This is a series written for EliteFTS:

  1. Why Do You Lift — Meaning, Identity, Hope and Passion (part 1 – EliteFTS series)

Peter heard his name and the bar was loaded for his first snatch. Up to one or two years ago, the minutes before he hook-gripped the bar were full of a deafening silence and blind emptiness. Now he heard noises. He saw the crowd. As he stretched out his arms and grabbed the bar, turning it for the best grip, he kept thinking: “What am I doing here? Why am I here?” Those endless 60 seconds that, before, were pure timelessness had turned into a torturing clockwork progress towards something. And that something was…

He pulled, went under, and got the 152-kilogram snatch that would give him the victory. It would also be the last time he snatched on a competitive platform. That something was meaninglessness.

Like most people, Peter had other sources of meaning that allowed him to suffer some damage to his identity from this episode, but his “self” was not shattered to the ground. Also, the dislocation of Olympic Weightlifting from that privileged position in his edifice of meaning was gradual. For more than one year, Peter had been feeling less and less like he used to when preparing for a meet. He was feeling less and less motivated.

For the next three or four articles, we will talk about this: motivation. It is what brought Peter to the platform for two decades and the loss of which made him turn his back on it.

Meaning and Identity

Everyday you come across certain images and phrases on social media, outdoors and other channels of public communication. They are referred to as “motivational” content. Some of them are general and address universal questions such as success versus failure, happiness, self fulfillment and other issues that apply to everyone. However, how they are read by one specific individual is related to how he perceives himself in his social medium. Let’s take a lifter, since we are here. The fundamental questions to understand how those issues relate to him are:

  • Who are you?
  • What do the many things in your life mean to you (how do you construct meaning)?
  • Why do you lift?
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