This idea brings one example to my thoughts immediately. For many years my father, Steve, has been trying to grow a rose bush so that he can make sure my mom has flowers all the time. Yes, very sweet. If only intentions grew beautiful flowers. Unfortunately they don't. For over a decade he would go pick out the biggest and most bloomed rose bush, the absolute best fertilizer, and would water and tend to it every day; however, almost unfailingly, the bush would die. It was a constant battle for him and each year he would try a new spot, only to have the same result. A few years ago I remember him deciding to give up and set aside this miserable excuse for a rose bush. It had been left out for weeks without being planted and was beginning to wither. He put in it the front of our house which is completely shielded from light 90% of the day. This pathetic rose bush was given no chance. I was soon to be on the list of failed rose bushes.
Soon after this bush was planted my mother fell down a flight of steps and broke her first two vertebrae in her neck. The doctor claimed she would never walk and may be paralyzed in her right arm and legs. My dad soon after was in a serious car accident. He spent almost all of his days with my mom while she recovered(which she made a full recovery). All while this was happening the rose bush that was already on its way out of this world was being completely neglected. No watering schedule, no special fertilizer, no attention at all. You could say the bush had every obstacle stacked against it, but I'm sure you have figured out that this rose bush didn't die. This bush fought back. With all its predecessors failing even with the perfect care plan, this rose bush was pushed to the brink and had to grow on its own. This was 3 years ago and now the rose bush is humongous and blooms some of the most beautiful roses I've ever seen. They are not the perfect roses you see in a store. They have bug holes, tatters, and weather marks, but that makes them beautiful to me. With each torn petal I see the obstacles it has overcome. That is far more attractive than something that has had a perfect path laid in front of it.
How does this tie into strength?
Some of us started working out very young, most starting with sports. I was a high school and collegiate thrower and I always remember the schools that had a great coach that held their hand for EVERYTHING. These kids were taught how to perfectly lift in Olympic movements and how to throw perfectly. I was not one of these people. I had to find my own way to win. I almost always beat these kids because I worked harder. My time was spent mostly by myself or with friends that knew less than I did in my dark basement trying to figure out this journey. I had a cheap set up that I personally bought. I had no mirrors to watch form or no one to ask anything. My obstacle was the island I was on. I had to find my own way off. These other kids who had absolute support, I wonder where they are now. If they even lift anymore. I would assume not because they didn't earn it the same way I did. Nothing is very important if you didn't have to earn it. I've earned this.
I've constantly overcame obstacles to get where I am right now. I have now run into a completely new obstacle, injury. For the first time in many years I feel mortal. I have felt invincible for years by lifting whatever weight I put on the bar, by performing feats of strength on my very first attempt, and by completing some of the most brutal workouts any one person could write up. This injury stuff is something completely new to me, but it is good because it has forced me to take a step back and figure it out. I tore my MCL about 3 weeks ago, but it miraculously healed within a couple weeks. I was relieved until earlier this week when I sprained my wrist. I blew off the knee, but the wrist is a big deal. My plans of being a strongman greatly depend on my grip strength and being a trainer I have to demonstrate kettlebell movements often, which demand a strong wrist.
This is the obstacle that I worry with most. Not just the wrist, but the idea of my body getting old. The idea that I may be beating my body up too much, too early. Unfortunately I cannot overcome this obstacle that is aging, no one ever has. My focus now is to just combat it. I have always neglected my mobility, but thanks to this reality check I have to refocus on it. I fully plan to compete this summer and my utmost goal is to destroy any event that demands grip strength. Not just to win the event, but to prove myself that this obstacle was just another one along the way. That it will not slow me down, but strengthen me. I don't want to just walk around or climb over this obstacle, I plan to destroy it so it can never slow be down again.