Motivational Failure

I’ve always been a person who learns the hard way. Tell me not to stick a fork in a light socket, and the likelihood of me doing it increases exponentially until my ass gets shot eight feet and my eyebrows are singed off. Then after finding out that it does hurt, and you were right in the first place, will I accredit you with having been correct in your assessment.

This isn’t always a bad thing, though. Sure, it may seem like I could have just listened to whomever in the first place to avoid such aches and pains, but that would be too easy. Learning the hard way teaches you to overcome, to adapt to your surroundings more often than not. If you don’t learn and adapt, you’ll either continue to falter through, wondering where you went wrong, or maybe even the extreme case (death) in some instances.

The same logic can apply in your training. Not doing mobility work with care, rushing through warm-ups, not respecting lighter work sets, whatever the case, you need to learn from these mistakes to be a good trainee/athlete.

Had I have followed my advice above a year ago, I never would have developed a fairly severe case of hip bursitis that sidelined me from squatting and deadlifting anything respectable for over 6 months. But, instead being the stubborn man that I am, and believing myself to be a form of Superman/Hulk/and Tyrannosaurus (sexual or otherwise), had to learn the hard way.

After my meet in March (USAPL Missouri State/Ozark), when I finally was healthy enough to compete, I made it a point to do mobility work every night before a training session, and before I started training the next day because I “learned the hard way”.

I feel that that’s how strength athletes develop, though. If something isn’t working, be it because too little of volume, being weak/deficient in an area, thinking they need to curl to get big arms, or any other faux paux you decide to enter, they learn what doesn’t work for them, and hopefully they learn how to fix it over time. There are simply too many materials out that it’s impossible not to fix your issues in training one way or another either from coaching or reading.

If you’re a crazy individual who has no experience with messing up once in a while, and find that your squat goes up from doing wrist curls, then I commend you, because you are a superior being and we should all be praising you. If you’re not that guy, then welcome to the dark side. The side where we have to bust ass to get stronger than we were before. The side where messing up isn’t the end of the world, but instead a beginning to fully understanding ourselves, nay, our potential as an athlete.

For it’s you who I applaud, because learning the hard way is just that: Hard. It takes you away from comfort, it takes patience, it takes practice, and most of all it takes guts to admit a mistake.

Article written by Jay Stadtfeld for

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