The will to win

"No, no, no. A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can destroyed, or locked up. But, if you become MORE than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal... and if they can't stop you... Then, you become something else entirely."
"Which is?"
"Legend, Mr. Wayne." 
 -- Ra's al-Ghul to Bruce Wayne, "Batman Begins"
If you have not seen "Generation Iron" yet, stop whatever you are doing right now, get on teh internetz, set aside two hours, and watch it.

The documentary chronicles the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of an elite group of bodybuilders competing for the 2013 Mr. Olympia title- the Wimbledon of bodybuilding. (Uh... I guess the appropriate metaphor for you Yankees is... I dunno... the Superbowl?)

As documentaries go, it's pretty decent, I suppose. Mickey Rourke sounds like he was sound asleep right up to about 30 seconds before they poked him awake and told him to read his lines, but at least he's just chewing the scenery off camera. Overall, this documentary will not do much to change your opinion of bodybuilding. If you're into it, then you'll enjoy it. If you're a drug-free lifter, like me, you'll be simultaneously fascinated by how hard these guys push themselves, and repelled by how inane their workouts seem to be, how awful their form is on certain compound lifts, and how unwilling they all seem to be to talk about the steroid problem in their sport.

None of this, however, has anything to do with the true value to be gained from watching this film. Most of the film really serves as a backdrop for the most important message of the film.

That message is simple: if you decide to become the very best that you can be, then you have to refuse to let anyone and anything stop you. You have to become totally dedicated to the single-minded pursuit of your goals. You have to be willing to give up everything to achieve your dreams. You have to become the kind of person who wants to endure hardship and suffering so that you can get where you want to.

Why? Because that is what it takes to be the best.

I readily admit that I simply do not see the point of bodybuilding. I do, however, understand why the guys in that movie push themselves so hard. They do it for the same reason that elite powerlifters damn nearly kill themselves doing workouts that could potentially cripple them for life. It's not about the fame, it's not about the money, and at some level it certainly isn't about the women; after all, if you're really into bodybuilding, you'll be putting stuff into your body that will simply kill your sex drive.

It's about proving to the entire world, beyond any shadow of doubt, that you are the best at what you do. And if you look at the competitors in the movie, you'll see this theme pop up over and over again. 

Whether you agree with bodybuilding as a sport or not- and I don't- there is no question that it redefines the nature of masculine competition. And as with any sport, the winners are the ones with a combination of almost freakish genetic talents and incredible work ethics.

When you get done watching this movie, you'll be asking yourself two simple questions:
  1. What is it that I truly want?
  2. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to get it?
If the answer to #2 is anything other than "yes", then you won't get it. That's all there is to it.

That will is what you need to aim for in every aspect of your life. If you're dissatisfied with some part of your existence, then you have to be willing to do what it takes to change it and fix it; otherwise, there's no point complaining about it or making plans to mend it if you believe only half-heartedly in what you're doing.

The mindset of a winner is a mindset of courage, willpower, and rock-solid confidence. Aim for that mindset daily; do what it takes to cultivate that mindset; disassociate yourself from those who dislike or fear that mindset.

That, quite simply, is the will to win.
What matters is what's inside of you. It's your pride, it's your heart. If you don't have any of that for this sport, you're never going to be the best. Because I can tell you there is a common trait amongst the great lifters that I have ever met, is that they all have an undying desire to be the best- or the best that they can be.
-- Brandon Lilly, elite powerlifter 


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