Home Stoic How To Build A Strong Body, Mind, and Will

How To Build A Strong Body, Mind, and Will




Strength is just a measure of your ability to resist disorder.

As a result of the second law of thermodynamics, things will always try to fall into disarray. The law states that the entropy of a closed system increases over time. A “closed system” can’t have anything enter it. Also, it’s best to think of entropy as a measure of disorder.

This definition isn’t exact, but it’s suitable for the purpose of this essay.

This means that over time, everything gets messier and more disorganized. Even if you do nothing, everything still deteriorates and degrades. Without order, optimal function is impossible. The consequence of suboptimal functioning is mediocre living.

Strength is what allows you to build, rejuvenate, and organize your energies in the face of this never ending onslaught. Strength alone is what takes your life from subpar to outstanding.

Physical strength fights against nature.

Emotional strength resists hysterics.

Mental strength erodes irrationality.

Strength, in all forms, builds order

Order, in all things, reverses entropy

There’s only one way to build strength, and it’s not easy: to push back against entropy. Even if you don’t know exactly what that means, just know that most people can’t or won’t do it. 

They avoid getting themselves in order because doing so is difficult.

They avoid getting themselves in order because doing so requires strength.

(Read: “10 Secrets to Success”)

This is not easy. I know because I’ve spent years training:

-My body to box professionally

-My mind to learn chess

-My emotions to stay committed to sobriety

Even if I didn’t tell you this, you know that it’s not easy because if it were, then everyone would be strong. It’s easy to see that most people are not strong in any area of their life. In fact, they are so weak that they effectively do not exist.

Their thoughts and habits are a product of their environment, rather than their environment being a product their mindset and actions.

Most people don’t go to the gym, therefore the weak person follows the crowd and doesn’t physically train themselves.

Most people don’t think deeply on an issue, therefore the weak person follows the crowd mindlessly reacts to everything.

Most people do not stand for anything, so the weak person always finds company when he falls for anything.

(Read: “How To Get Motivated: A Top Performer’s Secrets To Success”)

If you want to be a sovereign, free-thinking, healthy person, you have no choice but to develop strength. If you’re content with fitting in, being told how to think, and you have no regard for your body, then close this article isn’t for you.

If you’re still reading, then you want to be strong. More specifically, you want to be strong in all areas of your life.

What good is being able to bench your bodyweight if you can’t think for yourself?

What good are powerful deductive reasoning skills if you’re an addict whose life is out of control?

I never wanted to only be an intelligent guy who couldn’t work hard or a fit guy who couldn’t think. 

You’re only as strong as your weakest link. In this post, I will teach you how to strengthen the entire chain.

Physical Strength

Most people are familiar with how to build strength in this domain.

Physical strength is built by working against the force of gravity or fiction. Our bodies are built by battling the one of these two forces of nature.

If you train with bodyweight or dumbbells, you build physical strength by moving something with mass against the force of gravity. If you run to build your heart and lungs, you’re working against both gravity and friction. 

In boxing, I was taught how to strike harder and faster by punching at a slight decline. I figured out how to quickly reposition myself by pushing against the friction of the canvas. Even combat sports use the principles of gravity and friction to improve performance.

We develop physical strength so that our bodies can resist our environment for as many years as possible. The goal isn’t to live forever. It’s to live with the highest quality of life possible until you take your last breath.

I’ve seen vibrant and active 70-year-olds. I’ve seen 50-year-olds on a cocktail of medication and couldn’t walk a flight of stairs without getting winded. When you have a strong body, you’re better able to enjoy this world and make an impact on it.

Get in motion. The forces of gravity and friction only work to your benefit when you work against them. 

(Read: “How To Think Like A Professional Fighter”)

Emotional Strength

Emotional strength is also referred to as “will-power” or “well-being”.

Emotions are not a bad thing. They add richness and meaning to your life. Without them, nostalgia would merely be memory. Without them, experiences would merely be events. 

Emotions become a problem when we pursue feelings rather than allowing them to happen as a natural response to events. Chasing happiness is the same level of emotional frailty as intentionally finding reasons to be upset.

Today’s culture is infected with the “outrage” virus. By every objective marker, life is better today than it was even 50 years ago.

We have greater convenience, better health care, and violent crime and the death rate is at worldwide historic low. We have it easier, healthier, and safer than all generations before us. Poor people today live better than royalty did 300 years ago.

Yet we are our most dissatisfied, depressed, and divided.

