READ, DAMMIT!

 coach2

I regard people who tend to avoid heavy thinking in the same light as I regard people who avoid heavy lifting. If one knows how to push themselves physically, then they also have what it takes to push themselves mentally. To fail in this is a dereliction of personal development and it can only lead to a weird lopsidedness in your person.

I have many times advocated for the "strong mind/strong body" approach to life, specifically in weight training. The truth is that I go one step further and actually include a spiritual element in my own practice. At the very least, we can agree that the mind and body are connected and that to develop one way out of proportion in relation to the other is going to put us out of whack. There has to be some kind of balance.

To excessively promote one in the sacrifice of the other is madness. If you lift heavy, you should read heavy, too. Or at least practice some kind of mental exercise. I use reading because it is so accessible. There are over 16 million books in the Library of Congress. AND YOU OWN EVERY ONE OF THEM AT THIS VERY MOMENT!

You have unlimited access to every book in that vast collection by virtue of being an American. Just type in a title into your phone and viola! You get to read it. You can thank Benjamin Franklin and socialism for that. Yeah, free public libraries are socialist concepts. Just like the police, public roads, free public school, the post office, ALL OF GOVERNMENT including the FBI and CIA, not to mention our US Congress.

Like clean water for free? Meeeee too! How about the protection of the US Military? Soooo doooo I! All brought to us by socialism. Don't knock a winning hand! Any and all services that are tax payer funded are by definition socialist. NOT COMMUNIST! That's the next level on the Marx ladder. Free public libraries work just fine for me! I go at LEAST twice a week. Thanks, socialism! My point is that for whatever reason, America has blessed you with an almost unending supply of books and CDs,  DVDs, and videos that you can strengthen your mind with at NO COST TO YOU. Why in God's name wouldn't you?

If you have made any headway in weight training, then I know you have what it takes to do hard things. So you have what it takes to think the hard thoughts and ask the tough questions of yourself. You can't tell me you don't. I had regular arguments with some of my high school students when they claimed the excuse of ADD or ADHD in order to give up on reading. This bullshit was easily sussed out when I asked how long the longest stretch of playing Doom or Call of Duty they ever had was. When they would proudly throw me some insane number of hours like 5 or 8 or even 11, I would go bananas on them and pointing out the impossibility of doing that AND having ADD.

Nobody can concentrate for 5 hours in a row at a fever pace with little or no room for error while suffering from ADD. It's just not realistic to believe. Similarly, I will be hard pressed to believe that you can drive yourself in the gym, but can not find a way to redirect that discipline and focus to your mental development. YOU ARE NOT FOOLING ME! What you are doing to me is called lying. You absolutely CAN do just as much training and garner just as much growth for yourself in both dimensions. Whatever you have achieved physically, you can also mirror mentally. That is a cold fact.

JM Read (1)

Now, let me restate the value here. You can read. If you choose not to read, what is the difference between that and NOT BEING ABLE TO READ? None, I submit. Zero books get read by you. Not knowing how to read equates with choosing not to read. You become willfully illiterate. It is OPTIONAL ILLITERACY. When did you last read a book? What was the last book you read page for page, cover to cover? If you said Dr. Seuss you are not alone. But let me ask you this: When did you lift a personal record last in the gym? Yeah. See? See? Seeeeee? You might be out of balance. If you don't believe in the strong mind/strong body thing, then okay. Go off the reservation. Good luck. But if you can understand the relationship, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your priorities. "The bad people" know that they can control you better if you don't read. Think: The Nazi book burnings.

You only make yourself weak minded by refusing to read. You would blanch at the idea of willfully becoming physically weak, right? Why, then, is it different for you mentally? How do you balance and juggle on that tightrope? It takes an amazing amount of rationalization to become that kind of acrobat! Being a whole person demands that the mind be fed as well as the body. You are welcome to opt to be a one dimensional person, but if you ALREADY display the fortitude to achieve things for yourself with your body, then you certainly do not have to settle for only that.

We have established that if you can drive and achieve physically, then you have everything it takes to do so mentally. I will not hear otherwise. You are not permitted to tell me that you "can't". You may only tell me that you "won't". I accept that. But let me do all I can to encourage you to read.

Consider: the very smartest and wise and enlightened men and women have written down their thoughts for us...in BOOKS! All you have to do is read them and then those thoughts are in your head to think about, too! You can think about what they thought about for yourself! You can agree, disagree, or somewhere in between. But the point is, for the price of admission (opening a book and reading it), you are able to enjoy and learn and struggle with the same ideas that the greatest people in our human history have. If you don't believe that THAT can make your life better, then I can't help you.

That's my sales pitch. That it WILL make your life better. That it will make YOU better. And that it will make you stronger. In body, mind, and perhaps even spirit. But that is a topic for another day. You CAN read. You can balance your body and mind. The ONLY thing that stops you is your own choice not to. You are choosing illiteracy. Just open a book, dammit! You will NEVER regret it!

Perhaps you can start with FAHRENHEIT 451.

matt-ebook-home-620x260

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...