Goals, The Impossible Dream

I came into bodybuilding at 72-years of age when I found myself looking, feeling and acting old. I found that it not only improved my physique, but it also gave me a healthy perspective on people and the world.
Above: John with Trophies, Marks of Attained Goals.

My bodybuilding is focused on some pretty distant and supposedly impossible goals ... not realistic at all, I am told. My ultimate goal is so impossible (maybe) that I just never tell anyone what it is. I am reminded that I should keep my goals realistic and work for something I can reach. That is not an acceptable philosophy for me.

If I have some distant galaxy as my destination-goal, I just might not reach it, but I will certainly reach destinations which would otherwise have truly been unobtainable. So, I aim at "impossible" goals, but am realistic enough to settle for the lesser ones when I miraculously get to them ... then press on again to the 'unobtainable.'

I have to take into account, so I am told to my hardened ears, that I started working out only after I had lived (sort of, before bb) 72 years while most others started in their teens or earlier. How can you reach those goals, I am told again to my hardened ears, when the others against whom I must compete are 30-or-40 years younger than I with their HGH and testosterone far more plentiful and active than mine. How can you reach your high goals, I was told again to my hardened ears, when the other contestants are free to use chemical supplements denied to you because of your cancer? Well, those 'complications' are real enough.

1st Goal Reached, 2nd Place SW Naturals, August 2001.
2nd Goal Reached, 5th Place Heart of Texas, September 2001.

So was my determined focus when I began at 72. Still, prior to becoming 73, I announced that my intermediate goal was to be in the NPC Masters' Nationals in my 75th year of life. The warnings of others not to set my goals so unrealistically were loud at the start, but they have become more muted since my high goal has motivated me enough to finish in the top ratings in my contests in the past two years facing those 20-and-30 years younger than I. I still hear their cautionary warnings now, but not as strongly given as they see me approaching those NPC Masters' Nationals in 2003 (my 75th year). Sure, I may not ever reach my ultimate goal, but just standing on that stage next July will be a victory over the gloomy prognostications. Just being there will be a reaching of one of those unrealistic goals. And, when I walk off that stage, I will have my focus still firmly fixed upon the ultimate goal and drive toward it, proudly reaching and passing any other lesser goals on the way.

Now, why do I go on here in this way. Well, you just cannot silence a preacher, even if he was retired at the retirement age! I have found in bodybuilding a means of rejuvenation for one in his "latter years" and with a 'dreaded illness.' It is clear to me that, for me, bodybuilding competition in which one focuses on the 'impossible' and does it, is the means of rejuvenation, of having victory over years and illness. For those who do not or cannot become bodybuilders, the same lesson holds true: focus on the impossible as a goal and accept the blessing of the lesser goals which others may regard as themselves impractical. Death is unavoidable, but living a positive life focused on doing the impractical, the impossible, gives you victory overall.

"Most people don't aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit."

Set Your Own Goals. Don't first ask yourself what you think you can achieve. Ask yourself what you want to achieve. While this is true for all of life, it most certainly is true for one entering the life of bodybuilding. You will never be truly happy, know self-fulfillment, until you accomplish something, and that "something" is becoming what you really desire to be. It is my own personal belief that each one of us was created with a specific potential. Great satisfaction comes when you are striving to be what you were created to be. Full satisfaction comes when you reach that goal. If you shoot for just feeling better or looking better in the mirror, you may reach that easy goal, but it is more likely that you will not even reach it. There is something in the human psyche that drives harder when the desired goal is more difficult.

Start by looking within yourself. Do you want to excel in physique? Do you dream of being a bodybuilder? Do you want to stand on the stage qualified as a bodybuilding competitor? If you do, then, it is to you that I write these articles. While others may laugh if you tell them of your dream and desire, follow that dream and desire. When your own reasoning causes you to doubt your ability to make the dream and desire a reality, let the dream and desire take charge of your life.

3rd Goal Reached, 3rd Place Red River Classic, October 2001.
4th Goal Reached, 7th Place SW USA, May 2002.

I can tell you from my own experience that, once you embark on the life of a bodybuilder, the progress you experience will banish all doubts. Just walking the disciplined path of a dedicated bodybuilder gives its own satisfaction. As that path leads you to your own chosen goals, you will experience what it means to live a fulfilled life. Your life will have purpose and you will know joy and fulfillment unknown to those who take the lesser, easier paths.