Teddy Roosevelt: The Vigorous Life

We live in a time where it is too easy to focus on only strengthening the mind and leave the body in the dust.  When in reality, to reach our potential we have to make our bodies strong so that our minds can reach their peak.  The great leaders of the past understood this.

What about us?

What is stopping is from attaining our potential?  If there is anyone that you had to meet to understand how much physical training had an impact on them and why you too should train, then look no further than Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was a monumental reformer of American bureaucracy at the turn of the 2oth century in America.  He fought corruption in government, pushed for women’s suffrage, and reform.  How?  By living a vigorous life.  You see, Teddy was not always a virile, healthy, robust leader.  Teddy Roosevelt, in fact, was not expected to even reach his teenage years.

Teddy as a young boy of age 11

Teddy experienced regular headaches, toothaches, and abdominal pain.  On top of that, he was a severe asthmatic.  A boy, secluded, home-schooled, and near-sighted, but happened to love the outdoors, to explore.   Its depressing isn’t it?  Poor Teddy.   But one day this boy would have a life changing talk with his father.  His father would pull this sickly boy aside and tell him one of the most important piece of advice he would hear.

“Theodore you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. I am giving you the tools, but it is up to you to make your body.”

Teddy did not hesitate before responding:

“I will make my body!”

Here this, the first point of making change:  Make an affirmation to do the task.  Teddy took up boxing lessens; he lifted weights, and ran on end.

Not only that, he would read books, stories, adventures of overcoming adversity.  He closed his mind to anything negative.  He motivated himself through other people’s success in adversity, to make his own journey through adversity do-able.  And that’s all you need.  To realize that something is do-able.

The result?  Teddy overcame his asthma.  He grew beyond the frail existence that had been predicted as his future, to become anything but feeble.  He beat the odds and it continued throughout his life.    Never forget, that we do to our physicality travels over to the mental and spiritual.  We build habits when growing our physical goals; habits which ingrain values, and transform character.

Roosevelt grew on to become New York’s Police commissioner.  He would consistently go above and beyond his duty, even going on midnight patrols of the city to check up on his police officers to see if they were sleeping on the job.  His physical training gave him the ability to go the extra mile, to hustle at a level incapable of a person who shirks away from the vigorous path.

Roosevelt: Improving the physical magnifies the intellectual

It so easy to argue that “Oh! I don’t have the time.” Or this and that.  Let tell you, Teddy Roosevelt, as Commissioner of the New York police, would still exercise.  Even while rigorously planning major organizational changes of the New York Police, he’d still make time to stay active by paying a local boxing champ to spar with him in the evenings.

So what did this feeble boy who was thought to not even reach adulthood accomplish with living vigorously.  Oh nothing too grand.  Just a little laundry list that included:

  1. Work as a state legislator , police commissioner, and governor of New York
  2. Serve as assistant secretary of the Navy
  3. Own and work a ranch in the Dakotas
  4. Served 2 terms as president of the united states and run for an unprecedented 3rd term
  5. Write 35 books
  6. Explore the Amazonian rain forest, even having one of its rivers named after him as credit to him for its discovery

Not bad for severe asthmatic huh?

  1. And even, at the age of 59 volunteer to lead a group of volunteers in the frightening, maddening battlefields of world war 1

However, the most striking example of his vigor and his quest for fitness gave him can be no closely seen in something called the  Bull Moose Incident.

Third campaign for presidency in Milwaukee and Roosevelt was waving to the crown in the railway when someone shot him, knocking him back.  He put his fingers to his lips to check for blood, and noticed that there was none.  This mean that his lungs were not punctured.  He then continued to an auditorium of 10 000 people and gave his 90 minute speech, the bullet still lodged in his ribs.

The first thing he said to the audience was “I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose.”

It is Teddy Roosevelt’s face that sits next to Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson on the Mount Rushmore Monument.

Roosevelt rockin’ it out on Mount Rushmore

It is  Teddy Roosevelt who was able to move from a feeble little boy to a man who epitomized virility and masculinity.

It was HE who pushed to reach his potential by building his body to withstand the rigors of such a task.

Imagine if we all lived up to our potential.

I challenge you all and to share with your close friends and family, to strengthen your bodies to reach those dreams that you, for years, have hoped to accomplish.

Don’t let your body hold you back.  

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