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,