effort and pain barrierI often call the gym or workout environment “the strength of will proving ground” because we have an opportunity while in that environment to not only test our will but develop it as well.  But the physical training environment is even more than that. It can also serve as an acute opportunity to identify the self imposed limits we place on ourselves in any given area of our life.

If you have ever run into what appears to be an immovable WALL on your success path (that somewhat unidentifiable and insurmountable THING that stands between you and your objective) and were unable to get past it – you may understand what I mean when I say “self imposed.”

In my opinion and experience those so called “insurmountable/immovable external obstacles” don’t exist.

It has been proven time and time again that there is virtually nothing that can stop a completely committed, motivated and determined human being from achieving their objective, providing the objective falls within the laws of physics… and even those laws are not written in stone when it comes to the power of human endeavor.

So why then, if 10 people set out to achieve something great will 8 of those 10 people be stopped dead in their in tracks long before reaching the end of their journey?

The answer to that question is the same answer to why most people never achieve the physical results they anticipate experiencing when they start an exercise program.

They’re unable, unwilling or lack the motivation to PUSH PAST THEIR SELF IMPOSED PAIN BARRIER.

Several years ago, around the same time Richard Simmons introduced short shorts, slouch socks and sweating to the oldies to the world we began to reject the phrase “NO PAIN, NO GAIN” as excessive and unnecessary.  Since that time we have been popping one pain medication after another and have been running to the doctor’s office at the first sign of illness or physical discomfort all in a desire to avoid physical pain at all costs.

The truth is – for decades we have been conditioning ourselves to avoid anything that so much as resembles pain or discomfort in our lives and as a result we’ve wound up suffering even more with no growth to show for it. 

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”
~Napoleon Hill

Bodybuilders, and elite athletes of every verity have long since understood that pain and discomfort in the gym is part of the growth and development process and have conditioned themselves to push past the otherwise self imposed physical pain barrier that would and does stop most people.

The gym is an opportunity for you to feel the pain, push past it and even embrace it as part of your personal growth process both physically and emotionally.  It will serve as a new conditioning process and open the door to understanding and excepting the pain, discomfort, fear, doubt and uncertainty that will unavoidably precede the growth you want to experience outside the gym in your relationship, finances and leadership position in the world.

Keep in mind one of my favorite sayings as you attempt to push through,  “Pain is only weakness leaving your body”


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Tom Terwilliger

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