Ego / by India Choquette

Ego is the enemy of fitness. I am hardly the first one to observe this relationship, but I think training clearly illustrates it. And I notice it especially when I train men. I don't like to make sweeping generalizations or put any group of people in a box, but I think the cult of masculinity has made it especially hard for men to show any weakness. It's often harder for them, in a room full of people, to allow themselves to do a burn out round of push ups and lie face down on the floor while everyone else keeps powering through, like a floating log in a sea of push up waves. But if you don't allow yourself to be the log (and please forgive this horrible metaphor), how the heck are you supposed to get good at push ups? I guess you could do them alone in your apartment, hidden from everyone and everything, until you are a push up master and are ready to emerge into the public, but are you actually going to do that? Do you have the dedication and commitment to follow through by yourself? And beyond that, why are you ashamed of yourself? Why do you think you need to hide? Ego is a manifestation of shame. What I mean is that ego convinces you that you have no worth if you fail. Bravery allows you to fail. And fail in public. At the risk of being cliche, I will say that failure is so important because, when you are failing at something, you know you are working. And when you are working, you are getting stronger. You are building yourself up. One of the most heartbreaking mentalities I see is those who don't try because they want to avoid failure. If you don't try, they logic, you cannot fail. And if you try really hard and fail, they think, then everyone will see how weak you are. So they avoid the activity. Which means they never get stronger. Don't allow your ego to keep you from trying. Your training should always be messy and challenging and ugly. Celebrate your effort. Ego won't make you strong, but failure will.