LIFE KEEPS BEING LIFE
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth!”-Mike Tyson
We all feel Iron Mikes sentiment here. The training ground is a must for the go getter. So we plan meticulously. We make all of the necessary arrangements, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s. We study. We ask a winner and a loser. We get our footwork down to a science and….
It turns out life is an 18 year old Mike Tyson with a chip on both shoulders. What’s worse is both of those shoulders are driving blows into every fiber of our being. Head. Body, body. Head. Then that ever present uppercut finds its way through our defenses, chin checking us and down we go.
“If life knocks you down hope you land on your back because if you can look up you can get up.”-Les Brown
Find me a person that’s chased after their dream with tenacity that hasn’t felt the pain. Find me someone who hasn’t experienced hardships. They don’t exist because in some ways life is pain. Life is hard but it’s also beautiful. There is so much joy to be found in overcoming our failures it’s unreal. We just forget that in the mix of the struggle.
So how do we grow and evolve?
REMEMBER YOUR WHY
Never underestimate the power of persistence. When you set a goal in your mind and develop that tunnel vision a wire grows within you. When you want to achieve something more than you want instant comfort you become unstoppable. All the motivation gurus agree on singular purpose being the key to success. Whether it be called a definite chief aim or a mission from God, whatever your reason to be is it will push you when you don’t want to push yourself.
Some of us are called on in life. We have a talent, a philosophy, an understanding that society needs. We see it plain as day knowing it’s why we’re here. The world needs us to push through the setbacks, to blow past the crippling mental anguish and do what we were called on to do. We draw inspiration from knowing.
“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”-Friedrich Nietzsche
Oh it’s frustrating. We step out of the ring with our eyes half swollen shut. Struggling to breathe and here comes some naysayer to tell us all about ourselves. We want to snap off on them knowing they never even laced up their gloves. Why? We know that our stepping out of our comfort zones to do something extraordinary is stirring that fear within them. That fear we all feel when we look at the greats. Not the awe. Not the wow factor but that fear of failing our way to success that makes us regard the driven as somehow superhuman.
Okay. Whoever goes on the offensive when we start our climb probably just wants us to stay in the realm of the ordinary with them. Fight, flight or freeze right. It’s basic human nature.
Luckily, other peoples opinions are not our reality. It does not matter what they have to say so long as we don’t agree with it. So long as we don’t allow that fear of constant failure to pollute our minds with self doubt. It’s so easy to get caught up in the anger of our losses and take our frustrations out on those who vocalize the very fears we’re wrestling down but-
“If there’s no enemy within then the enemy outside can do no harm.”-African Peoverb
-If knowing that isn’t enough to keep your tongue in check then before you speak, before you unleash your frustration, step into yourself. Breathe in deep expanding your diaphragm. Feel that air filling you with your why and hold onto it a minute. Exhale slowly allowing your diaphragm to collapse and release the tension in your body. Continue this process until your able to speak in kindness.
TURN FAILURE INTO FUEL
Deep breathing and walking away are great ways of dealing with stress in the moment but what about long term management?
Anyone who’s pulling 18 hour days, working a 9-5, pursuing their education or a lifelong dream after hours, juggling family and their personal lives knows all too well the toll it takes. Less sleep means shorter tempers. Big upsets come along and rattle us up when we’re close to the finish line. All of these factors threaten our mental health and mental health effects our physical well-being.
We know this. So what do we do?
Meditation is a great way to find our calm. Twenty minutes of deep breathing and mantras- pick your favorite Bible verses or quotes- can have profound effects on how we start our day. Just don’t leave it on your prayer mat. Take that practice into your daily life and allow it to be your anchor. When a stressor arises cling to your mantra like the life preserver it is. For me it’s my faith in the Divine Plan. For you it may be the repetition of your life’s calling but the result will be the same.
Some things should never be suppressed though. While we can find the silver lining in any struggle we should by no means pretend things don’t bother us. This positive vibes only bit is avoidance wearing new clothes. If we constantly push our anger down we’ll only end up going in on our kids for being in a room we’re cleaning or yelling at a coworker. Options?
Take it into your exercise routine. I hit reps of 10-15-25-50 of whatever exercise I’m on that week. That’s 100 reps in such a rapid fire pace it’s almost impossible to not hear my body scream. Our inner weakness screams “you can’t” about 75 in and the body wants to give in. That’s when I allow all that animosity, all that self doubt to well up. I get on my Davis Goggins and tell myself to “stop being a little bitch” and push through. I think of all the failures and mistakes and tell myself I won’t stop until my muscles fail. Then those rest periods are spent stretching and breathing deeply into my diaphragm. I blast those motivational speakers playlists on YouTube with the triumphant music and unleash that agony. Then I go at it again and again.
400 sets in the endorphins are running so high I almost forget why I was stressed. I lose sight of the moments of weakness and start repeating the mantras Eric Thomas is spitting. “I CAN. I WILL. I MUST.” It never fails to rekindle the flames within my being and remind me why I started.
See, if we don’t answer our calls, if we don’t chase our goals then all of those dreams and ideas die with us. So it’s back to the drawing board with each failure. It’s looking for the vice and uprooting it while we plant the virtue necessary to succeed. On and on it goes.
BE GRATEFUL FOR HARDSHIP
Once it’s established in your mind this setback isn’t going to kill you today. Once you know your success is won in your mind and you’ve let it all out give thanks. I mean that literally.
I thank God my life was so hectic. I thank God my ACE score is so high and I came from a lot of brokenness. I thank God I went in and out of the penitentiary and made those mistakes. I thank God I survived in the belly of the beast and lived to tell the tale. I thank God those mistakes stack against me and complicate my reeducation and remind me why I started. I thank God.
Moreover, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to share my perspective with the globe. He never gave up on me and neither will I.
That’s all I got. Bob and weave ladies and gentlemen.