PUBLISER’S LETTER

Dealing With Reality

John Balik

This morning I had a long conversation with a friend of mine about the perception of reality and how it relates to accomplishment. Your perception is strongly influenced by how you feel about your ability to make changes in your life. If you feel helpless, you won’t be able to see the possibility of change. 

Even deeper is the realization that you are ultimately responsible for who you are and what you achieve. Knowing that and being able to act on it to bring about positive changes are vastly different. One exists only in the mind, and the other is where the rubber meets the road.

We all deal with the rationalizations of others, and we all rationalize. Take the word apart and you see the oxymoron: rational-lies. If you can accept that rationalization is lying to yourself, you’ll be ready for the next step—an inner dialog. You must become aware that every time your rationalizing self and your rational self are in conflict, there will be consequences of what you decide. The unshakable reality is that you’re responsible for a lot of what happens.

That simple but profound fact governs how your life plays out. We are the sum total of our decisions. The quality of those decisions is connected to how truthful we are with ourselves. Some would call that character, and it affects everything from workouts to personal relationships.

Your view of life should be both micro and macro. The same rules of decisions, consequences and reality work for all aspects of life, but let’s use bodybuilding goals as a macro starting point. I talk with a lot people who want to be leaner or gain muscle, and many say that diets don’t work for them or they have lousy genetics or they don’t have time to train and so on.

Everyone has a different set of gifts. That’s a reality you need to face. So you have two choices: Make the changes that will lead you to becoming leaner and/or more muscular—or don’t. One builds character; the other depletes it. Each decision has a consequence.

We’ve all seen the “One Day at a Time” bumper stickers—they’re about making change and taking control of and responsibility for your actions. I find, however, that a day is much too macro a frame of reference. I look at it in terms of every decision: Every decision makes your character either stronger or weaker. That goes for life and death issues as well as the far less critical decisions like going for one last rep or taking the easy way out.

The stronger your character, the stronger you’ll be in dealing with rationalization. That strength will enable you to take charge and reach your goals. Every little victory empowers you. Being true to yourself is one of life’s most important and difficult lessons—and one you never stop learning.


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