Keep the Weight On the Bar

It took shaking off the haze and finding myself holding a late night PR to bring me back to reality. I remember stepping in and thinking, "Damn, I need to focus." It was at that moment that I decided to put it all into the bar and plates and destroy it. It didn’t take long before I knew something was going on. I could feel it in my grip. I could feel my heels drive in as I nailed technique. No practice necessary and no fancy adjustments. It was all spot on and machine like. Now, I’m not saying that I’m the greatest deadlifter ever, but goddamn did it feel like it in those moments. The best part was it was rapidly closing in on 11 p.m., and I should have been run down and exhausted. This was a special night for sure, and it ended great, but something bigger happened. I was really there experiencing pure awesome.

Yeah, great point, buddy. We know you were there. You just told us about it. I know, I know, but there is a clear difference. How often are you finding yourself really there? As in being present in the moment. Are you really with me right now reading this or are you thinking about something else? Trust me, I know it's possible, half reading, half worried about a house payment, a sick kid, you name it. I get it. But stop! I've had many great discussions lately with people who are much more intelligent than I am and they all keep saying the same thing—be here now. It isn't about tomorrow but right now. You aren't living in tomorrow yet. You are right here, right now, hopefully paying attention.

Be in the Moment

Here’s the focus of all this—worry. Chances are you're worried about something. It's why you can’t focus. It's why you can’t settle in and relax, and it's why you probably can’t focus on the coffee you just spilled all over your lap. Seriously though, worry can have your whole system on high alert for as long as you let it. Worry it seems has served us well throughout the history of evolution. If Jack the talking chimp hadn’t been worried about lions and learning to beat stuff with clubs, we probably wouldn’t be having this moment right now. But that’s what we need to be realistic about. Are you fighting a mammoth right now? How about having to slap around a cobra? Probably not, but if you are, worry away. This isn't an article for you. For the rest of us, hopefully we can gain some perspective on what life is now. Life is still about survival but not in the same ways. With that in mind, you need to deal with worry in a more relevant manner.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying that worry doesn’t serve a purpose. Far from it. It's incredibly important and not to be ignored. Great, what do I do with it? It's simple. Worry serves a purpose. It brings out something that is bothering you, something you know needs to be dealt with. From here, we have options. So look it in the face and see what you're looking at. Is it a worry about your life? If it is, set it off to the side for a minute while we address something else here. If your worry is about something you saw on the news, someone else’s issue that you can't directly impact, get rid of it now! I'm not kidding you at all. Look at your own sphere of influence. If you can’t directly change it, get rid of it. It isn't yours. Turn off the negative news and watch the sun come up instead. You will be phenomenally better off. If you still feel guilty, get out and change your world with hands on methods. Do charity work, volunteer, or become a mentor. You name it. All of it will make a better world instead of getting sucked into oblivion.

Now back to the truly important stuff. Earlier, I asked if your worry was about your life? These are sticky and can be tough but are by far the most pertinent to look at. As I said in the beginning of this piece, worry serves a purpose. Here is where you get to let it do just that. Let worry in and focus on what it is. Make a list, say it out loud, or do whatever you need to do to look it right in the eye and see what you're worried about. Have you identified it? I hope so because it can take a lot to really do this. It sucks sometimes because it can be very big. I get it. Now that you see it, what can you do about it? Chances are you have an idea. You might dog yourself, but if you're worried and see a problem, it's because you've identified something that should be done or exist in some other form. How do you make that change? Can you change it?  If you can worry about it, you can address it. There—I answered it for you.

Be Positive

I’ve sat on the other end of this conversation before. Worry will always be present. I’m not saying it won’t be. But what I am saying is that there is a way to make it work for you in a positive way and not suck you into a pile of dung. In my case, the reality was that I would beat myself up for not doing enough. Could of, would of, should of—if you start any sentence like this, back that one up and start again. Look at what you did do or what you can do. Anything outside of that is bullshit quite frankly. You need to focus on being here, now, and giving it your best. That is what worry is here for, for you to do the best you can given a situation or challenge. Once you have done the best you can, move on because worry has done its job. Worry has no business earning overtime. Its sole purpose is to draw your attention to an issue, sound the alarm, and that’s it. Worry is not there to do anymore than that.

If you have worry doing anymore than mentioned, you can't be here in the moment. You can't live in the past, future, and present. You can only be alive now. Do your best every single time you get the chance, but keep in mind that the only way you're ever going to be able to do that is to be present and aware. Relish the fact that you're constantly being challenged and that you're still going. As clichéd as it sounds, you really could be dead tomorrow and nothing is worth cheating yourself out of getting to live the best life possible.

What was great about the night I was talking about is that it was beyond powerful. I was there 100 percent in every way. I could feel my sinuses about to explode, my lower back and abs working, and the bar ripping at my hands. I got to enjoy those amazing few seconds where the lift slowed down just above my knees and I used that focus and awareness to finish the lift and love every bit of it. By the time I set the bar down, I had experienced so much in that moment that I wasn’t quite sure what to do for a minute. It was absolutely intoxicating and as strong as lightning in a bottle. I wanted to call every person I knew because I was so excited and alive! The problem was, of course, that as mentioned it was well past that friendly calling time and most of my friends are parents or people with early mornings so I was jacked beyond belief with no one to call. The simple solution was to push the Prowler. That always helps.

The bottom line is this—I know this may be too happy of a story for some of you grumpy old trolls out there on the inner tubes, but you can be happy and more productive. I promise. Do what you do and acknowledge the work you put in. When you’ve given your best, don’t be afraid to give yourself credit. There is always room for improvement, but if you seek only to be a slave to worry and doubt, there isn't any improvement that will ever bring you calm and peace. Let worry do its job and move on. Be thankful for every moment because it all ends for every single one of us. Get as much as you possibly can out of this life. After all, it is yours.