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4/23/2015 Reflections

4/23/2015 Reflections

What do you want each day to be? What do you want to accomplish?

Every single day of my life I want to make the choice to wake up focused and determined. I will have my goals for each day established before I even open my eyes. I will set a timeline for each of my goals, stay on task, and accomplish whatever it is I shift my focus towards.
I will wake up every morning excited and appreciative of the fact I woke up at all. I will do a better job of approaching every social interaction with an open mind and an open heart. Although I feel as though my honesty and openness with those around me is usually of great benefit I must also do a better job of being patient enough to accept that many people might not be prepared to handle such truth when they are accustomed to lying and being lied to for a majority of their days. They probably aren’t lying about much, but I have in the past, and I know many others have hidden their true thoughts and feelings in an effort to appease those around them. I will improve my understanding of the fact that even though my honesty and love are delivered with positivity and designed to produce more positivity that will, unfortunately, not always be the way my message is received or perceived.
We seem to live in a superficial world in which many people have little to no desire to look beneath the surface in order to improve themselves and the world around them. Perhaps I can serve humanity more effectively if I simply ask questions and wait for them to explain their thoughts to themselves. As I write this, my eyes become more open to the probability and likelihood that even if a person trusts me, believes in me, and knows I have their best interest at heart they might still be resistant to change or a new perspective. I’ve read the quote a thousand times “Change must come from within.” How can I help trigger change from within another if I am attempting to present them with a reality they have yet to discover on their own? Attempting to teach people about themselves ….As I transcribe this onto my computer from my notepad I realize how flawed that train of thought is in it of itself. The mistake I have been making is telling people what I see, what I have experienced, and what I believe. It is like shaking someone to wake him or her up. People do not want to be woken up when they are not ready. That is when resistance is encountered. I must make less of an attempt to push the truth onto people and make more of an effort to open my mind and find a way to help them learn how to let the truth flow through them. The unconscious want to wake up on their own terms and I must accept that. I can facilitate this process more effectively by asking questions when I am curious, and by answering questions when they are asked, not before they are asked. The more I learn about my fellow man the more I learn about myself and the world around me. I will research my experience. I will absorb what is useful. I will reject what is useless, and add what is specifically my own.
I will improve my patience. I will ask more questions. I will do a better job of listening to the answers. I will be patient enough to present my opinion when it is asked for. I must understand that when most people are truly ready to listen, they will ask for an answer.
I will continue to spend my days constantly working to improve myself in an effort to better serve humanity. I am but a very small piece in an ever-expanding world. If I do not put forth my best effort to do my part to improve it, how can I expect or help promote

4/21/2015 An attempt at beng poetic

APRIL 21, 2015. An attempt at being poetic

What a great tragedy we all have sewn
Destroying the lives we could have known
Not thinking, not seeing
Believing in forces outside of ourselves
Never realizing the true power within
Not truly knowing until it’s the end

The masses are zombies moving without thought
In their faces, their eyes, a look so distraught
Empty smiles and endless forced grins
Attempting to hide all the pain within
Not thinking, not seeing
Believing in forces outside of ourselves
Never realizing the true power within
Not truly knowing until it’s the end

What is our purpose? Why are we here?
To produce negativity? To live in fear?
Making choices and not knowing why
Blindly following until you die
Not thinking, not seeing
Believing in forces outside of ourselves
Never realizing the true power within
Not truly knowing until it’s the end

Gifted with potential beyond our sight
Succumbing to fear and uncertainty
Giving up the fight
Our limits unknown
Do we desire to find
And know that who we were
Can be left behind

Our quantity of time in this world is smaller than we think
Do we fill it with quality or will we choose to sink
To the levels of the masses and that powers that be
With no care about you, and no care about me
Not thinking, not seeing
Believing in forces outside of ourselves
Never realizing the true power within
Not truly knowing until it’s the end

I believe in love and the power it wields
I will fight negativity with a relentless zeal
They will think me strange and different at times
I will keep following my heart and pay them no mind
My goal in life is to change the world
To help others realize their power within
I will never give up
Knowing that there is no end

