Think about heroes that you love in action movies. Do you love them for how well they can fight and how strong they are? Or do you admire their strength of character and life philosophy. I definitely think that it is a combination of both. We like the fact that these heroes have well-rounded strength that goes far beyond what they can do physically. This well-rounded strength is what I call "Aggressive Strength."
What Is Aggressive Strength?
Being strong and healthy physically is definitely a critical component of aggressive strength. However, aggressive strength does not stop there. To develop aggressive strength you have to have a strong moral foundation and strength of character. This means that you have the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Not just when you are with your friends and family, but when everyone you are around is against you. We all know people that compromised their character and morals for a job, a promotion, a relationship, or simply under the influence of someone else.
These weak people do not have aggressive strength and probably never will. I do not care if you can bench press 500 pounds and run a mile in six minutes. If you relinquish character at the first sign of trouble, then you are weak and pathetic. Moreover, if you are someone that has to take a poll before they decide what to believe in, then you are just a weakling that wants to be liked by everyone. Former Navy Seal Richard Marcinko, author of "The Rogue Warrior" once stated that if everyone likes you then you stand for nothing. Check out an awesome interview with Richard Marcinko, click here!
Truer words have never been said. It takes courage to take a stand on something, to put yourself out there and back it up. If it were easy and common, then we would not admire heroes in movies and in the real world that have aggressive strength. Lets go through some real world examples of people that have aggressive strength.
Many years ago, a young Indian lawyer got thrown off of a bus in South Africa for refusing to move out of the "whites only" section. Before that event, he was not really someone who cared too much about civil rights and basically wanted to live a normal life. However, after that horrible experience with blatant racism, this man went on to become one of the most influential human rights leaders in the world and stirred an unprecedented revolution that freed a country. Of course I am speaking of Mahatma Gandhi.
Where would Gandhi have ended up if he decided to go with the flow to avoid rocking the boat? A better question is where would humanity be without the influence of this gifted man? Horrible events happen in our world when good people sit by and do nothing. Each of us has an obligation to seize the moment like Gandhi did for the benefit of not just ourselves but for all the people that will be influenced from our acts of bravery.
Every time we let someone steal our energy, we lose part of our life energy. If this happens too often, you become a broken person with no direction and no backbone. Don't think for a minute that letting small things slide is acceptable either. When you let small things slide, you will cave in instantly when the big boulders come your way.
Some people in life deal with immense suffering, usually one of two things happens. Either they are crushed by the experiences and never get their lives together, or they persevere and rise above the abuse and go on to do amazing things. An excellent example of the latter is the story of a young man named Antwone Fisher. Antwone grew up in foster homes and experienced unspeakable abuse from his so-called caretakers.
What Antwone experienced as a kid was unbelievable. What is even more amazing is how Antwone rose above the immense abuse that he experienced, came to terms with the immense abuse, and went on to become a successful and caring individual. Denzel Washington's character tells Antwone in the movie "Antwone Fisher" "You are a champ, you beat everyone that beat you down. I salute you." I salute Antwone as well as his amazing story encouraged me to be a better person and give more of myself to other people. Do yourself a favor and go to your local video store and check out the movie "Antwone Fisher." You will be glad that you did and if that movie does not inspire you, then I suggest you check to see if you even have a pulse. Does Antwone Fisher have aggressive strength? Without a doubt, the answer is yes he does.
I could go on and on with examples of amazing people who have persevered and won in the game of life. Perhaps, you have an inspiring story as well to share. If you do, I encourage you to share it with others in whatever forum you want. However, for every winner out there, there are dozens more losers. It does not have to be that way and you do not have to settle for less than what you can become. Let's get into how to develop aggressive strength to take control of our life.
First, you need to work on your belief system and character.
Sure, physical strength and having a successful career are both extremely important as well. However, without a strong belief system, nothing else really matters. Recently, I had a near death experience in which one of my lungs became completely blocked with pus and bacteria. When I finally able to see a doctor, he told me that most people would have died with only one lung functioning for as long as I did and that it was only my mental and physical strength that kept me alive. During the period in which my lung was blocked, I felt deathly ill and all the things that I though were important in my life before, were really not important anymore. My next workout or lifting meant nothing anymore.
Building my business meant nothing anymore. All that mattered during that time was my belief system. Was it my time to go? Was I ready? Did I do the mission that I was meant to do in this world? Those were the things that I thought about. Realizing that I had more to give is one of the reasons why I think I am still here. When you face a near-death experience, you really find out who you are and what you are made of. The Prophet Muhammad once said "Die before you die." This means think about death often so you live your life fully. Don't take anything for granted or waste time.
Second, you have to pull your own strings. Do not be a loser who cannot make his or her own plan and is at the mercy of others to put a plan together for you. Believe me, no one is going to care about your success and happiness as much as you do. You have to be an adult and take charge of your life. The singer Cher once said that if you need someone to motivate you to get something done, then do not even bother starting. Basically, Cher was stating that you have to be self-motivated and driven.
It is your own desire and determination that will give you inner strength to carry through when the deck is stacked against you and all hell is breaking lose. If you are in a job that you hate or in a relationship that is not right for you, then you probably allowed someone else to make a plan for you. You have only yourself to blame and it is up to you to turn it all around. Fortunately you can do something about it and just making the decision to do so can be invigorating.
Third, developing mental strength is every bit as important as physical strength and the two often go hand in hand. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition to being a bodybuilding champion and being strong as hell, Arnold is a shrewd businessman and has been successful in many areas including: several careers, relationships, and at developing character. Arnold also takes time to give back and help others. This compassion is another important element of aggressive strength. It is not enough to be brilliant in the classroom or in the marketplace.
If you are weak mentally then you are weak overall. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Seek and take mental challenges in your life. If you are scared of public speaking, then put yourself in situations where you have to do public speaking. If you are scared of rejection, then put yourself in situations where you have to deal with rejection. Start a business, learn a new language, or join a chess club. I don't care. Just do something to develop your brain muscle. Every time you take on a new challenge, neurons fire off like crazy in your brain and you will be all the better for it.
Finally, develop physical strength. If you want to be strong mentally and have the confidence to back up your belief system, then being strong physically is a major asset that should be exploited fully. Learn how to train your body properly and you mind will get stronger. When you learn how to handle physical pain and exhaustion you become much tougher. This toughness can be applied to other areas of life successfully.
In addition, we all need an outlet for physical energy and when we do not engage in a positive outlet physically, negative energy will build up and manifest in our lives. Work on building all around physical strength that will carry over to other areas of your life. Don't just be a bench press specialist and have weak legs and a weak foundation. Address weak links and strive to build complete physical strength that will keep you strong and healthy for as long as possible.
Don't believe what the "dream stealers" have told you. You can have it all! You can have aggressive strength and create a life that others will be in awe of. My final word of advice is to associate with winners. Hang around people that have similar goals or people that have achieved something that you are aspiring toward.
Someone once told me that we are the sum average of all our friends. Make sure that sum average is as high as possible by associating with the people who will make you a better person. Take the challenge, live life aggressively and sink the ship of mediocrity and complacency!
About The Author
Mike Mahler is a strength coach and a certified kettlebell instructor based in Santa Monica, California. Mike has been a strength athlete for more than ten years and designs strength training programs for trainees all around the world. Mike has a regular training column in Fightscene magazine (www.fightscene.tv). Mike is also available for strength training workshops worldwide. For more information and rates, visit Mike's site at www.mikemahler.com or e-mail Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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