Things holding you back

I hate to admit it, but I’ve held myself back a lot in life. And now, a lot of life has passed me by, but at least I’ve gotten over holding myself back. But perhaps I wouldn’t be so driven now if I hadn’t held myself back before, having the anger and regret of what I missed to motivate me to not make that same mistake again.

While Paul Carter writes about “The things that are going to hold you back in training” from an exercise/powerlifting/weightlifting/gym perspective, the issues here really apply to anything life. Even if you don’t lift (bro), you should still give the article a read because:

  • Information overload
  • Conflicting goals
  • Inability to embrace discomfort
  • Success
  • Confidence
  • Inconsistency
  • Listening to the wrong people
  • Life

… hopefully you can see those eight things apply universally as things that can and do hold people — probably yourself — back.

The one that speaks most to me these days is “inability to embrace discomfort”.

I had to embrace something I wasn’t really comfortable doing in order to get to where I needed to be.

And THAT is what lifting and life is going to be about sometimes. I could machine gun off a million cliche’s about that right now but I will spare you. The point is, nothing that is worth attaining will come easy. If it does, good for you. However 99.99% of the time getting to a place you desire to be will mean spending a lot of time embracing discomfort.


Great things generally just don’t fall on our doorstep via UPS.  If you want to find your own personal greatness, then get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  The amount of discomfort you are willing to submit yourself to is generally in parallel with the amount of greatness you’re trying to attain.

Lifting weights has taught me much in life. While I’ve lifted on and off since I was a teenager, never has it been as profound in my life as the past 3.5 years. If I wanted to get stronger, I had to embrace the discomfort of heavy weights on my back, the fear of getting pinned or injury. Or just the simple hard work that has to come, because getting stronger isn’t easy. But I’ve learned to embrace it, and I’m getting stronger as a result.

Or more immediate is my fat-loss effort. I’m down 20 lbs. in just under 3 months. It’s not been easy, and just about every day contains some level of discomfort. Lord it’d be so much easier right now to eat a tub of ice cream, but that ice cream is what created my tub. I have to go through this discomfort. I know there are many more months ahead of this discomfort (probably at least 6 more), but I will never achieve my goals if I don’t go through this discomfort. And yes, what makes it easier to manage is to embrace it instead of fighting it. No it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable, but when you know the pain will bring your greatness, the pain is easier to bear.

I think about my recent career change to having my own business, basically going indie/freelancer making my own products and taking on contract work. I put it off for too many years because I didn’t want the discomfort for myself or my family. But the discomfort of not doing it became greater, and so here I am. And yes, the startup of it all has been quite a struggle, filled with daily discomfort that I never imagined. But that’s what keeps it exciting, and that’s what causes me to learn and grow. It’s like the scene in the movie Parenthood when Steve Martin’s character finally learns to embrace the rollercoaster.

That’s not the ending scene, but it’s the seed for the allusion. And grandma’s right:

You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.