PERSPECTIVE

Written 3/16/2015

PERSPECTIVE. This is a word I have heard and seen more in the last few days than I have at any other point in my life. But what does it mean? Perspective that is, not the amount of times I have encountered the word recently. Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward or a way of regarding something; a point of view. In short, it is the way we process information; situations, words, actions, successes, failures, and so on and so forth. Now, what determines an individual’s perspective/view of events taking place in the world? I believe every single moment of a human being’s life ultimately shapes their perspective, opinions, thoughts, feelings and actions. If time is linear it would seem as though we can not reach the end point without first traversing through the infinite number of points created from the very birth of the line until now. That seems like the most logical thing in the world to me, but to some it might seem totally ridiculous. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and thoughts on any situation.
In my opinion, not being open to other views is like shutting yourself off from the world. I feel like those that choose to limit their intake of perspectives are limiting their world. It is as though they are sitting inside of a house and only looking out at the world through a keyhole in a door when they could simply open the door and see everything in front of them. This allows a person to experience a much larger amount of life and also allows them the opportunity to decide what to do with the information and experiences they go through; to see why they think this about that, or feel that about this. Will we all see from the same point of view all of the time? Certainly not. None of us share the same eyes therefore making it impossible to see things the exact same way.
Let me put this into perspective. I sit here in my apartment writing in a notebook given to me by a friend because she likes to read what I write. This will probably never be published, and I am definitely not getting paid for it. In the eyes of many I have just wasted a couple of hours of my life, ink from my pen, and the paper in this book. To me, even if my words can help only one person then every simple stroke of my pen upon this paper has been worth it. The funny thing is that simply by writing this I have helped me to gain a better understanding of myself and therefore every moment has been put to good use before another person even lays their eyes upon this.
Now my mind takes me to a question about why people seem so much more willing to apply themselves with physical development and enhancement rather than continuing to grow emotionally or mentally. I believe it is due to the fact that it is much easier for others to see you than to actually take the time or make the effort to get to know you. It is unfortunate that the ability to communicate with people we do not know seems to be a diminishing skill and an increasing fear amongst the masses. Has our society turned into one so extremely materialistic and superficial that people would rather endure the physical pain of cosmetic surgery than to take the time to enhance or reconstruct themselves internally? If this is the case then I feel like we are slipping further and further from the truth that inner beauty can last a lifetime while the external will eventually fade away. Another truth, in my opinion, is we, humans, need each other in order to live life to the fullest. How can we maximize our ability to assist in the progress of our civilization if we do not first take steps towards helping ourselves? I do not speak of self-help or undertaking mere physical endeavors. I speak of challenging ourselves throughout 100% of our being across all planes of existence.
One of the things I find to be particularly interesting when I reflect and look at the world is how very little a majority of people seem to understand what shapes their viewpoint. Perhaps I should rephrase. It amazes me how little effort the majority of people put into understanding why they think what they think or why they feel what they feel? Correct me if I am wrong here, but isn’t one of life’s ultimate seemingly unanswerable questions, “Why are we here?” I believe another one is, “How did we get here?” These things interest me greatly.
I believe there is a serious hurdle to jump before I dive headlong into the topic of understanding and being open to the perspective others may have. How can we really truly ever comprehend and understand the perspective of another human being, or any creature for that matter, if we do not first take the time to learn how we reached our point of view in the first place. Are you the type of person that takes responsibility for your internal goings on or do you prefer to blame others? “Ted made me sad.” Did Ted make you feel sad or are you sad as a result of Ted’s actions not falling in line with the version of an optimal reality you created in your mind prior to him not asking you on a date that night?
Have you ever watched a movie and only seen the final 10 minutes? When this has happened you’re probably pretty confused. If questioned about the film you would have little to no idea how the old man ended up with a 22-year-old wife and 5 billion dollars in his bank account. When it comes to a movie you might not give a shit about how or why that happened. I mean, it’s a movie. What about your thoughts and feelings though? Do you ever take a moment to ask yourself how you created those thoughts or why you have those particular feelings?
Time to dig a little bit deeper into the topic of self-awareness and understanding of us. Like any good challenge the task of becoming honest with ourselves about thoughts, feelings, and such will not be without obstacles. The largest obstacle of all is our EGO. The way we want people to view us. Sometimes we fall into some bad habits in life. One of the most dangerous, in my experience is the creation of a person for the outside world different from our true self. This created an inordinate amount of internal conflict for me in the past. I was so busy trying to be what I thought I should be for everyone else that I would often make choices that went against my gut and initial intuition. I suppose I did it to maintain appearances. I did it so that people would like me. The thing was, I got so caught up in the mix of trying to get everyone else to like me that I wasn’t doing what it took to be happy with myself. I continuously made little compromises in order to please those around me. The worst thing I could compromise was the truth, and I did that often. I did it about trivial things. I will give one simple example here by sharing a personal experience with a type of compromise in order to relate to you more effectively. Early in my career as a personal trainer at 24Hr Fitness I cared far more about drinking and partying with my friends than I did about any of my clients. I was selfish and I was not committed to my work. I had only recently gotten out of the Army and I believe I was more focused on living the part of my life I felt I had missed out on with my friends that I had hardly seen over the last few years. I would find just about any excuse to cancel appointments with clients in order to go out on the town with my friends. The thing is, I would never tell them the truth about why I was cancelling. I recall a particular day in the summer of 2008 when I had cancelled my appointments in order to drink beer and watch soccer with my friends at Buffalo Wild Wings. I never really felt right when I did things like that, but I kept doing it because I didn’t want to get shit from my friends if I missed out on fun things. On the particular day I just mentioned I had actually forgotten to cancel on one of my clients. She called me on my cell phone while I was at the bar. I didn’t recognize the phone number and I answered the call. The caller said “Hey Josh, where are you right now?” I was drunk already and answered with, “At Buffalo Wild Wings. Where are you?” Obviously my client was not too happy with that response being that she was at the gym waiting for our 3pm appointment and me. Going against my gut in a simple situation like that created several more uncomfortable conversations and situations for me. That particular client no longer wanted to train with me and I nearly lost my job. All of that could have been avoided if I had simply done what I knew was right. Did I have to lie to my clients in order to go drink with my friends? Did I have to compromise my job simply because I didn’t want to get messed with by my buds? No, but at the time I chose to because I wasn’t concerned with what was in my best interest. I was so busy compromising in order to please others that I compromised my integrity and character in the process. This is only one instance in which I compromised the truth. There are far too many others to recount in this one short essay. I suppose some of this happened as a result of my insecurities and a lack of personal strength. I lacked the strength to be honest with others at the time. Not only that, I lacked the strength to be honest with myself. I had yet to develop an understanding of why I made the decisions I was making or felt certain things that I felt.
It would appear as though I have fallen into sharing my perspective, but I think that is what this is all about. Sharing perspective on perspective knowing all along there are roughly 7 billion other possible perspectives about what I have spent this time writing about.
Looking back, several years later, I guess I just wasn’t ready to understand yet. Apparently I had to dig a deep enough hole to truly decide I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I dug that hole with negative thoughts, negative words, and negative actions, but I didn’t believe I was a negative character. One day I decided, just like that, it was time to change. Instead of procrastinating and waiting around for a force to change me I decided to become the force and change myself. I started to behave like the person I wanted me to be instead of the person I thought I had to be or felt certain people wanted me to be. It is a challenge indeed, but pursuing my own development and progress as a human being has been one of the most worthwhile adventures I have ever gone on. I know that my work will never be done and I will constantly search for ways to improve mentally, emotionally, and physically every single day. Those three realms are connected and I do not believe we can truly fulfill our potential in one aspect without simultaneously working to improve the others. The more honest I became with myself the better I understood myself and the more honest and understanding I felt I could be with others.
Do you see what I am getting at here? Why don’t most people take the time to understand what has shaped their own perspective? Are they too caught up with school, work, and entertainment? Or is it simply because the vast majority have never been taught the skill of how to understand themselves? I think a larger issue that has presented itself to me in the last several years seems to be that many people have no interest in understanding themselves. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes honesty, pure, un-cut honesty. You know what they say; “the truth hurts,” and most of us do not like pain, emotional or physical. Conversely, society has developed the saying, “pain is weakness leaving the body.” Most of the time I see it used in reference to physical pain, but I think that is simply because most people are unwilling to put in the effort to apply it when it comes to progress emotionally, character development, and mental capacity.
Please allow me to take my perspective on perspective one step further. I know what it is like to go days on end without sleep. I experienced that many times when I was an Airborne Ranger. What do you think my thoughts are when someone complains to me about a 12-hour workday or being stuck in traffic? My thoughts are not those of disdain, but those of belief in you. Belief that if you change the way you view that day then it will seem as though it is more pleasurable than painful. The thing however that has helped my perspective the most when it comes to “challenges,” is knowing that there will always be people out there climbing a steeper mountain, traversing greater obstacles, and doing more with less than you or I ever have. Those thoughts help me to stay centered and I believe they can help you too. I can’t imagine what my Ranger Buddy Cory Remsburg would say to me if he ever heard me complain about any aspect of my life. Cory was basically blown up on October 1st, 2009 in Afghanistan. He was in a coma for nearly 4 months and was never supposed to wake up. But he did anyway. The doctors told him that he would never talk, walk, or really live a normal life again. 6 months after he awoke from the coma he was talking. Undergoing several hours of grueling rehab and physical therapy each day over the years he speaks more clearly and can walk on his own. PERSPECTIVE. What do I know about a challenge? I have never had to come back from the dead and learn how to live again. Do I know about challenges? Yes. More than many, but less than some. This is why I love the power of perspective, because when you understand how you got to the point you are at it makes it a lot easier to sympathize, empathize, and connect with others in order to see how they arrived at their point of view. I’m not always right and I’m not always wrong, but I will always love people and I will always believe in their potential to utilize the tool of perspective in order to mold any obstacle in their path into a sign helping to point them in the right direction.
The Law of Inertia states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. I mention this because the way I see it we are the objects. Not just our bodies, but our minds and our hearts as well. The thing separating us is that we as objects have all of the power to change our state of being at any given moment. We decide when we make the change from being an object at rest to becoming an object in motion. We decide at what speed we move. Will there constantly be external factors applying force that can potentially change our speed, direction, and overall state of being? Yes. Always. The unbelievably incredible fact is that based upon the way we see the world we have the power to manipulate that force and flow with it. I think one of the most heartbreaking things in the world is when people feel like they have to be sad, angry, jealous, selfish, petty, and any negative act or emotion you can think of. The funny thing is that none of those words would exist without their opposites. We would not have sad without happy, angry without calm, jealous without trusting, selfish without selfless, and petty without kind. What would happen if you thought of your emotional states as light switches? Simply flicking them on and off. Obviously it won’t always happen immediately. Sometimes it will take a little more time to flick the switch than others, occasionally if it is off it will be difficult to find, but eventually it will happen when the time is right. The sparks will fly and the bulb will turn on illuminating whatever it is you want to see.
Life as we know it is an incredible journey. There are infinite ups, downs, good times, and bad. The past will always exist in our minds and can hold us back if we allow it to. The future will never be definite as even the best-laid plans can collapse and slip away. The one thing that we can ultimately control is our mind and how we use it. It is the most powerful tool that we have and I believe we can maximize its effectiveness by understanding how to focus on the present moment. That is when we can truly decide how we perceive the world. Memories of past moments are tools that we can use to empower us in the present or break us down. Stressing about the future can be extremely harmful to our ability to live in the present. However, we can use that awareness that the future will eventually arrive to make decisions in the present to create the best possible future.
These could simply be illogical ramblings and nonsense to some, but all of these words thrown together like this seem to make sense to me. It is my hope they will make sense to you and have a positive impact on the way you perceive the world. I desire nothing more than to help everyone I come in contact with in some small way, shape, or form. I want to live the highest quality of life I can, and affect the lives of others with the quality of my words and actions. As long I can maintain a high quality of life, the quantity will not matter. The world is a beautiful place. I am aware of the ugly parts of it, but I make the choice to look past them in order to see the great potential of humanity. How do you see the world? How do you see yourself? Why?

