Hey, this message was originally intended for the members of my Strength Camp Nation forum. After a long absence I like to chime in and begin answering questions. But after writing it, and realizing that the forum form doesn’t allow as much text as I needed, I decided to post it on my blog.
I feel obligated to touch bases, in an intimate way (not just mindless ramblings), with all of you. That is why we have such an interesting relationship.
There are 101 things that I want to share with you right now, but this message is perhaps the best way for us to catch up.
Hey guys, before I hopped into the forum and begin answering questions again after a one-month absence, I just wanted to let you know a little bit about what I’ve been doing.
My commitment is to live and spread my motto of “become the strongest version of yourself and empower others“. That means I make decisions that I feel will make me a stronger version of myself, all with the intent to share what I experience so that others might be empowered. I try to live my life balancing these two main criteria of personal growth and sharing.
The things I teach about growing stronger must come from a place of experience. As a teacher, one must subject himself to the ideas that he would like to teach. A teacher who teaches something in which he has no experience, is no teacher at all, he is a tape recording.
In this life I have found that one of my major roles is to be a Teacher. And for me to have anything worth teaching, I must have experiences. What the world has come to watch through my YouTube channels is the display of a man going through experiences, while at the same time sharing what he learns along the way.
A big thing that I learned in my last few months away from YouTube and heavy social media communication, is that the more of a thrilling experience it is to be one version of yourself, it is just as thrilling to let go of what you now are, so that you can experience what you might become. And if we have trust, we will believe that strength is found in becoming a different version of yourself. This is a form of self-transcendence, and it is at the core of enlightenment.
I believe that life should be played with the thrilling perspective that “I should always be growing stronger”. One of the key components to true strength is found in the ability to let go. It requires great strength to let go, letting go is about having the strength to transcend the grip of your fear.
At 35 years of age I am a man in late early adulthood. I’ve lived my life by the code of strength. By accessing the force of my will, I have been able to build what some people might call a successful life. Of course, “successful life” is a very subjective term.
The amount of willpower exhibited through my character not only allowed me to bully my way through financial struggle, I even built my body up to be classified amongst the strongest men known to the world, strongmen. I showed that if you can just give what it takes, you can have anything; be it physical strength, mental strength, financial strength.
But the tools that get you on top of one mountain might destroy your chances of climbing the next, higher mountain.
In order to achieve your goals you must become a certain kind of person. That is why I always say “it’s not about what you get in life, it’s about who you become”. You become the type of person that is needed to achieve your goals. This is always the case, whether you consciously choose the direction for your life or if life is pushing you around.
Over time you will become the kind of person you’ve wanted to be, and as a result your world will start to look the way you want it to look. But a strange thing happens when you achieve your goals. You literally attain to a new stage of consciousness. It’s like you can now see the world with better glasses on. With this new perspective you can now observe that there are many other, even bigger, many times bigger, mountains than the one you find yourself on.
One thing is sure about climbing another mountain, you must first climb down from the one you’re now on. We must go through a process of being broken down before we can be built up again, into a stronger version of ourselves. Without proper perspective some people would call this a nervous breakdown. But if you understand the process of personal growth, you realize that it is just an answer to your prayers. The only thing required, is that you listen very closely to the language of your body when you find yourself in this place, which Joseph Campbell calls ” the abyss of magnified power”.
The steps that you take back down the mountain will require just as much diligence, in a yielding way, as it did in an aggressive way for your ascent.
Since January 2014, I have been slowly and methodically climbing down from my old mountain. At first even I didn’t know what was going on, but my body speaks very clearly to me. And the results was my slow withdrawal from YouTube and social media. How can you yell like a man on top of a mountain while you are climbing down from one? It’s impossible. The very first step down from the summit is the most challenging, once you submit to climbing down your attitude must become one of yielding. You are physically and psychologically stepping down from the mountain.
To the ego this feels like complete obliteration. The ego doesn’t like this process, but even worse, the people related to your ego do not like when you go into this process either. I happen to have over 1 million people tied to a version of myself. So the descent might require that much more humility. And I am still humbly yielding to the process, all while fixing my view on the new mountain ahead.
Just when things seem to be the darkest, we must strengthen our intelligence, intuition, aggression and love.
All I can say about what’s next is that I am at the foothills of what looks like a very challenging mountain. The only thing that I can do to describe this mountain is to share its elements with you.
First there is my family. I am very heavily influenced by the father archetype. If I am a poor father to my own children, I am a poor father figure to all of the young people of our world. I gauge my success heavily on the health and well-being of my family.
Then there is my mission and my work, to become the strongest version of myself and empower others. For me it begins with the barbell, football, lifting stones. But it is also equally balanced with meditation, yoga, bioenergetics, reggae music, laying in my hammock, resting with my wife, tickling my children.
It is also drinking the best water I can find, buying healthy food for my family, and at least trying to keep their diet in accordance with my values. I also love to educate myself, I love to read and watch documentaries. Audiobooks were perhaps the greatest invention ever. I love listening to stories, and new science about human potential. My commitment is, and must be to become the strongest version of myself.
