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Strength Training: The silent suffering we all must undertake

Question: What makes us great?
Imagine a slice of life where I spend all my time getting better at my techie desk work. I'm sure the individuals involved in analytics and study of systems' behaviours will tell you that it is never going to be a linear journey upstream for me. Eventually, we are all destined to run into a state of chaos and hardships, professionally, before we even start seeing something even remotely like success and acclaim. My take on greatness exemplifies those select few who have the appetite to savour such tough times and win the fight with themselves over whether to go through such times or to sit back and stay within the comfortable confines of ordinary life.

But there's more to these tough times than just going full frontal, piercing through the snow. Have you heard many great guys singing praises of themselves going through the shitty times ever? I, for one, haven't. Much like success, greatness leaves clues as well. The secret to greatness, as my immature pursuit for it found out, lies in taking up the hard life and not speak of it broadly.

Silence builds an inner strength. A strong character is forged in peace. The hammers that produce character seldom make any sound.

And how do we, the millennial somethings, make this calculated form of hardships a part of our lives?

Here is a good news: Training for strength in any form, mostly lifting progressively heavier weights provides just the right amount of stimulus combining the pain, hard work, labour, satisfaction of creating something worthwhile and the discipline that the life of a desk jock living his twenties or early thirties in 2016 lacks.

For the readers who love posts with bullet points:

1. When the immovable iron is crushing you under its impossible weight, all you can think of is to be grateful to be alive. Hatred, envy, money, power and other vices seldom have a place in your thoughts.

2. There is hardly any feeling as good as the realisation that a gruelling training session just got over. I have developed a sense of thankfulness over the years, every time I am getting done with the lifting for the day.

3. If you are of the masochistic kind, step it up a bit by training alone and without any music. It's a very time-honoured way of developing a realisation within oneself of how easy the life outside the gym really is. We have luxuries we rarely notice. Some of these are the facilities like internet, entertainment, comfortable living spaces. posh transportation and many other delights that our feature-rich life is unknowingly blessed with. Trust me, all of them revolve in front of my eyes, when I am struggling through a set-after-set ordeal of repetition barbell squats in a lonely gym.

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4. Hard workouts shape your thoughts. I got the idea to write this blog post exactly when I was crushing and getting crushed by double my bodyweight on the bar in a garage gym with the sound of road rollers constructing a road outside the gym as the only music available. You have nothing consoling surrounding you except cold emotionless iron bars and piles of iron plates gazing at you in hopes that you understand that you are not going to enjoy the entire experience. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Yes, life's like that too.

5. It's an almost evolutionary phenomenon how getting under a heavily loaded bar on a bench or preparing for a gigantic deadlift with our shins getting scratched by the barbell knurling forces us to empty our minds and focus only on the biggest purpose  in front of us. Purpose. It's a lovely paradox how we need an activity totally contrarian to our daily lives to remind us what the purpose of life really is. Ironically, I walk out of the gym with a better sense of the goals and purposes of my life.

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6. Being desk bound makes us lazy. I started looking at seemingly simple tasks of daily life as epic and troublesome activities. Simple grocery buying, meal preparation, household cleaning, gardening and similar essentials begin to make us tired. Taking care of children and being a worthwhile spouse all demand a substantial amount of personal calibre. Individuals who train with an eye towards progress and diligence have a surprising carryover of these virtues to the day-to-day chores of a time-crunched family living. They are near-flawless creatures that can equate the physical transformation skills to the efficiency gap that needs to be filled in their daily lives.

7. It makes us patient. There is no button available to suddenly transform life from tough to easy in the gym, sadly. There is no device to make you lift a pile of locked iron automatically. We need to make ourselves move. It takes time to master the skill of strength. And like all valued challenges of life, this silent patience built in the gym stays with you for life.

8. Hard training is a kick in the (proverbial)balls. It cautions us of how exceedingly sheltered our lives are getting. It makes sure we never forget that, in spite of us having a family, an army of friends and a circle of like minded individuals standing by our side, life is a quest one undertakes alone. Believe it or not. All the people who are there as a backing do have their role. But a man's or woman's true worth gets exhibited in those lonely dark hours when they walk alone through difficult situations. The sooner someone realises that life is a an interspersed journey of group jogging in the park and solo walk through the dark woods, the better. It's those solo walks that needs us to work on.

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Greatness has a lot to do with a daily dose of misery. Some recognise misery as a happy state of progressing. The others need to understand that not going through hard knocks frequently is the reason why they cry like a weakling at the basest, minimal calamity that life suddenly throws at them.