Thoughts on the 2013 Open

In exactly 1 week the CrossFit Games Open starts again. Last year I had only been doing CrossFit for about 3 and a half weeks when the first workout was released. I remember feeling so nervous and excited to see what it was. I also remember how I felt when I walked into Orange Coast CrossFit to perform the first workout. There were a ton of people there and all of them, based on their physical stature, appeared to be “better” than me. I knew that everyone there had more experience with CrossFit than I did, but the workout was 7 min of burpees so I didn’t let that get in my head. That day I did 129 burpees in 7 minutes, which was good enough to put me at 46th place after the first of five qualifying workouts for regionals (they took the top 60 athletes last year). On the ride home that day I truly believed that I had a shot at making it.
Experience didn’t matter; nothing that anyone else did mattered. All that mattered to me was that I was willing to give everything to achieve my goal. I was obsessed with it. The week before the 2nd workout I injured my foot in training. At the time I was so obsessed with my goal that I refused to rest, and continued to push. The 2nd workout of the open was a Snatch ladder. Snatches were an exercise that I had only done a few times so I was kind of nervous, but once again, nothing mattered but giving everything I had to work towards my goal (also beating my older brother that had been doing CrossFit for a few years already). I had a decent performance in that workout, but tweaked my shoulder due to my improper technique. Still, I did not rest. With my foot and shoulder injuries I was very limited in what I could do each week to prepare for the next workout. I couldn’t run, couldn’t jump rope, couldn’t do box jumps, and I could barely do any lifting. Basically, I was destroying myself. The thought of “failure” in reaching my goal was so horrible that I was willing to sacrifice my body in order to achieve success. With each of the following 3 workouts I started to feel my fitness level decreasing and my performance in each workout demonstrated that. The 3rd workout had box jumps and push press (extremely painful for my foot and shoulder), the 4th had double unders (killer on my foot), the 5th and final workout didn’t have anything that brought great pain to me, but I was in a poor mental state and my lung capacity had deteriorated so much that it totally destroyed me. I did not reach my goal of advancing to regionals and I refused to take solace in the fact that as inexperienced and as injured as I was, I managed to place 182nd out of around 2,000 male athletes in the SoCal region. I viewed it as failure.
With that in mind, I continued to train while injured. It was incredibly stupid. I didn’t take any time off of training until April. I only did that because my good friend Ben Heck had a serious talk with me and let me know I could never fulfill my potential if I was always hurt. I hadn’t been 100% in months, but I cared so much about what everyone I was trying to compete with was doing that I was making myself worse by trying to “keep up”. Over the course of the next few months I struggled with my mindset. Always getting down on myself when I couldn’t do things that athletes that had been doing this for years were doing. I was impatient, and thickheaded. I continued to be a dumb ass until August 25th, 2012. It was the first time I got to participate in a “real” CrossFit competition. It was a team competition and I was determined to show everybody that I was capable of keeping up with the top athletes in the region. The first workout of 3 was 3 rounds for time of 30 wall balls, 14 muscle ups, and 30 hang power snatches with a 14 minute time cap. The team was Matt Banwart, Gilly Smith, and I. We didn’t have a 2nd girl. Everything started great as we flew through the wall balls and muscle ups, and then came the hang power snatches (snatches have been my kryptonite since I started CrossFit). I saw Matt knock out about 12-15 unbroken and I was determined to do something similar. I got my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (my technique was terrible), I kept pushing. On my 5th hang power snatch I tried to get under the bar too fast and nailed myself in the forehead. It split it open and blood immediately started pouring out of my face. I didn’t care. When it was my turn to work again I didn’t let it stop me. I corrected my technique and continued to perform each exercise. It seemed like the people running the event wanted me to stop, but I ignored them. Gilly wanted me to stop, but I ignored her too. I had one goal, and that was to not let my teammates down and to show that I was capable of great things. I finished the workout bloody as hell and with a bandage on my head. For about 20 minutes afterwards I was feeling alright because my adrenaline was still pumping. When that wore off I pretty much fell to the ground and almost passed out. My friend Alex drove me to the emergency room. On the way there I pretty much puked my brains out. When we arrived I couldn’t stand up under my own power and had to be placed in a wheel chair. I looked so messed up that people in line for the ER actually let me go ahead of them. For the 15min I was waiting to get looked at I felt so horrible that all I could think was “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.” I ended up getting 5 stitches in my forehead and was diagnosed with a concussion. I felt embarrassed that day. I did not feel as though what I did was “bad ass,” or that I even did anything different than anyone else would have done. I thought it was the right thing to do.
When I went home that day there were a few people over. Ben was telling the story of what happened to a couple of our friends and I took it in such a negative way that I blew up on him. I felt horrible about it. The whole incident made me realize that I wasn’t focused on myself. I was focused on everybody else. I was using so much energy thinking about what other people were doing that it was taking away from me. The worst part about it was that CrossFit had stopped being fun for me. I took a few weeks off after that to, kind of, re-evaluate why I was doing what I was doing. It dawned on me that the less I cared about everyone else, like in the beginning, and the more I kept all of my own energy, the more fun I had and the better I felt physically.
Since that time I haven’t “competed” against anyone, but I have worked out with a ton of phenomenal athletes. I just focus on me and doing what I can do that day, in that workout, in that moment, and that is all that matters. I think that mindset translates to all aspects of life. The more you can focus on what you can control, and only on what you can control, the more simple life becomes. Stress melts away, negative energy drifts away, and only the positive thoughts remain. So now the 2013 Open is a week away. I’m not stressed, I’m not anxious, I am still kind of a dumb ass when it comes to pushing through things, but its for a different reason now. It’s because I want to find out what I am capable of. I will never know unless I continue to push. It is just in a much more positive way. I hope that reading this helps you to realize to focus on you and what you are doing, and not worry about other people or things outside of yourself that you have no control over. Because, in the end, that is all just wasted energy.

