Happiness is a cold iron plate. I have long held the view that sport provides a human with a variety of necessary skills to deal with the rest of life. None more so than weight lifting. The never ending goals of improved technique perfection, increased strength or increased size provide a human with a necessity to constantly strive to overcome barriers. All top sports men and women understand what it is like to come up against mental blocks, physical limits and dealing with the inevitable injuries that come with training and performance. The experience of being mid-lift on a new PR attempt in a deadlift where your body feels like it is imploding to a bench press where you feel like you are fighting for your life in a tunnel vision of sweat, ceiling light and a sudden acute awareness of dust particles in artificial lighting cannot be replicated in real life on a daily basis unless you have a death wish. If you succeed, you will immediately want to progress to the next weight of 2.5Kgs or 5kgs and push your next boundary. Fail, however, and you are forced to look at yourself. The failure is not external and the focus must be on technique, focus or effort.
All weight lifters meet failure on a regular basis. They also know the only way to deal with failure is to deconstruct the failure and learn how to overcome the current limit within oneself. In Irish culture, failure is viewed as the end of an effort and generally combined with a sense of pity with the failed individual. Some platitudes that resemble the language of the helpless will be pointlessly voiced. Failure is not the end of anything. It is a learning tool. The ability to deal with failure is an oversight in Irish culture and education and remember that gym memberships are cheaper than counselling. There are few feelings of content or satisfaction that can be experienced at the frequency offered by the challenges of weight lifting. Now, get to the gym.
So I came across this book Don’t Hug Your Mother and I couldn’t put it down until I had read it cover to cover. Long story short, two young pre-teen brothers in the early nineties were extracted away from their mother by their asshole father. He then psychologically manipulates them, brainwashes them to think their mother is an evvil person and trains them to be servants to cater for him and his new partners needs. Over the years their other older brother ends up in mental health services and the boys spend eighteen years alienated from their mother.
You have to admire the brothers, now men, who took their shitty upbringing and said fuck it, let’s write a book about it and help others in a similar situation. It takes serious testicular fortitude to turn your experience of child abuse into a best selling book. They have now featured on Matt Cooper’s Last Word on Today FM and featured in national press.
So, if you’ve had a tough time of it, remember to play the cards you were dealt with.
In the meantime, make sure you pick up the lads book HERE today!
What’s this shitty blog about then? Good question. It’s somewhere where I, Stoic Paddy can explore tools, philosophies and tactics to grow. Personal growth and learning comes from challenges, experimentation, failing and the acquisition of different perspectives. The core values of this blog are the deep appreciation that one must take full ownership for the circumstances in which one find oneself, the ownership to develop a range of skills and strategies to progress through life, to prepare for all eventualities and be equipped to persevere through challenges and profit from opportunities. I don’t have all the answers. I am on a search for some. Stall it.
I read a story the other day of Annette Tobin. Long story short, she and her husband lived a life of luxury abroad but failed to make financial provisions for the future. Unfortunately, her husband passed away and Annette found herself registering as homeless despite having lived a life of comparative wealth. It would be difficult not to empathise with Annette but she is one story of many today and many, many more to come. This can be any one of us. Are you contributing to a pension? Do you spend your income as it comes in? Do you operate around a zero or negative balance on your accounts? You will be at the mercy of strangers and whatever government is in place at the time in the future. Fuck that. Start today. Even if you journey begins with a slog out of heavy debt.
Don’t be like Annette.
Personal responsibility is for the rich and for the poor and everybody in between. Some of us have had horrific shit to contend with like child abuse, neglect, poverty and some of us had a nice silver spoon and two jacks in the gaf. But taking control of your own situation and making the best of it up to each of us individually. You could get emotional and say that it’s not fair or you had it hard but remember that is the language of the helpless and you’re better than that. Examine your current situation and establish what is your highest priority for resolution or improvement. It could be financial, educational, fitness or personal relationship. Then read and learn how to improve the situation and perhaps if not all the time, that starts with looking inwards and developing your own internal skills such as self-discipline, emotional intelligence, will power and temperance. What you will find is that your personal development and the exercise and practice of these skills will benefits all areas of your life. Your history does not define you. It was just your start point.
“It’s not fair!”, “Please be to God” and “I’ll say a prayer” are common statements in Irish society. Fairness is an arbitrary concept and if you feel that the universe should somehow align to ensure that you are OK, all set and good to go, then wake up and remember that your situation whatever that might be is mostly determined by you. Crying for the intervention of a fictitious supreme universal being to localise themselves with your situation and give you a dig out is the ultimate submission of your personal responsibility. You are placing yourself at the mercy of events and the whims of other people by abdicating responsibility. Fuck that. You can of course believe in your choice of some random deity if you feel the urge but don’t hold out for them to give a shit and actually meddle in your predicament.
Entry level to the game of awareness is understanding; and being accountable for your own personal responsibility. This is your life. Take some ownership. There is no time to pray or cry about your circumstances. So choose do you want to be empowered to take ownership or your life and learn how to develop the broad range of skills required to battle through this wonderful existence or rejoin the masses of the helpless and light a fucking candle?