There is a reason that out of all the friends I have, Shimi is the only one with abs, a six pack, and a perfectly trimmed physique, rather let me say, with a perfect invisible appearance of a person who trains regularly. Muscles are developed by constantly lifting heavy objects, when one constantly endures the pain and agony that come with lifting heavy objects, their body begins to take a different path, a different renewed look that responds to the pressure it has been exposed to, in metallurgical engineering gold is melted in the furnace at extreme unbearable temperatures, only after has it been exposed to these high intensity heat, can it be refined and molded into expensive jewelry. Isn’t that the story of our lives? that we all want to be valuable & expensive in the marketplace, but how many of us are willing to put ourselves under extreme heat in order to be refined, refurbished, and ultimately valuable.
This is not a blog post about getting abs, muscles and six pack, but the theme of the blog perfectly matches with body building. In our different spaces and places we are all trying to build our bodies, it can be an academic body, building towards getting that qualification that will set you on the right path to career development, it can be building yourself as an actor, a poet or any of the many beautiful disciplines. There is a reason why some reach the summit, why some of us never start climbing and why some throw in the towel along the climb. Quite often when we engage with people during our personal development workshops, one of the recurring themes or concepts is around ‘privilege’.
There’s a belief that some are born in environments that allow them to reach the summit, while others are born in opposite environments, and it would be naïve to overlook this reality of privileges. Some people are indeed born in environments that allow them to prosper early – with little obstacles, and perhaps the majority of black people in our country do not come from that background of privilege, the fertile soil that makes it easier for them to grow, the perfect environment that nourishes their aspirations and dreams. It is a given fact that black people have been systematically disenfranchised and excluded from opportunities for many years. However, even from these historic systems of oppression, and some of the very systems that still prevail, there are still those who emerge from rags and are able to climb to the top. The prevailing question as a result becomes, ‘why are others able to?’ coming from a similar background as us.
“It is only a few people that are able and willing to make their circumstances a driving force instead of having the victim mentality” – Howard Zondo.
‘I don’t have enough time’, ‘I have got a lot on my hands’, ‘I don’t have the resources’, many of us are holding on to a variety of these excuses disguised as logical reasons on why we are not doing certain things. Why are we not reading those books on our shelves – have not started writing that book and that Youtube channel. These excuses disguised as solid reasons sadly make us sleep better at night, and as a result we abscond the responsibilities of taking initiatives on bettering ourselves.
“When the people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt, God instructed Moses to confront Pharaoh and lead the people to the promised land, which was a staggering attempt. Moses begins making excuses, ‘what if they don’t listen or believe me”
In one book which I constantly recommend to friends titled ‘Start with Why’. Simon postulates that we ought to ‘start with why’ – a reason for venturing into something bigger than us. What makes Shimi wake up early every morning and head to the gym? sticking to a strict diet from Monday to Monday and to do a set of push-ups even on days when he doesn’t feel like it. It is his ability to not only have a clear vision of why he is doing what he is doing, but a thorough understanding of what he needs to sacrifice in the process of getting to the end goal, the extreme heat he has to endure, the extreme pressure he needs to overcome.
“Our big dreams are attached to small daily tasks which, undone, will prevent us from reaching the dream. If you do not send that invoice, you will not secure that tender, if you do not read that book, you will not get that information to grow yourself and realize your dreams” – Tokelo Hlagala.
Many of us fail to do the daily frivolous tasks not because we cannot see where we want to go or because we don’t know what tasks to do in order to get there, but rather we are not willing to sacrifice the small stuff, eating healthy, reading the books, having a commitment to the discipline of doing the daily frivolous tasks.
In the year 2019 Shimi went to compete in the IFBB SA Nationals Championship Qualifier, not only did he compete in the competition, he came out 1st place. Bear in mind that this is not an individual with a fancy gym membership, this is a man who works 08:00 to 17:00 like the many of us, this is a man that trains alone in his tiny designated training room where he further trains other young people interested in the body building profession. In his words he has said, ‘I have trained quite a few individuals, but many of them have never reached the stage of competition – self-doubt being one of the prevailing dilemmas, absence of passion, and the incapacity to commit to the daily demands associated with getting to the competition stages’.
“Conscious connectivity is essential when going for a dream, it means one is connected to their dream. One must be aware of the cost elements of what he wants and what he aspires to become. On a daily basis there ought to be tasks done that do not speak to the passion but they have to be done in order to get to that dream” Sthabiso Mbatha.
In order to live the great lives we desire, have the bodies we need, the relationships we want, and become the professionals we want to become – there are certain things that will have to align with the things that we aspire to be and have. Our attitudes perhaps need to be renovated and revamped, our lifestyles should mirror that which we are gunning for.
Will Smith plays the character of Ali in the movie Muhammad Ali, which depicts and narrates the life of this great boxer to have ever set foot on earth. In preparation to play the role of Ali, he spent a year eating the kind of food Ali was eating, he spent a year waking up each and every day going for a morning run that Ali used to. He further spent a year in the boxing ring learning not only how to box, but box in the same way Ali did. We also need to develop this attitude of preparation and wear our gloves for the part that we are going to be playing when the time comes. We need to prepare today for tomorrow, burn the midnight oil so we can live lavishly tomorrow.
Your attitude will determine your altitude and magnitude, I saw a circle of mediocrity, I saw the circle of generational curses in my community, I decided to step up, to change my attitude and shift the paradigm, a mind that is totally transformed with the idea of improving self, an idea that says if so and so did it, why can’t I do it” Sakhumzi Dukwe.
Blog post by Tokelo Hlagala Edited by Howard Zondo