Things don’t happen all on their own. Words do not magically form on the page, a pencil needs to be pushed. Muscles do not magically grow on your body, weights need to be lifted and adequate quantities of good food need to be consumed. Good deeds do not simply happen, you need to first conceive and nurture good thoughts. In order for anything to be learned, positive or negative, action needs to take place. Action allows us to make mistakes, action allows us to be successful, action allows us to live fully and thoughtfully.
I’ve been recently considering what it takes to be successful. What are we as individuals meant to do with our lives? Who are we meant to become? The one thought that keeps entering my mind is that in order to find the answer to any of these questions action needs to take place. No matter what you want to do or become you must take action.
I recently took a trip down to a gym in Florida for a two day strength and conditioning course run by Elliott Hulse, one of my heroes. It cost me a lot of money factoring in the flight, hotel, lost pay at work, food and other expenses. In fact it cost way too much for a two day course talking about things I already had a pretty decent handle on. But I went anyways. I went not to learn about technical details of exercises and programs, but to see in real life what a man who takes action looks like. I went because even though I was afraid to go I was more afraid not to go. I was afraid of inaction. Being passive terrifies me, even though it is something that is a part of my everyday life. We have to fight through the passive inclinations that our bodies and minds have every day. Our bodies naturally want us to rest on the couch and watch youtube videos. We have to actively fight against these inclinations. I am terrified of ending my life being comfortable but ending up right where I began. Never risking anything great and never gaining anything great either.
The trip down to Florida was a choice I made. It was a risk for me. It’s not a huge risk, but you have to start somewhere. That is what I am learning now. You have to start small. People always look at the impressive end result but they never seem to notice the years of hard work that people have put in previously to get there. People see that I am in good shape and attribute it to my age or my genes. ‘Just wait till you’re my age!’ they’ll usually comment with a playful pat of their belly. What they don’t realize is that I will continue to train hard and eat well as long as I live. Age will not determine whether I get fat or not. What I look like, and what you look like is based directly on consistent, day to day actions. I was afraid to go to Florida. Afraid that I wasn’t going to be strong enough, that I wouldn’t learn anything new, that I was wasting my money, that I was being childish, that I was wasting my time. And then I went.
What I learned in Florida is hard to describe. It was more experiential than anything else. At one point Elliott jokingly mentioned that his parents wanted him to get a desk job working in a hospital. It was funny to picture him working at a desk, but it was also terrifying to think of what would have happened if he did not act on his dream. If he was scared and did not act thousands of men and women would be missing a mentor in their lives. Our lives are about more than ourselves. We have a tremendous influence on other people. You may notice it or you may not, but there are always those who look to you for direction and affirmation. If you are passive and accept a life of mediocrity than the potential of those around you will be stunted. We should want to to be uplifting and strong so that those people we come into contact with can move closer to discovering their true potential. My goal is to show people that they can be strong, and they can be great at something. People will try to tell you that greatness is born, but nothing could be further from the truth. Success is achieved through hard work. Success is achieved through perseverance. Success is achieved through action. Nothing else will do.
Action is the only way to achieve my goals and it is the only way to achieve yours. What do you really want to do? Something will always be there resisting your dream. It will be telling you that you can’t do it, that it’s too hard, that you don’t have the education, the time or the money. Let it tell you that and then try anyways. If you fail try again. It cannot resist you forever. The human body is built for action – It’s just up to us to start moving.