Desire

Desire

Jan 13, 2013

Desire

By Josh Hunt

One of the best sentences in the English language is “satisfaction is the death of desire.” The genius is in its brevity, which cuts through all of the crap. I would love to claim that it was my amazing and angst filled mind that wordsmithed this beauty. But, I have to give credit where credit is due and tell you all that this is actually the name of a great and super motivational album by the Connecticut based Hardcore band Hatebreed (thank you Jamey Jasta). This line would roll over and over in my head while I was in college, so much so that it was actually one of my quotes in my senior yearbook (Kπ∑-2004, if you know what this means we simultaneously have a connection and I feel sorry for your liver). I still think about the idea that once you’re satisfied you’ve basically given up. What is the point of working to achieve your dreams if you’re happy with where you are? If you fall into this category you honestly should do one of two things; enjoy yourself while you can, because things will change; or roll over and die, because you’ve stopped living.

The concept of being satiated in life is very dynamic and seems in a way counterintuitive to me. Think about it, in order to improve yourself or your station in life you can never really be happy with what you have or content with who you are. On the one hand this is rather daunting and depressing. Someone that spends a great deal of time looking out at the horizon with glassy eyes while listening to Bauhaus and the Cure might spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this notion. Thus needing to buy Neutrogena makeup removing products to clean their face of the narrow and dark mascara roads that run from their lower eyelids to their chin (to be honest I listen to both of these bands, thus it might be wise if you invest in Noxzema because that is what I use). On the other hand, it is really inspirational. Because when you distill this idea down to its most potent, acrid, and carbon ash black form it’s all about being hungry. This hunger or drive is the thing that most of us use in order to move up in the world, become sharper, keener, and stronger. This drive is what makes great men great. It’s what draws us into the gym on a cold winter morning when everyone else is sleeping. It’s what makes us go out looking for new information about strength (like the stuff that can be found on this site, yes I know that was a shameless plug, but what are you going to do about it?). It’s what keeps us coming back to competition after competition because we want to prove to our loved ones, our friends, our rival competitors, and most of all ourselves we are becoming stronger. When we attain what is desired, it’s an amazing feeling. But, that feeling is fleeting. This euphoric emotion is basically a snap shot of achievement and a flash of happiness and glory that only exists for a moment. However, this momentary high is the one of the things that keeps us doing what we do, because at the end of the day you are only as good as your last competition (yes I am stealing that line from you Brady). If you are satisfied with where you are as a competitor when you start your next training cycle, you’ve already allowed yourself to be pulled into the quagmire of mediocrity. It takes the desire to be better to achieve any sort of gain.

Every athlete who has ever accomplished something great; be it winning an Olympic gold medal, obtaining the WWE World Championship Belt (I don’t care if it’s “not real”, these guys are effing athletes!), setting a national record in the USAPL, or achieving a new personal record, has had a hunger to seize that objective. I think about my accomplishments, and although they are not outstanding in the world of powerlifting, I am still proud of what I have done. I remember when I first bench pressed at the age of fourteen, I put up ninety-five pounds. Now, sixteen years later I am coming close to quadrupling my original personal record (raw bench press of course). From the time I picked up my first weight I enjoyed the act and was drawn toward lifting weights. I was always fascinated by strength, and have felt a need to be strong (not that I am, but at least I can say a gallon of milk is lighter for me than for a 93 year old woman). Because of this I have had a desire to see what my capacity for strength is and to try to increase that ceiling. I realize that this upper limit is a sliding scale, as one develops better technique, a stronger nervous system, a greater knowledge of how one’s own body works, and builds more muscle mass their potential to move more weight is realized. All that aside, the desire to achieve more is the underlying driver that keeps me lifting. When I break my personal record on the deadlift I am not going to set the weight down and say, “Okay, I’ve done it, guess I don’t ever have to do this lift again.” When I get that new max I am going to be amped-up for about thirteen seconds then I’m going to ask myself: what can I do in order to add one kilogram to that max, what do I have to do to increase that limit by ten kilograms, what do I have to do in order to be competitive at my weight class? The questions are going to come, and that momentary sweetness of achieving a goal will be gone, leaving only a slight aftertaste. Now, I do have to state that it is important to enjoy and relish an accomplishment (which is something I rarely do). But, life keeps moving and so should you (and that will probably be for another article for me to pour myself into, showing the world how great a writer I am; yes, I know it’s sad and I am diluted, but a guy can dream right?).

