In his early years, Pine Bluff native C.T. Fletcher didn’t get a fair shake in life. But he didn’t whine, cry or complain. He paved his own path to success through hard work and dedication.
These days, he’s an unlikely social media superstar inspiring millions of people to reach their goals.
Fletcher was raised in an abusive household and entered the workforce as a 12-year-old gas station attendant. Growing up in the ’60s, you wouldn’t have expected much from this poor kid whose family barely scraped by.
He developed into one of the country’s top power lifters, shattering bench press and curl records. However, his career was threatened by hypertension and heart issues. At one point he flat-lined; doctors declared him dead. Fletcher managed to battle through the health scare, but his career would be over. Doctors ordered him to put down the weights and find something else to do with his time.
And that’s when he took off.
Fletcher refused to stay out of the gym. In fact, the energy and intensity of his workouts skyrocketed to a new level. He took on the “it’s still your set” mentality — meaning the moment you think you’re done, you have to keep going and push harder. One day, someone asked if they could tape him in action and post it to YouTube. That’s when a million-subscriber YouTube star was born.
Fletcher’s known for numerous motivational videos that have collected as many as 18-million views. These clips focus on weightlifting and are peppered with expletives, but they’re ultimately lessons in life.
The son of a preacher, Fletcher crafted his “Ten Commandments of Muscle Growth.” He’s presented them (and other ideas) to boardroom executives, business groups, and college classes. Let’s examine what we can learn from a few them:
Pain is essential – If you want anything bad enough in life, pain is inescapable. In the Land of Iron, be willing to accept pain and discomfort as necessary evils, for it is out of these extreme conditions that new muscle is born. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!
Don’t let your body adapt – Your body will adapt to anything you subject it to after a period of rigorous training. Therefore, you must change your routine; keep it guessing, throw it a curve ball and tell your body, “don’t you dare get comfortable!”
Never accept someone else’s limitations – If we had always accepted what all those fancy hat-wearing “experts” concluded was impossible, we’d all still be sitting in the dark. We wouldn’t be flying through the sky on planes or enjoying countless other human marvels. Question the impossible and try everything for yourself first.
Become obsessed – Obsession gets a bad rap, but it is the crucial, missing ingredient in people who will always be just “average.” Greatness in mind and body cannot be achieved without obsession. Obsession hangs heavy in the air around you, for without it, you will never amount to any greatness.
Never become satisfied – Satisfaction and complacency are poisonous because they signal to the mind that you’ve reached the end of your growth—the end of your journey. Never be satisfied. Always move forward. Always grow.
While these “commandments” focus on physical feats of strength, they’re ultimately a guide to mental toughness and personal discipline.
Fletcher may not have an all-star Linkeln profile or resume packed with doctorates, degrees and educational honors, but he’s found a way to impact and inspire people across the world.
Time to sit back and enjoy some of his success, huh? Nope. It’s still his set.
(You can learn more about C.T. Fletcher at ctfletcher.com. Had enough reading? Check out his movie My Magnificent Obsession)