Ever since I have started this challenge of applying everything I’ve learned about why people live fulling/successful lives my life has improved dramatically. 37 days ago I was hopeless and lost. I couldn’t find the drive to do my writing. I couldn’t meet my fitness goals. I was deeply depressed and felt anxious almost every waking hour. It was quite honestly a horrible existence.
Yet now, just over a month later, I find myself in a very calm place. I feel sure of my goals and am… not driven toward my goals… but pulled into them. Getting up at 5AM every day to go the gym has taken quite literally no effort, and I find myself in a wonderful state of mind most of the time.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stay here. There have been MANY days in which the old darkness tried to return. Thoughts of anger, jealousy, depression, worthlessness… they all have tried to come back. Yet, I have strictly given them no quarter. I look at them, consider their source, and then let them go and change my focus. My most powerful weapon in this fight? Basic gratitude. Any time I find myself in negative territory, I have stopped and thought through what I’m sincerely grateful for in my life, and it is like a spotlight in darkness. The shadows can’t stay in the brilliance of gratitude.
Last night I had fairly intense insomnia. Yet I told myself, despite my lack of sleep, I was still going to meet my goal. So, even though I’d fallen asleep about 1 AM, I still got up at 5AM and went to the gym, and the things that had kept me up the night before kept trying to come into my mind, to tear me down and make me feel unworthy and unloved. Disconnected. Yet, as before, I gave them no quarter, and I focused deeply on my mindset. I’m an f-ing lion. Over and over. I felt it at my core, even though at first it wasn’t true, and it very quickly became unquestionably true. The evidence of this? At one point I was doing squats on the Freemotion machine. The last time I’d used that machine, I’d started with 180 lbs and done about 15 reps, then dropped to 160, done 15, and then done 140 and done 14 reps.
This morning, I got my mind roaring, absolutely certain… 100% incendiary and started at 180 lbs… and pulled 22 reps. The pain came on during the 15th rep, but I kept going, kept pushing… I have no idea how I got through what I just experienced. The burn in my legs was so intense it gave me chills, and at the end, I had to hold onto the machine for awhile to stay upright. Since I’d done so much, I decided to go deeper. I moved the weight to 200… and pulled 20 reps. Same result. Chills, shaking. Go deeper. 220 pounds. 20 reps. I have never in my life come close to this on this machine before. Slow, controlled, fully focused, but most importantly moving unceasingly through deep pain to a place I would have considered impossible just a short time ago. All on a day I began feeling lost and weak.
I am a fucking lion.
During the last four years of my life I have been through hell, and I feel free from that cage now. I have had so many wonderful friends lift me up during this time, and at other times just hold me up when I couldn’t bear the weight of my problems. You know who you are, and I’m grateful for you beyond words. However, one person shines brightest in teaching me how to face what seems completely hopeless and impossible. One man taught me what power is, not externally (although he is one of the most externally powerful men I know) but internally… the ability to face, not the world, but myself. He taught me how, when I wake in the morning and can’t see any path out of the concrete cage was in, to pick up a sledge hammer and swing it until I’d damn well made a path.
For everything… thank you Steve. I’m grateful for this morning. I wouldn’t have had it without knowing you.