I read a short Instagram post from Sheena Potts the other day. The first line, "Keep worrying about your future or living in the past, and you will miss what's happening for you right now," sparked an immediate thought process.
Many of us, including myself, are guilty of looking backward or forward - in a way, partly living in the past or future instead of focusing our time, energy, and effort on being better today. I have been guilty, and at times still am, of this. I have wasted too much mental and emotional time and energy living in regret of the past and in fear or doubt of the future. I'm willing to bet that some of you have, too.
Here's the thing, though - and this is where we get hung up - neither the past nor the future are real. Yes, there are pictures, documents, and memories. Events that happened in the past effected and created events, beliefs, and actions that are happening today, but you can't touch it, feel it, or experience it. It is no longer there. It exists only in memory and monument.
As for the future, what is the future, but hopes, dreams, and plans? It hasn't happened yet, and therefore is not real. To illustrate my point, these were my two favorite campaign posters from this past election cycle.
Funny (at least to me), but imagine if either of these had happened (Lovecraft readers will know that the meteor would be the preferable choice). What happens to your plans, hopes, dreams - in essence, all the crap you're worrying about? So now, as the warrior poet Nacho Libre once said - "Let's get down to the nitty gritty." This is, after all, a newsletter about strength.
Sheena's point in her post (the freakin' link function won't work) was that spending your time in the past or future takes you out of the present - the one place you can effectively control, and the one you are experiencing immediately. If you are unhappy with your past - today is the day to move away from it, and toward who you want to be. If you are worried or doubtful about your future, today is the day for you to start to put better plans in place, and work on the strategies and actions that will take you there.
The beautiful thing about strength training - any training for that matter, is that you are, in a sense, recreating yourself. I wasn't strong in high school, and I wasn't that strong through my 20's. At 44, I'm capable of more than I ever was. This act of self creation, of self actualization, is why the dedicated train - to transform their bodies into instruments that follow their will rather than emotions or circumstance.
Training is not about fear or regret. It may start out that way. These negative thoughts and emotions are many times the catalyst to set you in motion. In fact, your anger, your sorrow, your fear can be used to fuel the fire in you to become something greater than you ever were before or you are today. That must be replaced, though, by commitment to your cause and bold dedication to winning.
There is no need to be held back by your past, or even your present. When you wake up tomorrow, this day will be behind you - gone forever. Who you are becoming is all that matters.
One of the biggest mistakes made, and a potential pitfall when engaged in training (and business or any long term endeavor, for that matter) is to look too far ahead. It's like looking into the proverbial abyss. It WILL swallow you up. When things are hard or slow going, the thought of the light at the end being so far off can break you and make you lose heart and quit.
Don't quit. Not ever. I don't care how hard it is, or what you can or can't do. Neither does anyone else. You don't look for the light at the end. You look for the light today. "What progress have I made today?" "What can I do today that moves me forward?"
I want you to win. It's why I'm sitting here at 12:09am writing to you. In fact, you want to know what one of my favorite things is when training people? It's not the new people who just get it right away. Don't get me wrong - I love that. We can start crushing it right away. But the ones who have trouble, and still find a way, the ones who modify exercises without being told to because they're having difficulty, the ones who practice on their own because they're struggling, the ones who can't do walking lunges, so they pick up weight and do Farmer Walks - these people inspire me. They get it.
Don't get caught looking too far ahead, wondering what it will take, and how hard the struggle will be to get there. The elect know that there is no end to the journey, there is only continual progress, or stagnation and death. Focus on what you can do today to move you forward, and CRUSH that. Develop the mindset to look at failures as nothing more than opportunities to learn and EVERY progress as continual forward momentum. This develops an unstoppable mind and unconquerable spirit.
As someone who's been there, listen to me - Don't look backward or forward into the abyss. Look to today - to how you can live a greater, more heroic life - and take a step forward.
If you need help, feel free to contact me. I'm here to help.
Eric Chasko is the head of Redemption Fight Club. He is a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Progressive Fighting Systems Full Instructor. From young athletes to busy professionals, he helps people develop the physical, mental, and emotional strength to win on the field, on the street, and in life.