Why going it Alone Isn’t Ideal
A commonality amongst many successful bodybuilders and big-name fitness gurus is that they have almost always had mentors and role models that they looked up to on their path to the top. Why is that though? Well, quite simply, having the right guidance in your life provides moral support and imparts ambition that you may have not previously had.
The climb to the apex of a mountain can be a very lonely one, especially in an industry that is so competitive. Without someone to follow after, you may never make it. Mentors and role models show you that you can accomplish things that you previously thought were impossible.
Do you really think that Mr. Olympia competitors, pro athletes, CEOs, and other prosperous individuals all made it that far without some form of guidance/instruction from another successful person in their life? Success breeds success, and that is precisely why mentorship is pivotal no matter what you aspire to do.
Before moving on, note that role models are generally individuals who you admire but may or may not be in contact with, whereas mentors are more appropriately considered people who are trusted advisers that guide you. You may have certain pro bodybuilders as role models, but a mentor is generally going to be someone that directly interacts with you on a daily basis.
Striving to be more
One thing that most people will agree on is that being average stinks, badly. Complacency is mediocrity, so you should never be satisfied with what you’ve achieved unless you know it’s absolutely everything you are capable of. In many ways, this is the beauty of fitness and bodybuilding, as your potential is almost always more than what you’ve already achieved.
This is why having idols and mentors in life will put you on a better, more successful path.
The main thing to remember is that being average is often worse than failing. Why? Because average is easy; average is everywhere, it is commonplace. It defeats the purpose of being on this Earth. Moreover, if you’re average, how will you stand out to a panel of judges when you step on stage?
If you intend to leave any sort of legacy in this world, it’s in your best interest to stay as far away from average as possible. When you’re average, you are comfortable. When you’re comfortable, you stop taking chances and stop improving. Heck, it’s better to take chances and fail miserably as opposed to playing it safe all the time and being average.
If you don’t deviate yourself from the norm, from the basic, from the regular Joe Shmo in the gym who blends in with the rest of the crowd, then you can be certain that no one will remember your name.
Don’t be “just okay” at anything. Take chances, make yourself vulnerable, and never be satisfied. There is potential inside everyone; more often than not, it just takes a little guidance to show you where that potential can take you.
They Inspire Qualities You Admire & Value
Whether people recognize it at first glance or not, the main reason they look up to a certain person is because that individual portrays qualities that they value themselves. If you’re an up-and-coming comedian, for example, you will naturally look up to someone who is a successful comic. Even Jerry Seinfeld idolizes other comics. It’s only natural that you would idolize other bodybuilders and fitness icons if you share that passion.
The same goes for any other facet of life. If you want to be a pro basketball player someday, then chances are you would look up to some of the all-time great basketball players like Michael Jordan and LeBron James. It only makes sense because those individuals exude the qualities you’re after; the qualities you want to have yourself.
Once you recognize those qualities, you start to become more conscious of your own actions and whether or not they resonate with behavior of those you look up to. This isn’t to say that you should emulate every last thing your idols do, but rather that you should implement the qualities they have (that you value) into your daily life. When you’re doing the things that you value in life, everything else will fall into place.
They Have Overcome (Similar) Obstacles
The path to the top is often an arduous one. Successful individuals may not always seem like they have overcome hardships, but rest assured they’ve faced some obstacles in their life. Everyone will face adversity if they aspire to be something beyond average in this world. One of the best reasons for having idols is that they can show you no obstacle is too great.
Winston Churchill once stated, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The only way out is through, just keep pushing when you’re in a struggle. Do some research on your role models because they most certainly will have stories to share about adversity in their life. Many pro bodybuilders come from a background of little hope, yet they still became a success.
Most importantly, never limit yourself by making excuses for why you can’t do something. Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity basketball team, and yet he went on to be arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Albert Einstein was reportedly not good at mathematics growing up, and disliked school altogether; yet, he was one of the most intelligent physicists who ever lived. Those are some common examples of successful individuals who didn’t let momentary setbacks/obstacles stop them from becoming something great.
They Help You Establish Better Habits
The hardest thing to do in life is change bad habits into positive ones. If you keep your eyes on your role models you will eventually become a creature of habits that are conducive to your ultimate goal. They say that one is the summation of their closest five friends. While people you look up to may or may not be your actual friends, they certainly have a strong influence on your character and how you live. This is why social media and technology is a great thing nowadays; you can closely follow many fitness professionals and bodybuilders, which gives insight into their daily routine.
Finding role models who have reached that high level of success that you are after will most certainly give you clues as to what habits and practices got them to that point. Many successful people were definitely born with a gift to excel at what they pursued in life, but they also had to hone their skills day in and day out. Bodybuilding and fitness may be partly about genetics, but without necessary habitual training and diet, you will never achieve greatness. The same applies to everyone. If you want to improve your skills, you need to have proper habits. Talent can only take you so far, but learned skill is limitless.
They Instill Passion in You
The term passion seems like it’s used inappropriately these days. People always claim they’re so passionate about everything, and that’s impossible because it defeats the purpose of being passionate altogether.
There is only so much time and effort (willpower) you can devote to things, and eventually you will have to focus that time and effort on the select few areas of life you’re truly ardent about.
Make no mistake that many people are devoted to something, to a degree. But if you want the kind of success that stars are made of, you’re going to need a burning passion; a fierce drive so intense you can barely sleep at night when you think about what you’re going to do tomorrow in the gym. That’s the kind of fervor your exemplars should instill in you. Their intensity and drive will let you tap into your true zeal, and that is what will take your mind and body to a whole new level.
Check out Part 2 of this article to learn about the importance of mentorship for up-and-coming bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts!