A firm decision to do or not do something; the ability to decide firmly on a course of action
The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear
A will that is impossible to subdue or defeat
Ok – the third hit of the Iron Qualities. Part one looked at positivity while part two covered masculine virtues. This time it’s three for the price of one – a triple whammy of testosterone; a menage a trois of masculinity; a threeway of….you get the idea.
Here’s a reminder of the quote in full again:
“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done.”
Let’s look at “…of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will…”
Life is hard – no two ways about it. It can be a tough place. Are you going to let it get to you?? Are you going to give up?? Are you going to hide in a corner somewhere and hope things will resolve themselves??
No – you are a man of Iron Qualities. You have an iron resolve. The courage of a lion and a machine-like spirit. You never give up.
You stay the course. You face all obstacles head on. You are never defeated.
You never give up.
Things get tough. You don’t succeed at first. What do you do? You keep going. You try again. And again. And again. And again. Until you succeed. Once you have a goal in mind, once you decide to do something, you do it.
You never give up.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…but you have to keep walking
Let’s use the tried and tested example of lifting weights, specifically benchpressing. You want to bench 150kg but right now you can barely lift a tub of ice cream. What do you do?
First thing you do is….THROW THAT TUB OF HAAGEN DAZS IN THE BIN AND NEVER BUY ANOTHER!!
Then you hit the gym, head to the bench, throw 40kg on the bar and chalk those hands. This is going to be heavy baby.
You lift the bar and it feels substantial. Your arms are shaking as you bring it down to your chest. You let it sit there for a moment as you gather your strength for the big push. You lift with all your might and the bar slowly edges up and back towards the stand.
You go for another rep….but the bar won’t budge. Two reps is a step too far for this bad boy. Well at lest you can tell people what your one-rep max is now, even if it’s not the 150kg you were dreaming of.
So you have a decision to make…are you going to give up and whine because it’s too hard??
Or are you going to remember that you are a man of Iron Quality who resolved to bench 150kg no matter how long, how painful and how hard it is?
Option 2 obviously.
Take a few plates off that bar and start at 20kg
Do your 3×10 sets
Drink your protein
Suffer DOMS the next day
Add 5kg to the bar next time you hit them gym
And the next time. And the next time. And the next time
Guess what?? Now you’re benching 3×10 sets of 40kg when you couldn’t even do 2 reps before. And you keep going. Months…maybe even years. One day someone might say to you:
“What the hell bro…have you been working out?”
Now you’re making visible and tangible progress
“Damn right I have. I’ve been pumping some quality iron.” Pun absolutely intended
150kg is a substantial weight to bench. It’s certainly not impossible, but it will take time, dedication, determination and discipline and with all these things you will get there.
You never give up.
It’s a marathon…not a sprint
I’ll tell you another little story…
A few years back, Bo signed up for a marathon to help raise some well-deserved funds for a good cause. I’ve always traditionally been a sprinter, very dangerous over short distances. So 26.2 miles was going to be a challenge, and one I couldn’t back out of.
So I bought a new pair of running shoes and a shitload of Vaseline to plaster all over my nipples and inner thighs and began pounding the roads in preparation.
I started on sessions of around 5 miles close to a 4hr marathon pace during the week. 2-3 of these per week. At the beginning, even this was not easy. I would come home breathing out of my ass and sweating like a pig.
But the real key to successful marathon training is the long runs at the weekend. Around 5 months before the event, I started my weekly long runs. The first one was 10 miles. It hurt like hell and wrecked me for most of the rest of the day.
But I kept going
The long runs gradually increased in length as the weeks progressed. And I began suffering a recurring issue every week – after about 12 miles my thighs would begin to cramp. I had never run these distances before in my life so this was a new experience – and not a nice one.
But I kept going
And I noticed something as the long runs got longer – I could go further and further before the cramp began kicking in. 15, 16, 17, 18 miles…weeks before this wouldn’t have been possible.
Progress. Happy days
And then an obstacle….the third act twist…
I developed some kind of injury in my heel – it was like a sharp pain in my heel and lower calf. Being a stubborn bastard I didn’t go get it checked out. Instead, I self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis – a common marathon training injury caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes.
Sounds about right…rookie mistakes
So I started to panic a little. I had a training schedule I needed to keep to if I was going to have any chance of a) hitting my target race time of 4 hours and b) actually finishing the thing at all.
Negative thoughts started to creep in. Maybe I could just drop out. I didn’t want to do myself any long-term harm after all….and my preparations were now suffering
No Bo. Not even an option. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind, rested up for a few weeks and got back on the horse
I kept going – kept pushing further
The long runs were now 20+ miles and over 3 hours long. That meant I had to do them early on Saturday mornings – waking up at 6am, horsing some porridge into me before pounding the London roads while the tourists were taking pictures of Big Ben and stuffing their faces with waffles and crepes from street vendors.
Early starts and long runs meant no more partying on Friday nights – no romancing of the honeys; no pints or jaegerbomb chasers; no 3am kebabs…
In fact, I completely overhauled my lifestyle and diet
Discipline, dedication, resolve – I needed to do this
So cutting to the chase, I did it. Completed the race in 4hrs 16mins. On race day I quickly realised I did not train at a fast enough pace to make my 4hr target but hey – shit sometimes does happen.
I must break away and get out into the mountains
This was a sporting goal, but the fundamental principles are the same for anything you put your mind to. Maybe you want to start your own business and make it a success. Or write a book. Or speak a new language. Or learn how to seduce a supermodel. Think of it like climbing a mountain:
You start at basecamp. With little or no ability, knowledge, skill or prowess.
You start to climb the mountain with your Sherpa guiding you and make solid progress. Going is good.
You run into some unexpected obstacles. Maybe you have to backtrack a little and take a new path.
Maybe you get injured or hurt along the way – or you’re forced to confront some old fear or phobia
Will you turn back and give up? No. You keep going. You’ve had this goal in mind all your life and now that you have it in sight – you can actually see the summit all the way up there – you are going to show that iron resolve and you are going to make it
And then there you are, dizzy from lack of oxygen at the peak of the mountain. Ready to plant your flag and claim victory.
It won’t happen if you lie on the sofa scratching yourself and watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. Nothing is handed to you on a plate. You need to go out there and make it happen.
Set yourself the goal, resolve your will to do it, and make it happen
This post isn’t about dressing better or finding the perfect luxury watch to express your manliness because none of that shit matters if you don’t have the resolve, courage and spirit to kick the world’s ass
I’m not going to tell you about my specific goals because you are not me and we will want to do different things. But when you understand what the Iron Qualities are you understand there are several things you should be doing in order to become the man you were born to be:
- Take care of yourself physically
- Keep learning every day
- Visualise the man you want to be and focus all your efforts to becoming that man
Every spare moment of your waking life should be spent in pursuit of your goals. That means:
- No Facebook trolling
- Cutting back on getting pissed with the boys and sending drunk texts to your ex telling her how much you miss her
- Channel hopping and aimless web browsing. In fact, I’d say cut out TV almost altogether – it’s mostly mind-numbing shit and mainstream media propaganda anyway
- Overtime at work…forget it. Work/life balance boys
Never give up
Seriously men – our time on planet earth is finite and we don’t get very much of it at all. So don’t waste it getting zombiefied into a productive drone for The Machine.
Have the resolution to live the life of Iron Qualities
Have the courage to take control and not buy into the hype
Have the indomitable will to stay the path and follow through until you become the man you were born to be.