Anniversary Thoughts

I am sitting here at CrossFit High Road. It is 9:30p.m. On Monday February 23, 2015. It has been exactly 364 days since we opened our doors for our first day of business. For the last several days I have been putting forth my best effort to think of something to write about the occasion. I have wanted to write my thoughts and feelings about this gym in so many different ways that I have been unable to pinpoint exactly how to describe the way I view this place. The way I feel about it. The way I experience it. Tonight I was on the phone with a friend when she asked me, “Why are you so deep in thought today?” That was the very moment it hit me. I wanted to write something about this gym, my home, because the members that come to us each day deserve to know just how much I truly do love them and genuinely appreciate each and every second they spend in here. They deserve to know how much they have helped me to improve, not just as a coach or business owner, but also as a human being. I wake up each and every morning to take steps towards bettering myself in order to help the people I care about in a better way.
Here I am, only on the second paragraph of this essay and I am already becoming scatterbrained. I will just get straight to the point again and again. The transitions will not be seamless. My thoughts might not end up being very well organized, and I will definitely be throwing in some profanity here and there. This essay will not be the most grammatically correct piece of work you have ever taken the time to read, and for that I apologize. I am not a smart man. I never have been and I never will be. I am not a talented man. I never have been and I never will be. I have never been the fastest, the strongest, the anythingest. None of that was in the genetic lottery for me. One thing I have realized at this point in my life is that I love helping people. Love might not even be a word strong enough to describe how I feel in regards to helping somebody do something they have never done or never thought they could do.
I started writing a bunch of other stuff right here and realized something. I can explain why I love helping people so much in a few short words. I love helping people to learn how to believe in themselves and to overcome fear because I know exactly what it is like to not believe in myself and to be afraid of so many things. Afraid of looking foolish, afraid of making mistakes, afraid of letting others down, and afraid of letting myself down. I feel like I can see pieces of myself in every single person that walks through our doors.
When I first began CrossFit I was not patient. When I first started to make the effort to improve at Olympic Weightlifting I was not patient. My lack of patience held me back in so many ways it was unbelievable, or so I thought. Turns out, in order to help people learn how to be patient I had to experience impatience, frustration, and anger. I came to the conclusion that although none of us will ever be the best at anything; we can always put forth our best effort at everything we do. When we do this we create the greatest possibility for long-term success. To appreciate that we must be patient, and that is why patience is a skill and requires practice.
My best friend once told me “you can’t do better than your best, and that might change from one moment to the next.” Pretty profound shit for somebody in their early 20’s, but he was right. If we can look ourselves in the mirror at the end of each night and honestly tell ourselves we gave our best in every aspect of life then we should not be disappointed at all because we did everything to maximize our chances of success.
I told Vanessa a couple of years ago that since I was never going to be the best at CrossFit I was going to be the best at coaching it. Not only that, I told her I was going to be the best at loving the people that I coach and doing everything in my power each and every day to help them believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. I told her I was going to share my heart with the entire world and give the best of myself each and every day. By doing this I could get one step closer to my goal each day.
My definite chief aim in life for a couple of years now has been to help the men and women of this earth discover the powerful forces that lie sleeping within them. By doing this I believe I can help them to help change the world for the better. Every day, every hour, every moment is a chance to make a positive impact on the world.
I promise that as long as I am a part of this gym and as long as we have members I will never stop pushing myself to achieve my goal. I will take steps every second of every day to better myself so that I can better serve you. Although it might not seem like it at times I want you all to know that I genuinely love each of you as people and want nothing more than to help you trust and believe that you can do anything.
Every thought I think, every word I say, and every action I take is designed to work towards my goal of helping people. I might get outsmarted at times, I might get outcoached every once in a while, and I will definitely not take first in every workout or lifting competition, but I will swear on everything that there will never ever be anybody as dedicated to your success and as determined to help you believe in yourself as I am.
I will always be honest with you and I will always do my best to give you all of the tools you need to reach whatever goals you might have inside and outside of the gym.
It has been 364 days since we first opened our doors. There have been ups and downs and lefts and rights. There is no way in fuck I would change a single moment because ultimately they have all brought us together, and that is a beautiful thing.
My life hasn’t always run smoothly, there will always be challenges in front of all of us, mental and physical. I will give you everything I have to help you overcome them because I love you and I believe in you.
I know this is just about the sappiest thing I have ever written, but it is 100% honesty top to bottom. I want to make sure that every single one of our members knows why I wake up with a smile on my face each and every day, and go to sleep at night looking forward to the next morning’s sunrise.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives. You push me to be a better person each and every day, and for that I cannot thank you enough. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CROSSFIT HIGH ROAD
#EVERYBODYLOVEEVERYBODY #THEREISNOQUIT #MINDSET #WELOVEHELPINGPEOPLEBECAUSEWELOVEPEOPLE

For Barbell Club

Dear Barbell Club,

I think you all learned a lot today when we tested Heavy Single Snatch and Heavy Single Clean & Jerk. If you learned absolutely nothing today then I have either failed you as a coach, or you simply do not listen or pay attention to anything that happened in that room today. The thing I believe most of you are failing to understand is a Heavy Single day is not an automatic PR day. What it looks like is that some of you expect to PR because you have put in the time during the cycle. PR’s are not and never will be automatic. They must be earned. You do not earn them by becoming impatient and altering your technique. You do not earn them by being afraid when there is a challenging weight on the bar. You earn them through discipline when it comes to your technique. You earn them through developing a patience and understanding of yourself when it comes to this whole weightlifting experience. If weightlifting were easy then everyone would have perfect form. If weightlifting were easy then we would PR everyday. If you do not respect and appreciate the process you will fail. You will fail miserably and you will drag the team down with you. I will not allow that. I do not give two flying fucks about whether or not you PR on days like today. All I give a fuck about is that you push yourself to overcome fear. All I care about is whether or not you develop the courage to remain calm in the face of a challenge. I want to see you remain positive when you miss a lift. No more of this moping sad face bullshit. I understand why it happens because I used to do it as well, but it was so detrimental to my development that I can’t willingly sit back and not say anything when I see any of you making that same negative choice I was making; the choice to hold yourself back by succumbing to frustration instead of learning. NEWS FLASH!! Missed lifts are part of the process. They are just as important, if not more important than made lifts. It is my duty to you to educate you on why you miss lifts so that you can learn how to make those lifts in the future. I will never stop coaching you. I will never be less than 100% honest about what I see out there. I will be loud, I will be a smart ass, and I will probably make a lot of crass/inappropriate jokes. This is who I am. I am someone that has made a ton of mistakes and is willing to share those experiences with you in an effort to help you avoid making those same mistakes yourselves. If you do not like being coached, if you do not like being challenged, if you want to choose fear, if you want choose frustration, if you choose to be impatient then you will not enjoy High Road Barbell Club. I will coach you with everything I have in me because I see, not where you are, but where you are capable of going. You can choose to fight against what I say. You can choose to take all of the joy and beauty out of this process, or you can appreciate and enjoy what it truly is. A recreational activity that allows us as people to challenge ourselves to push beyond know boundaries, not just physically, but mentally as well. I am here to help you find your potential. My mission is to help you understand that fear is a choice you do not have to make. Patience is a transferable skill in all aspects of life. Being a positive influence on the people around you might be the most important practice in the world. We will not make every lift. We will miss lifts, and make mistakes. We are imperfect creatures living in an imperfectly perfect world. Lets enjoy the experiences as a group of individuals coming together for something more. Let us raise the bar, not just for ourselves, but for each other.

