I get this question a decent amount from people who don't lift and my answers usually consist of:
"I spend all day staring at a computer screen and it offers a nice balance to work life behind a desk."
"It facinates me what the human body is capable of doing if it is trained and taken care of so I want to see how far I can push it with measureable results."
"Because being strong as fuck makes normal life a lot easier like picking up my son, carrying groceries, or any other physical demand life throws at me."
"Heart disease runs in both sides of my family so I am stressing my body to adapt to potentially avoid that future."
While all of these answers are true I've come to realize another and deeper reason why...If something fails in my training it is entirely my fault.
Considering what I do for a living and the dependancies I rely on to do their job whether it is tools or people there is a high probability they will fail and it is out of my control.
- Laptop blue screens
- Internet outages
- Semver contract violations
- Fragile build systems
- False promises by people
- Customer's unplanned context switching
- Forced inefficient tooling and processes
- It's not DNS. There's no way it's DNS. It was DNS.
Software engineering is a dicipline of solving hard problems while also dealing with it's own self imposed problems that make things even harder. All of these are out of my control. These systems of dependancies remind me of a house of cards and yet the momentary bliss of solving that hard problem overshadows the days and weeks and months of consistant failures and setbacks. Unfortunately, I cannot fix most of these systems to make my progress more efficient and more enjoyable so I just deal with it...with some venting here and there.
Now looking at all of the systems of dependancies involved when I lift their probabolity of failure is effectively zero which makes the only system that would cause a failure is me. I am the only system in control of the entirety of my progress, efficiency, and results. The dependancies I rely on for results out of my control are
- a barbell made of steel and ball bearings,
- a steel cage of welded steel posts and cross members,
- cast iron weights,
- triple-ply canvas fill with sand,
- vulcanized rubber weights,
- and the list goes on.
The failure rate of any of these dependancies is extremely low not only because of their manufacturing process, but also because of their analog and mechanical nature. Since the probabily of failure of these dependancies is zero I can eliminate the cognitive load worrying about these failing and focus solely on myself. I can concern myself with reducing failure in myself by using proper form when lifting, eating appropriately, sleeping consistantly, and recovering accordingly. If any of these are off then my training suffers and the only thing to blame is myself. I and I alone can control and modify my behavior to fix things to get back on track to progress and see results.
Spending my professional life wrought with constantly experiencing failures and overcoming them by problems solving it begins to make more sense as to why I lift as much as I do and make it such a priority in my life.
"The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.
The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black.
I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But 200 pounds is always 200 pounds."
– Henry Rollins "Iron and the Soul".