Of dumbbells and pain

When faced with no option but to take action to curb a bulging tummy, I found myself with no option but to revisit the gymnasium. This I was reluctant to do because my last experience in a gym left me with a painful body for more than three weeks after I had tried to skip stages and rush to advanced workouts before mastering the first levels (the lady instructor was partly to blame because my male ego was out to prove that I could not start low). Needless to say, after a one hour workout I never set foot in the Mutare gym again.

From that I derived the first lesson of life. One cannot start on a high gear. Even cars are known to start at zero and then go on to be measured by the power that carries them to reach 100km/hr at a specific time. The conception of the motion begins with immobility. I learnt from that painful episode that all gains are to be painstakingly worked for and that the progress is slow, painful but definitely gradual.

When my threatening tummy forced me to go back and face the treadmill, I knew I had to start properly (ego aside) and learn to progress in a painstaking manner. I knew I would have to submit to instruction and accept to crawl when I would rather be sprinting. I knew I would have to take lessons from someone more knowledgeable than me in that field and I knew that only fully compliance will yield more results.

That was my second lesson of life. Only full compliance and learning from those who have trudged the path will help yield results. My father’s favorite declaratory statement in resolving arguments was to tell me that I have never been his age but he has been my age!!

Gym is a laborious repetition of sets specifically meant to tone, strengthen, and sculpt the body and muscles. Wrongly handled, the result is torn muscles, strained biceps and tissue damage. Wrongly done it means the wrong muscles tensing and awkward developments.

That was my third lesson of life. The essence of life has to be properly balanced. No portion of our life deserves to be wrongly done, underdone or overdone. Overdoing, under doing or wrongly doing certain aspects of our life creates an imbalance that accrues into emotional strain, physical distance and at times loss of responsibility. Spouses who have partners who overdo business hours will attest to the strain that is caused by this at home and in the field of intimacy.

The painful part is that upon reaching peak you cannot retire and be smug like that cat that got the milk. When you reach peak you have to work hard to maintain that fitness otherwise all that muscle turns into flabby and unsightly fat. You have to do the maximum workouts with religious intensity otherwise all the 6 months work melts within a month and it will take a further painstaking 8 months to return to peak( I seem to use pain staking so much !!).

That was my fourth lesson of life. We have to work hard to achieve our ultimate best and yet continue to maintain our ultimate best by working harder. We work hard to main our integrity (which is so easy to lose by the way) and upon attaining it we have to work harder to retain it. During all this it is much easier to stop than to keep going. During this, it easier to try to flatter and overreach our capacity and actually find ourselves at a dead-end.

My gym sessions have taught me to plan, accept instruction, start slow and low, maintain achieved goals and retain peak fitness. Turning this to my daily life, this has taught me that my achievements in life will only be attained by a painstaking walk that requires intense discipline, discipleship, humility, patience, commitment and reserve energy to be called upon when the weights get tougher. Such is life.

Tomorrow, as the sun rises, weigh the weights in your hand. If overdone, do re scale, if underdone, up you ante, if wrongly done, seek tutelage and if on the peak, work hard to maintain it because once lost, it will take a double effort to regain it.

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of heroes and heroines

Hero

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A hero (heroine for females) (Ancient Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.[1] Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.

I do not intend to spark a debate; neither do I intend to shy away from the truth. I am not sure what I intend to do but what I know is that I have a point to make.

So much has been said about heroes and all they stand for and at times we have found ourselves debating the personas than what actually makes the heroes – their acts. Wikipedia has put up one of the best descriptions that could be used to define a hero and I will tackle them singularly.

Courage

This is a virtue derived from knowing the truth and what will set you free. I have never seen a fool act and succeed courageously (except in Dutch courage which is not courage at all). Courage is that fortification that anchors one’s ethics. Courage can never be of a selfish benefit but for the common good of many. The tale of Robin Hood would not be folklore today had he set out to rob the landed lords only for his benefit.

Self sacrifice

This is the epistle of being a hero, being able to stop the buck, being able to buck the trend, not for your selfish gain but once again, for the common good. To deny oneself the comfort and advantage so that the privilege can cascade on a wider scale is an honor that can be enjoyed under self-sacrifice. I recently learnt of how Bill Gates sold off a chunk of his Microsoft empire to fund his philanthropic activities in Africa. This implies less say in the day-to-day activity of his beloved enterprise but a greater benefit to humanity.

Coming closer home, there is the hero who left school, abandoned family and sought to take up the cause of freedom. Many had their families hounded out of normal living simply because their sons and daughters had sought to be different – they had sought to take up a battle that promised no personal returns but freedom for a nation.

Self sacrifice implies accepting dimensions that you had not envisaged for yourself. It means discomfort, pain, blood, tears and sweat among other things and only heroes can endure all these for no personal gain.

Greater good

Here is a heroic characteristic and unfortunately the gene for such seems to be on the decline. Being a hero is not about self, it is about the cascade of the resultant action that will emancipate many and pave way to a better envisioning. Heroes for the greater good do not see the line of their wallets but see cleaner streets, more schools, happier constituents and happier clients. Heroes are selfless.

Having dispensed of the definitions, I feel the need therefore to tackle the singular hero. The hero who will never a have tombstone erected for them , a hero who might never grace the annals of history, a hero who will never  cause to be seen their acts and deeds, a hero who will be selfless and not pass the buck but be willing to allow the buck to stop with them,  that is you.

In everyone is a hero. In all of us is a call to greater good for the benefit of humanity. In all of us is the call for self-sacrifice and not coming back to hold the beneficiaries to ransom. In all of us is the heroic trait that calls us to be better people for the greater good of humanity. In everyone is a hero.

In all of us is a hero calling us to selfless good. A good that says when WE benefit is better than when I benefit. A good that says I will carry the burden for all of us but will share the fruits with all of us. A hero that says I will run the marathon for all of us but will create the space for everyone on the podium when the awards and the fruits are being reaped.

In all of us is a hero that seeks to be of greater good to everyone.

As the sun rises tomorrow, take a step to being a hero. Take a step to being bold, to be willing to sacrifice and to be willing to suffer for the greater good. For surely the sun will rise for heroes (and heroines) tomorrow.