With all of the love in my heart,
Joshua Baumgarten

YOU TALK ABOUT THE GAME, BUT YOU AREN’T WILLING TO PLAY

YOU TALK ABOUT THE GAME, BUT YOU AREN’T WILLING TO PLAY

You say you have goals. You talk about them all the time. I want to do this, I want to do that. I hear you every time. Where are you when it is time to get in the game and step up to the plate? You don’t even have the courage to get into the fuckin batter’s box, do you? Why are you even in the dugout? Why are you standing here telling me that you want to make the big play? How are you ok with blatantly lying to me and everyone else about your “goals,”? How did our society get to this point where the majority of people are more willing to talk about goals than actually taking the actions to achieve them? Fuck that. I want it to stop, and I am no longer willing to sit back in the stands and watch this continue to happen. I am storming the field. I am taking the mound and throwing a 100mph fast ball right down the middle. I am telling you I am going to do it. Do you have the heart to step up to the plate knowing what is about to happen? Do you have it in you to take a fucking swing at all? Does the possibility that you might miss frighten you so much that you are unwilling to put forth your best effort? Or are you going to be part of the minority that actually has the guts and the grit to step up to the plate and strike out over, and over, and over again believing that at some point one of these swings is going to knock that fucking ball into orbit? This article is about how I no longer desire to hear about the goals that you are more willing to speak about than you are willing to work towards.
Now, I know this isn’t like my usual stuff, which involves me saying how much I love everyone and how much potential everybody has. Those two things are still true, but I am taking a different angle on this whole pep talk thing. Instead of staying calm and talking to you like you can hear me, I am smacking you in the face and yelling so loud that you can’t help but listen. I am going to be so loud that there is no way that the coward that lives in the back of your mind, the stupid little bastard that has been conditioned by society to cower when confronted with a challenge can’t here me. I am here to tell you that you can achieve your goals, but I am also here to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP if you are not 100% committed. I pay enough attention to the tone of your voice, I pay enough attention to your body language and your actions to know when you are full of shit. Why are you even telling people that you have these goals? Do you think that your friends and family will think more highly of you when you tell them about the great things you want to achieve? I’ve been there. I have been in your shoes. I would talk about my goals all the time, but that little fucker in the back of my mind would always have a fail-safe mechanism to save my stupid ass ego from being destroyed when I didn’t achieve them. That is what happens when something isn’t a real goal FYI. You start by saying that you will try to do things. As cliché’ as it sounds, trying really is doing something with the intent to fail.
If something really is a goal of yours, whether it is to get in better shape, get a promotion, get your masters, do whatever the fuck. If something really is your goal you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. You will obsess about it. It is not unhealthy to embrace challenges and hard work. Many people in today’s society will “hate,” on your efforts because (whether they are aware of it or not) your hard work and dedication affects their image of themselves. If they talk shit about whatever it is that you have to do to achieve your goal then you should probably turn a def ear to that person. Different people have different goals. I support every goal that people have as long as it doesn’t involve being negative to other people in any way shape or form. Something I do not support, however, is the story telling that people do. The people that talk about their goals and they never take a single step in that direction, or they start towards their goal and the second something doesn’t go right, or they are faced with a challenge they tuck their tail between their legs and run away. FUCK YOU. STEP YOUR MOTHER FUCKING GAME UP. YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING. YOU ARE POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE IN SO MANY WAYS THAT YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY COMPREHEND OR KNOW ABOUT THEM UNTIL YOU CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO FIND OUT HOW AMAZING YOU ARE CAPABLE OF BEING. FUCK YOU FOR BACKING DOWN. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE THAT CHOICE. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO RISE UP. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO PUSH FORWARD. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO STAND UP WHEN THE ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU, AND BLOW THE OPPOSITION OUT OF THE WATER. YOU ARE INFINITELY POWERFUL. YOU JUST HAVE TO BE WILLING TO PUT IN THE WORK. IT IS NOT OK TO BE AFRAID ANYMORE. JUST BECAUSE THE MAJORITY OF SOCIETY IS AFRAID OF HARD WORK AND VIEWS IT AS A NEGATIVE, THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT THE RIGHT. You get what I am saying here?

200 years ago the vast majority of people in the United States still thought that it was cool to enslave other human beings because of the color of their skin. Pretty much the dumbest shit ever. Have you ever thought that 200 years from now (if human beings haven’t wiped themselves out by then) future society will look back on what the majority accepts today and laugh about how ignorant most of us are? We live in a world in which more people know and care about what is going on in the entertainment industry more than they care about their next-door neighbor. We live in a society that would rather lower the standards to help people meet them instead of putting in the work to help lift people up. I view that as a problem. I agree that hard work is much more challenging than taking shortcuts for immediate gratification. That does not make it right. I agree that it is easier in today’s society to omit the truth or compromise it in some way so that other people feel comfortable about whatever the subject is that their ego can’t handle. That does not make it right.

Why the fuck is it so socially acceptable to talk about goals and not put in the work to achieve them? Why are people surrounding themselves with other people that play into their bullshit instead of calling them out and holding them accountable? Oh yeah, because it is easier to compromise than to be honest. It is easier to be afraid than lower your defenses and show your heart to the world and risk whatever pain might come with that. Guess what sometimes pain isn’t a bad thing, you can learn from it. Mistakes aren’t bad all of the time, you can learn from those to. DO NOT BE SO AFRAID OF FAILURE THAT YOU NEVER STEP UP TO THE PLATE. DO NOT BE SO AFRAID OF MAKING A MISTAKE THAT YOU ARE UNWILLING TO PUT IN THE EFFORT.

I have made countless mistakes in my life and I am happy that I did. I had to make those mistakes so that I could learn from them. Like I said, I used to make the mistake of talking about goals before I was willing to work towards achieving them. I am happy to admit that I was just flat out wrong. Once I started holding myself accountable, once I made an effort to dissolve my ego and open myself up to mistakes and challenges, I started to achieve so much more. I am not special in any way shape or form. Every single person on this mother fucking planet is capable of greatness. WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS. WE ARE ALL IN THIS WORLD TOGETHER. START LIFTING EACH OTHER UP INSTEAD OF PUTTING EACH OTHER DOWN. STOP COMPROMISING YOUR INTEGRITY AND THE INTEGRITY OF OTHERS BY TELLING HALF TRUTHS AND GIVING HALF HEARTED EFFORTS. STEP THE FUCK UP BECAUSE YOU ARE BETTER THAN ALL OF THAT BULLSHIT.

Anyways, back to the original topic. Don’t talk about goals if you are unwilling to do what it takes to achieve them. If everyone knew that you were full of shit do you think they would still want to listen? Do you think that everyone wants to hear your sorry ass excuses about why you didn’t do this or that or the other thing? There are reasons shit doesn’t happen and there are excuses. I am not infallible, nobody is, sometimes things simply do not go the way that we intend them to. That is ok. That is when reasons come into play. Excuses are obstacles that people put in front of themselves to trip over because they are unwilling to do what it takes to reach their “desired,” destination. BE WILLING TO HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE WHEN YOU HEAR YOURSELF MAKING EXCUSES.

