What Makes You Good, Makes You Bad

This may be a bit of an odd post.  It's basically whatever is simply swirling around in my head at the moment.  I will try my best to make sense of it.  Not for me.  It makes sense for me, however abstract it might be.  But for you.

I've often felt that what makes us good, makes us bad, as well.  Let me explain...

A Saint Who Wasn't
When I was accepted into the Orthodox Church (or, as the Orthodox refer to it, the One Holy, Catholic, and Orthodox Church), baptized, and then chrismated, I took Saint Christopher as my patron Saint.  It made sense to me, since my parents had given me the name Christopher (after the very same saint, Christopher the Christ-Bearer).  (They also gave me two other middle names, one of them being Stuart, for those of you who actually give a damn.  Hence, the name C.S.)  But Christopher is not the saint I would have originally chosen.  No, that honor would have gone to Saint David, or the Prophet David, to be precise.  (Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, and forms of Protestantism that venerate saints, the Orthodox Church has always taken prophets of the Old Testament as saints).
The Holy Prophet and Saint David

You see, I always felt an affinity to David for one major reason: what made him good—nay, great—also made him bad.  In fact, it made him very bad.  The kind of bad that even gets one imprisoned in our world.

The Holy Prophet David had a love for the beautiful so strong that it made him write some of the greatest poetry the world has ever known.  He wrote ecstatic love poems to the Divine so beautiful that we still sing and chant them in the Church, as do all other churches.  But that same love for the beautiful (the Beautiful, we might say), caused him to look upon a woman while she bathed (an ecstatically beautiful woman), and not only did he commit adultery with her, but he had her husband killed so that he could have her all for himself.

Yep, what makes us really good makes us really bad,too.

I can relate to that.

On my best days, I'm capable of writing prose pretty damn good—even beautiful, I think, though I might be slightly biased.  And it's my love for the Beautiful that gives me that power.  (In theology speak, the Three Transcendentals—those very things that are God—are the good, the true, and the beautiful.)  But here's the thing: my love for True beauty also causes me to do that very thing that David did—maybe not to the same extreme, but it's still the same thing.  I may be married, but I still look upon a beautiful woman and want her, even if I don't take action upon it.  And when I was single, I often would take action upon it, much to my detriment, and to the other involved.

If you're a man, then I bet you can relate.

What makes you good, makes you bad.

I'm a bit OCD.  I think a lot of us are.  If I can channel my OCD into working out, martial arts, spirituality, writing, work (among other things), then that's fine.  But at times, I've simply channeled it into drugs, women, alcohol, and other vices.  And, trust me, I'm just as capable (maybe more so), into channeling it into the latter rather than the former.

What's All This Got to Do with Lifting?
I've found that almost everything in life has a correlation in lifting, and vice versa.  Lifting simply has many benefits to teach us about life that we won't know about unless we become serious lifters.

The very things that make you good at lifting will also make you bad at it if you're not careful.

Here's an easy example that a lot of you can probably relate to:  Let's say that you're a really good bench presser, a natural at it, then the chances are that you are going to pour a lot of energy into training it well.  But if you do too much of it, then you are going to suck at other lifts.  The overhead press, for instance, will suffer greatly.  Getting strong at overhead lifting will translate well to the bench press.  But the opposite is not true.  Not true at all.

A lot of the shoulder problems that lifters have these days, even serious rotator cuff damage in many cases, is caused from training the bench press while neglecting the overhead press.

What makes you good, makes you bad.  It can even cause serious damage.

And, trust me, this is not just true of younger lifters.  Even those with experience, such as myself, do it, even when I should know better.

Because I've always been naturally strong at lifts involving the back, hips, and legs, then I've trained these a lot—which is not the main problem.  If you haven't already figured it out, or read enough of my articles, then you should know that 3/4 of your training should focus on the back and legs.  But the problem was, because of my natural strength, I always trained heavy, even when I was still recovering from an injury of one type or another, or when I hadn't yet fully recovered from a seriously hard training session.

What made me good, made me bad.

So what's the answer?  After all, there are those out there that we can say of: "What made them good, made them really good."

The answer is to emulate those people as best we can—in life and in lifting—and for us to know ourselves.  Many of those that fail do so because they will simply not admit—once again, in both lifting and life—that they have a side that is bad.

So never forget: what makes you good, makes you bad.


  1. of course what makes us strong and our good qualities can get to our heads...and what comes easy is what we will gravitate to. hence large arm small leg syndrome. also a handsome guy mighr believe he is better or worth more and a human and maybe neglect something more dofficult to address, maybe pride , intellect etc.

  2. was thinking about this one agian. since u lift and are familiar with martial arts,was wondering if u ever came across the senerio of the talented martial artist who was so good at technique that he neglected conditioning. i have run into a few guys lately who have told me just practicing is sufficient to address strength. i knew they would move up a level with just a little strength training but cant convince them. i find really strong guys think strength will be enough if in an adversarial situation and skilled martial artist claiming skills is all u need. wondering your comments.....maybe I am off


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