What it's like to climb and be delusional

Posted by Ryan Bowen on



I'm going to speak really genuinely in this article, as I feel that sharing this experience allows not only me to really reinforce my processes but allows readers to gleam more real insights into what it is to pursue elite armwrestling and making a genuine financially stable career of it.

In 2013 I made the decision to pursue the elite level of armwrestling and to make it a paying career. I jumped immediately into that deep end, and when asked, I shared that goal without batting an eye lid. My words were often met with laughter.

Laughter really has been a constant. From day one, there has been at every single level of my journey, a significant portion of people who think I am delusional. Delusional to think I could compete physically, and delusional to think I could earn a living from it all.

For me though, there has never been delusion. I have an immense clarity and firmness to my thoughts and goals, and to this day, I have, with time, achieved every goal that I  ever outlayed. There is of course a lag to the achievements, but my mind has always been in a place where I love the pursuit so much, genuinely, love it, that the achievement of the goals to me feels inevitable. It's just a matter of time combined with unwavering commitment.

If you weren't aware, I started in this sport really weak. Coming off a serious back injury from a parachute accident, I was atrophied and fragile, but I loved armwrestling. On that first day I made the decision to pursue elite armwrestling I began training, and I haven't missed a programmed day since. Not one.

At the same time as physically starting the journey, I opened a YouTube channel, and documented all of my goals and invited people along for the journey. No one was watching for the first 4.5 years mind you, but the videos are all there, and they show the mindset I was in when I began. The same mindset I'm in now.

Both physically and in a business sense I was all in. It took 4.5 years for my business to earn its first $100, and now in the 10 days to December so far my business has grossed just short of $3500 USD. Physically it also took 4.5 years to be worthy enough of asking for an international level match (Justin Bishop 2017) and yet I now go into a supermatch tomorrow looking for my 10th consecutive win.

I don't mean to be prideful or boastful in any way, but I wanted to clearly demonstrate that the goals I had in 2013 of national champion, and a financial career based in Armwrestling have been well and truly more than achieved; and yet, the laughter and claims of delusion still very much exist among a significant portion of people who observe my activities.

Why does the laughter still exist? Simply, because the goals have now changed, and changed to a degree where the people observing me, again see my goals as wildly impossible. But are they? I don't think so, there is no way I'm stopping, and honestly, my momentum in both the physical and business sense to me feels like it is accelerating if anything.

So what are my current goals? I always have an immediate sense of a goal, and a grand scheme goal. For my physical armwrestling my immediate goal is to achieve world champion middleweight status, and my grand scheme goal is to achieve a level in the sport where I am in the debate for could "peak Ryan" have given anything to "peak John". In a business sense my immediate goals are to make Pound for Pound the Nike of armwrestling, supplying the best quality merchandise and training equipment to the world. And my grand scheme goal for the business is to get it to a stage where I am able to empower thousands of armwrestlers to be able to call armwrestling their career, through athlete sponsorships and significant prizemoney contributions.

So what is it like to climb? It's been a learning experience for myself. The laughter is sometimes easy and sometimes hard to hear, but I've always thought of it this way. There is a finite number of times I'll hear that laughter in each chapter, so the more I embrace the moments that generate that laughter the faster I move forward to the next level. Whether it's physical losses on the table or failed business ventures, rack them up and keep moving forward.

Seek out the losses until you can't find them anymore, because the growth really is fastest in the deep end.

 

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