Two Questions

Reflecting upon the many conversations I’ve had already this year with prospective students, I wish to share one element common to each of my discussions. It is found in a couple simple questions which I ask of all I meet. After intensely listening to the individual stories which led these people to me, after engaging in detailed dialogue, after offering my guidance and encouragement, I ask these wonderful people, who have bared their souls to me, two things. “What are you willing to give up?” and “How hard are you willing to work for what you want?”

In addressing the second question, first, I stress this important principle. Every good thing in life comes about as a result of a specific action or series of actions. To a great extent, the nature of one’s desire for achievement of a personal fitness goal or an improved golf game is irrelevant. If I could measure desire on a scale or quantify it in some brilliant fashion, what value would that be to us?  Reaching your potential cannot be based solely on a reading of how badly you want it. It would just be a useless number. “Discipline, not desire, determines destiny.”–unknown.  You must work and must understand that “you can never  expect to succeed if you only put in work on the days you feel like it.”–Chad Hymas.

My intention is not to completely diminish the important role that desire does play in one’s life. For “desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our action. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.”–Dallin H. Oaks.  But, there is that word, again, action! So, how can you increase the probability of acting with determination on your desires? To illustrate, I share the following story as told by Dallin H. Oaks. “Aron Ralston was hiking in a remote canyon in southern Utah. In the course of his hike, an 800-pound rock shifted suddenly and trapped his right arm. For five lonely days, he struggled to free himself. When he was about to give up and accept death, he had a vision of a three-year-old boy running toward him and being scooped up with his left arm. Understanding this as a vision of his future son and an assurance that he could still live, Ralston summoned the courage and took drastic action to save his life before his strength ran out. He broke the two bones in his trapped right arm and then used the knife in his multi-tool to cut off that arm. He then summoned the strength to hike 5 miles for help. What an example of the power of an overwhelming desire!”

When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously.

In regards to my first question, “What are you willing to give up?”, the call to change, out of which is born your burning desire, requires that you sacrifice. There is no way around this truth. If you truly wish to become better than you are today, dumping some ballast is the only way you’ll rise to the level of your best self. The things that are holding you back are certainly unique to your life. But, they are not uncommon to the human condition. So, others have done what it is that you need to do. Many have shared private details of their struggles, addictions, fears, imperfect family life, their strange circle of friends, unfulfilling job experiences, and the stress and anxiety which they carry. I am encouraging you to let go of the burdens that bind you to the present. “Those mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”–Najwa Zebian. If you need a guide to climb your mountains, you can count on me. Obviously, I’d prefer if you’d take the courageous action to turn those mountains into mole hills. “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”–C.S. Lewis.  From there, our work becomes easier. Only you can make the decision to break the chains which imprison you in your current condition. Choose wisely. You do not deserve a life sentence. You are worthy of a new start at life. What are you willing to give up today? How hard are you willing to work right now?

photo credit: ThoroughlyReviewed Stretching Fitness Yoga Gym Workout – Must Link to via photopin (license)