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strongman clinic 14

If all human lives depended upon their usefulness – as might be judged by certain standards – there would be a sudden and terrific mortality in the world. – Gene Tunney

Useful. Valuable. Boring sounding, yet we sure give it a lot of energy, at least as a culture, but we fake it as individuals. So busy LOOKING busy, but busy doesn’t mean useful.

Am I useful?

We’re so busy appearing busy that we don’t actually get much done. As a nation we LOVE being useful. No, wait… again we love APPEARING useful. We’ll throw so much money, energy and hyperbole into a cause or project, but usually an outcome is more of a surprise than a planned result.

strongman clinic 17Did that stink of pessimism? Sorry. There is good work being done, to be sure, but let’s face it, we truly excel at being busy appearing busy.

Did you just say I look a bit taller? It’s this extra large soapbox I’ve climbed up on this week. I can see your house from up here. Good time to do burpees… training at high elevations is supposed to do wonders for your super hero powers.

E-Bayazon, FaceTube and YouBook are home to thousands of books, videos and websites willing to offer you the keys to the How and What of fitness and strength. Heck, it’s a big part of my bread and butter. I think I even have a Twister account, or some such thing (no, I’ve never actually Twisted… or Tweeted… whatever). But a big vacuum exists where the Why should be. There’s a truth no one wants to face… if we confront the why behind our decisions, fitness or otherwise, many of our choices seem… well… sorta dumb, and this is evident if your keen eye takes a gander through any corporate gym.

crossing on logAm I useful? Oh, there it is again. It’s a funny question, isn’t it? Annoying, like a redundant poke from a 6-year old’s snot-covered index finger in your super fly Affliction shirt-covered (if this were two years ago) rib cage. Ouch. Stop it. Ouch. Stop it. Ouch. Enough already!

Perhaps it’s annoying because it’s THE question. It’s a less sugarcoated way of asking if you’re a good person, or a just person, or a caring person. That’s what being useful is… gettin’ shit done to benefit the tribe. But we sorta hide from asking if our actions or lifestyle will prove useful because… well, it’s tricky isn’t it?

Yes or No, True or False. Yikes… for once you finally want to answer in essay form.

It’s the ironic proverbial mirror I stare into as I write this. This topic has been sitting in my spiritual in-box for months now, and I haven’t posed the question because I’m a bit nervous of my own answer.

Am I useful? If this test question were a bit more multiple choice than True/False, I’d pick the third box:


Next to it I might scribble “but am working on it.”




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Showing 3 comments
  • Steven Rice Fitness

    I think I’m a lot more useful as a bodyworker and trainer than I was as an engineer, but unfortunately society rewards me a lot less.

  • chip

    Depends on what constitutes a reward.

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  • […] Are you useful? Movement is the purpose of our body. Movement is a collection of abilities, skills… purpose. A movement is simply a potential building block of that purpose. So how are you using your movements? […]

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