What Gym Has Taught Me About Life
“The world ain’t sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. You? Me? Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.” – Rocky Balboa
Storms in life aren’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. And most of us don’t see them coming till they hit us square in the jaw. For someone in his mid-twenties, I’ve experienced them in various forms, ranging from breakups to passing loved ones. While the orthodox approach is to grit your teeth and bear the pain, there is another way.
The iron room [read: gym] offers much insight in this regard where many return day after day to put themselves through immense pain, only to leave feeling fulfilled. “How?” I once asked a professional boxer, and his reply was simple: Don’t endure the pain. Embrace it.
You see, the soul-crushing sensations and weight of the world on your shoulders from being under the bar aren’t too different from the curveballs life throws at you. They cause the thought of giving up to creep in and an intense longing for the pain to stop, amongst other things. But learning to embrace the grit not just helps you get through it, but also gives purpose to the otherwise meaningless pain.
What purpose, you might ask? A general rule of thumb would be growth. Many people enter the gym each day seeking to be better today than they were yesterday, and that too can be applied to life. Today’s pain might feel like a crushing boulder, but tomorrow’s might feel lighter. Because you grew.
However, such embracement does not come overnight. Accepting and embracing pain as part and parcel of life makes it easier to deal with and more purposeful. And as clichéd as it sounds, there really is no gain without pain.