Sylvester Stallone Divides Social Media with ‘People Were Tougher’ Pep Talk

Sylvester Stallone has motivated countless individuals to get strong thanks to his inspirational training montages and the down-but-never-out attitude of his most successful character, Rocky Balboa, but a recent pep talk on Instagram has divided opinion after he suggested that life is getting easier and people were tougher.
Holding a vintage pair of boxing gloves used in the filming of Rocky, Sly took to Instagram on May 7, 2024, to say: “They don’t even allow these today, because they are so dangerous but that’s what they used when I did the film … and they’re literally lethal, so, I still have them because it’s a time when people were tougher. Sorry, they were.”
Of course, it’s unlikely that Stallone is advocating for boxers to take lumps out of each other with outdated, and potentially unsafe gloves. More likely, he’s using them as a metaphor to illustrate that perhaps many people have become a little too soft as relates to the competitive spirit. “Life is just getting a little easier and easier, and easier,” he continued. “And, oh, ‘that’s great’, ‘it’s wonderful’, but it’s not. I think when we force ourselves into tough situations, that’s what the human creature is supposed to do. They’re not supposed to have wheels on their suitcases. They’re not supposed to have lawn mowers with engines that pull them along. It’s a convenience, no question, but it just makes things easier.”

Sylvester Stallone says that hard work is like strong medicine
“Now, with AI, you can literally put your brain in the pickle jar and have that machine do it,” concluded the star. “So, I cherish these moments, I cherish hard work, even though I hate it, I know it’s like strong medicine. Tastes horrible going down, but it makes you feel better.” As you would expect, Sly’s words have been met with differing responses online.
“With all due respect. Life is not getting easier, you just have it easier,” commented one Instagram user. “Every generation always feels the generations after them have it easier. People in the 1800s would call your life easy compared to theirs. It’s all relative,” wrote another.
But does Stallone, currently shooting season 2 of Tulsa King, have a point? If his message was that we should strive to step outside of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves, then he’s not the only advocate. As far back as 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson developed the “Yerkes-Dodson Law,”  professing that performance increases as stress increases, and performance decreases as stress decreases — up to a point. More recently, a 2022 study logging the outcomes of it’s participants found that “seeking discomfort as a signal of self-growth motivated engagement and increased perceived goal achievement relative to standard instructions.” Put simply, those who put themselves in immediate discomfort to achieve personal growth thought that they had achieved more, and felt better about the goal that they earned. Then there’s the case that pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone is good for longevity. New research around so called “super agers” has found that getting off the couch and hitting the gym, or switching off the TV and engaging in mental challenges, may help us to live longer. While Stallone’s message was perhaps somewhat clumsy in it’s delivery, his point definitely packs a punch.
“Truth!” commented another IG follower. “Absolutely AGREE 100%,” commented the actor and bodybuilder Martyn Ford.
Stallone may be a millionaire movie star, but he is no stranger to hard work. His sacrifices to get the original Rocky movie commissioned while hardly having a penny to his name, and the actor’s consistently great physique throughout all six of those iconic boxing movies bare testament to that… just don’t take his advice on gloves!

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