The sentence is quite self explanatory but allow me to peel the metaphorical onion. “Strong”, for the sake of this subject, can refer to physical, intellectual and/or mental might. There is no one, I repeat NO ONE, that is born knowing the capitals of the world or the periodic table. No one is born capable of lifting weights or running marathons or being able to do MMA fighting! Any of those scenarios and million others have never happened. No such abilities are available to any one at birth!

We are born as blank canvasses. We are born empty as the white paper you find in a printer. We are born as virgins, in so many senses of the word. One must admit that some babies occasionally are born taller, fatter, slightly stronger, some are born with a higher IQ than average. DNA is a powerful force. I call that, affectionately the “hereditary lottery”. Pure luck. Sometimes, some people are born with rare diseases, malformations, poor health, mental deficiencies. Pure absence of luck. It happens unfortunately.

Whatever we are today, we have become. It was no accident, except for cases where diseases and accidents, which are unpredictable by nature. Whoever we are today, we have become, for better or worse. The environment, the family, the circumstances of our lives, religion, education, climate, personal stories, diet and so many other factors have made us who we are. Once again, whatever and whoever we are today, we have become through time and experience. I know it sounds quite definitive as a sentence, but it is true.

Those who are strong today got to become strong. Who thinks that Lebron James became an amazing basketball player by doing nothing? Who believes Stephen King is one of the greatest writers ever because he sat around and only took naps? Both scenarios are inconceivable. Lebron has been training his body and mind since he was probably 10 years old and hasn’t stopped. Results? He is one of the greatest basketball players to ever set foot on a court. Stephen King writes 6 pages a day at the very least, every day and has released 61 novels! Luck? Fuck no! He trained his brain to write. Results? One of best and most influential and prolific writers ever!

What am I trying to say?

No one becomes strong by accident. You train your mind or body or both consistently and the results can only follow. Every person that is strong physically that I know, if we put aside some hereditary lottery, works out regularly. Every mentally strong person that I know has faced adversity. They have been bullied, sometimes abused and those unfortunate and hurtful events pushed them to become resilient, to withstand tough situations, to adapt, to read situations, to read people, to outsmart their tormentors, etc.

Hell, even superheroes go through terrible adversity, sorrow, pain and loss. They become strong and stronger through their actions, their willingness to face obstacles that no one has ever faced before. However, this is real life, not the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you think about it and if you put aside the supernatural stuff, real life isn’t that much different from comic books. Real life is the training ground for the weak to become strong.

Tough times breed tough people. Some people crumble and those need help to overcome their trauma and tough conditions. Other people go through adversity without crumbling completely. I know it sounds like I am wishing suffering and/or adversity on people. I am not. Well, I am, kinda, just a little bit. I am not advocating to put oneself in harm’s way for the opportunity to become tougher and stronger. Yet, how will we ever become strong if there isn’t even a little bit of adversity? But who can define what is a little adversity or suffering? What is the right amount of adversity or abuse or fear? I sure as hell don’t know. I literally have no clue. That is generally a subjective issue because we all have different thresholds when it comes to adversity and pain.

That is quite the conundrum, wouldn’t you say?! I know that I am strong mentally because I have seen and lived through some fucked up things. I got to be stronger, I learned to think fast, I taught myself to read a room and people as quickly as I can. I didn’t become stronger by flipping a switch. It took time. I didn’t become mentally tough by going through life unscathed. I was weak in some areas, and today I am not. Yet, there is always room to grow and I know adversity never goes away, it just changes form, so it is fair to say, we are in a lifetime of adversity, to stronger and lesser degrees.

When you see a strong person, keep in mind that they went through stuff that made them that way. When you see people fighting to stay sober, when you see people battling mental disorders, when you see people working out to protect their cardiovascular system, when you see people going to therapy, when you see those who were abused helping the abused, when you see people who are strong, remember, they became strong, they weren’t born that way. They became warriors because they know war, because they fought, because they are still fighting.

We all have weaknesses, that is human nature. What are we doing to turn the weaknesses into strengths? What is the plan to overcome adversity? I doubt that any one of us is happy with their weaknesses. If you are tired of being weak, then find a way to become strong. We live in a great era where therapy is available, where medicine has made huge advances, books about improvement are everywhere, videos on YouTube, etc. Nothing is easy, nothing is given. A weakness will cease to exist only if the mind and/or the body are trained to overcome it.

Yesterday’s weaklings are today’s strong people. It sounds too simple and kinda preachy but step one is the choice, how to go from weak to strong. The path from weakness to strength can be defined and drawn later. One must decide, one must make a choice to overcome their condition, to improve and to be better. It is that simple and that complicated simultaneously. Yet, we mostly fail before taking the first step which is choosing to let go of our weaknesses. That first step is the toughest part. I repeat; we are lucky that in 2019 we possess many resources to help us.

No one is born strong. No one becomes strong by accident, through magic or through the holy spirit. We all get it from our efforts and our will to become better. We are blank canvasses. We are empty. At some point, we must decide what ingredient we will use to fill our hearts, minds and bodies.

I still fight everyday to improve. I don’t always succeed but I still fight. The one thing that keeps me trying is that I remember that consistency is key, and it is only too late when you are dead.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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