“You can be anything you want to be” is the biggest lie self-help gurus have been trying to sell you for years. I honestly think it’s an urban legend and it’s pointless to chase the “best in the world” title.
If you’re the “driven” kind, don’t be disappointed. There’s hope for you so long as your expectations are realistic. Please, don’t misunderstand, I’m not discouraging anyone to chase their dreams. That’s the last thing I would want. I, however, am asking you to reflect deeply on the practicality of your goals and dreams. Are they worthy of your time, effort, and dedication?
I took up Powerlifting when I was 28 and aspired to be the best amateur lifter out there. The result — I got ridiculously strong for my weight category (83 and later 93 kilos) and age. But I was nowhere close to the best competitive amateur lifter out there. I realised it took a lot more time and dedication I could possibly provide.
And it wasn’t that I didn’t try harder, I did, only to injure myself. I’m still paying the price, quite literally, for all those benching and overhead pressing sessions. That said, I don’t regret a bit for pursuing powerlifting. It gave me a sense of confidence that no other sport could’ve offered. It also helped me explore the fascinating world of strength sports and most importantly, Kettlebells, which is now my go-to modality (along with bodyweight) for training.
The point is this, my goals didn’t match my reality — a full-time working professional with an active side-hustle (executive coach), a family, and varied interests outside the gym. My “best in the world” attitude didn’t allow me to become the best I could’ve been. I was too distracted chasing numbers, accolades, and objectives that didn’t really matter in the long run.
And I realised that when I felt a pang of guilt while dropping my four-year-old daughter at the daycare at eight in the morning. My actions didn’t match my objective of being the best father I could possibly be. I chose to rearrange my schedule and eventually step back from powerlifting completely to be with my daughter. It was more important than the arbitrary numbers I’d set for myself.
Rejoining Jiu-Jitsu last year was one of the best moves I could’ve made. It has given me a sense of purpose, direction, and a reality check. I don’t aspire to be a world champion or even a world champion white belt (if there’s such thing) but a better practitioner and a better person with each passing day. That is it! And believe me, it’s so liberating!
Of course, I have my goals. I want to earn my black belt by 2030 so I can teach and perhaps, even set up my own academy! Who knows? But what I do know is that I’m training twice a day for strength and mobility so I can be good at the sport and practice it for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be world champion but I do want to compete so I know I’m getting better. Why’s that important? Well, if you don’t measure how would you know you’ve progressed?
The key is to discover your “why” and understand what makes you truly unique. Grow from there. The journey you undertake must be purposeful. You should have a strong why that’s doused in your reality. Not your hero’s. Be the best that you possibly can be and who knows your best version may be the best in the world!