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Going through life without a particular purpose is okay. You get by. You don’t go anywhere, but the days pass. There’s television with the Super Bowl, pro wrestling, reality shows, infomercials, dramas, sitcoms, news and video games. We have food and drink, real and man-made, fast and home delivered. There are drugs and alcohol. Our wandering attention is captured by the endless dilemmas presented by the news media, the hopes offered by advertisers and the general threat of daily living in a post-9/11 world. Purpose? Who needs, considers or has time for purpose?

Purpose, I might point out, is often interchangeable with goals and motivations and is cousin to reason and incentive.

We are choked with entertainment and distractions and goofiness. I’ll just slap on my earphones and listen to some sounds on my satellite radio while I check out my Palm Pilot. Yo. Monster is playing at the Coliseum of Theaters and I can purchase tickets with my credit card over my cell phone.

I notice several dynamics are at work obstructing purpose, the main driving force in a productive and aspiring individual, community and society.

~In today’s delirious world a person can be too distracted to have a purpose.

~He is rendered shallow by the senseless frivolity surrounding him and fails to consider the need for purpose.

~He recognizes the value of purpose, realizes the commitment, dedication and hard work it necessitates and chooses ample distractions to avoid its responsibilities.

~The importance of purpose is clear, it is hastily installed, yet, as hard as he tries, he can’t sustain its requirements. The lure and clutter of amusements are too demanding and overpowering.

Purpose never had a chance.

Life without a purpose is like a hand without a thumb; you can scratch, point, tap, count up to four, but you can’t get a grip on anything. You can grasp, but you can’t hold on. And you certainly can’t lift weights.

Folks without purpose fall asleep at the wheel, get off at the wrong station and put their pants on backwards. They get by, they make it through the day, they might even have family and friends and a good paying job, but beneath the first layer of skin there’s Styrofoam.

Styrofoam is a modern invention that efficiently replaces real substance; cheap, lightweight, a great filler, it insulates and withstands hot and cold -- perfect substitute for purpose where purpose does not exist or is lacking. Styrofoam is everywhere today. I suspect I, myself, have pockets of Styrofoam.

Occasionally I notice I’m zipping along, yet neither moving forward nor back. I look down and lo and behold, my pants are on backwards. I hate that. Not the Captain of the Bomb Squad, without a compass, adrift in thin air, altitude unknown, zipper to the rear and targetless. Mayday... Mayday...

No panic, been there. It’s just a warning, like the blink on the dashboard that indicates our seatbelts are a nuisance; a painfully welcome and familiar signal to arouse and remind us to watch where we’re going and what we’re doing and why -- huge and ripped or lean and mean -- if we want to get there.

When purpose wanes, when motivation recedes, when a goal is not in sight, I become restless, sluggish and stale. I, as you, am unlike my video-game, fast-food counterpart and the condition soon becomes evident and quickly unacceptable. Steps must be taken to overcome the stall in my forward movement, my flight, and I look toward my training to amend the minor disaster. I have observed that my personal life and my training are inextricably entwined and fixing one gives health to the other. And the closer I look, the more I’m convinced it’s my training that determines the desirable flow of my life -- events, moods, energy and spirits.

Training without purpose is like shopping at the supermarket without a shopping list, an appetite or any memory of what’s in the refrigerator or on the shelves at home. You wander the aisles and finally come home with a 25-pound bag of Doggie-Chow. So what, you don’t have a dog. It was on sale.

You know why you go to the gym and eat right. The list’s as long as your arm, yet you sometimes forget. Life’s like that. It rolls along with ups and downs, through hot and cold, and moves in mysterious cycles. We’re eager and joyful and hitting the mark day after day, and then the mark eludes us; we become irritable, withdrawn and careless. (Speak for yourself, Draper). We wonder why we bother. We punch at the air and kick inanimate objects and hiss. Swell. Now we’re soft and puffy and the weights feel like they’re bolted to the floor. No more veins, pumps gone... Good-bye, cruel world.

But wait: Don’t flush away months of training and sacrifice in one pull of the handle. We gotta feed the fire within continually. The flickering embers grow cold if we don’t review the reasons for our efforts, relive our successes and revive our goals and remember we’re special, sort of.

~Review takes place in the subconscious regularly -- preparation.

~Reliving our achievements is done occasionally when we feel generous and slightly numb -- encouragement.

~Revival of goals must be done with intention, humility and high hopes at appropriate intervals, as often as it takes for them to become certain and real -- reinforcement

~Remember, we know people who don’t have goals, never heard of them or made them and forgot them -- dead man walking.

