The Ugly Truth About Training

In the 1982 film, Conan The Barbarian, Conan was taken from his family when he was just a boy and strapped to the Wheel Of Pain: a large mill powered by human energy.

Much like Sisyphus pushing the rock, Conan pushed the wheel. Every day, all day, for 20 years.

What was the result?

Everyone around Conan was also a slave. In that 20 year span they were either bought and sent away or they were mentally or physically broken by The Wheel and died. But Conan grew strong and in the end, instead of The Wheel using him, Conan used The Wheel to create mental, spiritual and physical toughness that could not be broken.

The Wheel of Pain is an allegory.

Training, for anything, will eventually get boring if you're hoping to get good at it. Most people will quit and move on the next thing of interest or fade away before mastery can set in.

When James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, asked an elite Olympic Weightlifting coach with over three decades of experience what separates the best from everyone else, Clear writes, "He mentioned the factors you might expect: genetics, luck, talent. But then he said something I wasn't expecting: 'At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over."'

Stephen Pressfield writes of this battle against boredom, against "The Resistance", in The War of Art.

John C. Maxwell discusses it in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership when he expounds on "The Law of Process."

You see the same point regarding remaining dedicated, intentional and disciplined often discussed in different ways throughout Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss.

And while Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi rightly defends the honorable nature of amateur pursuits in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, he warns, "Without training in the discipline of skepticism and reciprocal criticism that underlies the scientific method, laypersons who venture into the fields of knowledge with prejudiced goals can become more ruthless, more egregiously unconcerned with truth, than even the most corrupt scholar."

Getting good at something, and remaining honorable while doing it, takes work. A lot of it. And the work is inevitably, and frustratingly, boring at times.

The trick is, can you keep pushing the rock?

The secret is, can you learn to use The Wheel instead of choosing to let The Wheel use you?

Have you thought about joining our one on one Coaching Program? (Call us, it's free!)

It may or may not include a real Wheel of Pain. (Just kidding...)


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