Thursday, September 21, 2017

Doers and Donters

Soooooo, one of my favorite movies is Pain & Gain.  I watched it again recently, and without giving away too many spoilers I'm going to depict the main plot and why I think it's a great concept to grasp.  The movie is based on a group of body builders (fitting right?) working at the Sun Gym in Miami, Florida in 1995.  The film states itself to be a true story multiple times throughout it's run, and after reading more of the details of the events "loosely" based is more of an accurate description.  However, the story is still very interesting none the less.  The main characters of this body building trio are Daniel Lugo (Mark Whalberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson).  The story's main premise is one of Daniel Lugo's desire to attain the American Dream and a rightful calling to a better life he thinks he's destined for.  Now before we go further and explain some of the details and plans he hopes to achieve this, let me just preface with saying I AM ONLY USING THE STORY AS A METAPHOR.  Cool, now we've squared that away.

In the beginning, Lugo is the manager of the Sun Gym as a personal trainer, living a lower class way of life and barely making ends meet.  Lugo is an avid believer in motivational speaker Jonny Wu's philosophy of being a "Doer" and not a "Donter".  Multiple scenes showcase his pitiful life and the envy he has towards others more successful than him.  Constantly obsessing with the American Dream and the riches others seem to have, Lugo hatches a plan to extort one of his wealthy clients to manifest his destiny and claim what is rightfully his.  He recruits help from two other personal trainers at the gym, Doorbal and Doyle.  The story is told with a dark and comedic undertone as the gang calculates and schemes their plans and fail multiple times in apprehending their victim, until they finally capture him and begin a month long series of torture and manipulation tactics to acquire his assets and assume his identity.  Again, these methods to achieve your goals are not what I'm endorsing, however the ideology of seeing your potential, devising your plan to achieve them, and being relentless in your pursuit is what I'm advocating.  Lets dive deeper...

In life we're given many opportunities to either Do or Don't.  It's as simple as that.  We over complicate decisions with the shades of gray and the "what ifs".  We worry about what others are going to think, we worry about how it's going to affect our day to day routines and our norms.  And worst of all, we focus more about how we're going to get there, rather than just starting somewhere.  We stop short of our dreams simply by shutting ourselves down saying we couldn't possibly achieve the highest summit of success.  But why?  Don't get me wrong, I've done it, and I'll probably still do it from time to time.  But why do we do it?  Daniel Lugo didn't see it that way.  He attended a motivational speaker's seminar and realized the difference between him and the successful individuals he had idolized was not the opportunities they were given.  Rather, it was their innate ability to Do rather than Don't when opportunities arose.  How many times have you been given an opportunity and rather than Doing, you became a "Donter"?  I've done it so many times in my life I'm embarrassed to admit it.  My entire childhood and young adult life I grew up very insecure and timid.  I had no confidence to pursue anything, even passions or hobbies.  I think one of the most prevalent examples of this from my past would be when I wanted to try out for the drum line Sophomore year of high school.  I've been playing the drums since I was 11 or 12 and it's one of my deepest passions in life.  But as a young individual, I had no confidence in my ability or even my passion to share with anyone.  I was so sure on the possibility of failing that I didn't even let anyone in to show me more and help me grow.  Until somehow my dad finally convinced me to try out as he saw my potential in me and challenged me to develop my talent into a skill.  So I tried out my sophomore year and I made it!  I knew I wasn't the best and I had a lot to learn during the summer to catch up to some of the other guys there, but I had made it and I was hungry for more.  By choosing to be a Doer one time I had changed my future's outcome infinitely.  Imagine if I had chosen to bail on that opportunity?  I could have never developed my drumming skills and ultimately lost so much passion and maybe even given up altogether.  BUT I didn't, and now I couldn't imagine my life without the drums.  I still play them almost everyday, even now!