There were many things that contributed to my alcoholism, but the biggest issue was my lack of emotional strength. I was dissatisfied with my life, so I turned to alcohol to give it meaning. At first, I wasn’t strong enough to take that feeling of dissatisfaction and channel it towards something greater, but eventually I was able to.

I was able to exercise my will-power and it dramatically improved my well-being.

Emotional strength–more than physical or mental strength–saved my life. I suspect that it would save the lives of many other people as well.

(Read: “10 Observations From 2 Years of Not Drinking”)

Antidepressants are some of the most popular drugs in the United States. According to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, close to 13% of people 12 and older said they took an antidepressant in the last month. 

The mainstream media survives because they know you can’t help but feel outrage. Not only has it survived, but any network that focuses on divisive politics has flourished.

Social media empires have made their CEOs billionaires because you can’t resist the urge to check your phone multiple times a day.

Pharmaceutical companies bank on you not having the emotional strength to control what you consume or how you live your life.

Emotional strength is developed by practicing restraint.

The idea is not to control how you feel. That’s impossible. The idea is to control the outward manifestation of it so that you improve the quality of your decisions.

When you make decisions based on how you feel at the moment, you’re indulging in “instant gratification”. Instant gratification is nothing more than catharsis.

The cravings to eat junk food are driven by the same desire to angrily lash out if someone cuts you off on the road. You feel a swell of emotional and releasing it is a way to satisfaction.

The more you practice restraining the expression of your negative emotions, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your positive emotions. Emotional restraint is how emotional strength is built, and emotional strength is necessary to be free.

Your first response is rarely the correct one. You can’t help how you initially feel, but you can help how you respond to it. Consistent practice in restraint will strengthen your emotional resolve.

(Read: “How To Develop Self-Control”)

Mental Strength

Mental strength is simple to understand but difficult to implement. That’s because the development of mental strength centers around the idea of resistance.

Emotional strength demands that you restrain reactive expressions to protect yourself from the long-term consequences of short-term decisions. Mental strength demands that you resist external influences on your thinking so that your mind remains free.

Because our environment is soft and physical conflict is rare for most people, mental strength is more important today than it’s been at any other time in history. 

The battle is for control of your mind.

You can’t control how you feel and your body is subject to external forces beyond your influence. Your mind is the only thing that you actually have control over. This is why the ultimate of act manipulation is referred to as “brainwashing”.

Insufficient mental strength also manifests in one’s inability to do meaningful work.

Some jobs don’t require much thinking or discipline. You simply show up, go through the motions, and the work will be “done”. This kind of work barely requires a human to even do it.

If you want to create or produce, your results will be directly proportional to your ability to put your mind on the task at hand and resist distraction. The ability to immerse yourself in complex work will determine your level of success.

I enjoy writing because in order for me to do it effectively, I have to concentrate. This means that I can’t open other windows in my browser or check my phone notifications. I need to exercise mental strength so that I can produce content that helps people.

This was not easy at first, but the more I did it, the better I got at working without interrupting myself. The better I got at working without interrupting myself, the higher the quality of my work became. 

This ability is the hallmark of a mentally strong individual.

The longer you’re able to put your mind on something without distraction, the more likely it is you’ll succeed. As with all things, practice makes perfect.

(Read: “Hard Work Beats Talent”)

A Summary of Building Total Strength

  1. Physical strength is built by working against the elements
  2. Emotional strength is built by working against your reactions
  3. Mental strength is built by working against your distractions

If you follow these short tips, you will be a stronger individual who is better able to affect their environment and resist the crushing power of entropy. 

To get more ideas for developing a strong body, mind, and heart, sign up for Ed Latimore’s “Mind and Fist” newsletter at www.edlatimore.com/newsletter


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Chad Howse

Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.

Recent posts

Freedom > Safety

there's a lot we can cover societally right now about the argument of safety over freedom and vice-versa, but let's forget about society and...

Why No One Respects You (how to get more respect)

People crave respect, especially men.  We want to be feared, respected, to have people treat us a certain way so we can get what we...

How to NOT Die With Unrealized Dreams…

I love traditions. I love creating them, maintaining them, and the anticipation of the entire thing. Every year around this time I have a group of...

How to Stop Being Mr. Niceguy and Command Respect

When I was growing up with a Canadian dad and an Italian mom, I was always told to be good.  Along with that goodness I...

If There Is a Heaven…

One of the flaws in our thinking as humans is that we can’t see the effects of many of our actions. We’re stuck in...