Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Footsteps of Yesterday - By George F. Jowett

Originally posted on on 30 June 2000

Reprinted on Natural Strength with permission of The Iron Master

A great poet once wrote a great phrase; simple, but rich in eloquence. It ran: "Footsteps in the sands remind us of the great lives left behind us." To me that passage has been a guiding hand in my life work. I have always realized that in order to succeed, one must build on experience. While we are young we lack fundamental experience, and the only way we can get it, is from personal experience or from the study of the great lives who pioneered before us. They left footsteps, as we choose to term them, into which we can step and continue on from where they left off. The wise person searches for such footsteps of knowledge as short cuts to success. He saves the years that otherwise would have been aimlessly spent in acquiring personal experience. He delves into the lives and findings of his elders and absorbs their wisdom. It is truly said that youth whirls the world but age supplies the balance wheel. Too many young men fired with enthusiasm get lost in the whirl and fail to benefit from the balance. Many wonderful lives have been wasted from lack of forethought. By the time they acquire the formula to success too many years have sped past, and the years left to them are too short, or devoid of opportunity.

For this reason, I urge my youthful body building enthusiasts to pause a while in their enthusiasms, and spend a little while gleaming benefit from worthwhile examples of men who have left their footprints on the sands of time. These footprints are stepping stones. The world's progression is built on this same foundation. Your success in life can be more fully blessed by following the same example.

Enthusiasm and vanity walk dangerously hand in hand. Vanity is the despoiler. It too often causes the ears to be closed to reason-even your own sound judgment. More body builders fail because of vanity than from any other cause. Too often the body builder thinks success can only come from terrific effort. He thinks the more exercises he performs and the more repetitions per exercise, the quicker will his goal be reached. Not a part of this is true, no matter how others may tell you to train, train and train. The unfortunate part of it is, once a fellow has started he just hates to be restricted in his enthusiasm. He hates to cut down on weight and repetitions. He hates to turn from an exercise that makes him struggle, to practice one that better calls for a lighter weight. His vanity spitefully whispers and urges him to continue the old way. Enthusiasm is an essential factor to success, but too much of it can burn up your energy. It is difficult to curb enthusiasm but reason is a good curb.

Study the lives of those who reached the heights of idealism in physical perfection. They did not succeed overnight, not in a few months. It took time-yes, years. Then longer, within reason, it takes to build, the stronger will be the building, whether that building be made of stone or of the fabric of your own body. Don't let vanity get the best of you. Give reason to everything. Study the lives and the works of the great men of yesterday. Step into their footsteps and by so doing, bring out the best that is in you, physically and mentally.
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