If today would be my last day I would gladly accept it, because I live each day to provide myself and this world with the best version of myself ~ Vishant
How often do we want to start a new journey but something or someone keeps holding us back? Self-doubt, worrying what others might think and fear of failure just gets the better of us. In this article I write about a mentality I developed in order to transform myself physically and mentally, which at first seemed impossible. I was being pushed around and judged, felt lost, blamed others for things I couldn’t do, had very negative thoughts about my physical appearance which in my head was a constant barrier to not participate in anything sports-related. Until one day, it dawned upon me what I was doing to myself. I realized that I am the sculptor of my own future and goals and that dreaming only would not get me anywhere. I bring to you: Discovering the powers of my Mind: How I went from Scrawny to Superman.
Not moving: The fear of not being good enough
Prior to my 20th birthday, in 2007, I had never engaged nor participated in sport activities. My fear of failure was so overwhelming, it kept me from attempting anything. For example, my fear of failure was so deeply engrained, I never once thought sports could also be enjoyed or played for leisure. In my thought process, it was always about winning. And with the way I felt and looked, how could I ever win in sports? I felt skinny, weak and unmotivated. People in my vicinity weren’t sport-minded nor was a desire to try sports stirred during my upbringing. On the contrary, while growing up I saw my parents make long hours trying to make ends meet. Hence, my focus was entirely on studying and striving toward success in work. One time, I mustered up the courage to try out swimming. I thought it was a basic life skill anyone should be moderately good at. Well, good enough to save oneself or someone else. But my parents, not being swimmers their selves, thought of it as dangerous, so I wasn’t allowed to enroll in swimming classes nor go swimming on any occasion. Till this day, I haven’t mastered swimming. Yet. It definitely is on my to-do list.
Apart from my upbringing, own fears and a lack of support from people in my vicinity, I was also subjected to people uttering things like “maybe its better if he goes and puts on nail-polish”. Just because I was scared of failing, and ended up rejecting the offer of playing some football with friends. It did not bother me, but somewhere along the line, someone’s behavior was making me lose more interest in sports. Or was it scripted that I was not good enough?
When someone believes in you
When I graduated from Natin-MBO, I started working as a full time web developer and simultaneously started with my Bachelor study at PTC, which was at night. During that time I liked watching football. Let’s say that I liked football so much that I brought my own TV to work during the World Cup. Back then, a colleague of mine was playing indoor football with a group of friends. He invited me to join him on Sundays. I told him that I knew nothing, wasn’t skilled and was unsure if I would be able to play or contribute. He told me that he would support me and told me that with time and practice, I’ll improve. The first Sunday I intended to participate, my feet began to hurt just like that. Later I discovered that nothing was physically wrong; I was just so nervous that it was all in my mind. The next Sunday I went to give it a try. It felt good and everyone was supportive. My colleague gave me a ball and told me to take it everywhere so I could practice anywhere if I had the opportunity. Soon after that I practiced during my break at work, after work and after school. I started playing indoor football more frequently along with others and played up to three or four times a week. Shortly after that, I fell in love with street football and indoor football. After school I used to practice with some friends in the neighborhood, who were excellent in street and freestyle football. They supported me and we usually played till 11pm. Everyone around me knew how much I loved football and through one of my friends I got a part in a video commercial doing a freestyle trick. I felt happy, because regardless of my physique I was able to play football, enjoyed it went on to master quite a few skills. But with the pressure load of studies, I could not participate in team sports anymore, and the timings were quite unfortunate. It was not easy to close this chapter of my life. Rather seeing it as an end, I saw it as a new beginning.
