Trying to look better… or just being better?

It’s not just about looking better – it is about being better.

Will I be happy if I look like this?

Why is it that we so often attribute specimens that look good with happiness and success? Is it because they are up there on a big screen, on instagram accounts and in adverts? People often want to LOOK better, to have the abs, to have the body, to weigh less etc. and have the perceived social benefits of that thing. Yet is the simple thing of looking different actually the agent of change? If you could click your fingers and look like that, would it have the same effect on you as actually having the discipline and patience to go through the physical, mental, dietary and recovery processes to create that body? Hmmm. An interesting thought….

Discipline and hard work are required for any transformation… yet looking different and *being* a different person are not one and the same thing.

The transformation of someone through hard physical work is a tried and tested process. If you can maintain the focus to stay disciplined, through hard work, through diet, and also through recovery – then eventually there will be a physical transformation, the change to the person inside is not really down to simply looking better- but rather – is down to the processes they have gone through in order to concentrate and commit to the process.

The keywords there were “discipline” and “eventually”.

Prepare for hard times

The fitness industry tends to revolve around concepts like “looking good for summer”, “getting flat abs”, “looking like a guy off of a film”… and a huge amount of resources are pumped into creating the storyline that this is a possibility in a few short weeks. The hacks, the shortcuts and the mag articles are all about getting these things quickly.

The over-riding message is that people buy into these things because they want to look like someone else. They want to look different, but seem quite happy to consider that there is a short cut to doing so. Changing yourself is not something to do lightly, but, it seems, is something that many people want to cheat.

How can I get those results faster? How can I look like Thor quickly? How can I get abs?

Is there a reason for not wanting to look like you do at the moment? Will looking like someone else change all your problems? If you could snap your fingers and look like that now, what would it change? Anything? Do you think you would be any more successful? Any more rich? Any more persuasive? Any more honest? Any more likely happy?

Hmmm. Maybe not.

Long term effects.

Changes to character do not necessarily come from what you look like when you look in the mirror. The difference in how you feel about yourself are not entirely based upon the external. There are people who look *fantastic* and yet they lack confidence. Looking amazing may well give you confidence – but there is no guarantee that what you see in the mirror is the same as that which others see. Continually trying to look like someone else is not a path to happiness, but rather, a path to eventual frustration.

Despite what we may be told, both consciously and sub-consiously through films, TV and advertising – confidence, ability, happiness, mobility; it comes from inside.

It isn’t about looking a certain way, It isn’t about buying certain things to make you seem like that which you want to be. These things are simply byproducts of other things such as being comfortable with who you are and believing in your ability to overcome seemingly unsurmountable obstacles – the ability to be physically and mentally able to cope with the unexpected, whether at home, work, or generally in life.

It is the belief in yourself that no matter what life throws at you, you can deal with it which appears to matter. This does not come from comfort. It does not come from drinking coffee in a fashionable coffee house, it is not about watching box sets back to back, it is not about getting a six pack or even about going to a gym class in order to get points to get your cinema ticket this week.

Belief in yourself comes from struggle, failure, and, ultimately, the ability to overcome.

Some days are easy. Others are hard. You learn more about yourself on the hard days.

The easiest way to instil the feeling of overcoming is, to begin with, in a controllable environment. A place where failure has fewest consequences. A place to learn what it means to not be powerful enough to cope. Then you test yourself, physically and mentally.

And you fail.

From there you begin to know what reserves you have to draw on, what you are able to do in a place where you can begin to cope, you get better, you cope better, you learn to use your strength more, you begin to overcome and you begin to believe. Confidence increases, and there might even be a side effect that you start looking better – that is not important… what is important is that you have learnt to BE better. You live better, you work better, you fail better and you learn more.

However, to begin the process, you need to be in the right frame of mind. You have to be asking the right questions – not only of others, but of yourself.

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