In the next five weeks Laree and I have both the “Ironman” in Los Angeles and the “Arnold” in Columbus, two four-day bonanzas that drop us smack-dab in the center of the land of muscles we talk about here each week. This is the kind of motivation one needs to toss some logs on the fire burning within.

Stand back, here comes a procession of noteworthy muscle creations clad in leather straps, ripped denim, chrome chains and vivid tattoos. It’s the Ladies Eastside Weightlifting Club reviewing the booths at the ’04 Ironman Expo. Hi, girls. Nice ink. We’re at the Ironman as guests of John Balik to participate in his Ironman booth and celebrate the grand sport we love. Here comes another impressive cast of muscle characters, not as huge or ripped, but nonetheless awesome. It’s the Men’s Eastside Weightlifting Club. Howdy, dudes. I like the cutoff jeans, boots, whip and cowboy hat. Head ‘em up, move ’em out.

I’m teasing, almost. The excitement of the pro shows is uncontainable and Laree and I regard the three-day extravaganzas as goals packed with incentives: getting away, visiting old friends and making new friends, displaying our wares and sharing our philosophy face to face with thousands, observing the crowds of enthusiasts and seeing the march of giant contenders and brushing elbows with Celebes.

Dick Tyler will be at our side at the Ironman (Feb. 20, 21, 22) to sign his new book, West Coast Bodybuilding Scene, and Laree and I will be hovering about to offer our books, Brother Iron Sister Steel and Your Body Revival, and photos, and I’ll be demonstrating the Top Squat to the true, hardcore and dedicated metal-heads who wear magnets on their temples, shaved skulls and jawbones.

Not that anyone cares or could tell (you know how it is), but we gotta get in shape for these events: train hard, drop the fat, get huge, get ripped, be strong, get some color, look sharp, healthy, younger and taller -- the whole catastrophe. This can be tough in the middle of a rainy winter for a guy nearing 100 who is losing his hair and memory, but it’s the best thing that can happen to him -- the impossible challenge, purpose. Of course, Laree handles the airline and hotel tickets, restaurant group reservations and the shipment of stock for the exhibits, calls to John Balik at Ironman and Odis Meredith of Torque Athletic and the arrangement of display material, flyers and photos. I feed Mugsy.

The Arnold (March 5, 6, 7) offers the same excitement, but has grown larger than life over the years. We’ll be there with Odis and the gang at his Torque gym equipment setting; “booth” is not the appropriate word to define his grand arrangement of space to exhibit the powerfully engineered Torque apparatus on hand. The Draper Dungeon will allow me room to demo the Top Squat and other Bomber devices I love, and we can talk and take photos along with the 80,000 folks urgently slogging by like migrating turtles. We might see the same stars and champions we saw at the Ironman only weeks before. This is good, lest we didn’t believe our eyes the first time.

Yes, it’s true. They’re real. Not Macy’s Day inflatables tethered to slow-moving jeeps.

What will we do to prepare for the shows? We will do what we do all the time, only crank up the intensity and grin, as purpose is now spelled with a capital “P” -- Purpose.

Your goal, your level of motivation, concentration of incentives, clarity and depth of reasons – your decided Purpose -- determines your training efficiency and effectiveness and joy. Think “why” before you lift, and lift hard.

Time to rest the wings, Bombers. Last one to leave the hangar, douse the lights, would ya?

Tomorrow we fly like eagles... Dave Draper

Goals, Motivations, Incentives and Reasons

To lose bodyfat, gain muscle, develop shape, advance health, look sharp, boost energy, increase endurance, strengthen the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones, add resistance to the immune system, fight illness and injury, boost your formidability, bolster the cardio-vascular mechanics, improve your athletic ability, gain clarity of thought, discover the rhythms and workings of the body and grow to appreciate the miracle it is, add quality to the day and years to your life, kill time, enhance your confidence and self image, exercise and develop character – discipline, patience, perseverance and courage, solve problems, learn things, experience intensity, diminish anxiety as you direct daily stress to work for you (reduce stress big time), discover yourself and come to know yourself as never before and maybe fix “what’s broke” in your body, mind and soul, privately bask in knowing you have taken on the tough and cool challenge to apply the most direct and positive means of caring for yourself -- the road less traveled -- lifting weights, enjoy the uplifting flow of physical and mental exercise, gratefully feel the energy charge your body with resistance training and the pump and burn that ensues each completed rep and set, make friends and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow lifters at the gym, partake daily in the fulfillment that comes from the investment of a solid workout, sleep tight and wake up renewed, refreshed.

Good morning, good day and good life.

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