Putting a value on status will create contentiousness. If you overvalue possessions, people begin to steal.
What's most important to you? The pressing of weight? The Rite of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell? 200 Snatches in 10 minutes? My current goal is to press half my body weight. That's a priority. What is not a priority is to be able to say, "I can press half my bodyweight with one arm!" The priority for me is the cultivation of strength. It takes a strong mind and a strong body to achieve that. It does not have to be about getting more for the sake of more.
And what about your current level of strength? Where is it at now? Are you stronger now than you ever were? What has transpired to get you to where you are now? Be grateful of the past for it has helped shape who you are today. Even the negative stuff. How you respond it far more important then what happened.
What you have or what you can do is not, nor does it define, who you are. If you define yourself by your possessions or your accomplishments, what will you do when you loose them? Some of the strongest people I know, most likely cannot press half their bodyweight or crank out 200 Snatches in 10 minutes. My father, for example, is a man of great strength. He worked long hours to support his family. My mother battled cancer with the heart of a warrior. One of her many lessons taught to me through her passing was strength is something that you are and it comes from a well too deep to comprehend in this world. Gandhi? Very strong. Mother Teresa? Another powerhouse of love and light. My Nana? Mightier then them all. Strength is a part of who you are long before it manifests itself in the physical body.
By not displaying what is desirable, you will cause the peoples hearts to remain undisturbed.
Once again; clearly, Lao-Tzu was an RKC. Carry your strength with modesty. Teach by example. There is no need to impress. Instead, be impressive. Allow your strength to flow through you and exemplify itself in your thoughts and feeling before it becomes part behavior and actions.
Pavel Tsatsouline has said, "When we say strength, we mean Kettlebell. When we say Kettlebell, we mean strength. In the same way, Wayne Dyer has said, "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way." So stop me if you've heard this one before, but... "There is no way to strength, strength is the way."
The sage governs by emptying minds and hearts, by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
It seems that Lao-Tzu is teaching us about leadership. Not necessarily leadership in terms of political figures, but in terms of personal leadership and how we as people teach others just by our interactions with them. One individual can effect many. By living free of the demands of the ego and adopting an attitude of service and gratitude, we can change hearts and minds. A scientific look at this can be found in Power Verses Force by David Hawkins. Hawkins looks at the effect of individual's energy patterns and how the more positive they are, the more they counterbalance the negative energy the exists.
When you incorporate this into the practice of strength, what happens? You become strength. Since strength is the way, you bring an attitude of service and gratitude to your practice of strength. Consequently, you wind up bringing strength itself instead of the expectation of strength. Instead your ego pushing you to do more for the sake of more, you allow more to happen naturally and insinc with the natural rhythm of life. Strength is cultivated and grows. Like the great oak, you can not make it grow faster. The same is true of strength. Know that it is already there and allow it to rise to the surface.
Practice not doing... When action is pure and selfless, everything settles into its own perfect place.
This in itself will take practice and strength. For now, Pura Vida!