I do not expect anyone to be perfect. I myself am far from it, but I am always going to make an effort to learn and grow as a human being and my goal in life is to help other people do the same in whatever way I can. MY GOAL IN LIFE IS TO HELP AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE EACH AND EVERY DAY. If you do not see me putting in the effort to do so, TELL ME. I need to be put in check sometimes too, because I am a person, and I make mistakes. Just like you, and every other person. I hope this article helped you to think about things in a different way. Maybe it will help someone you know. All I know is that I wrote it with a message of love behind it because I believe that it can help at least one person today, and that is another step in the direction of my goal. I love you

#THEREISNOQUIT #MINDSET #EVERYBODYLOVEEVERYBODY #DONTTALKABOUTITBEABOUTIT #WEAREALLINTHISTOGETHER

Something I wrote the night before I turned 30

Here I sit on the eve of my 30th birthday thinking about life. I tend to do that pretty much every day because I enjoy life quite a bit, with all of its twists and turns. At 8:08p.m. on July 24th I will be 30 years old exactly. I will have been alive for 946,728,000 seconds. Quite an insignificant amount of time when you really think about how long the universe has been around. I do not view turning 30 as an accomplishment, and I do not desire to make a big deal, or any sort of deal, about my birthday. I share this birthday with millions of other people that have made the exact same amount of trips around the sun as I have. I prefer to celebrate every moment of every day, so this is nothing special for me. Moments are special. The things that happen in every moment of every day. I like those things a lot more than I like celebrating an “accomplishment” that the vast majority of human beings will achieve.
I want to clarify that I greatly appreciate all of the nice things that come along to people when it is their birthday. Compliments, happy birthdays, and thank you, and so on and so forth. I guess, for me, I don’t like to view my birthday as anything special. It is simply another day. Another opportunity to help the people that I come in contact with in whatever way I can. I believe that many people think you should be doing what you love most when your birthday rolls around because that is “your day.” I am very fortunate the choices I have made in my life allow me to do the thing I love most each and every moment of each and every day. HELP PEOPLE. I can see how that seems lame, but it really is my favorite thing to do. I wake up each morning looking forward to the way the day will unfold not knowing exactly what kind of things will happen throughout the day. I look forward to the challenges, the successes, and everything in between. After all, each day itself is a microcosm of life. There is a beginning, a bunch of stuff happens, and then there is an end. It is your choice how you will live each of the days and each of the moments in your life. Whether you are turning 6, 17, 30, 45, or 137, the amount of time you are alive means very little. What you do with it is what counts.
I am 30 yrs old. Every single moment of my life has carried the exact same amount of significance in allowing this aging process to happen. I obviously was not always aware that every moment in life is equal in its significance and I probably missed out on a lot of good information for a very long time. I have probably lived a third of my life. Or perhaps I have lived 3 quarters of my life. Who knows, really? It does not matter in the grand scheme of things. What I believe matters is what I decide to do each day to help generate positive energy in the world.
I feel as though every day should be a celebration of one’s life, and of the lives of the people that you come in contact with. I am aware of the fact that there is a lot of negativity in the world, but that doesn’t make it right. Let’s pretend that each day of life is like an empty glass. When you wake up you begin to fill the glass with your thoughts and feelings. At the end of each day the glass is full of whatever you have put in it and when you lay your head on your pillow to sleep at night you can empty the glass completely or you will hold on to whatever liquid is in there. Now, lets use the example that there are 2 liquids in containers on either side of your glass. Those are your 2 options from which you must choose to fill the glass. 1 of them is a drink that you despise and tastes bitter and is difficult to digest, the other is your favorite drink, the most delicious smooth tasting beverage you have ever consumed. For me, a beverage I have very little interest in putting into my glass is Piss. Now, I am sure some people really enjoy the flavor, but it simply does not seem appealing to me. My other option is water. Yeah, water is my favorite thing on earth to drink, do you have a problem with that? So each day I can wake up and fill my glass with either delicious smooth water I genuinely need to survive and brings all kinds of benefits into my life, or I can fill it with piss. Not interested in that second option. Sometimes people will come along and try to fill my glass with piss, and I simply make the choice in that moment to say, ”whoa buddy. Don’t be putting any of that garbage in here. I only want the good stuff.” Now, I am not perfect and life will not always workout, ”perfectly.” Sometimes a little bit of piss is going to get in that glass, but I have a sophisticated palate (obviously) at this point and can recognize it pretty fast. When I taste piss, I spit it out, and fill that glass with a bit more water. Fill each day with the thoughts and feelings that will help you move forward through life in a positive way. It is your choice. I doubt that any of you are thinking “Fuck you Josh. I’m going to choose to fill my glass with piss (negative energy) and keep on chuggin.” If you know you have the choice to be positive or negative what do you choose? Trick question. You always have a choice.
Anyways….I got side tracked. Long story short, the amount of time a human being is on this planet doesn’t mean jack and or shit. What matters to me is what they do with that time and whether or not it is positive or negative. Quality of life > quantity of life. I plan on spending each of my days on this planet doing my best to help improve the quality of life of the human beings I come in contact with. It can be something as simple as saying hello to the person I walk passed in the grocery store or smiling and asking the person at the register how their day is going. Be cool as fuck to people. I do not want to be thought of as the guy that filled someone’s glass with piss. Thank you for reading this strange rambling article that I chose to spend my time writing. That part about piss got a little bit weird, but I laughed while I wrote it and that was pretty fun. I love you, and I hope you have an amazing day and an amazing life. #thereisnoquit #mindset #everybodyloveeverybody

There Is No Quit Manifesto

THERE IS NO QUIT MANIFESTO

The message I need to convey is that it is simply about not giving up. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you have a passion for it. It doesn’t have to be related to your job, fitness, financial standing, academics, or anything really. The goal can be whatever you want it to be. Treat our fellow human beings with respect, positively affect the day of everyone we encounter, believe in ourselves; it doesn’t matter what the goal is as long as there is one. Just live it. You can’t give up, ever. That is all it is about. We need to be the light in the dark. We need to be the spark of positivity that sets a fire in the hearts of our friends, family, co-workers, and strangers, anybody we encounter. It isn’t about simply not giving up for you. It is about not giving up for each other. What I feel like many people fail to realize is we are all in this together, every single human being on this planet. We are 7 billion people sharing this one home on planet earth. How can we not be in this together? Whether or not people see it there is 1 team. Are you going to be one of those team members who let the team down or are you willing to hold yourself accountable and step your game up?
Leading by example is a trait in today’s world I feel is, sadly, undervalued and underutilized. There Is No Quit is about not giving up on each other, and not saying “fuck this,” “fuck that,” or “fuck that person,” for not seeing things the way you or I might see them. It is about doing the right thing and being good to people because it is the right thing to do. In my life I have seldom been more proud of myself than when I receive negativity from someone and I simply keep smiling and respond with positivity (or a question, sometimes people don’t even understand why they are negative until they hear themselves say it). What is a greater sign of personal strength, allowing yourself to be drawn into the negative mindset of another or to stand strong and hold firm to the belief that your steadfast positivity can change the world? Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t fight fire with fire?” I feel as though that is what many people are doing when they receive negativity and respond in kind. There Is No Quit is about believing in positivity so strongly that you rise above the negativity. It is about believing in the example you are setting for others to follow.
Make an effort to help people. Making an effort to help each other; that’s what this is about. This isn’t about you or me, this is about everyone. We need everyone to believe in their own potential to do amazing things and to be amazing people. We need everyone working together to stem the tide and the onslaught of bullshit and negativity many people are bombarded with each day. It will require us to love people, to be honest with them even if it is not what they want to hear; it is probably what they need to hear. There Is No Quit is about not compromising truth in favor of comfort. When we compromise truth we compromise ourselves, and our integrity. When we compromise ourselves, and our integrity we compromise the integrity of those around us. I do not feel as though lying to someone to make them comfortable actually benefits them or us in any way. If we are willing to lie to others, what’s to stop us from lying to ourselves?
We cannot give up on each other. We cannot give up ourselves. What happens when somebody sees us do that? They’re much more likely to give up on others. They will be much more likely to give up on themselves. I, for one, refuse to be a person that plays a part in somebody giving up. Will I be patient with people? Yes. Do I understand that things will not always be easy? Yes. But that is life, right? Everything is a learning experience. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to learn something we can use in a positive way. “Changing with change is the changeless state,” as Bruce Lee once said. “We must be like water,” and flow, adapt, shape to the change as it happens. Resisting change is an exercise in futility. Change is constant. Why wouldn’t you want to make a positive use of this amazing tool that is constantly presented to us? Why not be the catalyst for change in a positive way?
If giving up is easy, I believe that not giving up can be done with equal ease once it has become a habit. Know this, someone seeing you give up will be more likely to give up on themselves or others based on your example. However, I have found the opposite of this to be true as well. When somebody sees you not giving up when times get tough they will be more willing to keep pushing forward themselves. When somebody sees you helping others through challenging times then they are more likely to help others themselves. You can be that example of positivity for them to follow.
I believe every human being is capable of greatness. I suppose I define greatness somewhat differently than many people. I believe greatness to be a willingness to be honest when lying would be easier, to work hard when the only reward is more hard work, to sacrifice what we want in order to help others with what they need, to believe in ourselves when perhaps others to not, to believe in others when they may not believe in themselves, to love our fellow human beings and to open our hearts to them while knowing we may not receive the same in return. I believe everyone is capable of these things. I believe in an undying belief in people.
All we have in this world is each other and the experiences we share together. I believe if we choose to live our lives with open minds and open hearts then we can connect on another level. Instead of searching for ways to separate, or seeing what we allow to divide us, we can search for ways to connect and see what truly ties us all together.
If you believe in a positive cause enough than you need to step the fuck up and fight for it. You can’t make the mistake I have been making, which is to sit back and smile and nod while telling everybody how much you love them. That isn’t enough. I have not been doing enough. You need to stand up. You need to shout “THIS IS WHAT I AM DOING TO GENERATE POSITIVITY.” You need to let people know that you are not special for doing these things because EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF CHOOSING POSITIVITY. It doesn’t make sense to stand on a soapbox and just talk. We need to extend our hands to our fellow man and say “ I WANT TO HELP YOU. I BELIEVE IN YOU. LETS DO THIS TOGETHER. ALL OF US, TOGETHER.”
I will never ever give up on people. Nothing will ever stop me from believing in people and their potential to be great. We all have one life to live (supposedly) and we all have a different journey to make before we all reach the same final destination. I believe in being positive. I believe in making the best out of any situation. I believe in people’s ability to positively impact the lives of those around them, all day everyday. I believe my heart is big enough and strong enough to show everyone how much I love them regardless of the risk. And I do not believe I am the only one. When it comes to my goal of helping people everyday There Is No Quit (as cheesy as that sounds). Lets step our fucking game up, as a team of people, and make an effort to make a positive impact on the world. I love you. Everybody love everybody. THERE IS NO QUIT.

