Why I cannot bear to see a decline in myself:
We hate seeing (perceived) decline.
Why is this? Perhaps it is our ‘will to power’?
What discourages me
About a month ago I hit some PR’s (personal records) in my powerlifting (bench, deadlift, squat).
My deadlift was 450 pounds, my benchpress was around 255, and my squat was around 360 pounds. My weight was 175 pounds.
I left for around 3 weeks (Cuba for a week, 2 weeks in Mexico City).
When I got back, I got quite discouraged. I lost 10 pounds (went from 175 to 165 pounds), and I lost strength in my lifts, and I also lost some courage to attempt the lifts.
Why does losing weight discourage me?
This is what I think:
Your weight is like your bank account.
If you see your weight go down, it is the same feeling of seeing your bank account go down.
It seems that with money, it ain’t about how much money you ultimately have. It is about whether you see an increase or a decrease.
For example, a person who increases their income from $20,000 a year to $40,000 year (in a single year) will be much happier than someone who sees their income go from $1 million a year to $500,000 a year.
Thus when I saw my weight go down by 10 pounds, it was insanely discouraging, because I perceived that I was losing power and strength.
To me, powerlifting is all about courage. Let me give you a real example:
When I got back after 3 weeks of not training, what was the biggest thing that I lost? My courage!
For example, when it comes to deadlifting, I think it is about 99% courage. For example, there is always a fear before you deadlift a heavy weight. Why? You fear that you will injure yourself or whatever. But in truth, the great thing about doing deadlifts (especially sumo style) is this:
If you’re not strong enough to lift the weight, you won’t be able to lift it off the ground. There is no risk for injury with sumo deadlift.
But still, it is scary! So after 3 weeks of not training, even to attempt a “4 plate” deadlift (405 pounds) was scary! Scary in the sense that I lost my hype and courage. It took me almost another 2.5 weeks to re-build my courage to attempt the 4-plate deadlift. But the funny thing is that once I broke the mental 4-plate deadlift barrier, my “gains” got back to me quite easily (within another 1.5 weeks). As I write this, I’m still a little bit weaker than I was 3 weeks ago (I attempted 450 deadlift, and got it maybe 5% off the ground). But I’m quite happy, because I have my courage again. I know I just need to keep eating more meat, taking some time to recover/augment my strength, and I will be able to deadlift 450 pounds, then later this year I will lift 455 pounds, then 460 pounds, 465, 470, 475, 480, 485, 490, 495, 500, 505, 510, etc.
Why do we care for increase?
I think it is a naturalistic human thing. We desire gain!
Philosophers have all said:
Desiring for more is evil.
Consider the ‘sins’ of gluttony, greed, avarice. Technically all of these human desires are good. A human who wasn’t greedy or a human who didn’t desire for more would probably still be in a cave (happily) eating acorns.
I don’t think humans should be like cattle. We do not seek a happy bovine human species. I think humans are more interesting when we are greedy, avaricious, and we desire more.
Therefore, let us state:
Desiring MORE is a good thing.
Money is tricky.
After essaying about the significance of money, my basic takeaway is this:
Money is just a game. The goal is to spend as little of it as possible, and to gain as much of it as possible.
Also, it ain’t about ultimately how much money you have. The goal is never-ending gains.
For example, who would be happier?
- Joe Shmoe who started off making $20,000 a year, and saw a 10% increase in his yearly income until his death.
- Or Bob Billionaire who started his life with $100 billion (in the bank) and every year saw his fortune dwindle by $1 billion every year (until his death).
Technically Bob is in better shape than Joe, but Joe would feel much “happier”, because of this perceived notion of upwards growth!
Do we desire upwards growth, or ultimate objective benefit?
Once again let us go back to Bob Billionaire and Joe Shmoe.
What is better, to be objectively richer, or to feel like you’re subjectively becoming richer?
This is a philosophical difference. Something you must determine for yourself.