Do you ever feel like an inadequate weakling in the gym? That your weak bench press makes you inferior to your fellow lifters? Well, it’s time to cast aside those insecurities and embrace your strength in other lifts, particularly the deadlift. And what better way to do so than through the world of literature? Henry James’s novella, “The Jolly Corner,” may seem unrelated to lifting, but it holds a significant message for us lifters.

“The Jolly Corner” is a haunting tale of a wealthy man named Spencer Brydon who returns to his childhood home after living abroad for decades. He becomes obsessed with the idea that he has missed out on an alternate life and that he is now facing his own jolly corner, the moment when he should have made a different choice. The novella delves into themes of nostalgia, regret, and the horror of confronting one’s own limitations.

Similarly, lifting can often be fraught with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. We lifters can become obsessed with our weaknesses and the idea that we are missing out on some untapped potential. But just like Spencer Brydon, we must accept our limitations and embrace our strengths. For me, that strength is the deadlift, a lift that requires a full-body effort and is arguably the true test of strength.

“The Jolly Corner” is important not just for its literary significance, but also for its universal themes. It teaches us that dwelling on our weaknesses and past mistakes can be detrimental to our growth as individuals. Instead, we must turn our attention to our strengths and focus on improving them.

So, why should you read “The Jolly Corner” as a lifter? Because it reminds us that we are not defined by one lift or one moment of weakness. We are a culmination of our efforts over time and the sum of our strengths. It is only by accepting and embracing ourselves that we can continue to improve.

In conclusion, I invite my fellow lifters to share their own stories of overcoming insecurities and embracing their strengths in the gym. Let us lift each other up and celebrate the diversity of skills and strengths that make our community so special.

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