posted on: April 21, 2020
author: Anthony Pellegrino
Many of us have role models, people we look up to for inspiration. Especially as competitors.
Having an idol that serves as an example of what is possible can be one of the most supremely powerful ingredients in your personal development.
In fact, you can go as far as saying that actualizing your full potential couldn’t be possible without a role model of some kind.
Whether it be someone specific or a more generalized idea, having a tangible example to strive towards is just what you need to take your progress to new heights.
For me, there’s one figure in particular that has been incredibly motivational and inspirational for my personal improvement.
His name: Friedrich Nietzsche.
You know, the “God is dead” guy with that incredibly powerful, walrus mustache.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t Nietzsche one of those “life is meaningless” type of thinkers? How can someone like that be that inspiring?
While his philosophy often dealt with nihilism and existential concerns, he explicitly worked on how to overcome such things.
He didn’t believe life was meaningless. Not at all. He thought it was our mission, as human beings, to give meaning to our lives by rising above ourselves.
There is one book in particular that you should read for maximum inspiration. That is his 1883 novel, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
In it, he introduces his concept of the Ubermensch, which can be translated into something like “overman,” “superman,” or “beyond-man.” While the translation from German to English isn’t perfect, you can best think of the idea as being that of a super-human.
In the book, which happens to be his only novel, the titular character Zarathustra wanders around trying to spread this model of the Ubermensch as something humanity should strive towards. He does so in stark contrast to another example he calls “the last man,” which can best be thought of as the human beings depicted in WALL-E.
Nietzsche created the concept of the Ubermensch as a means to overcome the thought that life is meaningless. To him, we would give meaning to our lives through our self-improvement and progress in bringing about a new generation of super-human. But it’s not that difficult to use the idea of the Ubermensch to inspire your athletic training to new heights.
We can call it something like Training-as-Ubermensch.
Training as if we’re working to become super-human in whatever endeavor we choose to train in.
If you remember, we wrote a similarly focused post a few weeks back, called “Contemplation of the Sage and Your Ideal Self.” In it, we recommended that you incorporate the Stoic technique of Contemplation of the Sage, essentially a form of “what would <insert a role model of your choice> do in this situation” to help actualize your ideal self.
Well, training-as-Ubermensch just takes this 10x further. Now, you can ask yourself: “how would a super-human tennis, soccer, football, baseball, basketball player train today?”
Books by Friedrich Nietzsche may, in fact, be rather dense pieces of 19th-century philosophy mostly focused on values and ethics, but don’t be fooled. There’s some seriously inspirational material in there that can be applied to any aspect of personal development, especially competitive performance.
Not to mention the fact that his personal confidence was surely something a competitive athlete can appreciate. It’s not every day that someone publishes an autobiographical book with chapter names like “Why I am So Wise,” “Why I Write Such Good Books,” and “Why I am a Destiny.”
Many critics have said that’s arrogance, but, at the same time, such unabashed confidence is pretty infectious, don’t you think?
That being said, to be truly great, you must be humble, but such confidence without any of the ego attached could be that magic bullet for your competitive self-belief. As Novak Djokovic said, “You have to keep reminding yourself that you’re there for a reason and that you are better than the other guy.”
In the end, it can never hurt to shoot for the moon.
You know what they say, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.
Maybe that’s what Nietzsche was trying to say all along.
Shoot for a super-human result, and, if you miss, you’ll still be one hell of a competitor.
Anthony Pellegrino is a freelance journalist, writer, and content marketing strategist. He is currently studying to get his B.A. in Philosophy at Fort Hays State University. He works as contributor to Pulse Magazine and as a freelance content creator for several marketing agencies and brands. His writing is focused on philosophy of mind, metaphysics, politics, everyday life, and content marketing.
Learn more about the author: http://tonyp.press