remember that this "vision" may take a long time, regardless of how you might feel about it! We live in an age when bodybuilding has become part of practically every sport out there. Not only in regard to weight training but diet and supplementation as well. Consequently a "newer" breed of athlete is emerging, the "older" athlete! Athletes no longer peak out in their mid to late twenties or even in teenage years for sports like gymnastics and swimming. The older athlete is now becoming "physically superior" to the younger athlete who has less experience anyway. The same is happening with bodybuilding but our sport's peak age was older to start with than most others. Why? Because muscle building and fat reduction for competition tends to work in a cumulative manner. Meaning that the longer and more you do it, the better you'll get. A bodybuilder that doesn't "burn themselves out" mentally or physically shouldn't reach their peak until somewhere around 40 years old! If a bodybuilder doesn't start until a later age or has been inactive in the sport for a good number of years that "peak" may certainly be even older. The positive effects from this type of realization could speak volumes for many "have to win that title tomorrow" types. Added pressure not only makes things difficult on us but also on those who love and care for us. A secret to having a fulfilling life is to contribute beyond yourself. Trying to free ourselves of any selfish behavior that unneeded pressure brings will help us grow as complete beings, not just physical beings! Keep in mind that even if you do rush, your body will only reach it's true "peak" in it's own time. As Shakespeare said "how poor are those that have not patience, what wound did ever heal but by degree".
Finally I'll say this, the reason I know so much about all these "bodybuilder" qualities is because they are all my demons too! I'm not preaching as much as I am communicating what I'm going through myself. I've seen the ugly aspects of our great sport and if through my words anybody becomes a better person, then I'm truly doing my part for the sport that I love. So until you reach that "peak", continue to envision how spectacular you'll be. Have the courage and dare to dream! Have the wisdom and make that dream go beyond just your own benefit! Have the foresight to learn to have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself. God bless you and best of luck on your journey.
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