So this week the election hit and finally hostilities are starting to die down. Ok, maybe not. Nonetheless I’m here to talk about the meaning of American Strength to my fellow americans to give them some insight on how I view it. Now before you click off let me state that I’m not here to try and make a political statement by saying that one side is right and the other is wrong. I’m merely going to state my interpretation of strength as it applies to today’s american culture and where we stand with it, or at least my view of where we are with it in today’s society. So buckle your chin strap my friend, because this could get interesting, or not!
Well for those of you who know me or have been following me for a while you probably have a good idea as to where I stand politically. Now having said that I promise to you (the reader) that I’m going to probably throw some of my bias onto this topic as it relates to my view of American Strength otherwise just how disingenuous would I have to be by leaving that out of the mix? You see this is just the same ole BR talking to you that you’ve been used to in every single one of my other posts. 🙂
Before I start, I know that people’s emotions are testy right now depending on what you have had to deal with within your own circles. Now having said that I am an emotionally charged guy too when I need to be. I’m just a strength coach trying to spread good will and knowledge to my fellow strength lovers to help the world not to be so weak, fragile, and timid. Wow, did I just say weak, fragile, and timid? Yes…um…um…Yes I did.
Ok, so why did I just hone in on those particular adjectives (weak, fragile, timid)? Well, once again I’m a strength coach and a small business owner so let me give you a view from my eyes so that you can hopefully see what I see in regards to what I’m saying.
First of all, as a strength coach I’m constantly hammering home the message of independent thought, independent choices, and independent responsibility as the sources of what will ultimately guide either the successes or failures of the athletes that I train. I mean I can serve as a road map, or let me go modern day here and say GPS, for helping them to achieve their strength and conditioning needs for the sport they compete in, but they have to actually do the driving.
Now even though this is the case it is still up to the “INDIVIDUAL” to do the work. Aside from holding a gun to someone’s head I can’t truly make them do what they need to do in order to be successful. This trait holds true in day to day life as well. Whenever someone doesn’t do what they are supposed to do then they usually get beat. Now I hate losing. I mean I HATE losing more than I enjoy winning! However it’s one thing to lose if you are lazy or didn’t do the things that you know very well you should have been doing to win, or if you gave it your all and just got beat. There is a difference.
Now the other part of that is that if you do lose it’s not acceptable in my camp to blame anyone else for your failures other than yourself. You see this is the very area where I think American Strength is starting to diminish. I think many americans want to blame to many other people for their individual failures when they could just as easily make different choices to not allow failure to occur or to at least reduce the likelihood of a failure to occur. The blame game is not a game you want to be a part of if you are a winner. Winners don’t do that losers do! In addition to that if you do happen to lose then a true loser just folds up like a tent, a winner will stand up, dust themselves off, and fight like hell the next time to not allow that to happen again.
Self Reliance, Innovation, And Mental Grit…
Self reliance, Innovation, and Mental Grit are what this country was founded on and is at the center of American Strength. I mean way back when we decided to give the middle finger to the ole Brits (of course no hard feelings with the good ole Brits today) for trying to intrude, dictate, and oppressively govern our way of life is exactly when america was truly born. It was because of our attitude of self reliance, being innovative, and having the physical and mental grit and toughness that we were able to create the most kick ass place on the planet over 200 years ago. That “IS” america, BUT there is an attitude with people growing more and more today that is killing that very foundational principle of this country and we can see it all around us. There is a war on individualism and it is disgusting.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Coach how can you say this from a strength coach/trainer point of view? Well, for one we’re a country full of a bunch of fat asses. Yep, you can’t dispute the facts people. We are the MOST obese country on the entire planet. Not only is this the case, but many obese americans don’t want to embrace that “Mental Grit” that I referenced earlier by getting their sagging rear ends either to the gym or to their own garage to do something about it.
