Work Hard or Bust

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Written by Shirin Ahmadpour

Edited by Maja Cakarun

Getting the opportunity to be a part of the Humphrey Seminar at ASU has an impact unlike any other academic class. So far, there has been one piece of enlightenment that has lingered in my mind. A speech given by my classmate, Steven Kapoloma, a Humphrey Fellow from Malawi sparked my wheels of motivation. He said, “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”

One of my New Year’s Resolutions, as it is every year is to “be fit”. The more I want to be fit and work out, the more I realize that only by staying motivated can I ever reach my goal. It’s a mental task, not just physical. Although, Steven’s quote can be used metaphorically toward any goal, I’ve taken it literally. Lucky people are not born fit and aesthetically built to perfection. It is those people I see sweating in the gym, taking it one exercise at a time.

But why is this healthy and fit kick society seems to want to be on such a difficult one? We see transformation and fitness model pictures all over social media and magazine stands and are surrounded by influences to workout. Are visuals enough to keep us motivated?


Last year my mom lost 30 pounds. Her motivation: being fed up. She was tired of feeling sluggish and she wanted to feel confident and have the strength to explore the world. Now, as an avid gym goer and healthy eater, she’s never felt better.

A good friend of mine took working out seriously and is now able to compete in aesthetic competitions. His motivation: he wanted his life to change. From needing a trainer to becoming one, he pushed himself to have a new life.

For most of my life, I focused on being skinny. I come from a petite family; so that mostly came easy, and if I skipped some meals I would be relatively skinny. However, going with the new societal trends; it is not about being skinny anymore, it is about being strong. And strong I will be. My motivation: I have to know my body’s full capabilities. When I watch the Olympics, I don’t dream of becoming an Olympic athlete, but how fun would it be if I could be as agile, as strong, and as capable of surpassing the physical capabilities of the average human? The more I sweat the luckier I may get, but I’ll definitely get closer to reaching my body’s full potential.

One Comment on “Work Hard or Bust”

  1. Shirin, you are right that working out is both a physical and mental exercise.

    Exercising gives me a mental sense of security and satisfaction that little else can. It also helps to relieve stress.

    I only need to learn how to prioritize it like I do other things like school and work, which is much harder to do in practice.

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