We are capable of more than we think. I’m not one to say overly optimistic tropes, but we really are. There are facts, science, and personal experience that can guide us, but at the end of the day, we can never know what we are capable of until we try.
Nothing is Easy
A common saying in the weightlifting community is “There’s no such thing as an easy squat”. Life is hard. So much so, that even “doing nothing” eventually presents challenges to our health and well-being. I say that to make the point that whether we exert ourselves or not, difficulty lies ahead. This isn’t pessimistic, but rather motivating because if action and non-action lead to difficulty, choosing action will bring so many more benefits than non-action.
My workout today had me scheduled to squat 275 pounds for two sets of five. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I was tired and irritated by a current difficulty in my life. But I just tried because I knew that I would feel better after a workout as opposed to sulking. Turns out, I completed my workout rather easily (easy meaning completing all reps, not easy meaning no discomfort).
My point here is that life presents us with difficulties no matter what we do. Why not push ourselves and see what we are capable of? If we fail, we can just acknowledge it as temporary, and then keep going.
The main principle of physical strength, endurance, and fitness is overload. Overload is the idea that if you (marginally) push your body, given proper recovery and fatigue management, it will grow back stronger. Lifting weights isn’t everyone’s passion, but in most areas of life, intelligently pushing our boundaries is the key to growth. Yes, there will be some discomfort, but remember there is also discomfort in inertia. Perhaps more.
Every season is not a season to push yourself. There will also be seasons of rest and enjoyment. But when we want to get to the next level, we must embrace the discomfort. It shouldn’t feel overwhelming, but it also shouldn’t feel easy. Next time you know that you need to push yourself, go into it knowing that discomfort lies ahead regardless, so you may as well choose the discomfort that has benefits.