Lugo's choices were definitely the wrong approach to attaining your dreams.  Stealing something from someone else to better your life is never the right way to achieving success.  But on the flip side, his vision of himself, his self confidence, and his potential is exactly what more of us need in life.  You have a higher calling and limitless potential despite your circumstances.  You have to be relentless in achieving your goals but they ARE attainable.  You have to be a DOER if it's something you know you deserve.  Think about your life now.  Whether it be a promotion, a new job, your first body building show, or even a date with that special someone you wish to see yourself with.  You have to see yourself in that role and become someone who does things to make it happen.  Without giving away too much of the movie, when Lugo is sitting his motivational speaker's seminar, Jonny Wu has three pieces of advice for the class.  "Get a goal, get a plan, and get up off your ass!"  It's very simple and scary.  But I know anyone reading this has that potential.  So let's make it happen fam!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

To Share or Not to Share

Recently I was reminded of my experience during my first body building prep and the process of setting the goal and then reaching it.  More specifically I was taken back to the time of when I decided to share this goal with others.  All in all, my prep was about 10 months long from the point of transitioning my normal routine of lifting and eating, to a more structured body builders approach in terms of hiring my coaches and nutritionist and tweaking my training around building my body to compete.  I had set the date of my first show for September 3rd and fixated my eyes on the goals at hand and didn't look back.  In the first 6 months however, I didn't share my goals to compete with anyone except a few people (girlfriend, parents, coaches).  But I do remember the time I finally did share with someone outside my few trusted confidants that I would be competing and that this transition was a complete overhaul to my entire life.  In this entry I want to depict the moment it happened, what I realized after my goals had been met, and what it did for me.

I remember being 6 months into my prep and I had just started a new promotion at work. I was immersed in a new venture both extra curricular with body building and at work with my new position.  In the process, another friend of mine had started the new position with me as we had been hired together.  I had known him for awhile now, and was aware of his highly motivated and determined-goal setting life style he was living.  He was always a staple of positive thinking and a role model of realizing your dreams and being relentless in the pursuit of them.  But for some reason I still didn't feel comfortable sharing this secret that I had been keeping.  I couldn't tell you why; maybe it was because fitness wasn't his passion?  Maybe it was because I was insecure about the vanity of the sport?  Regardless, I had many insecurities in the beginning (still do) and I didn't know who to trust with this goal.  Until one day we were working late, it was quiet in the office and he asked me some probing questions about my outside life that I hadn't really shared with him before.

We discussed our 5 year plans and goals.  We talked about where and what we want to be doing in the immediate future but also about what we were doing right now to moving towards those goals.  So I started to mention my thoughts about lifting and fitness, then diets, and eventually BODY BUILDING.  I did it!  Like letting a fart slip in front of the girl of your dreams, I had spilled my secret to someone neutral, unfamiliar, and unbiased to me.  Now being completely unfamiliar to the fitness lifestyle in general, he naturally had many questions about what the sport is and how it works.  The easiest frame of reference to share with my friend was share one of my heroes and main sources of inspiration, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Of course at that point, we had made a connection since everyone knows Arnie.  After that, he asked me the most important question.  When I was planning on competing?  I told him September 3rd and he smiled as if he knew my dreams were already at my fingertips.  After that day he would periodically check in with me.  He wouldn't tell everyone else or make a big scene, but more of just reminders and questions about how I was feeling or how training was going.  Finally, the show date was here and I was nervous. Every single tedious and obtuse ritual of prep had gotten me this far and at this point there was nothing more I could do but put on my best show and try to have some fun through the nerves.  The day of my show, however, I remember without prompt or reminder. He had sent me a picture of a phrase written on a piece of paper he used to keep in his wallet that said, "We become what we think about".  I didn't realize it at first, but what he was doing my entire journey was holding me accountable.

Through the whole process I had realized a truth about myself that had never occurred to me before.  I prefer to be held accountable for my goals by others.  There's a sense of purpose and determination that takes over me when I use motivation of doing something for someone else, rather than just completing something for myself.  I work harder and more relentlessly when I know someone else is counting on me to do it.  But this doesn't have to be the case for everyone.  The flip side of this coin, however, is choosing not to share our goals or passions with others and only holding ourselves accountable.  There's a quote unanimously told in different ways: "Make goals, be quiet about them, crush them, rinse and repeat."  Simple enough, right?  For some maybe, yes, but both have to be tried and tested eventually to see for yourself.  I had tried the latter approach for many years, only to yield unsuccessful results.  It doesn't mean I wasn't capable, only that there was a piece of the puzzle my brain couldn't fabricate to manifest my destiny.  The drive of knowing someone else was depending on me to do it.  Goals are the name of the game in order to reach your potential, but setting yourself up for success and learning your best workflow to achieve your goals, is half the battle.  Don't wait years to try a different approach like I did if your not reaching your potential.  Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  I'm challenging you today to find out whether or not sharing your goals with others is your missing piece of the puzzle to success.