We often marginalize those who are different from us – the misfits, the losers, the disenfranchised, and the weirdos. We divide up and compartmentalize the world using gender, race and religion. So we see the word as “us” and “them.” We give it and we receive it. For example, think about words like meathead, narcissist, asshole, juicehead, or douchebag (feel free to add to the list). We’ve all been called names before, and what are names but words and ideas that define what we’re not and where we don’t belong?
The truth is, lifting is just another human activity like any other and I believe they are all interconnected. To me, lifting CAN and IS a basic metaphor for life itself, one reflecting the inherent desire to achieve something great. This idea of getting to greatness – honestly, who doesn’t want to be better than they are? It’s a fundamental part of the human condition to want to improve yourself. What I’m trying to say is that what we learn in the gym can be applied anywhere outside of it – from work to play.
That’s a big part of what “Burden of the Bar” (BotB) is all about. To me, BotB is about telling real stories that give us valuable insight into a champion’s mind and how he or she achieved something worthy of respect. It doesn’t matter what the particular passion is – it could be bodybuilding, powerlifting, or anything else. That’s because the underlying template is the same – work is work, sacrifice is sacrifice, discipline is discipline. The basic blueprint for achieving success, whether in the office, at home or in the gym, cuts across all the different activities.
Whether you want to think about it in terms of a blueprint or “roadmap,” it doesn’t really matter. The challenge begins with understanding that a roadmap actually exists… And then starting on the journey. After all, without a map, you are certain to end up lost. That’s why I’m convinced that the reason many people fail to meet their goals is because they just don’t know where to begin. Sure, everyone tells you the same thing – to start, just take that first step. But let’s be real here. Has that advice really helped you? It’s never helped me.
That’s why finding your own personal roadmap is so important. Once you get started, momentum slowly begins to build. Over time, you generate momentum which begins to propel you forward. Like a flywheel, the more speed you create, the faster you go. Keep in mind that progress is not always linear. In fact, it’s a mistake to think that because it implies that taking a step back is negative. It’s not. In fact, it's necessary. Progress isn’t about just moving in a straight line, forward or backward – progress can and does happen in any direction, at any time.
Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Stef Cohen’s remarkable life. Hers is the first BotB story we will share here at Animal, and it focuses on the weight of expectations and the importance of failure. The “bar,” for Stef, is both literal and figurative – it’s a real thing (Eleiko competition bar) she carried everywhere on campus. It was also the unseen burden that always weighed heavily on her shoulders. The bar is a paradox… It is both a burden AND a bulwark, a weight and a support.
Each week, we’ll tell more of her story, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and of course right here on Animalpak.com. Here, in this blog, you'll get a more in-depth look, if you are interested. Last Friday, we started with the idea that Resistance Builds Resilience. As Stefi tells us, always "choose the path of most resistance." By doing so, it will fortify you on your journey. To me, resistance and resilience represent a different kind of R&R. There’s always time for rest and relaxation…. But now, it’s time to get to work. I hope you’ll check back on the campaign and here as well for more inspiration, courtesy of Stef Cohen. Also be sure to check out the latest and extra content on Animal's official Burden of the Bar page.
Signing off until next time,
#BurdenOfTheBar #IAmAnimal #AnimalPak