Fear for Thought

While generally considered incorrect for an author to acknowledge themselves in a first-person narrative, there is a need to express an initial self-awareness in this article as it is inspired by personal experiences, beliefs, and developments in recent years.  Much of the drive behind my many passions can be attributed to an existential realization... the fear of living as a failure exceeds the fear of failing. Life poses a continuous and unrelenting series of challenges to personal growth. Whether it be circumstantial or the result of decisions, we, as a collective, are subjugated to the consequences. How one responds to the challenges presented will determine the course in which their life will lead. Some will extort these difficulties as an excuse - a crutch through which they can rationalize their shortcomings or unwillingness to better their current situation. Others view the same set of circumstances as a means by which they can gauge their own ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Unfortunately, most will simply seek out an existence of content. Such a mindset is the greatest threat to human progress; and one that is becoming more prevalent in an age of rampant technological integration and instant gratification.

It is unfortunate, truly, that the ease in which one can access the vast array of human knowledge is squandered on crude memes that perpetuate poor grammar and #fakenews. Utterly wasted are these gifts granted to the masses. Those who have applied the entirety of their lives for the acquisition of truths and advancement are having their legacies tarnished as a literal joke for juvenile jollies. Fewer and fewer in number are the striving minds who devote their innate abilities into a skilled endeavor. The nationwide embrace of sedentary habits has forced creativity and ambition into a state of decay as the passive sit idle amidst abundant leisure. The majority frivolously adheres to an archaically crafted social expectation of bought-and-paid-for degrees in order to obtain a dull desk job that does little to cover basic expenses – even less to reduce crippling school debt. It is not acceptable to allow ourselves to be subjugated into a state of pacification. Hope and aspiration provide purpose in an otherwise apathetic existence. Choosing whether or not to pursue such aspirations defines it.

Ambition, of course, serves a role of duality in the pursuit of aspiration; while connotatively positive, ambition is rarely comprised of pure resolve. This should not to be mistaken as an entirely negative aspect of the process as self-interest can be symbiotically beneficial to a multitude of parties. A divide is formed when excessive self-interest replaces constructive practices. For all of its burdens, even wealth remains an equally acceptable desire as it is the approach rather than the objective that shapes its worth. Henry Ford’s progressive approach to managing his workforce by offering better wages and a safer work environment was hardly an act of graceful charity. While incredibly shortsighted, common business practices during the industrial era viewed higher pay for workers as a wasteful expense. Corporate greed proved advantageous for Ford, whose scope of vision far exceeded that of his peers. As competitors extorted pennies from the impoverished, Ford Motor Company enjoyed exponential growth in production and profit. True, the ruthless often find themselves in positions of power; their ambition, however, becomes lost in tainted intent. The purity of pursuit is best maintained through empathetic humility. Wealth offers financial freedom, but unadulterated passion frees the mind and liberates happiness.

Realizing the specificity of the reader demographic, consider how these same concepts frequent themselves within bodybuilding. Genetics are the greatest limiting factor in an athlete’s ability to progress through the competitive hierarchy. Uniquely coded proteins dictate the adaptive processes that translate external stressors into a spectacle of musculature. Where some construct Olympia-esque physiques with muffins and Nutella, others must obsess over every aspect of training, nutrition, and supplementation to even be considered for a decent spot in the second callout. Although entirely too aware of their limited potential, the lesser blessed bodies are in no short supply on the IFBB stage. Due to being constant in nature, the genetic component has become the plight of bodybuilders whose very success revolves around the precise manipulation of external and internal variables. This comes as particularly painful for the curiously compulsive Dusty Hanshaw, who has formed interesting lifestyle adaptations over the course of his career. It remains unknown as to which came first, bodybuilding or square plates, but Dusty’s exorbitant attention to trivial details can be accredited to his structure having all the architectural appeal of Detroit. Before anymore jimmies get rustled, this is a quality reinforced by the Scottsdale resident himself, who has successfully marketed “Earn Your Spot” as an inspirational model to lifters of every caliber.

The ability to overwhelm shortcomings through raw determination is an admirable quality that has captivated entire audiences into favoring a host of “flawed” athletes over many Olympia contenders. These onlookers seek to emulate their favorite idols of the iron, yet seldom take part in its actual practice. They have become inhibited by their own misconception that these fantastical figures of fitness possess a mystical quality that they themselves lack. Becoming gripped by this self-defeating mentality merely perpetuates mediocrity. Unequivocally, resolve is the preeminent limiting factor in the achievement of aspiration, not the position one is born into. Much like an ocean, we sit amidst the waves of life with the shores of success lying beyond the horizon. It is the decision of every person to either drift aimlessly or to raise sail and catch the winds of opportunity. While the path initially coursed may not lead to the coast of your choosing, you will have become that much closer to the desired destination.