I’ve never run a cover story as a Q&A before—I always viewed it as kind of a cop out—but I’ve just made my first exception with this February story on Terry Crews.
I’ve interviewed Terry three times, and the effect he has on me each time is the same: By the end of the conversation, I’m fired up and want to simultaneously run 10 miles, hit the gym to set a new max on every lift, and generally kick the living shit out of life. Bottom line: He’s as inspirational a public figure as I’ve ever met. He’s passionate and encouraging, and genuinely wants to help everyone he meets. His lust for life, as I say in the intro to the story, can literally give you a contact high.
The framing device for the piece was this: The moment you post a photo of any fit, muscular person on social media, haters are the first ones to jump in with comments like:
Big deal. He’s a genetic freak.
So what? He’s paid to look like that and has a personal chef.
And the old standby…
Terry had terrific rebuttals to all of those comments, and a lot of tough love for the type of people who spew them. It was fascinating for me to watch him systematically dismantle the mind of the modern-day hater, and I think it will be for a lot of readers.
The issue is out now and when the full transcript hits the web, I’ll post that here as well. For now, here’s an excerpt from the end of the interview, my question first in italics, his answer in bold:
So much of your success in the gym and in life stems from your positive attitude. Most people know they’re supposed to have a positive attitude and can do it for a little while. Living that attitude on a moment-to-moment basis is a whole different animal. How are you able to do that every day?
I heard this great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that sums up a lot of life for me: “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.” That sticks with me and haunts me daily. Am I scared to fail? Or scared to succeed? Am I willing to do everything it takes to make it? Or will I hide safely behind my excuses forever?
I discovered you don’t even get to be born unless your mother has the courage to endure childbirth. Everything fantastic, amazing, or extraordinary takes courage. But here’s another thing I discovered: You can’t be a pessimist and courageous at the same time. In order to move forward, you have to believe that you are going to win. What you believe engages you with power that trumps everything in your life.
That works good and bad. If you believe you won’t make it, there is no way you can. If you believe you will, you are unstoppable. I believe some people don’t sustain their fitness goals because of a subconscious desire to fail. “What if I look too good? Will I stray from my family? What if I gain 20 pounds of muscle? Can I face the pressure of hearing I’ve changed? That I’m not the same old person I used to be?”
These are hard questions to ask yourself, and if you never ask them, then “you didn’t want it” automatically becomes your answer. I’m optimistic because at this level there is no other way to be. Any other mindset will take you down and out. One of the most successful men who ever walked on the face of the Earth, Andrew Carnegie, said this: “A wise man is the confirmed optimist.”