The Power of Alone

Brooks Kubik is an intel­li­gent con­trib­u­tor to the Iron Game.  He offers a dai­ly email newslet­ter that cov­ers what’s going on with him as well as his thoughts on training.

He recent­ly sent out an email about the pow­er of one, and how many of the world’s top per­form­ers; ath­letes, busi­ness­men and women, and artists do some of their best train­ing alone.  Here’s my response:

A man is only a man if he lives by his own lights, curi­ous though they may be to others.

Work­ing phys­i­cal­ly alone, whether lift­ing, run­ning, or sail­ing, has deliv­ered many of my for­ma­tive and peak expe­ri­ences.  Alone there is no one else to blame in fail­ure and no one else who can claim the vic­to­ry; both are deeply deserved and hearti­ly felt.

For many, the haunt­ing ache of no audi­ence is too harsh; for those of us who live for that fleet­ing and wild cry found only in the silence of one, the pow­er of “alone” is the back­bone of our existence.

It reminds me of a quote from the fore­word to Lord Griz­zly, by Fred­er­ick Manfred:

I don’t mind [being alone] because I’m part bear, griz­zly bear.  Griz­zlies, male griz­zlies par­tic­u­lar­ly, like to be alone a lot–and the old­er they get the more they are alone.  But per­haps more impor­tant­ly, if you’re going to do any­thing cre­ative­ly, whether it’s in archi­tec­ture, or writ­ing nov­els, or sculp­ture, you can’t be spend­ing your time in the pres­ence of oth­er peo­ple if you want to real­ly explore your ideas.”

Effort, real phys­i­cal effort, is for many of our lone­ly tribe an explo­ration of ideas.  Can I?  Will I?  Must I?  How we choose to answer it dif­fers only in form, not rea­son, and we know, deep in each of our hearts, that the only answer to car­ry us for­ward is Yes.

With thanks for the reminder of the Pow­er of One,


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