In my mind desire can be broken down into two camps: unattainable desires and attainable desires. For me an unattainable desire would be landing a date with Rosario Dawson or having my bones laced with adamantium including having 18-inch claws imbedded in my forearms (SNIKT!). Now, obviously these are unattainable because let’s face it I’d have a better chance finding a fictional metal and grafting it to my body than meeting and convincing Gail from Sin City to sit across the table from me as I shovel pasta into my mouth whilst talking about how great I am. An attainable desire for me is to drop a few pounds and increase my Wilks Coefficient, but that would mean I’d have to stop fantasizing about a Double-Double Animal Style from In-N-Out. All jokes aside though, I think it is necessary to associate what your desires are with these two categories. One, because everyone needs some sort of escapism and needs to dream about things of fantasy because let’s face life can be difficult (how cool would it be to fling an enchanted whip at Dracula like Simon Belmot?). Plus fantasy and escapism can really help you understand who you are as a person in ways the real world can’t. Two, sometime unattainable desires can be tweaked to become attainable goals; this can be done by injecting realism into the equation. What I mean by this is; there is no way I am going to get underneath a bar and start squatting 600 pounds raw tomorrow (My best raw competition squat is 518 pounds and I was weighing about 25 more pounds than I am today). However, if I plan on squatting 600 pounds in a year to eighteen months, I may have changed something intangible into something within my grasp. All I have to do is develop a game plan and keep the fires stoked – you know – stay hungry. When sorting desires into these two groupings, it forces one to really think about what they want, prioritize, and be realistic about how one will go forward. It also creates a situation where short term and long term goals can be set. Again, a long-term goal will most likely be unattainable in the short term. If someone has the desire to be a kickass crossfit athlete they need to get their personal drive in line with what they can really accomplish in a predestined timeline. This way there is the ability to measure progress and make changes to the game plan if the desired outcome is not being achieved. – I say desires as opposed to goals, because all goals can (or should) be reached. Desire is more far reaching and can encompass; dreams, goals, fantasies, objectives, notions and a gamut of other nebulous and elusive concepts. Plus, desire is a much more primal, engrained, and overarching instinct in my mind. Cavemen didn’t have a goal to survive a cold winter; they had a primal desire to go on. If you were to sell your soul to the devil, you wouldn’t simply tell Mephistopheles what you wanted; you’d tell him your deepest desire. One more and I swear I’ll quit: Genghis Kahn didn’t have just an objective to take China; he had a desire to conquer the world.
When talking about desire, one needs to look within themselves and figure out what it is they want. No one can do everything. There is no way someone is going to finish Moby Dick, run fourteen miles, cook a four course Turkish meal, and train like a madman in the gym all in one day. This being the case think about a few things that you are really passionate about. Then figure out how to engage on those goals and tap into the power of your own desire (or drive). Because after all, this emotion is one of the most powerful tools that we all have. There are a number of things that go into generating desire, and all of which are pieces of the human psyche that can be harnessed and used for achievement (personal or other). In my mind accomplishment is an equation that looks something like this:
Accomplishment = Desire* x [(Will Power + Work Ethic + Planning) – (Excuses + Bullshit)]
*Yes I made it into a multiplier.
Feel free to use this if you want, if not I can see how it is kind of cheesy. But, think about the things that get you fired up and how much effort you’re willing to put into them. Think about how you may be willing to put in extra effort to create a better business plan than that douche-bag suck-up at work. Think about the scene of achievement you have when you put a bit of money away in the bank, then think about how it would feel to put more money in that account (probably a bit larger, just guessing). Hell, whatever works for you in order to harness this resourse that resides in all of us. This internal fire all starts with a little spark, and this ignition source of desire can come from anywhere: anger, lust, pride, ego, love, hate, compassion, etc. Desire is an amazing thing; it can make people lift ridiculous amounts of weight or do something embarrassing to make someone else happy. It can drive scientist to try to find the ends of the universe while others to sequester themselves into offices to write the great American novel. Really, any of these things are pretty impressive, but they all have the commonality of this primal feeling. Thus, we all need to tap into our desire, our drive, our hunger, our yearnings, our whatever the hell you want to call it, so we can improve up ourselves and evolve a little bit every day.

After reading all of that, I may give off a negative impression about life. This is not my intent. I am not saying that one shouldn’t be happy, I am saying that there is a driving force behind some amount of unhappiness or lack of satisfaction. There are a great many facets within the construct of life that people should be content with. It does not behoove a person to be cynical about everything (I am a prime example of that). What I am saying is satisfaction can be something that slows down personal achievement. Contentment can really be disguised complacency, and in a world where many of us demand the most of ourselves this is nothing but weakness. Human kind can have a tendency to be greedy and selfish, and in some cases and in certain doses is this bad thing? Should one be concerned with themselves if they want more for themselves and their family, be it opportunity, money, quality time? All of these things are desirable. And, this is the case when it comes to physical achievement. Don’t you want more, be it strength or quickness? Wouldn’t you rather have a gold medal than silver? Being satisfied will not yield a better you. I believe one can be happy but still not quite pleased with how things are going. This delta between satiated and hunger is part of humanity. That unsettling feeling will most likely only sharpen us if applied correctly to life.

In the long run it’s a not a bad thing to be unsatisfied with what you’ve accomplished (actually sometimes it’s a good thing in my mind). Be greedy, want more, and use that desire to build your fiefdom or your legacy. Help yourself become stronger, faster, bigger, and badder. In many cases these desires will help to build momentum for higher hurdles, heavier loads, and loftier goals because there is a wanting for more greatness, more personal fulfillment, and more admiration. If you’re not moving forward why spend the time? Remember, “satisfaction is the death of desire.” Think about that sentence for a while and see if it doesn’t want to make you tool over your work outs, start planning for a future competition, or just try to be better. Also listen to some Hatebreed.

– Perseverance, Against all opposition, Crushing all limitations, Pure strength through solitude, Discipline and determination. Hatebreed

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