Dude how much can you bench? A popular refrain I recall hearing…in high school, and maybe a few years beyond. Then the decades passed—yes almost decades plural. Part of the idealism of youth being replaced with the practicality of experience.

Reminds me when my dad told me that old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance. Ha!

How much can you deadlift or how much can you squat might be more appropriate. But then again, what is the human ideal of strength and beauty? The benching physique rolls the shoulders forward and gives big breasts. Big armed dudes walking around more go than show because the mirror dictates the training methodology—front of body, primarily upper body.

Alan Calvert writes that he didn’t enjoy training boys because they are not mature of mind. I can safely say that maybe now in my later 30s and after having kids and deepening a meditation practice am I finally approaching some maturity of mind.

Where am I going with this? It’s that there is more than a physical nature to strength. There is a mental nature (willpower, controlling muscles, dealing with fatigue) and spiritual (molding your body from an image held in your mind, becoming the creator of your physical body).

So while your max single arm military press might only be around 62 pounds, you have all the capability and more you need in your daily life. You are poised and self-controlled.

This kind of idea is hard to articulate and sell in our world of instant gratification people who think they can get something for nothing. You can’t give away strength and you can’t give away peace of mind. These things must be earned. And in that, there is beauty—and strength.