*This was inspired by my experiences with all of the amazing people I have been fortunate enough to encounter in my life. My family, my Ranger brethren, my friends, and my teammates. I wrote this because all of you have helped me to believe in myself. I simply desire to help others believe in themselves too.

The Airborne Ranger in the Sky, And the One that Wouldn’t Die

PREFACE

October 1st will mark 5 years since Robert Sanchez lost his life over seas, and Cory Remsburg was about as close to that as you can get. Both of these Airborne Rangers were/are friends of mine and I am honored to have served with them. I suppose I was compelled to write this piece to honor them both, and to share a large part of the story about how my mindset has developed to the state it is in today. Rob’s memory and Cory’s story are two things that have provided me with great inspiration and continue to drive me forward on a daily basis. I believe in sharing my story of how these great men have inspired me, it will help others find their inspiration. It doesn’t matter if it is through them. All that matters is that people find something positive to lift them up when they are feeling down. To move them forward when they want to step back. And to fill them with hope when it seems as though all is lost. We live in a modern society, which glorifies celebrities and fictitious heroes over the actions of people that have truly done great things. Man seldom knows the stories of those individuals, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be told. I am sharing this story in an effort to help people in a positive way every single day. In honor of the Airborne Ranger in the sky, and all of those who have worn the scroll, I submit these words to you.

