My t-shirt inspired my blog post today. Even looking at those words after typing them looks and feels a little odd, but it doesn’t make the initial statement any less true. The t-shirt in question is here as Exhibit A:
Man that’s a lot of good-looking going on there. But I digress (per usual).
The t-shirt comes from Jim Wendler, the creator of the 5/3/1 system for weight training. I’m not sure the origins of the quote, but it’s always something that struck me a little bit in how it can be applicable in so many areas. From Jim’s perspective, it pertains primarily to how the fitness industry bombards people with such bad information, snake oil ripoffs and thick layers of hype, none of which will make you any stronger, faster, fitter or healthier (but will likely line the pockets of someone who cares little about you achieving any of those goals).
But today my thoughts on this shirt had less to do with strength training and more to a broader application of the statement. It’s fairly simple to me:
Every single day, in some way, shape or fashion, society is lying to you, me and everyone else you know. It’s constant. It’s pervasive.
Now, if you are thinking, “Who slipped the paranoia pills into your coffee this morning, wacko?” I’m not sure I would blame you. My assertion is a wee bit on the broad side, but stop for a second and think about it and you will likely come around to my vantage point on this issue.
How often do we hear about the negatives of the world? The restrictive ideas of who we can be or what we can achieve? The constant pigeon-holing of everyone into neatly categorized little boxes where we are defined by our jobs? Or defined by some narrow stereotype or title about how we should live our lives? Or think about problems big and small?
Let me see if I can illustrate by way of example: Does being a lawyer by training define who I am? I would never see it that way, although I probably did while in law school and for a while after graduating until one day it occurred to me that was such a confining way of living my life.
Or how about one’s age? A lot of people have been posting fond memories on Facebook of actress Kathryn Joosten who just passed away at the age of 72. She didn’t even start acting until she was 42 and only moved to Hollywood when she was 55 years old. What if she listened to the idea that no one can make a new start (let alone one in the age-obsessed film and TV industry) at such and age? She would have never had the chance to win 2 Emmy awards.
I could go on and on about this point, but hey, I’m a swell dude and will spare you a mind-numbing barrage of examples to prove the same point… and that point is this:
Today you will be exposed to a colleague, friend, family member, TV commercial, stranger in the street, billboard or God only knows what else that will try and tell you what your potential may or may not be. It may sound kindly and will almost assuredly be very well-intentioned… but it also may very well be a complete fabrication.
Don’t listen. Don’t give in. Be that which you long to be. And I will give all I can to do the same.