Discovering more of myself through someone else
I used to have a habit of browsing through the web for 15 minutes before leaving work. One day I came across a picture of Anthony Nekrui posing, back then a Thai boxer, now a bodybuilder. I was intrigued by his physique, mostly his abs (my primary goal in the beginning), and that sparked such a bright light, that everything that was related to fitness or a decent physique caught my attention. I had a dream, but the spark in me was not strong enough to start something. Until I saw an interesting part of a movie, which my former colleague was watching. He was a graphic designer, who while working, watched small inspiring parts of movies simultaneously. The part that caught my attention was from the movie “Never Back Down”, in which I saw two actors who, in my perception, had perfect physiques with perfectly toned abs. It was right at that moment that I decided that I wanted to change my physique. My plan was simple. I borrowed some dumbbells here and there, and trained at home, because all gyms were closed around the time my school lectures ended. I started training with the tools I had and in due course I met a friend at school who had some equipment at home, and borrowed me his full set of dumbbells. I warmed up by running in and through the house. During that same time period I started to research a lot on fitness and bodybuilding. I had no access to Internet at home so I printed some articles and workout regimes at work and studied them when I got home. After a couple of months training at home, I had some light toned muscles and abs. My primary goal was achieved, but I wasn’t content yet. I felt that I had more in me, the hunger and fire were there. I wanted to test myself and exceed my limits. In order to do that, I needed to get more out of myself, but I also required more equipment. Luckily, I had some spare time from school, so I could invest more time in my newfound interest. But to bring this into effect, Vishant Poeran had to become a member of a commercial gym.
Stepping up: the moment I stopped caring what others thought of me
It wasn’t easy for me to just wake up one day and join a commercial gym. I often thought about what people might think of me and if I would be judged. I was skinny and a little unsure. It did not take me long to get these negative thoughts out of my head. I said to myself that I needed to start somewhere and that my goal was to discover what I can and can’t. I discussed it with my friends and they thought it an awesome idea. One of my best friends even told me that he wanted to start together with me. Although his determination usually worked like to a light switch, his support meant a lot to me. .
Switching lanes: a stranger saw a spark in me
In late 2012, I noticed a new guy join our gym; he was short and looked pretty strong. Not long after he joined, I heard he underwent a heart surgery and was in the hospital. We weren’t acquainted, but I went to visit him anyway with another friend. Unfortunately only his family members were allowed to visit him, because his condition was pretty unstable. I stayed in touch with his family. After a couple of months, he recovered and was back at the gym. He appreciated our gesture and that’s how we became friends. Its then I came to know he was a former powerlifting champ. I was fond of deadlifting, squatting and bench pressing since the beginning. It’s my strong belief that those exercises should be the basic exercises implemented in any strength building training routine. So one day, this friend of mine asked me if I was interested in competing in an unofficial meet. I was scared to death, did not know what I was up to, so I told him that I was not ready. He said to me that I did not have to be and that I should compete for experience’s sake. Along the way, another friend of mine joined me to prepare for the competition as well. He set me up with a training routine. I wanted to compete for the experience, but deep inside I wanted more. Not just experience, but to win something or break a record. During the preparation period I also contacted some of the other athletes who had competed in the past, and they supported me along the way. My first competition was on the 1st of September in 2013. I competed in the category – 70kg, with a bodyweight of 59kg. Compared to all the other athletes, I was feather weight. Against these odds, I still ended up finishing 3rd in my class and broke an (unofficial) record in deadlifting. I deadlifted 180kg, which was more than three times my bodyweight in this competition. I felt proud, the outcome felt great, because I had never won anything in my life. Moreover, I got a lot of support from people I did not know. It was overwhelming. And it was in this moment and on this day that I fell in love with powerlifting. Hook, line and sinker. Since that day I was known as Superman or Man of Steel, because of the shirt I had worn during the competition.
Competing against the best
If you love doing something you’ll invest every breath into it. Winning third place was nice, felt nice, but wouldn’t a first place feel nicer? And boy, it did.
After the competition, the drive and ambition to win first place, was oozing. I started researching more and socializing more with people who had a passion for the sport. I also made new friends from all around the world; from the USA to Netherlands, Estonia, Puerto Rico and Japan. I read some online magazines and even emailed with one of the coaches mentioned in a magazine. And guess what. He emailed back, even answered some of my burning questions and has supported me till now. I started to bring more structure and efficiency in to my training regime. You can never start perfect, but you can improve with time. My next meet was in June 2014, which was also an unofficial meet. In that meet I took first place in my class. In August of the same year I participated in my first official meet in which I also took first in my class and the Best Lifters title. In 2015 I competed against the athletes in Suriname and defended both titles successfully. The other athletes were stronger and tougher, but I rarely focused on my competition. I focused on being at my best and I believed that with time everything would fall in to place. I loved competing because everyone who was at the competition, from other athletes to people in the crowd, supported me even though most did not know me. Competition brought me records and trophies but better than that, I made friends. Every athlete I competed with is a friend of mine. Sports should be like that right? Instead of eating our hearts out when someone performs better.
