T Nation

Is Your Pursuit Driven by Joy or Neurosis?

Do you look to others for the perfect program, the perfect rep range, the perfect movements? Do you gripe about potential and slander those who obviously grow? Is your claim to internet fame how much weight you can move for a certain lift? Do you spend a considerable amount of time comparing yourself to others, either favourably or unfavourably? Do you spend time and money looking for the perfect supplement or method or trainer?

Then let me ask you this question: do you enjoy weight-training? I say “weight-training” because most people on this forum (including me) are not at the status of bodybuilder.

I seem to hear alot of anxious people that seem very insecure, always talking about numbers, size, who “must be” using. Though I admit I havent spent time reading the training logs, Id be willing to bet that they contain the steady, monotonous drone of numbers meant to represent the steady march of dull, pointless progress, without much if any reference to any enthusiasm or, dare I say - joy - associated with a workout (unless of course a number went up).

Coz that’s what I hear elsewhere: most people anxious about not growing fast enough, needing that edge, that secret, the magic pill, that will pack it all on now.

And I think that’s too bad. Because it doesnt sound very pleasant, sounds like misguided egos who think they will lead better, more worthwhile, lives somehow if their bicep has a certain circumference.

As the website banner alludes to, this is a pursuit. A pursuit that never ends, where you never arrive anywhere, you just keep pursuing. Why? Because it’s a JOYOUS pursuit. For its own sake. Otherwise, it’s just neurosis, that will eventually burn out this avenue and form elsewhere anew.

I can say that I don’t give a shit what people “say” they can lift.

There are a few pictures and people that I have seen and say “I’d like to shoot for that physique, size, weight etc…”; but I know that once I get there…I will not be done.

I take everything on this site (and all others) with a grain of salt; it IS just the internet btw.

I love training. From the moment I wake till I go to bed; I am always doing something to further my training. Whether it be eating, correcting my posture, eating again, stretching in my cubicle, eating, foam rolling during commercials at home to cutting the night short because it’s time to get my 8+hrs of sleep to obstaining from drinking at the cost of ‘friendships’ and “you should have been there” statements. And that is just on an off day.

The pursuit is just that…a never ending infinity of life.

I have the best of both worlds…

Neuroses ARE my lifestyle!

[quote]Scotacus wrote:

As the website banner alludes to, this is a pursuit. A pursuit that never ends, where you never arrive anywhere, you just keep pursuing. Why? Because it’s a JOYOUS pursuit. For its own sake. …
[/quote]

right on.

on days when I’m tired or have something I need to get done, it’s like I forget what it feels like to grind through the hard sets and emerge triumphant. Even though starting the workout felt depressingly weak, a few sets in I’m good to go and wondering what the hell I was thinking before. And when I’m done for the day, I feel accomplished and satisfied, instead of reprimanding myself for my lack of discipline.

so yeah, JOY, not neurosis.
good thread.

Tn fact I don’t understand what you mean by your post. I guess it must be bullshit, because you are neither right nor wrong.

funmetal

What’s the point of lifting if you don’t set goals, strive your hardest to meet those goals, and learn from your failures? Yeah after a workout I feel good, but I get more joy out of the products of my work (my physique and strength) then the actual working out. Don’t get me wrong I love to lift, but I think most people do it or at least intend to do it to see the end results.

I enjoy lifting for liftings sake. Its fun and a good release from my other activities. I do it for myself because I know it makes me stronger (in more ways than one) and no one can take that from me. I do it because nothing truly worthwhile in life comes easy. You can’t buy strength and size.

Attention from others is a tiny percent of the equation for me. Of course I enjoy it when people notice I lift or what not, but that also means I spend less time on this site READing it (people’s logs, problems, numbers, etc) and more time DOing it.

I enjoy lifting. I enjoy progress. What a shame to go through life and never see what your body is capable of.

[quote]austin_bicep wrote:
What’s the point of lifting if you don’t set goals, strive your hardest to meet those goals, and learn from your failures? Yeah after a workout I feel good, but I get more joy out of the products of my work (my physique and strength) then the actual working out. Don’t get me wrong I love to lift, but I think most people do it or at least intend to do it to see the end results.[/quote]

I agree… part of what I was trying to say is what lifting makes of you. Its win win in my book…the actual act of lifting is fun, but also what you get from it bigger and even better.

[quote]austin_bicep wrote:
What’s the point of lifting if you don’t set goals, strive your hardest to meet those goals, and learn from your failures? Yeah after a workout I feel good, but I get more joy out of the products of my work (my physique and strength) then the actual working out. Don’t get me wrong I love to lift, but I think most people do it or at least intend to do it to see the end results.[/quote]

Of course you set goals, you strive to educate yourself and improve; that much is assumed.

Look, there is a law of diminished returns at work here. The further one goes, the harder the gains and changes come. This is particularly manifest as one gets upwards into their 50s and 60s. Will the same enthusiasm be there, in either case? If you are driven by how much you are gaining each workout, or even each month of workouts, likely not. Because those changes wont be there.

[quote]DouglasJ16 wrote:
I enjoy lifting for liftings sake. Its fun and a good release from my other activities. I do it for myself because I know it makes me stronger (in more ways than one) and no one can take that from me. I do it because nothing truly worthwhile in life comes easy. You can’t buy strength and size.

Attention from others is a tiny percent of the equation for me. Of course I enjoy it when people notice I lift or what not, but that also means I spend less time on this site READing it (people’s logs, problems, numbers, etc) and more time DOing it.[/quote]

Excellent post. And the others expressing similar sentiments. There are those apparently who think it’s “either/or”. What Im asking is where do you place the emphasis.