I take the energy gained by loving myself, and I give it to the world, by loving it through my positive messages on YouTube. It must be evident through my face or something, but I know that most people realize I’m genuinely interested in watching young men grow stronger. Every time I meet one that reminds me of myself, I smile for him on the inside. Because I know that if he’s just strong enough he can have anything he could ever imagine in life. I really feel that way about all of you.
I was able to step out in front of the world through YouTube. And while talking to that camera I felt there might be some way that I could genuinely help people, and be richly rewarded. It wasn’t easy in the beginning; many of you know my struggles. Much of the time, I felt like I was in a dark room with no flashlight. It was a dark place but I always kept my inner light glowing. And the people in my life have been angels.
My character was so dominated by the warrior archetype that I was fighting the world on multiple fronts. I knew that I was good enough, and that if I just had faith and worked hard that things would work out someday. I literally became a strong man by becoming a strongman. I didn’t care how fat or bloated I needed to get, I just wanted to be strong. Do you ever feel like you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want, and you will become whoever you have to be – to get it? Strong. Man.
I’m grateful for all the decisions I’ve made, and I’ve made many poor ones. But like I say, successful people don’t always make the right decision, but they always make the decision right.
So, many things in my life are good, because I choose to make them good. I see my shortcomings as blessings, because it is through them that I find space to grow stronger.
Always be intimate with your shortcomings, or shadows. Your shadows reveal split off parts of your conscious identity. Many of our shadows come from behaviors exhibited as children that were deemed inappropriate and aggressively shutdown. So it is not to say that our shadows are evil and should be avoided, it is to say that you might come back into relationship with that part of yourself that has been split off. There may be an opportunity to re-introduce that aspect of your character into your current being. So as some mythologists say, you must be prepared to eat your shadow.
On the journey of becoming the strongest version yourself you will be asked to eat your shadow before becoming a stronger you. Bioenergetics, yoga, meditation and Jungian depth psychotherapy are all fantastic ways to become intimate with your shadow once it emerges. The most devastating thing is to be confronted with your shadow and not know how to confront it. The worst decision is to turn away from it, because with your back turned it will manipulate your character.
While coming down off of “Mt. Yo Elliott!”, I discovered that the root of many of my fears is in not appearing worthy through intelligence. I carried onto the top of my old mountain, pain from a childhood where I felt unworthy. We all have this feeling of unworthiness in certain ways; mine comes from lack of what they would call academic skills. Yours could be because of your lack of athleticism or a birthmark on your nose, or crooked teeth because your parents couldn’t afford braces, or that you were poor, or you were really tall and all the other children that you played with seemed so little.
So we carry the stories of those early experiences with us into adulthood, and in a way we play out many of the very same dramas that we experienced as children. This happens most powerfully with the relationships in our home, and family. But while in school, we are also developing an identity to interface with the world through. So experiences while in this place might not be as damaging as the experiences in the home, but it injects a significant amount of power into our reality.
Climbing down off the mountain I saw that when stones are hurled in the direction of my intelligence, fear was stimulated. I am so glad that I came into contact with this fear and its shadow because otherwise how would I confront it?
I share this with you because if right now you find yourself at a place in life which either feels like a struggle to advance, or a struggle to retreat, understand that this is the basic rhythm of life. Inhale, exhale. Daytime, nighttime. Charge and discharge. Tenderness and aggression. Reaping, sowing. Advancing and retreating.
It is important to know where you are in your life right now, because that is like pointing your finger at exactly where you are on a map of your hero’s journey. Are you struggling in life, or are you retreating from life? Do you have anxiety, or do you have depression? It is all very normal and natural to go up, and to come down. And it’s good to know which direction we’re going, so we don’t fight the flow.
Anyway, I’m writing this post in the Strength Camp Nation forum because I like to check in with you guys first before I go answering Facebook questions or do anything else, including writing blog posts. I want you guys to have the privilege of hearing from me first, so I posted here. But I think this is such an important message that I’m also going to post it on my blog. I’m sure the guys will understand.
I’ve been learning a lot of new things about myself, and at the same time I’m learning to use new tools that might help me help you become the strongest version of your self. I have also been setting up partnerships and building a business infrastructure to handle the weight of the next mountain. We are moving Strength Camp to a larger building. We are creating opportunities for people all over the world to train at Strength Camp without ever having to travel. I am also teaching people how to build a business and achieve financial freedom the same way I have through my Non-Jobs Campaign. And most of all, I am falling back in love with the art of coaching
I do all of these things so that I can better serve you with what I’ve learned on my most recent leg of the journey. If I happen to earn more money, it is only because I am helping more people.
Will I come back to YouTube? Well, with all of the awesome things that I am so excited to share with you, I would imagine that YouTube might play a part. I don’t want to say how or when just yet, but it is very likely.
Again, I don’t want to build up too much hype around the new mountain I’m climbing… but I do want to let you know that I appreciate all of you who don’t just watch me do my crazy dance, but who are climbing alongside with me.
Every one of you can rightfully say that you are becoming a stronger version of yourself; but remember, this is a journey that never ends.
I know because I’m trying to draw a map of it
Exploding with gratitude!,