Looking back to my very early days of interest in the physical arts, the old time strongmen were a massive inspiration to me. There were many interesting physical culturists in that time, but the one that I most identified with was Maxick.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Sick is a basic bio of him. Like many people who became successful at what they do, he was not born with a natural talent but rather developed his skill through temperament and hard work. Likewise, the process he used to achieve his particular skill was his own.
That's not what really got to me though, it was the way Maxick taught muscle control that won me over. The concept of being aware and in control of your own body was one that really stuck with me. Maintaining the mind-body connection is something that will stay with us throughout every endeavor we try to make in our lives. It goes well beyond athletics; the fact is that so many people these days are disembodied. They lose that connection with one of the only things that is a constant in their lives.
To be present and mindfully in control of your own body is really the main lesson I am trying to teach through hand balancing and other topics I cover. Connect with your own body in order to discover what you are really capable of. It will drastically improve the quality of your life for the remainder of your years.
Take a look at this article http://www.maxalding.co.uk/maxick/youcan/youcan.htm
If it is too long of a read, here are a couple useful quotes you can take away:
"Strength is in its essence a condition of consciousness and all exercises are mere means"
"The strength of a locomotive is found in the steam and not the wheels"
The takeaway? Be present! Have your intent and desire perpetually in the back of your mind so that every act or decision you make brings you closer. Do the work, but keep in mind why it is being done. Enjoy the process you took to get to where you are at, and look ahead to how much farther you need to go. Never stop learning.
It has probably been close to ten years since I came across that article. It's interesting how things come full circle; back then I never in my wildest dreams thought I could make a career out of doing what I love.
Even after all this time, I stay true to my roots. I have the same intent in my training as I always had. No expectations, never stop learning, everything is a work in progress.
I love what I do and I plan on continuing for a very long time. Wishing the same for all of my readers.