What does that word mean to you?
Too often I hear people dismiss the drive and work ethic of others because they view what they have been able to achieve thus far in their journey as “mediocre.”
I assume what they mean is that a mediocre lifter is someone who has not attained some degree of excellence which is translated in terms of their coefficient, holding of records, or a certain physique. It is implied that if you do not attain to these standards of “excellence” that you have embraced mediocrity, that you are too comfortable, that you are not willing to sacrifice all for the love of your sport.
But just stop and think. Is that really all that there is to mediocrity or excellence? A number? A cheap dusty trophy displayed on a shelf? A body that will one day fade and decay?
And what about the sacrifices? It is no secret that in any sport to be at the top of your game means that you must eat, sleep, live, and die your passion. You will probably be asked to make sacrifices that are viewed by others as extreme. PED’s are the elephant in the room in strength sports. While that is indeed a personal decision, it is not one to be taken lightly.
I get it. Passion and drive are in my blood. But at some point you have to question if the sacrifices that you are making are worth it. Because at the end of the day, no matter what a fierce competitor you are, no matter how much the iron is in your blood, this is a hobby. This is meant to enrich your life, not detract from it. This is meant to be therapy and sanctuary, not to create chaos and pain.
In the end, your excellence is your legacy, the mark that you have left on this world. At the end of life, your impact is not measured in numbers, nor is it measured by the money you’ve made, your professional accolades, your status in a particular sport, the number on the scale, the number on the bar, your body fat percentage, that little number written on the waistband of your jeans, the square footage of your house, the number on your paycheck, how many Instagram followers you have, how many garbage trophies you have in some room, or how many abs you can see…
IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER.
It doesn't matter because life is unpredictable, and we do not exist within a vacuum. Because no matter how much you feel like you are in control, you are not. Because life is uncertain and try as you may, you are not in control. Because no matter how well prepared you think you are for life, you are going to face circumstances that catch you off guard and knock you down. Because injuries will happen. Because today encouraging that friend in the hospital is more important than that squat PR. Because going to see your second grader’s musical is more important than your upcoming powerlifting meet. Because moments matter, all of them.
Much of what we do in life is adapt to the challenges that come our way. Because in the course of your life, your money will be spent, your body will fall apart, your records will be broken, your weight will change, your friends will move, people will come and go. There are many, many seasons in a life. All we can really hope to do is pursue excellence in the season that we are in.
There are those with an indomitable will, an insane work ethic, a fierce drive that will never achieve the superficial standards of “excellence” that some hold in such high regard. Those who give one hundred percent to their training, their nutrition, their relationships, and most importantly, their legacy are far, far from mediocre. They are pursuing a kind of excellence that will outlast them, choosing to be more, not less, in everything they do.
And so we continually strive for excellence. We train hard, set high standards for ourselves, make no excuses, and push daily in the gym, but we do all this so that we can pursue excellence in life. We apply same tenacity to the barbell as to our relationships. And by doing so we leave a mark on this world that is anything but mediocre.