In one of my favorite workout songs of all time, “Freedom” by Rage Against the Machine, Zack de la Rocha quietly whispers in one of the breaks, “Anger is a gift”. I’ve always interpreted this to have relevance to my workouts. I suppose I never really thought about why, but I hear it in the song time and time again, and it pushes me to go a bit harder.
Most of our lives, we are taught that it is bad to be angry; it is unproductive and destructive. While this is true of misdirected or misunderstood anger, it is not alway the case of ALL anger.
Consider the following words by author, Maya Angelou, “Bitterness is like cancer. It easts upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns all clean“.
There is a difference between anger and bitterness. Bitterness and regret are useless. They both revolve around circumstances which cannot be changed, hence, holding you back from productive behaviors in the future. Angelou’s simile points to the fact that anger, unlike bitterness, can be productive. Anger, properly directed, can bring about change. The opposite behavior of anger would be to internalize, which is neither healthy nor productive.
So, take a look at the photograph above. Ever get tired during a workout? Ever feel like your legs are going to give out on you? Ever hear that voice in your head telling you to stop? How about getting angry?
Get angry and take it out on the barbell.