“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I first read that quote in the book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor and he speaks about his experience in the concentration camps (highly recommend if you haven’t checked it out). The will to live for something can allow the human spirit to endure incredibly awful situations – physically, emotionally, mentally; horrible things that most of us could not even begin to fathom. But if we have a WHY, that can help keep pushing us when things become hard, challenging, or in his case – horrific.
You don’t need to be in a concentration camp to learn those lessons (thank goodness).
Dr. Terry Orlick gives us the following scenario: Picture sitting at a restaurant with your friends; at the centre of your table lies a small candle. Your friend asks you to put your hand over the flame of the candle and hold it there and slowly lower it until the flame goes out. You might try it, but as soon as it gets too hot, too uncomfortable, you pull your hand away.
BUT, if your friend said, “I’ll pay you $500,000 to put your hand over the flame and hold it until it goes out”.
NOW you might consider it – because you have a strong enough ‘why’. Because of your ‘why’, you muster the courage to make it through something that is uncomfortable.
Another example from Dr. Orlick: If you imagine being chased by a bull and you come across a very high fence… I think it’s safe to say that you are going to find a way over that fence. All of a sudden you have the motivation to get over it.
Training and competing can be tough; it can be draining. And sometimes we have the tendency to burn the candle at both ends. I get it. We are trying to go to school, work, take care of a family and train full time. Some days there doesn’t seem to be enough hours to fit everything in. If you can remind yourself WHY you are putting in the long hours, the commitment to these daily habits becomes a little easier.
Crossfitter, Katrin Davidsdottir in her book Dottir, talks about her prep in leading up to the CrossFit games and says: “We are constantly calibrating our True North… If you know who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing, you will have an easier time digging deep in the fourth round of a five-round workout”.
The Mindset on Mobility course has reflection questions that help you dive into your ‘why’. We hope that you join us on the journey to self-realization, self-awareness, and optimizing your potential. But regardless of whether you inquiry starts with us, or somewhere else – keep in mind: He who has a why can bear almost any how.
See you on your mat.