Strength is a commonly used word amongst boys at this school, whether it be on the pitches at Bradstone Brook or in the hallways at lunch. It is thrown around with not much thought being put into what it actually means. Strength is to be strong, to be able to squat a lot of weight or to be able to push something heavy far. It is to be better at something than others or to be able to do something without help. However, this common view on what this word means doesn’t truly encompass what strength is. Yes, to a degree strength could be defined as being able to do something to a high standard, but this lacks the personal element of what strength really is. For 2017’s world strongest man Eddie Hall deadlifting 200kg off the floor is a breeze, not being a feat of particular strength for him. Yet he may struggle to have the strength to focus for hours on a chess match like the current chess world champion Magnus Carlson.
Ultimately strength is personal, it is incomparable between two people. It is simply the ability to overcome resistance or overcoming something that is hard. For us to have the view that we lack strength because someone else can do something with ease and we cannot, is one that is wrong and one that is damaging. For us, as young men, one of the biggest difficulties we will all face day to day are the many different mental health challenges that can impact us. Some of these challenges are inevitable, things that are out of our control. These challenges can often provoke the most resistance you may ever experience. Therefore overcoming these is a true feat of strength. One of the most difficult things to do is to let someone know when something’s not right. This takes a lot of strength to do, yet it is something that is imperative when facing these challenges. Opening up and talking makes facing these challenges easier, thus making it overall less daunting. Taking that first step of letting someone you trust know when things aren’t right may not solve the problem instantly, but it will make it far, far easier to overcome.
If there is one takeaway from this reflection on what strength really is, it is to understand that strength cannot be compared between people. Do not judge yourself if you are struggling, and do not judge others if they are too. For you what they may be going through may not sound hard, but like I said strength is completely personal.
Upper Sixth Form