Everyone accepts the need for change due to our changing world, but when it comes to doing something to create that change, we begin to rationalize. Rational lies—really, irrational lies—are what they are. Doing the same thing over and over may be comforting, but it doesn’t lead to change. That’s the hard part, doing something different, something new.
That reluctance stretches worldwide from governments and society to the individual. We don’t have much input to leaders who are afraid of lobbies and interest groups or governments that have irrational policies, but we do have control of ourselves. Long ago my eighth-grade teacher said, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” She went on to explain that nothing is perfection, which is an unattainable destination. She spoke of the journey that we are all on.
“The room for improvement”—I heard then as an attempt at humor, but for me it has evolved toward an almost universal truth. Education doesn’t stop with school; every experience is a learning experience.
What does all of that have to do with getting bigger and stronger faster? The barbell is the most efficient agent of physical change. Combined with nutrition, it has unlimited potential. Those of us who have made the decision to step out of the center of the bell-shaped curve of “ordinary” and move to the right toward “extraordinary” understand both the fear and the exhilaration of being different. A noted ad campaign for Apple a few years back put it perfectly: “Think different.”
Our view is one of maximizing potential and enjoying the perks that only hard work can deliver. Physical goals and goals in general do not exist at the center of the curve. I should restate that-—the goals may exist, but as Arnold would say, “The want isn’t sufficient to feed the will with enough fuel to take the first step.” Using exercise and nutrition as agents of change can lead to a much greater appreciation of life on not only the purely physical level but also an emotional level.
I have just returned from the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, where you could feel the combined emotional energy of thousands of people for whom the workout and all that it brings have transcended the physical. It is who they are, and it infuses the way they see the world. It was a general feeling of joy—this is who we are, and we feel great about it.
One last quote: “A great cigar is more than a smoke.” My version: “The workout is much more than physical exercise.”