I know a secret that allows you to succeed at every (smart) endeavour you set your mind on.
Here’s the deal:
I’ve been lifting for such a long time. I grew up in a home where walls were decorated with gold medals from the IPF powerlifting world championships. I first step foot in the gym — for real — at 13 years of age when my arms were twigs.
At 16, I deadlifted 550 lbs completely natural and aspired to break the world record deadlift in my age and weight class, which wasn’t too far away.
That didn’t pan out. My father threw me out on the street, I dropped out of high school and got started in business. Which left very little time for serious powerlifting training.
Eventually, I turned back to lifting weights but just did what was fun. Bodybuilding.
I had abandoned powerlifting, but…
My straining powerlifting training had not been for nothing:
In my powerlifting days, I had lifted until I puked. I had squatted every day for months. I had been coached by one of the world’s strongest bench pressers. I had followed Russian squat routines that made me fear every workout ahead of me.
All those workouts had learned me something…
When you powerlift, you have to lift heavy weights. Duh. And you want to lift as heavy weights as possible.
And the #1 way to lift as heavy weights as possible… is to learn how to grind. How to push yourself.
When I work out with others, I often hear them saying things like:
That was really heavy, I can’t take anymore!
I know they don’t lie to me. To them, it feels like they can’t lift any heavier weight.
But you know what I always tell them?
It’s now your real workout begins.
I say this for two reasons:
1. Everyone is afraid of failing. And that’s why almost everyone fails. I’d rather go as heavy I can and fail, than stay safe and only lift weights that feel “safe”.
Calculated risks are great. Most winning men have high testosterone levels, or at least traits associated with high testosterone. Risk-taking is one of them.
2. You can almost certainly lift 10% above the weight that feels like your max. If you learn how (it’s a skill).
Allow me to introduce you to…
When you deadlift to the max, and it’s serious weight, it will often feel like the bar is forged to the floor at first. In your mind, it feels like you stand there and try to lift the bar for minutes, but it doens’t budge an inch. But even though it feels impossible, you just need to keep tensing your muscles and it may fly off the floor.
It’s a battle between your mind and the bar — and the last man standing wins.
This is the grind I’m talking about. This is the man-maker, this is what separates the strong from the weak. If you can’t handle the grind, you are worthless.
Sometimes, it’s not about how fast you can move forward. Sometimes, it’s about how you can stand still and still stick with it.
Here is my naive misunderstanding:
At first, I learned about the grind in the gym.
It’s a cool concept when lifting weights. But I made one mistake that fucked up the rest of my life…
I didn’t realize the Grind applied to all things in life!
The Grind is basically a delayal of positive feedback. You lift a weight, and it doesn’t move at first. You don’t get positive feedback. So you get two choices, (A) stop lifting right away or (B) keep lifting in hopes the positive feedback will eventually appear.
My example, of lifting a weight, is a micro-instance of the grind. But I can make it more clear for you by giving a macro-instance:
When you first get in the gym, you do some exercises and run the mill for an hour. But you don’t get ripped the day after your first workout, do you?
You need to keep faith in the process. Stick to it and expect that positive feedback will come to you.
And it doesn’t only apply to the gym…
When I got started in business I realized The Grind is a fact that applies to everything.
Let’s say you want to start an ecommerce store.
You need to spend hours and hours setting it up. You need to get in touch with manufacturers, develop the best product you can, do it all over again because you made a mistake, set up a website that converts, create a brand and a system to make sales.
You could spend dozens of hours before you even get your first sale!
Earlier, I talked about The Grind being a delayal of positive feedback. When you start your hypothetical ecommerce store, you will also experience the grind. There is a significant period between the first action you take and your first positive feedback (in this case, a sale).
But here’s the thing people do WRONG…
When you lift a weight and stop at fast as you feel nothing happens… you will never become strong.
Same goes for The Grind in all areas of life.
If you feel like nothing happens, that there is no movement, and immediately drop off and go do your next thing… you will never succeed. You will just have a bunch of quick starts, but you’ll neve run to the finish line.
Take this blog, Contrarian And Free, as an example:
When I started it about 3 months ago, I obviously had NO readers. Zero. That was the case for a month since I never did much promotion on social media.
Every day I wrote articles, I published in a feaverish manner and worked like a madman on the blog. But after one week, nothing happened. After two weeks, nothing. After three weeks, nothing.
I could’ve seen that as discouraging and dropped the blog. Meh, blogging is dead.
But I knew about The Grind, and that you have to stick with the direction you’re going in. No matter what emotional impulses you get for the moment.
I kept going and guess what?
Suddenly, I started seeing 30 website visitors a day. In then increased to a hundred per day. And now, it’s a daily 400 visitors on average.
The positive feedback didn’t come in the beginning, but I expected it to eventually appear. So I kept going and it unfolded in my favor.
And that’s what I want to say with this article:
When you start doing something and you don’t get any positive feedback early on — don’t despair. In many cases, you will just have to endure and keep putting the work in.
It’s when things get tough that they start to get good.
Sadly, we live in a world of instant gratification where people are programmed to want things NOW. Watch a movie on Netflix NOW, get a reply from your buddy NOW, get pizza delivered NOW.
That’s why we often see effeminate weaklings that, whenever things don’t go great from the beginning, quickly abandon projects they take on. They’re like Duracell rabbits, constantly jumping around from one thing to the next.
Be calm and keep your eyes on the ball, even when it feels that you may never get it.
And of course, you can’t expect to stick with something stupid forever and expect good results. You will never become a millionaire if your business idea is stupid. No amount of hard work will change that — but sticking with a bad choice is another topic I may write about in the future.
Until next time,
— Alexander Contrarian