Tonight’s my wife’s Christmas party, which means I better get this mop on top of my head cleaned up.
But as I open the door to my usual spot, they say, “Do you have cash? Our machines down.”
What do I look like? A drug dealer? Of course I don’t have cash.
“OK, no problem” I said politely, as I turn to leave.
Half Price Books is across the street. I’ll go buy a cheap book and get some cash back for a hair cut.
I walk straight to the mythology section. This is routine, and requires no conscious thought. Within 45 seconds, I’m at the counter ready to check out.
“Do you guys do cash back?” I ask.
“No, I’m sorry we don’t.”
I’m pumped about these books, and I’ve forgotten about how badly the sides of my head need to be trimmed.
I fucking love mythology. Especially the heroic kind. And I love it for the same reason I love super heroes.
Brilliantly woven tales of great people overcoming obstacles, evil, and themselves. All for the greater good.
An ideal to strive for, never achieve, and yet, be better for it.
In stark contrast…
Our world has lost its edges.
We have no predators. No enemies that pose a real threat. Our greatest danger is eating ourselves to death.
Instead of hunting on the plains for our food, it comes packaged and ready to eat. Some places deliver groceries right to your door. If you work from home and have everything delivered, you may never have to get up again.
Our needs, for the most part, have been met. Leaving us with nothing to contend with but existential dread.
So who can blame us for distracting ourselves with food, alcohol, and trinkets?
The spirit of materialism gets stronger.
Your Warrior Spirit grows dim.
Nurturing Your Warrior Spirit
I started strength training because I wanted to be strong and muscular. I found the image of a lean, powerful man admirable. As a scrawny teenager, I wanted to emulate that.
And let’s be honest, I also wanted to attract girls, since this is what dominated my young mind 99% of the time.
But what started as the pursuit of big arms morphed into something else.
The gym became a sacred space. A place people gathered to nurture their warrior spirit in a world obsessed with consumerism and short-term pleasures.
Whether you’re strong, weak, or somewhere in between, everyone is doing the same thing:
Overcoming challenges, and crossing thresholds.
And this right here is the key.
As much as we love the comforts of modern life, we need something to contend with. Something that, when we push, it pushes back.
We need that cathartic physical exertion. We need to impose our will on something heavy. We need to welcome discomfort, and to meet physical challenges head-on.
This is what the gym became for me, and this is why I talk about strength training like it’s magic.
For anyone who strength trains long enough, this is a natural progression. What starts out as the pursuit of a great looking body becomes a ritualistic feeding for your warrior spirit.
Now, you might be saying…
“I Don’t Think I Have a Warrior Spirit.”
To that I would say, “I understand.”
“But I think you do.”
The Warrior Spirit isn’t about being strong, lean, or athletic. It’s about the process of getting stronger, leaner, and more athletic.
It’s about starting exactly where you are, and improving from there. Lift the weights you can lift, do the exercises you can do, and through physical acts of sheer will, you hammer out a version of yourself that’s stronger, more confident, and harder to kill.
And This is Why You’ll Succeed…
We’re obsessed with aesthetics. In many cases, we take this to an unhealthy level. Stressing about every pound on the scale, and every cosmetic detail we see in the mirror.
This becomes a vicious cycle- workout hard, weigh yourself, look in the mirror, hate yourself, workout harder, repeat. The pressure you put on yourself becomes too much. The stress and self-loathing is no longer worth it. So you stop.
I’ve seen this cycle repeat itself many times, and each time it breaks my heart.
But this is why shifting the focus from aesthetics to Nurturing the Warrior Spirit is so crucial.
To Nurture the Warrior Spirit, you focus on performance. Every week, you work to add 5 more pounds, or 1 more rep to your lifts. You strive to perfect your lifting form. You lift weights with as much force as you can muster.
This approach builds a strong, athletic, and capable body. Your training becomes engaging and fun. Every workout is now an opportunity to impose your indomitable will on something heavy.
And when you focus on performance, you know what you’re not stressing about?
Every pound on the scale, and every silly cosmetic detail you see in the mirror. You’re too busy forging yourself into a badass to pay attention.
And this means the pressure to look perfect is lifted from your shoulders, and you’ll stick with your training plan long enough to get the results you want.
By shifting your focus from aesthetics to performance, you end up looking better. And you have more fun doing it.
A Natural Progression
Most of us start working out for a specific reason. We want a slimmer waist line, or more muscular shoulders. A physical, tangible result for our hard work.
And naturally, over time, this evolves into something more. Something like Nurturing Your Warrior Spirit in a world obsessed with finding it’s next dose of short-term pleasure.
The gym becomes a sacred space and time, and the weights become a tool used to hammer out a stronger version of yourself.
And as a result, you end up building a leaner, stronger body, and the world-conquering confidence that comes with it.
So if you find yourself struggling under the weight of building the perfect looking body, I invite you to shift your focus. Instead, use your workouts as a chance to Nurture Your Warrior Spirit. Focus on performance, and watch your body and your mind transform.