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You Must Lift

3 min

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OH - by the way - would you answer a quick question for me here? It'll take two seconds and it'll be a huge help:


This email not about lifting weights.


You must lift.

No matter who you are.

No matter what you do.

You must lift.

You must test yourself.

You must push past your limits.

You must suffer and struggle and grow.

Every day.

Without fail.

You must lift.


Weight lifting is an obvious metaphor for progress:

Struggle, fail, adapt, grow.

You don't want to do it -

You never want to do it -

But you make yourself do it and afterwards you are glad that you did.

Despite it's metaphorical usefulness, what you lift doesn't need to be weight.

Everyone needs a way to gradually improve.

You must:

write the essay

practice the scales

edit the shots

sketch the piece

consult as needed

run the numbers.

There is always a weight to lift,

whether you are an artist or an author or a politician or a businessperson or an activist or a philosopher or a parent or a partner.

You must lift.


To be clear:

Lifting is painful.

To grow, you must operate just at the edge of your abilities.

You must flirt with incompetence.

Deliberately makes yourself uncomfortable.

Lie in bed thinking:

"You need to get up. You said you would. It's good for you. It won't take that long - just get up, do it, and it will be over. Come on. You already skipped once and if you skip again you'll be way behind. It will feel good."

Meanwhile, every neuron of your reptilian brain tells you to simply lie back, fall asleep, conserve energy, lift another day.

The entire world conspires to stop you from lifting.

This is the golden age of television, after all!

There's so much going on, after all!

You have plans tonight, after all!

Your friends don't and they're fine, after all!

You didn't sleep well last night, after all!

You can make it up later, after all!

There are a million reasons not to lift; a million reasons to rest, to relax, to take it easy, to enjoy yourself now, to live in the moment, to let go.

A million reasons to quit,

and only one reason to lift:

You must lift.


Whatever you are here to do,

Whatever you can contribute that is uniquely yours,

You will need strength to do it.

You will need to push through your own disappointment,

Through the snide comments of those around you,

Through negative reviews, and quizzical looks, and shrugged shoulders,

the vast and seemingly-never-ending apathy of the universe.

When the time comes,

you will need to bear aloft an enormous weight,

an unimaginable burden:

You know it's possible, and no one believes you.

That burden crushes most.

If you are going to survive,

and thrive,

and contribute,

and make this world a better place,








"How a ‘fatally, tragically flawed’ paradigm has derailed the science of obesity"

I wasn't terribly convinced by this particular piece, but this is an interesting introduction to the debate over how, and why, we gain weight.

If you thought that answer was fairly obvious, it turns out, not so much. Taubes does a good job of assembling the criticisms of nutritional science.

My own experiences with weight loss and gain have taught me that any straight-forward theory of how the human body works is likely to leave out a whole bunch of nuance. Things are never as simple as they appear,

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