We've been diving into more of Pavel Tsatsouline after listening to him on the Tim Ferris podcast. (if you haven't tuned in - highly recommend you listen here.) I've had a few of Pavel's books but became more fascinated in studying how the Russian powerlifters of the 60's-80's were able to dominate while still having longevity in the sport. Strength is something all athletes need, especially martial artists.
In doing so, I stumbled upon an article that Pavel wrote for Tim on The Four Hour Work Week blog in which he referenced Tim Ferris saying: “Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic.”
“It’s lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming… The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals.”
Pavel continues on saying:
"Running is the most democratic of all sports. Because it seems so unthreatening—“anyone can do it”—every local race is packed, and your chances of placing are slim to none.
In contrast, sports like powerlifting, grip sport, or arm wrestling have a remarkably small number of competitors. Showing up already means that you have defeated 99% of the contenders. They were too intimidated to even try.
A couple of years ago, I brought my 70-year old father to a power meet to keep me company. But he was not content to watch; I caught him in the warm-up area deadlifting 225 pounds with bad form. So, you want to compete, Dad? Affirmative.
My father, Vladimir, is a lifetime athlete—swimmer, boxer, judoka, skier, fencer, you name it. But he had not been bitten by the iron bug until then. He started training. A year later, he stood up with 374 pounds—without a belt!—at a body weight of 181 pounds and broke the American record (USPF single lift DL, 70-74 years old). Even if he took to running with the same zeal, he would still be finishing in the second wave of a local 5K race."
Vladimir Tsatsulin deadlifting on Muscle Beach Venice in one of his first meets. (Photo courtesy of www.venicepaparazzi.com)
It's a great article and I recommend you check out the deadlifting program that he wrote out for his father to crush his deadlift at age 70.
This idea that 99% of the people are convinced that it's impossible to achieve great things is something that resonated with us and the brand. Falling in line in the status quo is actually HARDER than striving for greatness. All you need to do is believe in yourself, stick to your guns, and have a little luck. Get out there and accomplish something awesome. It's lonely at the top.