Attention, recognition and fans have no place where freedom is concerned. The loudest, biggest and most famous people are rarely the happiest and are certainly not the freest. When we set our sights on fame, we close the door on freedom and reduce our lives to the amusements of others. Like all tempting things, fame can be fine in moderation; a bit of attention can inspire us to work harder to please whoever’s watching. But, for the most part, it’s a shallow prize that threatens to control and dictate our lives.
Fame is a tempting mistress. The luxurious trappings of success and recognition are plastered in front of our faces as what we should be aiming for and it’s a difficult ride to get off. Money and fame are too often dressed up as necessities for happiness; we are fed the myth that only if we strive to collect them and build up enough to cut ourselves off from the world will we be free.
Time and time again you might tell yourself, “I’m doing this for me, it’s not for the fame or the glory or the attention.” But do you really believe it? The idea of a shortcut to success and recognition has a universal appeal; we’d all like to wake up one morning and have even the smallest of our achievements lauded. But validation is like a drug, we can quickly become addicted to it, wanting more recognition for successes that don’t truly make us happy. This is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The latter is when we do what we do for the love of it, for our own benefit and not for any wider recognition. The former? When we train for accolades, success and recognition, for the feeling of receiving a compliment rather than for the process itself, for fame. If we do what we do for fame and recognition alone, we limit ourselves and restrict both our happiness and our lives. Fame is a barrier and a constraint to our freedom. Like all drugs, it offers so much and delivers so little; a momentary high and an eternal low. Recognition is what we think we want, but it certainly isn’t what we need.
You don’t aim to be the strongest, the fittest or the fastest in the world, but to be the strongest, fittest and fastest version of yourself. Unlike your friends who might train in large groups where platitudes overwhelm planks, you train for yourself. You don’t do Freeletics for the followers or the approving nods from your friends, you do it to become the greatest version of yourself in your eyes only. You do it because it sets you free.
Training doesn’t just make you physically stronger, it makes you more mentally resilient too. The challenges you face in your workouts on a daily basis make the setbacks you face in your life feel like mere bumps in the road. Whilst your peers crumble in the face of adversity or failure, you only get stronger because you know that failures are only what you make of them. And any time you catch yourself scanning for that round of applause or standing ovation, you quickly snap back to reality. Freeletics gives you discipline. It teaches you that success comes through hard work and that dreams based on shallow notions of recognition aren’t dreams that lead to self-improvement.
As Free Athletes, we do what we do neither for fame, recognition or fans. The only audience we need to impress is ourselves; once you start performing for the crowd, you bow to their expectations and toss your freedom out of the window. Having the courage to turn your back on the reliance on recognition from others is a painful but necessary step to setting yourself free from the constraints of so-called goals that will achieve nothing. Fame has no place in the lives of the free. It’s time to leave your idols behind, and become your own...if you dare.