My friends often tell me that I’m one of the strongest people that they have ever met.
To survive the past year that I’ve had certainly took some strength, but in my eyes, it took the help of my family and friends much more so than any internal drive that I have within myself.
I did not feel brave or courageous–I did not feel strong–not when I caught myself dry heaving behind closed doors, tears streaming down my face, my fists clenched, my heart broken.
10 months ago I lost my father. 6 months ago I lost my grandmother.
I’ve been inside of more hospitals, felt the anguish that comes from an entirely hapless situation and battled the onslaught of grief and depression in a continuous brawl for more than half a year.
There were days I did not want to get out of bed. There were days when I felt like the world was falling apart.
There were days I could not imagine taking another step.
But then I did.
I think that’s what strength is all about.
Being strong does not mean that you are impervious to pain. It does not mean that you do not struggle.
It means that in spite of those odds you put one foot forward. You keep moving ahead.
Even if you can’t see past your feet. Even if you don’t know where you’re going.
Even if you can’t imagine what trials and tribulations lie in-wait ahead of you…
Because the alternative is giving up and that’s something that you can’t do, because you are strong.
One of the largest misconceptions I see about being strong is that people think that people who are strong feel strong all of the time.
That is not true for being strong as it is not true for being smart or being rich.
Most human beings do not have the mental fortitude to acknowledge the truth of their merits.
Either undermining, or over-inflating, we are a group of children waiting for outside appraisal to acknowledge when we’ve been good or bad.
The problem is that when you’re being strong, nobody cares.
Not out of malice or any other ill-natured thing, it’s simply because they are busy being strong in their own lives.
They have their own worries and their own universes to take care of.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you or what you’re going through.
It’s just because they can’t see it. No one will ever know what it is like to be you.
At the end of the day, all that we have is ourselves, so don’t be strong for someone else.
Be strong for yourself. Others will quickly follow suit.
Unfortunately there is no secret sauce for being strong.
I wish there was, trust me I do, a nice little elixir to drink when life really gets us down that instantly gives us strength and banishes our worries—but that is as much of a fantasy as someone randomly giving you 100 million dollars and making you rich.
There is no instant cure-all but there is a way to cultivate strength just like there is a way to cultivate anything else in this universe; all it takes is time and persistence.
It means you’re not allowed to give up. Ever.
This is your LIFE we are talking about.
Not some video game where you can pause, reset the console, and load from the last save-point when you were doing well.
Life is real and it’s happening every second and there are consequences for our actions—or inactions—that shape everything in our lives.
The most beautiful thing about being a human being in 2016 is that overwhelmingly around the world you now have the choice of how to live your life.
Never before in the history of human kind have we seen such an exceptional amount of freedom and mobility.
The thing is that it’s entirely up to you how you choose to experience this freedom and mobility.
Everything in life is a choice, free will is the master of the universe.
Your destiny is pre-determined based upon the choices you make and have made in your life—the things you accept and the things you reject.
From what time you wake up in the morning, to the lunch you pack, to the routes you walk and the roads you drive.
Everything in our lives is a choice both conscious and unconscious that shapes who we are.
Being strong is a choice.
Much like going out drinking is a choice.
It’s a choice to go to sleep late and it’s a choice to go to the gym everyday, or write.
One of the best analogies of life that I have ever heard comes from the book “Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ Demarko.
In it, he uses an automobile and driving as an analogy for life and how you choose to live it. In one passage, he talks about time and its effect on us.
MJ says that we all have a gas-tank. This gas tank represents our life force, when you run out of gas, that’s when you close your eyes for the last time.
Everyone is born with their own unique tank of gas.
Some are incredibly large, some are incredibly small, there are outliers and exceptions to every rule—but on average as a US Citizen you have about 80 years worth of gas in your tank.
Now this is where the analogy really hit home with me.
MJ says that no matter what you do in your life, whether you are happy or you are sad, you are fulfilled or you are empty, you are pursuing your dream or you have given up on life; the gas is always being used in your tank.
Every day you are alive, every minute you breathe, every second your heart beats that gas is being used up, and there are no refills in life.
You get one tank of gas and that’s it.
Let’s say you stick with that job you hate, you stay in that relationship that makes you miserable, you let your gym membership collect dust after January flies by.
Is this how you really want to spend your gas? We all burst out of the starting gates the same and most of us are heading towards the finish line at the same pace…
How will you choose to drive the journey that is your life?
Will you be strong?
You tell me.