Friday, December 22, 2006

What is strong?

Yesterdays blog referenced the idea of "walking around strong." Which begs the question - What is strong?

Is it the strongman competitor, the powerlifter, the olympic lifter, the dancer (ballet or modern), the climber, the kettlebell trainee, the martial artist? Yes and more...far too many to list.

Strong is more than physical and can be displayed in many ways.

The parent(s) - single or married - that works two jobs and sacrifices everyday for their children displays strength everyday. Sacrificing and succeeding are just other forms of "walking around strong."

It is easy to lured into feeling that if you achieve __________ (fill in the blank - 400# bench etc...) then you have become strong. And while it is true that through the physical we can achieve and demonstrate a great amount - it is not the end all be all. Choosing to build and develop strength in the weight room can be an avenue to greater confidence and success but it does not mean everything. I love physical strength but I have much greater strength within me (my mind, my heart, etc...).

It is the struggle that reveals - it is the struggle that defines - it is the struggle - not the numbers. Physical struggle allows us to learn a great deal about ourselves. The early Greeks were believers in "know thyself" and the physical was one of the avenues they pursed in that struggle to "know theyself".

A quick aside - were you aware that Socrates was a warrior? He fought in my battles as a philosopher/warrior. He had the scars to prove it and the physical strength from the battles. He fought in the Peloponnesian War both along side and against Alcibiades. Just in case you thought all philosophers sat in coffee shops sipping lates'.

I feel that physical strength should be a way towards greater confidence - Hence the "walking around strong" lable for reaching a point of physical strength that aides in mental confidence. But this is not dependent upon reaching a level of gym strength - while this is one way to reach strength - it is not the only way.

So - I ask again - do you walk around strong?


Mark Reifkind said...

ah, my favorite subject! Strength is the ability to exert force;regardless of how much that force is or where its destination is.
so the single parent who has to struggle to get out of bed monday morning to "take care of business" is exerting force( being strong) asis the powerlifter confornting abar he or she has never lifted before.

the same as the person at a holiday party confronted with a piece of candy they know they shouldnt eat( according to their goals) but that is "talking to them". again,an exertion of force is required to stay in line withe their goals.
If their "force production" is not up to the task,they weren't strong enough to complete it.

Strength is a choice, always, and the more often we make it, just like the more often we exert our will and our discipline, the stronger it gets.

great topic!

Brett Jones said...

Strength is a choice!!
Thanks Rif - Hope you and yours are having a great holiday season!

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