|Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo
is quoted as having said that “The only true wisdom is knowing that you
know nothing.” And while I will assume that he was being literal, I
think we can all agree that even the most intelligent of individuals,
in the grand scheme of things, know very little. Furthermore, I think
there is a great deal of value in being able to acknowledge that even
the things we think we know, including ourselves are subject to varying
circumstances and therefore, subject to change. What was proven
yesterday we claim to know. But considering the fact that change is
ever-present, perhaps wisdom lies more with an ability to think in the
now, accommodate change and remain open to the idea that even the
things you think you know are subject to change. Furthermore, if wisdom
is the realization of how much you don’t know, is self empowerment the
recognition of that which we cannot control?
bodybuilder, I am constantly trying to improve. Whether it’s a matter
of nutrition, training, or my lifestyle in general, for me, improvement
is centered around me; learning my body being the short term goal and
self mastery being the long term goal. And there is often talk of a
plan. I’m constantly asked what I will do to improve, how I will go
about filling in the existing gaps and how I know that my plan will
work. Truth be told, the more times goes on the less concerned I become
with having a plan. I always wonder if chefs open cook books or follow
recipes. By no means am I a chef but if I ever do follow a recipe, I do
it one time only. After that, I work with the ingredients as I see fit.
Is bodybuilding any different? All it really takes is to go into the
gym one time with a planned way of training a bodypart. After that,
it’s all a matter of adjustment. Following a plan is just like
following a recipe; neither allows for the necessary adjustments that,
by the time you reach a certain level, you should be able to make every
time you enter the gym or every time you think about what you will eat
that day. I suppose if I were a piece of machinery, I would be the same
tomorrow as I am today and nothing would ever need to change. But the
human body is not mechanical and it doesn’t work that way. So I think
the ability to recognize that you do not know what the best thing is
for you to do come tomorrow only adds to your ability as a bodybuilder.
You don’t need to know what to do tomorrow, you just need to know that
you can’t know that until tomorrow arrives and even then, you’re still
just giving it your best guess. The minute you think there’s only one
way to do it, you’re off to a bad start.
Just the same, people talk about being in control of their destiny.
Many would have you believe that it is you and only you who determine
the path your life takes. I was having this conversation on the way
home from the gym with a friend of mine. We were a couple exits before
a bridge. I thought to myself, I can sit here all day and believe that
it’s my destiny to be Mr. Olympia, or a millionaire, or a rock star.
And just the same, my friend could whole heartedly believe his destiny
lies in doing something else. But say we cross this bridge and it were
to give out and we both crashed to the water below and died? Then I
guess neither of our fates was what we believed them to be. You can’t
know what your fate or destiny is. You may want it to be one thing or
another or truly believe it should be this or that but you have no way
to know. I’ve sat and listened to people tell me they were supposed to
be something in life other than what they became. If you were supposed
to be what you thought, then you would be just that.
Let’s face facts; there are things which you are not in control of. You
can’t control the weather or other forces of nature or acts of God. And
if you can’t control those things then there are plenty of other things
you cannot control. Can you control yourself? To an extent. But if you
believe that you are influenced by your environment or possibly even
that you are an extension of it, then there is no way that you can
control the things that happen to you or even some of the things you
do. Why do some people insist that it is they and only they who are
responsible for their success or failure? I imagine that the reason
they do it is to feel empowered. But what is more empowering than the
recognition that your life will go exactly as it is meant to? I cannot
imagine anything less degrading than refusing to acknowledge that
perhaps I’m not meant for that which I believed I was. Halfway through
life and chasing a dream that seems to elude you to the same degree
which you pursue it is a bad place to be. I could only imagine feeling
Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that each and every day we have to
get out of bed and strive for something. We all have to have at least
one thing that drives us, gives meaning to our lives and serves as
something to aim for. Hopefully that thing is something we love and
believe that, at least for the time being, is what we should be doing.
But, if you believe that acknowledging how little you know leads to
enlightenment, then I think that it’s the recognition of the things
that we can’t control or the idea that things change and our ability to
roll with that change rather than resist it is what gives a sense of
confidence and self empowerment.
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