A memory popped up in my timeline, from the second or third time I saw Arnold working out at Gold’s Gym Venice.
Not the first time I saw him, but it was the only time in my life I felt sorta star-struck.
Now, I didn’t start having heart palpitations or follow him from machine to machine, but I did do way too many sets of deadlifts across from him while thinking, “Holy shit, thats really Arnold.” And I HATE deadlifting!
On this second or third occasion I was struck by The Oak’s mortality. He shuffled more than he walked and was sort of hunched over in that way most taller men do as they get older.
But at 70-something it was definitely him.
However, as he walked by I was struck by the size of his wrists: they looked about the same width as my ankles.
I immediately thought “structure.” The kind that’s built for decades of heavy weight training. The type you’re either born with or not.
It drilled home that while much can be accomplished through hard work and dedication, some KEY things are simply beyond our control.
And while labelling the successful as “genetically gifted” is now a dogwhistle for excessive excuse making and piss poor work ethic, the fact remains: he started his bodybuilding journey with a distinct advantage.
The takeaway isn’t to bail out on your passions if you don’t have the potential to be The Greatest of All Time.
It’s to manage expectations.
And if something is indeed a true life passion, to find ways to develop your own greatness, using qualities that aren’t limited by height or genetics or bone structure or simple circumstance.
Or develop greatness in others.
I’ve had varying degrees of success & failure. Most remain works in progress, which I’m content with.
Because I have my whole life to work on them.
So do you.