I grow. People tend to comment on my size, though I feel I have a long way to go.

And that also expresses also what Im trying to say. There is a sense of humility along with the sense of accomplishment: yes, there are gains made, but there are many challenges ahead. There is a sense of pride, but hopefully that pride is not valued because it nourishes the ego (how I look to others), but because of the strength of character necessary to excel and grow in anything.

For some this distinction is too subtle. Yet I think that what is fostered these days is the emphasis on physical appearance rather than character and joy of accomplishment through hard, intelligent work and perseverance.

Saying joy is better than nurosis is like saying superman is better than batman because Superman is motivated by the idealistic notion of making the world a better place and batman is driven by the revenge for the murder of his parents.

As long as someone is getting positive results, the reason for their doing it pretty much moot.

[quote]Scotacus wrote:
Do you look to others for the perfect program, the perfect rep range, the perfect movements? Do you gripe about potential and slander those who obviously grow? Is your claim to internet fame how much weight you can move for a certain lift? Do you spend a considerable amount of time comparing yourself to others, either favourably or unfavourably? Do you spend time and money looking for the perfect supplement or method or trainer?

Then let me ask you this question: do you enjoy weight-training? I say “weight-training” because most people on this forum (including me) are not at the status of bodybuilder.

I seem to hear alot of anxious people that seem very insecure, always talking about numbers, size, who “must be” using. Though I admit I havent spent time reading the training logs, Id be willing to bet that they contain the steady, monotonous drone of numbers meant to represent the steady march of dull, pointless progress, without much if any reference to any enthusiasm or, dare I say - joy - associated with a workout (unless of course a number went up).

Coz that’s what I hear elsewhere: most people anxious about not growing fast enough, needing that edge, that secret, the magic pill, that will pack it all on now.

And I think that’s too bad. Because it doesnt sound very pleasant, sounds like misguided egos who think they will lead better, more worthwhile, lives somehow if their bicep has a certain circumference.

As the website banner alludes to, this is a pursuit. A pursuit that never ends, where you never arrive anywhere, you just keep pursuing. Why? Because it’s a JOYOUS pursuit. For its own sake. Otherwise, it’s just neurosis, that will eventually burn out this avenue and form elsewhere anew.[/quote]

hmmm. i don’t think it’s as black and white as that…

What if one’s joy is derived from their neurosis?

I believe that is where I am at. Since January I’ve made a ton of progress but I am still far off of being anywhere near “ideal” and the fact of the matter is that goal may never be realized. In pursuing it however I derive much “joy”. In fact my workout partner and my gf who will do part of my cardio with us think I’m neurotic because 45min in to a 1hr session I’m still smiling. (see that my neurosis, causes me to, w/o thinking, take ownership of the activity)

i hate it. i hate the regimented lifestyle. i hate the self-centeredness it brings. i hate the way its supposed to make you feel better about yourself but instead youre never satisfied.

it has its perks though.

but at least for me i dont do it out of enjoyment. i do it because i feel like i need to - i have to. thats why i give it everything ive got every session and thats why i feel so crushed if i have a shitty session.

Progress = joy.
No progress = no joy.

No progress -> do some other sport.

Being neurotic has nothing to do with it. You are mixing concepts. Your argument is illogical.

Being negative in general does not aid in progress. Talking shit about others, jealousy etc… is negativity. Negativity decreases progress.

A positive attitude: beat the logbook, keep a good diet, sleep, relaxation, goal setting, social life etc… increases chances for progression.

funmetal

I would say a little bit of both but like Beerguy stated it would be such a shame to waste or not fully maximize your body’s potential for strength.

I find peace through the pain I put myself through in the weightroom.

I disliked working out the first couple of years. I liked the results, but not the process. It was an exercise in discipline, and not much more than that.

Fortunately, things have changed. I actually look forward to my workouts now. I like the challenge, especially on lifts that require a deep internal dive to pull them off. I like how my workouts make me feel, apart from the physical benefits that come afterward.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:

hmmm. i don’t think it’s as black and white as that…[/quote]

It isn’t, but from his other posts like the one questioning why the Brotherhood Of Iron thread is in the bodybuilding forum…it makes me think he isn’t firing on all cylinders.

I enjoy what I do. I enjoy it because I make progress. If I wasn’t making any progress, I would find a new fucking hobby. This is not about how much fun you can have at the gym. I get inspired by setting a goal and meeting it…then setting another goal and meeting that one.

I am not inspired by staying stagnant…like some on this board seem to be.

Those who do stand out in this are likely NOT the ones who everyone would see as “normal”.

My meals are planned days in advance even if I eat out a few times. My days revolve around making it to the gym no matter what is going on.

I was the guy in the gym the night before finals and midterms…and I still did well on those exams.

If you don’t have that kind of drive at all, you will NOT stand out very much at all unless your genetics are so far above others that you don’t have to.

This activity has jack shit to do with having the most fun in the gym while training.

[quote]Sliver wrote:

As long as someone is getting positive results, the reason for their doing it pretty much moot. [/quote]

I don’t agree with this. One needn’t restrict this to weightlifting but any activity. Now imagine we were talking about our major in college. You want to study music and become a teacher. That’s what gives you joy. Daddy wants you to study to be an accountant and you hate it, but he’s strong-armed you into doing it. Now, you might even make straight As in your accounting studies, but you are miserable. So, your “as long as someone is getting positive results” proclamation isn’t quite right.

The above example could be applied to the case of the neurotic lifter vs the happy lifter.