Competitors at the World’s Strongest Man events make it look so easy. But as anyone training for these events can tell you: it’s anything but easy.
Strongman training requires an immense amount of discipline, sacrifice, and time. This type of training holds many lessons that are applicable to everyday life. Let’s take a look at the most valuable life lessons that Strongman training can teach us.
1. BE PERSISTENT
Strongmen aren’t born with the ability to pull trucks or move giant stones; they have to work at it. Day in, day out, those who are serious about their Strongman training push themselves to achieve new heights in muscle, strength, and power. Some Strongman hopefuls don’t see real progress until years after they begin their training.
No matter if you’re in school going after your degree, starting a business, or trying to better yourself, you must be persistent. It might take months or years, but you have to keep pushing. Little by little, task by task, you’ll get to where you want to be. Remember: Those who quit never see success.
2. EMBRACE FAILURE
Continuing with the point above, it’s important to realize that not everything is going to go your way. Take Franco Columbu for example. He went up against Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger at the Mr. Olympia; he became a leading film star in Italy; and he was featured in several World’s Strongest Man competitions. After years of training, Columbu suffered a horrible injury at the 1977 World’s Strongest Man during a refrigerator carry event. Did this injury, this failure stop him? Not at all.
Columbu went on to compete in more Strongman and bodybuilding competitions, scoring win after win. The lesson from Columbu: Failures and setbacks are inevitable in everything in life. Don’t let them stop you. Embrace the lesson from failure, redirect your course, and push forward.
3. BREATHE DEEP
You just received a piece of bad news from work or the sight of mile-long rush hour traffic comes into view as you turn off the interstate. If you’re like most people, you’ll start taking fast shallow breaths from your chest. You probably don’t notice it – few actually do – but it’s this type of breathing that worsens the feeling of anxiety and helplessness that might be brewing in your head.
In Strongman training, you must focus on your breathing if you want leverage and to be able to go the extra mile. Focus on deep breathing from your belly, not the top of your chest. This will help to oxygenate your blood and remain calm in stressful situations.
4. PUSH YOURSELF
Do you think any Strongman competitor looks at an 18-wheeler and immediately thinks, “Yeah, I can pull that; no problem.” Slim chance. But after hard work and years of training, that Strongman competitor is doing just that: the unthinkable.
Too many of us are sitting in our comfort zone. Many of us aren’t realizing our true potential. We hold ourselves back. You mind and body crave challenges; it’s how you grow. One of the best things you can do for yourself – even though it might not seem like it at the time – is to push yourself. In work, love, school, and especially the gym, do more than what you think you can. You are filled with unlimited potential, but you have to push yourself in order to tap into that. Need inspiration? Think of the Strongman pulling that giant truck.
5. SET MILESTONES…THEN ACHIEVE THEM
No beginner-level Strongman has ever looked at the fully stacked yoke push or giant Atlas stone and used it as their starting point. Maybe some have tried…but they probably wound up in the hospital. The point is that Strongman competitors have their eyes on the prize: to be able to push that sled, to pull that truck, to pick up the Atlas stone. Then they work backward, setting milestones, laying out steps for how they will achieve their goal.
Life is the same way: You have to figure out what you want, then work backward, discovering steps to follow that will get you there. Do you want to start your own business? Figure out what steps you need to take. Maybe you should start with reading blogs or a book. Next, you could hire a business coach. You might want to go back to school.
Above all, remember that like everything in life, your milestones are not concrete. A failure in one area of life can be a positive force for change, leading you in a new direction with a new milestone. Be flexible, but have a plan for the thing you want most out of life.