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What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

I love this saying "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." and I use it quite a bit. I even sing the song.

Have you ever thought about where it came from and why?

19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “Out of life’s school of war—what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

Later he refers to select individuals as “nature’s lucky strokes…among men,” and says of such a person, “He divines remedies for injuries; he knows how to turn serious accidents to his own advantage; that which does not kill him makes him stronger.”

Through the years, the phrase has become more of an affirmation for overcoming adversity. It has been quoted, paraphrased, and parodied by politicians, filmmakers, and musicians... among others.

There are many reasons to believe that it is true.

Let's look at it in the physiology and physical form.

  • Wolff's law states that bone in a healthy animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel and become stronger.

  • Davis's law describes how soft tissue remodels with imposed demands or stress.

Basically both of these laws describe that if the applied demands are greater than the existing demands the tissues will adapt and become stronger or thicker.

It is also true that if the stress exceeds the ability of the tissue to maintain a healthy tension, it will have the opposite effect.

Let's take it a step further.

Eckhart Tolle states that:

"You’ve got to suffer a bit in order to create a change.

If you want to make your body stronger you don’t do it by making your body more comfortable. There will not be an influx of energy into the body because it is not needed. When you make demands on your body there’s suddenly a gap where energy is needed, like you’re lifting a weight. It’s at first not very pleasant and your body needs more energy, and then an influx of energy comes.

When you’re jogging and you’re feeling like you can’t go on anymore, the body demands more energy and then energy comes from within and it even becomes enjoyable."

So, when you are working out and cruising along unchallenged, ask yourself if you are comfortable staying the same or do you need to step it up a bit? What changes do you want to create?

You do not need to kill yourself, just get out of your comfort zone.

This also applies to mental, spiritual, and other practices in life.

Is stress a bad thing?

No, it’s an essential part of life, adapting and growing.

When the stress becomes more than the body, mind, and spirit can handle it breaks you down and causes destruction, possibly resulting in injury.

Don't get me wrong, not all exercise has to be grueling, or exhaustive. We exercise for many reasons.

I just wanted to clarify this issue.

Go out, enjoy your activity, and live life to its fullest, but don't be stalled by the bumps in the road.

Ponder this quote:

We can dwell on negative things for hours.

Do you dwell on positive things for hours?

Like the beautiful sunset?

- Eckhart Tolle

discomfort can make you stronger
Make you stronger


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