Let me help you understand where I am coming from when you talk to me about the “challenges,” and the “problems,” in your life. I think this piece will help put a few things into perspective for you. Now, I am not special in any way, nor am I a great man by any stretch of the word. However, there was a time in my life, which I earned the right to walk amongst giants. I was surrounded by human beings that did not believe in the word “quit,” or the phrases “I give up,” and “this is too hard.” All they knew was there was a task to be completed. They knew the conditions under which the given task was to be performed, and they knew the standard it was to be performed to. That was all of the information they needed. They had sworn an oath to their Ranger brethren to carry on with the mission though they be the lone survivor. This meant that no matter what the odds were against them, or how bleak the outlook may have appeared, they were never going to give up until the task was accomplished to the desired standard. They had an unflinching faith in their iron-forged hearts and their innate ability to move mountains with every beat. These human beings are living proof that every single person on this planet is capable of more. Proof that human potential knows no bounds.
When I moved back to California after leaving 1st Ranger Battalion I had a difficult time adapting to civilian life, as many veterans do. I would get frustrated and angry with ease as I watched those who have never served live their lives in a manor bordering disdain for integrity. I had yet to develop any sort of patience at that point in my life. I was surrounding myself with people seemingly only invested in their own personal gain. When I reference personal gain I am not specifically speaking about the acquisition of financial wealth. I am commenting on their willingness, or lack there of, to do whatever it took to help lift the spirits of a friend in need. It would cost too much of the time and energy they had in reserve for partying or lethargy. I was used to a different world and found myself struggling to cope with a society quickly sinking into a quicksand of selfishness and an acceptance of mediocrity. It seemed as though many people were/are willing to watch their friends fall by the way side as they skated through life never having faced what I considered to be “real challenges.”
I let the negativity build for a long time and started to slip into the behavioral patterns I had once grown to loathe. The fucked up part is, I knew it too, but felt as though I was unable to grab a hold of anything as I continued to slip further into the darkness I had left behind when I enlisted. My depression hit a new low in October of 2009 when I found out about my friend, a great man, Robert Sanchez losing his life in Afghanistan. In the same incident another Ranger buddy of mine, Cory Remsburg, was blasted into a coma by the same IED. I was racked with guilt over not being there, even just the fact that I wasn’t in Battalion anymore played a huge part in that. My heart was crushed, as I had never lost anyone close to me before. I hurt for my Ranger brethren, I hurt for their families, and I especially hurt for my own family. Rob was my brother’s best friend, Mike had to see this happen, and I hated that he was hurting so much. I knew my “friends,” at the time could see me in pain. They could see me breaking down, as I became a slave to my negative thoughts and negative emotions. I allowed my mind to become a cesspool of anger, frustration, sorrow, and guilt. I felt like I needed help and when I turned to my friends their solution was always a drink or a joint. You see, many members of modern society seem ill equipped, or unwilling to step up and truly help their friends when they are in need. I needed to be smacked in the face and told to unfuck myself, like my Ranger buddies would have done for me. I was losing my shit, but nobody would be honest enough with me to help me out of it. Perhaps I was too prideful, and afraid at the time to truly admit to anyone I needed help. In the pit of self-absorbed behavior, materialism, and greed our society seems to have dug for itself nobody can escape if we are all too busy trying to crawl over our fellow man to get out. Fortunately for me I had known better men than myself.
Cory Remsburg was in a coma for 3 months. He was never supposed to wake up, but he did. The Ranger spirit was still strong inside of him. I heard about this and it gave me hope. Cory was told he would never talk again, walk again, and pretty much never live a “normal” life again. Now, Cory would be the first to tell you he isn’t anything special. He would tell you he is simply another Airborne Ranger working until the task is completed, under difficult conditions, to the desired standard. Life presented him with a huge challenge and placed many obstacles in his path. There were many people that did not believe Cory would overcome these, apparently, insurmountable odds. None of those people mattered. Cory knew the reality in which he wanted to live. It was the reality in which he could talk, walk on his own, and live life with as little help as possible. He knew his goal and has been willing to put in whatever work it takes to achieve it.
Cory set an example. At a time in my life when I had no inspiration, he provided me with some. I know it was not his intention, but that didn’t matter. I reminded myself about his struggles, and about Rob’s sacrifice to help me put things into perspective. I slowly started to make head way in the battle against the person I never wanted to become.
In January 2012 I was able to hang out with Cory for the first time since he was wounded. He had been rehabbing for 2 years by this point, every single day. When I saw him that day I lit up with happiness. This man that was supposed to be incapable of anything, was talking to me and had gained the ability to move one of his arms quite well. He talked slowly, and I could tell it was a struggle, but it was evident that Cory’s personality was as alive as ever. He had undergone over a dozen surgeries by this point and was confined to a wheel chair. Not surprisingly, he still had a smile on his face. Even though he had that smile it was apparent he was not satisfied with his state at the time. As my brother and I drove Cory to the restaurant for lunch he asked Mike about what happened in Afghanistan. He asked “why me?” It was difficult for me to hear, and even more so for my brother. My brother, our parents, and myself had dinner with Cory that night and enjoyed our time quite a bit. It was obvious he wasn’t done moving forward.
After I saw Cory that day in January it strengthened my resolve to stop feeling sorry for myself. I began my quest to become the person I wanted to be instead of telling myself I was stuck being who I was. Every moment of life was an opportunity to change for the better. I saw Cory again in July of 2012. It blew my mind how far he had come in only 6 short months. He was speaking with greater ease, moved better, and seemed like he was in a much better place mentally. I think he was starting to see his hard work paying off even faster than before. He stayed motivated and continued to drive on towards his goal. This motivated me as well, but there were still times I would slip up and get down on myself. I still held onto guilt over not being on that deployment. I still felt like I had let everyone down when my Ranger career, and my dream was cut short by an extreme heat stroke in 2006, which led to me getting out in early 2007. I didn’t know it at the time, but I could not truly progress until I let go of that guilt.
November of 2012 my brother and I drove to Arizona to participate in a charity event for Cory at Crossfit 480 (owned by a fellow Ranger). Cory had continued to make progress and able to stand up at this point. It was a beautiful sight to see. Prior to seeing Cory that day I had hit what I considered to be my breaking point in August. An event took place in which I allowed myself to lose total control over my feelings towards myself and I blew up on one of my friends over something incredibly stupid. I apologized, but that simply wasn’t enough for me. I decided then that I needed to truly confront my demons in order to vanquish them and become the person I wanted to be. After all, if I, as a business owner/trainer/coach was going to truly help people to better their lives, I had to learn how to help myself first. As a Ranger you were supposed to lead by example. It is something Cory was doing, and it was something my brother always did, but I was not doing.
A few months before I had hit that “breaking point,” a psychiatrist I trained had suggested I write a letter to my mother because she felt I harbored much negativity towards her, and those feelings held me back. I didn’t have to mail it, just write it and read it out loud to myself. I hadn’t spoken to my mother since 2002 (still don’t) and no interest in doing so. I decided to ignore my client’s advice for a bit. Once I hit that “breaking point” I was willing to give writing that letter a shot. The moment I put pen to paper and wrote Dear Mom, I was hit with a flood of emotions I had never felt before. The tears immediately began to flow. I have never been someone that cries easily, but in that moment I lost my shit, in a good way. I wrote the most honest words I had ever written in my life. Turned out the reasons I “hated” her so much were all of the same things I “hated” about myself. The lying, the half-truths I would tell, hiding in a glass of alcohol. All the reasons I cut her out of my life, the things that led to her alienating her two sons were all things I was doing. I realized then, in order to move forward I had to forgive her for her mistakes in order to truly forgive myself for mine. It felt so good to be 100% honest after all of that pain; I know it was what I needed.
This is when I knew I had to learn more about how the human mind worked and find ways to navigate through all of the lies and bullshit we all tell ourselves occasionally in order to move through life. When we do this we compromise ourselves and those around us. I was no longer willing to compromise myself or the people I cared about. Most of us are not always comfortable with the real truth, but just because comfort is what we want it doesn’t mean it is what we need.
Once I began to be 100% honest with myself about why I thought what I thought, why I felt what I felt, and why I did what I did, I became much better at being 100% honest with others. I created good habits, after fighting to destroy my old negative ones. I could connect with other people better; therefore I could do a better job of helping them to overcome many of the obstacles I had placed before myself in the past. Cory had become another example, in a world full of them, of how immeasurable the power of the human mind is. We have the ability to change the world within ourselves, and therefore we can change the world around us. My father told me when I was a teenager (and a dipshit) that “your inner world determines your outer world.” At that point in time I was incapable of comprehending how true those words really were.
I believe Cory will tell you, I will tell you, Rob would tell you, my brother, all good Rangers, and anyone who has truly overcome challenges would tell you, they overcame these challenges because they decided to do what it took to do so. Not because they are special. Not because it was the easiest thing to do. Human beings overcome challenges because they make up their mind and let nothing stop them until they have achieved success. These people experience “failure” but instead of getting discouraged and giving up, they learn, they grow stronger, they strengthen their resolve, and they rise up again and again and again.
In 2013 Cory began walking on his own again. According to many, that was impossible. As long as he had a beat in his heart and a goal in his mind he was going to do whatever it took until that impossible idea became a physical reality. That is an example of the power of the human mind. Every single person on this planet has the ability to overcome any obstacle placed in his or her paths. Will everyone make the choice? No, sadly, the vast majority of people will make excuses, place blame on others, and search for reasons why they don’t deserve, and/or can’t have or accomplish their goals. Little do these people know, they are fully capable of achieving anything when they choose to create that reality and put in the work to achieve it.
So, I apologize if I do not accept your excuses. I am sorry if I call you out when I see you giving less than you are capable of. I’ll tell you what I am not sorry for….My belief in you. I will not stop making an effort to help you realize that you have limitless potential. You are a human being. The most powerful creature on the planet. Your mind will be as strong as you are willing to make it, and that strength is unlimited. Cory is proof, my brother is proof, Rob is proof, and everyone that has ever stepped up in the face of a challenge and conquered it is proof of that.
I love you. I believe in you and your potential. I will never give up on you. I need you to believe in you like I believe in you. I need you to see yourself the way I see you. I need you to never give up on yourself. More importantly, you need to believe in you. You need to love yourself, and be honest with yourself and those around you. Above all else, you need to make your life worth living. Appreciate the opportunities you have every single day. And never ever, ever give up.

I guess with all of this I am simply making an effort to help people. My definite chief aim in life is to help as many people as possible in a positive way everyday of my life. I feel like I see people getting caught up in so many things that are doing them more harm than good. I worry that people don’t even see themselves slipping. I do not want people to go through the same kind of pain I did. I want people to learn from my mistakes and understand how incredible they all are. When you love people, you want to protect them from pain, and sharing this story with anyone willing to read it is an attempt to help them learn how to protect themselves against negativity, disappointment, and a whole lot of unnecessary frustration. Changing bad habits into good habits is not easy, and it takes a lot of time, practice, and patience. Sometimes it will be easier than others. Just know when those tough times come, if you keep your chin up and keep moving forward, you will succeed in the end. If we all start working together to lift up the world, how can we possibly fail? THERE IS NO QUIT. EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. LET THERE BE LIFT. RLTW. SUA SPONTE. NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM