Ever wonder what all successful people have in common? The belief they can, and will be successful.
Often times I see so many people telling me that they would never be able to do something. That no matter how hard they tried, or what they did, they would never be able to accomplish something that they would clearly like to accomplish. One of the things that set me apart from other people in terms of strength was a deeply engrained confidence in what I was able to do physically, and when I lacked confidence I would create it out of thin air, but more on that later.
So, as odd as it sounds I am going to lead you guys through my own story a bit, and show you why I even began trying in the first place; what gave me the drive and belief that I could even lift some of the things that I have. Without that, I’m sure I never would have gone through the effort required to get as strong as I am.
[pullquote]He told us we would be stronger than other people, that other people would basically be wimps compared to us.[/pullquote]
From as early as I can remember my father would tell my brother and I stories of how strong he and his brothers were. He told us we would be stronger than other people, that other people would basically be wimps compared to us. Often calling us the “lads of power”, encouraging feats of strength, and to over eat meats and healthy home cooked meals. He would have us hold dumbbells out to the side for as long as we could to test ourselves. He would praise me for my stories of being able to run faster than other kids, or beating them at arm wrestling. You see, before I knew who I was in this world I had someone who I trusted and believed already building my confidence in my strength. Someone to tell me that if someone else can do it I could too, and that I had abilities other people didn’t, and would do things other people wouldn’t be able to do.
When I was young, 5 to 10 years old, I thought of myself as what my parents told me to think of myself as. So for those years I was always able to excell against other kids my age in terms of strength. I remember being about 8 years old in P.E. class and having a field day where everyone played games all day. It was girls against boys in tug a war, and for some reason the boys always won, who knew right? That was until my coach switched me to the girls team and then we started winning. Little things like this only built my confidence over the years. I was also raised very religious, a type of christian religion that none of you would know about, there were very few of us and it was very strict. But, because there were so few, and it was so strict, I was taught from birth that I was special, blessed, and that I could do anything with gods help. This is something that stuck with me, even late into my teen years I would pray before a lift; look at a seemingly impossible weight and tell myself that it will move because all things can be done with gods help.
So what do you have here?
Someone with apparently good genetics, who was practically brain washed from birth to believe he was more than human, that he was blessed by an invisible being that controlled everything and was rewarded with praise for his feats of strength, and practically forcefed three solid high quality meals a day. In fact, I was fed so much meat that my family used to call me the carnivore before the age of 5. Sadly, when I became old enough to be a little more self aware, I stopped thinking of myself as what I was taught to think. This is exactly where most people fall short, they lose belief in themselves, or they never had any to begin with. I lost my confidence in myself to some degree over those years. All the while though, I never lost my desire to be huge and incredibly strong. I would watch and draw Dragon Ball Z every day. Which for those of you who dont know, they are basically bodybuilders who train for powerlifting, and when they get angry they get stronger.
What I could visualize and believe, was possible.
On the day of my 14th birthday I was 215lbs, and for the first time in my life was allowed to workout at the YMCA. I went to the gym with my brother and maxed out on bench at an amazing 105lbs. I was fat, small, weak, and I knew it. But, all those years of memories wouldn’t let me stop or give up, because it was already who I was. Around this time is when my father started telling me about visulization, imagining the lift, imagining where you want to be in life, and how you will get there. It taught me that I could basically decide how fast my gains would be. That what I could visualize and believe was possible, if I was the kind of person with the balls to follow through. I became even more confident in my abilities, my childhood memories driving me forward. To make progress that others couldn’t match wasn’t a big deal for me. I believed I was different, that I could do things others couldn’t, and that I didn’t want to compare myself to the typical person, but rather the people who I considered to be freaks.
[pullquote]I dreamed every single day about one day being able to squat and deadlift 800lbs, and to be the strongest person ever.[/pullquote]
From about 14 to 16 years old, everyday I would read articles for hours about training and diet. I would write programs over and over and over, never following any of them because when it came time to train I knew my body better than the pen and paper did. Thousands of hours were spent on the internet in bodybuilding chat rooms and forums, watching lifting videos, and learning everything I could. I was obsessed. Obsessed like someone who had nothing else to live for, and in fact I was even convinced I didn’t have anything else to live for. I dreamed every single day about one day being able to squat and deadlift 800lbs, and to be the strongest person ever. I truly believed I would be, I just had no idea how long it would take me.
So again, what do you have here? Someone with so much faith in their abilities that they obsess over their goals, live for them, sacrifice everything they can to get closer to them, because they are convinced they KNOW what they are capable of.
By 16 years old I could squat 675 in knee wraps. I didn’t think too much of it, because after all, I am different and can do better. For years I trained all the powerlifts, but never competed in anything because I believed I wasn’t good enough. My belief that I would continue to progress and one day be one of these super strong people that I always wanted to be, combined with the belief that I wasn’t yet good enough, and the fact that I believed I had nothing else to live for, produced one hell of an end result. By 18 years old I was squatting and deadlifting around 750 naturally, and benching 440 with a pause.
How did I do that? It must be genetics right? Sure to some degree, what I didn’t mention was the fact that I had gained to 385lbs to do it, threw a large portion of my life away on the internet, and put my body through absolute hell for years by training with frequency and volume that 99% of lifters would say is too much. But, I believed I was different, and that by working harder than others, and sacrificing more than others I would go further. I made that a reality by believing it.
Within six months I had lost 100 lbs, and not had so much as a single cheat meal.
A squat injury put me out of training for a while, but that only sparked a diet. I had always told everyone I could lose weight if I wasn’t so focused on strength. Thousands of people on online forums and youtube had called me a pathetic fat ugly fuck for years. Telling me I would never diet. While convincing them they were wrong, I had conviced myself I could do it, and I had something to prove. I started dieting and within six months I had lost 100lbs, and not had so much as a single cheat meal; another thing people tell me they would never be able to do. I never thought I could either. My parents didn’t raise me to believe I could be ripped, or diet easily. No one had encouraged me that I could do it before I began, I was lost. My entire life I was obese, and suddenly I had to believe I could get ripped up, not cheat on my diet, and not fail my self.
This is where I pulled confidence and belief out of thin air, because there wasn’t much to be had other than the drive to succeed and prove everyone wrong. I created a new person in my head, someone I wanted to be. They would do all the things I wished I could and they were someone I fully admired in every way. I asked myself what that ideal person’s training, diet, and cardio would look like. They wouldn’t shy away from something hard, tedious, time consuming; not this person I made up in my mind. So I made my plan, removing how hard it was out of the equation, and only asking what would be ideal. When it got hard, I found encouragement by remembering it was possible, that if I could visualize it, and believe I was capable, that I could do it if I had the balls to follow through. Everything I have ever done with lifting is all based purely off what I believed, and the confidence that was built up from the day I was born.
Do you really think great lifters are just really good at guessing their strength for a meet? Or do you think they believed they could do it for so long that they made it a reality for themselves? I could go on, but the point is to never sell yourself short. If you want to be different than other people, you have to believe you can be. Figure out what you want, figure out what it takes to get there, then believe you are capable of doing it. Believe you will do it, and believe you are willing to go through whatever you have to, to accomplish your goals. This is what separates successful people from the rest.