Life comes down to the choices we make. We learn, sometimes the hard way that what we want is not always what we get. If we take personal responsibility for our actions, while taking our time to think them out, life will work out.
Did your life seem to be right on track, and then it ran right off the rails? Modern life is filled with pitfalls such as divorce, losing your job, sickness and the list goes on. It is filled with distractions that would like nothing more than to keep us from moving toward our goals. We have to keep moving forward.
Forgiveness is something frequently discussed in terms of the people close to us, but we often forget to forgive the closest person of all: ourselves.
It’s good to look back on your life and acknowledge your past mistakes and learn from them. It’s also important to forgive yourself for them so that you can move on with your life.
No good comes from putting your life are on pause to live in the past. We cannot go back and change the things that have happened. What we can do is move on, refusing to repeat the same mistakes.
I can remember the night very vividly, yet it was already almost two years ago. Fortune Gym, the gym in Hollywood where I had worked for six years, threw my wife and I a going away party. As I looked around at all the people in attendance, it hit me hard how much I was going to miss them all and how much I was actually going to be missed.
One of the people at the party was a young man I had met at the gym about two years before. We had chatted briefly and I had taught him a little Jiu Jitsu. The next time I saw him he told me he had read my book. He knew someone in the book, so we had a good laugh about it.
Over a two-year, period I trained with him often. One day I had a talk with him about his line of “work.” He was selling large quantities of pills and marijuana. I was worried about him because he had not yet been arrested for anything, but he was playing a dangerous game and it was bound to happen. You commit crimes, you will get caught.
I told him that it may look good and it may seem like easy money, but in the end you will pay the price. I could see he was unsure of what to do with his life, but I could also see that he took note of the message I was trying to get across. A few weeks later he had an unrelated legal scare and was facing some serious problems. The legal problems ended up going away, but I am pretty sure it helped guide him toward making better choices in life.
Although I haven’t seen him since the party, I speak to him about once a month on the phone. Thanks to social media I can follow the things he is doing with his life. He opened a music studio, started managing talent and even started his own music label. He got a chance to live his life differently, and he took it.
A second chance is always there if we are willing to sum up the courage it takes to change. It is never easy giving up what is familiar no matter how wrong it is.
I left Brooklyn, New York and drove to JFK International Airport on a cold November morning.
I parked my car in long term parking and took the train into the terminal. I knew deep inside I was not coming back. I had two suitcases and a laptop. I knew life was about to change for me, but I had no idea how much. In that moment, I was just relieved for fresh start.
That was twelve years ago. I still had many lessons to learn and places to live before I reached where I am today. I had to learn to forgive myself, to forgive others and to accept God’s forgiveness and plan for my life. Leaving Brooklyn was only the beginning of my second chance.
I have been reading the Gospels this week. It is clear to me that Jesus took those that were considered broken and gave them new purpose and everlasting life. He even forgave Peter after he denied him in public. If we know someone who denies Christ, who are we to give up on them when Jesus did not give up? Who are we to shun away people who may have not done the right thing in the past, if Jesus did not do that? How can we hold our past against ourselves when he does not?
America is the land of second acts, it is still the best place in the world to reinvent yourself.
I am over a decade into my second act, and I am still learning new lessons and moving forward every single day.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
When we are constantly racing towards a destination, what happens to the moments we are living right now? Fast does not always mean better, many times we are in such a hurry we fail to do the necessary work it takes to build a strong base. In life details matter.
When we choose to take a stand, not yield to pressure, we learn that we can triumph over darkness. Facing the truth, we take the actions necessary to accomplish our goals, despite our fear of failure. The difficulties we will face in life are great, when we choose the right path, it may take us into unknown territory, yet if we stay the course we find what we need most.
A lesson we must all learn, that we cannot control others or what goes on around us, we can only control ourselves and our reaction. We are able to shape ourselves, actions and lives when we master our own will. Others will take notice, people like to be around those who have mastered themselves.
We all want change, yet few of us define our goals. They will remain some distant dream until we decide exactly what we want. We have a choice daily to either follow the positive or let the negative take over. Change is never easy, it will bring uncertainty, failure, life lessons, even strength in mind and body.
A habit is not born in a day, change will not come with a couple of days work. It is only through diligent work, overcoming any setbacks while continuing to learn on a consistent basis that we realize progress. In life consistency is king.
I learned early on in life to never believe that I knew everything. Just about every single person you come in contact with can teach you something. Never stop learning. When it comes to achieving fitness goals, find people who have achieved similar goals to yours, and then learn from them. You will also need to learn by studying your body and finding what does and does not work for you.
As I’ve gotten older it has become harder to make fitness gains. While the strength is still there, speed and recovery are not what they used to be. I never used to warm up or stretch when it came time to work out. I could just jump right into it. Now, those days are long gone.
What works for me is a warm-up protocol that I adapted from a kettlebell pre-workout routine and an Olympic weightlifting program. As part of my warm-up I do some flexibility movements, lightweight movements aimed at restoring balance to muscles, and some injury prevention exercises.
I have found that by taking the time every day to do these movements, I have cut down my injuries and boosted my performance.
When I was training well over a decade ago, we used to have these crazy fight camps. It was all about getting in the work, tons of cardio, weights and lots of physical activity. We learned that it actually hampered our performance, because we were overtrained. Since then, I have learned to train smarter, which has added benefits for me because of my age.
We’re all unique, and that also applies to our bodies. We all need to find what works for us, keeping in mind there are few givens when it comes to working out and strengthening your body.
You must challenge yourself. There is no easy way, the time has to be spent and the work has to be done. If we believe that we can go through a few comfortable, easy motions and reap the same benefits, we are deluding ourselves. There is no one exercise or fad that will make us fit. While there are many types of exercise that can achieve strength and growth, they all need to have this in common: they must be ever-changing, both progressive and regressive.
Other important but often neglected aspects of being able to continue to realize gains are nutrition, recovery and sleep.
We can no longer put whatever we want into our bodies. Even if that worked for you in your youth, by the time you reach your forties your body will no longer respond the same way. A balanced diet of whole foods will not fail us in any way. Eat your vegetables, and lots of them. Over the years I have added a few supplements – minerals and vitamins – to my whole foods diet, and you may find some that work for you.
As we age, we also need to increase our recovery time. Good rest is a must.
Aside from those basics, you will need to pay attention to your body and take care of it. Learn from your failures, put in the work and reach new goals – at any age.