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  • Nathanael Littauer, CSCS

Embrace The Hard Stuff

I quote Frankl a lot. And by a lot, I mean in almost any circumstance in which I am working with someone who is struggling mentally in more than just the gym. Specifically, I quote the following passage from Frankl like it's my job:

"What man needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the struggling and striving for a worthwhile goal. A freely chosen task."

I like this quote because it breaks down two things that we should be keen on remembering.

First, easy is not a good thing. We don't want easy, we want the right amount of tension on our lives that acts as a driver for progress. We need to have some struggle to find meaning in what we do in our day to day lives. To desire "easy" is to hope for no progress, even if progress will better your physical and emotional state. Much like a muscle, the mind needs tension to grow and develop.


Second, our tension should be derived from tasks or goals that are worthwhile. If we choose the right goal, and are seeking to progress in the right direction, we will ultimately experience some form of tension as a byproduct of that goal. But the struggle is what makes the goal worth it. The goal may be the top of the mountain, but no one tells stories about the view when they get there, but they instead relish on the moments where there was uncertainty or struggle.


I find these things to be important to the goal of building a Stronger Future. That in order to grow, we must choose the direction we are to go, and then prepare for the struggle along the way. This can be in the gym, by gaining muscle, losing weight, or increasing your performance. But it also expands into all aspects of life. It encompasses your work life, and the pursuit of financial success or freedom. It applies to your relationships, whether it is with a friend, a partner, a sibling, a parent, or spouse and how you communicate or build those relationships. It overflows into the mind and the pursuit of knowledge. None of these things are struggle free.


So when we find ourselves struggling, whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual, we must understand that tension is not a bad thing. Tension is merely a sign that you've chosen something that is worth it to you, and that you are headed in the right direction. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. And understand that your future will be stronger because of it.

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