No, instead they want to go take a pill, have a surgery, or participate in some joke of a fitness program that does absolute ZILCH for their progress! Unfortunately this attitude of “you need to do this for me” or “I need an easy way out” is one that is becoming more and more a part of this new american way of thinking. Of course this contradicts American Strength and true american thinking and what we would consider american values. This is all very unfortunate, but it is very true. This way of thinking is NOT a sign of american strength, but rather a sign of weakness.
A Look Into The American Psyche…
Ok, the big question about how successful you are going to be in your strength program, in your career, and in your life choices may boil down to a rather simple observation. Are you a problem solver or a problem creator. I personally believe that we (as a country) collectively create more problems for ourselves than solutions a lot of the time. We’re so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or being politically incorrect that we actually do more harm than good especially when it comes down to the function (or dysfunction) of our government and attempting to create policies to fix various social issues.
Let me explain this to you from a psychological perspective. Ok I’m about to get all smart with you by diving into a couple of psychological theories related to intelligence and problem solving known as the theory of Fixed Intelligence and the theory of Malleable Intelligence. Wow did I just impress you by dropping those fancy words right in your face? Ok,ok , I’ll get on with it.
So the theory of Fixed Intelligence (or Entity Theory) basically is where people have the belief that their intelligence is a “fixed” trait. They believe that they simply just have a certain amount of it and that is just it. It’s viewed as being sort of like this “entity” within them that is set the way it is and there is no changing it. I guess it’s kind of like an entity like that alien that burst out of the guys stomach in the movie Alien and in the movie Spaceballs after he had the potato soup.
Ok, maybe not quite that way. The point is that with this frame of mind it has been proven that subjects that received tasks that were challenging and seemingly out of the realm of their ability would immediately “give up” on trying to solve the problems. Even when they solved other challenging problems in prior exercises they would almost go into blame mode when it concerned their intelligence when approached with new and more difficult challenges. Essentially they gave up on the ability to continue trying to solve the problem when the new challenges presented themselves.
Now the crazy thing is that they have even shown that praise on intelligence which we hold dear may not have quite the positive impact either. Some studies have shown that by praising subjects on their intelligence even after success in solving certain tasks can potentially cause them to shy away from more difficult challenges when faced with them. Essentially they fold up in the face of adversity. This is how I view what we’re doing in this country as our culture of mental and physical weakness continues to grow more and more. Essentially we have to learn to harden our own minds, our own bodies, and pick our own noses!!! No one else can do that for us. No relative, no neighbor, and especially no politician. Plain and simple we have to learn to be better problem solvers or we are undoubtedly going down the toilet.
I mentioned the Entity Theory, but the other theory was the theory of Malleable Intelligence. People that view themselves with Malleable Intelligence don’t see themselves as being limited in terms of their intelligence, but rather see their intelligence as being something that they can cultivate through learning. Instead of shying away from a challenge these folks accept a challenge and go after it without the worry of failure. To these folks failure is all part of the learning process and they build on it by creating problem solving skills that are very effective. To me this is the original mindset of American Strength.
What causes the difference in the two types of intelligence views? I may have some psychologist agree with me and I may have some tell me I don’t what the hell I’m talking about, but personally I believe it is the environment. Just like I present challenges of mental and physical stress to my students the best ones always force their way through it, while sadly enough at times others fold up like a tent, make excuses, and want special treatment. No special treatment here my friends. Essentially I am creating the environment to see who responds. As the old saying goes “the cream rises to the top.”
The bottom line is that after this election there are very different views on what America and American Strength is all about. Well, I’ve given my perspective here and hopefully you understand where I’m coming from. If we expect to survive at all in this lifetime we’ve got to get tougher as a nation, period. We have to get back to that original mindset on American Strength which started this country. By the way if you are military and fighting everyday your toughness is consistent with my view of what American Strength is all about and is exempt from the new mindset that I’ve been ranting about. Thanks a trillion for your bravery, mental grit, and just kicking ass in general!
If you enjoyed this strength coach’s view on what American Strength is all about then please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. You can also show your appreciation even more by investing in a copy of my Better Than Steroids ebook below!
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