Leading by example
Winning places you in a lime light. People look up to you and how you deal with it, is your prerogative. I too was given this choice and I embraced it wholeheartedly. When I competed, I didn’t just want to win, I wanted to prove to others what they could also be capable of. I wanted to lead by example, be a motivation to others. And this was my chance to do so. I started by sharing my experiences with people in my environment and inner circle (at work, with friends and at the gym). I believe in helping people discover themselves. Just give them that little push they need, so they can continue on their own. I am honored to say that I have had the opportunity to help some friends and others achieve their goals; some by winning a competition, losing weight or getting mentally stronger. I also like to bring forward messages about life to the world through my sport.
What the future holds
Since last year I had some injuries that kept me off for a long period of time. Prioritizing my health, I withdrew from the last competition. I’m currently still battling a minor injury, which has been bothering me for a couple of years now. My focus is on being fully fit again, so I can start to build momentum. It will take some time to be in a top and competitive shape again, but that too is inherent to any sport and life itself. My goal for the future is to compete and win, but my primary goal is to reach out to those who need it and provide them of hope. Hence the symbolic use of Superman: which is to give Hope. I’ll continue to bring forward my messages to the world, may it be on social media or through public speaking.
I went from a scrawny looking and weak kid, weighing 52kg, to a well-toned and strong power lifter, weighing 65kg. At the start of my journey not all of my goals were clear and I did not have a perfect plan. But with time, dedication and work input, everything just fell in to place. As with every other journey, mine too had setbacks. Ultimately, I came to experience and realize that the fruit of success, was bigger than the fear of failure or not trying. I was weak when I started out, but with smart training and consistency I developed massive strength during the years. It did not come overnight nor will it for anyone. I am satisfied with what I have achieved with this mindset till now. If I want to achieve more and evolve, I’ll need to work harder, smarter and more efficient. Along the way I got a lot of support. There were some who believed in me, even when I had not achieved anything yet. The path may change in the future, but the journey continues: developing myself in different ways, being better than I was yesterday.
The floor is yours
As mentioned in an earlier article, we’re all the same, yet we all have different talents and each one of us is special. To know who we are and what we’re capable of has a lot to do how much time we invest to discover ourselves. Put everything aside that is holding you back from doing what you want. If you have goals in mind you wish to achieve, following these steps might be a good start:
- Write down and describe your goal
- Make an honest indication of time you’ll need to achieve this goal
- What resources you require to achieve this goal
- Discuss your goal with people who are close to you and ask them for support
- The goal you have might have in mind, has already been achieved by others. Contact them and ask for tips and support.
- Execute the plan
- Inspire others
Again I ask this question: How often do we want to start a new journey but something or someone keeps holding us back?
Most of the time, the person who is holding us back is the person we see in the mirror. Don’t let your mirror-image hold you back from what’s there for the taking. Just by changing our clothes or appearance, our mirror image can be altered and with that, the perception others have about us. But for that to happen, we need our mind to give those orders. Just with anything else, change starts in the mind. If we can so effortlessly order our mind to enhance our appearance with mere clothing, make-up, jewelry, hairstyles, tattoo’s etc., what stops us from giving our mind orders to enhance or better our inner self or change a certain mindset? We don’t succeed merely by sitting around idly. Only failure can drive us there, because failure indicates attempt. And attempt is a step forward. One step can turn into many. Don’t be that person who waits endlessly for an opportunity, doesn’t try and is left with regret. Regret haunts us for the rest of our lives and consumes us from the inside. This may lead to illness, stress and depression. Life is happening now and time is only slipping away. Your opportunity is now. Take it.
If you ever think that my words can encourage you, feel free to drop me a message.
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- Sasha for screening and rewriting my story. With your help I can bring my messages to the world in the best possible way. Appreciate it more than you know.
- Everyone who has been there and still is during all the years. Together we can be better.
Don’t let anything hold you back,