We All Want Things to Be Easy.
Today, I’m standing behind a counter at 5:15 AM and working a job I underpay other people to do. I told myself when I left the house, “This ain’t easy, but it needs to be done.” I was lying to myself.
Self-Help “Professionals” tell you that it’s easy to re-invent yourself if you buy their books, buy their workshop, buy their seminar, buy their whatever as long as you’re giving them money. They have all the answers. They’ll make it easy for you if you can afford it.
Infomercials with celebrities tell you that it’s easy to get in shape for 9 payments of $99.99 and their 9 DVD program of 90 minute workouts over 9 weeks. As long as you waste a nice chunk of change and do what you already knew you had to do.
The first thing people usually ask about any endeavor is “Is it going to be easy?” Well, that really depends on your frame of reference.
It’s easy, but it’s hard.
Under normal circumstances, I make my own hours.
Today, I am a cashier.
One of my employees had to have surgery three days ago. She actually tried to come in to work anyway, because she’s tough as nails. She’s going to be working tomorrow.
“Easy” isn’t part of her vocabulary.
All the little problems you face as an entrepreneur don’t seem that difficult when someone who just had their torso split open tries to soldier on as if nothing had happened.
Answering e-mails and updating information in Quickbooks is easy compared to standing up all day after a surgeon plays with your guts like a kitten with a ball of yarn.
If you expect to be in business long, you’ve got to realize that you’re not above any job. Yes, I’m responsible for making sure my employees get paid, but I’m not above them. I have to be willing to do anything I ask of them.
It’s called “Leading by Example”.
If I’m not willing to clean shit off the walls after a drunk customer thought it would be a funny joke to do some finger painting in the bathroom (yes, that really happened) then I’ve got no business making my employees do it.
If I’m not willing to jump out of bed and open a store instead of getting my morning cardio and writing, I can’t expect my employees to do it either.
This stuff isn’t exactly easy, but it’s definitely not hard.
My body is shit.
I’ve been working on my body since 1997, and it’s still shit.
I played baseball (little league) for two years, and we were the worst team in our league. We actually got trophies for being the worst team. We lost every single game.
I kept that trophy, not because I believe in rewarding failure, but because it reminds me of failure. Failure is easy, and now kids are rewarded for failure.
I actively practiced martial arts from then until 2008 when I was arrested at school for the second time. One of the black belts in my dojo was a state trooper. He was also my cousin. I quit going out of shame.
I lifted weights five days a week and ate like a horse for four years, but I didn’t know what I was doing and my body became even shittier after I quit lifting. Instead of being a skinny-fat kid with a big head, I was a fat-fat kid with a big head.
In 2013, I followed a low (sub 30 gram) carb diet for six months and lost 115 lbs. I was still fat. I didn’t realize at the time that I had low testosterone.
Eating huge amounts of eggs to lose huge amounts of weight is ridiculously easy, even with low testosterone.
I’ll tell you one thing, though. I absolutely hate eggs now.
My body doesn’t exactly work with me. I didn’t have to wait to get old for that. Nothing physical is easy, but I can’t use that as an excuse.
In 1990, I was born prematurely. I skipped almost the entire third trimester in the womb, and had to spend time in the “human incubator”. Several of my organs don’t work right in one way or another.
In 2015, a friend had her baby at 26 weeks. The baby was born more prematurely than me, but was in about the same shape. Medical science has advanced a lot in 26 years.
While I was in the incubator, my Dad was in the hospital with double walking pneumonia, hormonal hell, and a fatty liver. His blood was thick and purple like slightly wet grape-drink mix. It would’ve been easy for my family to abandon all hope for us both, but they don’t believe in “easy” either.
In 2002, I broke my hand, wrist, and forearm playing football. I was about as bad at football as I was at baseball, but I don’t believe in quitting. I wasn’t worried that it wouldn’t be easy.
In 2004, I was run over by a 573 lb ATV. I broke my ankle in 8 places and my shoulder in 5. I spent several months in a wheel chair and several more on crutches.
When I was dead lifting 63% of my body weight yesterday, my legs were burning by the end of my set. I should be able to dead lift much, much more than that, and I’m working up to it. When most people get sore in the gym, they quit because it isn’t easy.
I expected my left ankle and left shoulder to be sore today. My left knee is something I didn’t expect. It hurts to put weight on it.
The only thing I can figure out is that my left knee is still weak from my lack of activity. The cure? More weight, more rest, more time.
The things I do today build the body I’ll have tomorrow. I have to push myself to grow. I have to change things.
So I’ll continue to lift weights that I warmed up with ten years ago. I’ll continue to push myself to be a success at things I suck at. I’ll see what I can be.
I’ve read that people don’t want to see journeys. They don’t want to hear from an aspiring man, they want to hear from a man they can aspire to be. I can understand that.
If I waited until I was someone to aspire to be, I wouldn’t be building the skills I’m building now. I’m ahead of the curve (considering where I came from) already. In 5 years, I’ll be an inspiration. In 10 years, I’ll be unrecognizable.
Sometimes self improvement is procrastination.
Sometimes seeking purpose is seeking an excuse.
Sometimes it matters more that you do something today.
Get After It.