Ingredients of Transformation

Some of this may seem obvious. Hell, all of it might. However, this is part of pursuing mastery. Mastery isn’t just about learning more and more things and having a shitty understanding or ability to execute on them just because you have reached a certain level. No, Mastery is about refining. Perfecting the understanding, the execution of the basics and applying that level of mastery to each area.

There are three key ingredients in order for transformation to take place: time, struggle and change. Unlike a progression of steps, these things work in harmony with each other. It might seem obvious, but if time is cut short, the transformation isn’t what it should be. If there is no struggle, the transformation will not keep. If there is no change, the transformation did not happen. For lack of a better word, there is work involved in the transformation and if these three elements of work are not present, the transformation is stunted at best and completely non-existant at worst.

Let’s take a brief look at each of these ingredients.

Time 

Time is our most precious commodity.

I’ve said it many, many times in one form or another: our shared destination is six feet underground – or a pile of ash, the choice is yours, possibly. Regardless of the final destination of our bodies, we are going to die. Full stop.

Time is precious. Memento Mori. Some of us realize the value of this early on, some only realize it when it is close to expiring. We want our lives to be better, our families whole, our bodies to look good, our marriages repaired. The flaw we usually share is that we want the results RIGHT-THE-FUCK-NOW!! We don’t want to be inconvenienced with a time factor holding us back from what we want.

But it doesn’t work that way. (reread this as many times as you need to)

Time is crucial to the process of transformation, it is a requirement that must be met. There is a price to be paid. The “cost” depends on the kind of transformation taking place. In transforming a business, a relationship, in recreating a brand, none of it happens overnight. We don’t have the same rules as fairy tales. I cannot waive a magic wand or say some incantation and have what I desire.

Like it or not, time is the price. But this payment is an investment, not a squandering of resources.

You might as well embrace this truth.

Time is part of the struggle.

Struggle

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” ~Frederick Douglass

Take a look at the examples of transformation in the natural world: plant, animal, mineral or human. There is the factor of time, time overlaps the entire process, and there is a struggle.

Struggle is 100% necessary to the process.

Prices must be paid. Those things that come to us easily with little to no price to pay usually aren’t as highly valued as something you have poored blood, sweat, tears and time into. You can deny it all you want, but it doesn’t change this universal rule that if it hasn’t been worked for, fought for, bled for… their is little value.

Further, the struggle must be complete. It cannot be stopped prematurely or aided where struggle is no longer a factor. Like a bird breaking out of it’s shell or a baby giraffe learning to walk, that struggle is helping forge the survival instinct. If that animal is assisted, that instinct is stunted; not fully developed.

Go to Instagram and type in the hashtag #transformation, pay special attention to the pictures that show progressions over time. I’m talking about the pictures that document one, two, or five years of progress. They have fought, they have struggled, they have paid the price over time. “Sticking with it” is part of that struggle. This is where time can take its toll. Persistance can and will beat resistance. Whether it is in relationships, business, physical fitness, you name it. Continually striving to improve, push forward and staying with it, even when you are hitting the plateaus where nothing seems to work. That is part of the struggle.

Change

You are human, you are not an immovable statue of granite. For better or worse, both time and struggle will change you. The kind of change and transformation that takes place is entirely up to you.

In the context of what I’ve been writing, we are speaking of intentional transformation. As you intentionally put in the time, the effort, the struggle, the transformation will begin to take hold. Maybe you are trying to change certain mindsets you have, maybe you are trying to improve your health, or change the branding of your business. All of these things take time and effort.

If the transformation isn’t happening, check the factors of time and struggle. Has enough time passed? Are you doing the work? Is it the right kind of work for the transformation you seek?

Apply patience for the time that is needed and endurance for the work and struggle.

Pursue Mastery.

 

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Have Confidence

Many people seem confident but they are posing, faking it until they (hopefully) make it. I know, I’ve clocked in many years of posing, but I am here to tell you: that faking it is not enough.

You will never make it like you want to make it by faking it… if you even make it at all. Faking it only keeps you in doubt and disbelief; you are constantly dodging or ignoring the nagging fear of being found out as a fake.

Like Neo, you must “begin to believe” and fight the Agents who tell you that you are just “Mr. Anderson”.

You must believe in yourself.

You must have confidence.

It doesn’t happen overnight. Confidence in yourself and in your abilities is cultivated and grown over time through the process of learning, attempting, failing, getting back up, and becoming competent. It is also grown through the natural teachers of life that come to you. When these teachers appear, embrace the training and opportunities that they bring to you in their season, their names are: Hardship, Challenge, Obstacle, Struggle.

Yes, these teachers can and do have the ability to slam you into the ground and keep you on your knees, if you let them. But, they are not there to destroy you, rather they are present to help move you forward and to help you grow.

Embrace the teachers, be thankful for what they can teach you. Let them show you what they have to offer, both the good and the bad. They will show you what you are made of, the strength you posses, the cracks in your foundation, the chinks in your armor. They will also show you the opportunities for growth; to do better and become more.

Embrace the lessons and build yourself up.

Learn from the mistakes.

Grow.

Endure.

Become better.

Have confidence.

Take stock and measure the lessons, see what you have come through and overcome… and believe in yourself.

Pursue Mastery.

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“I Commit…”

 

“…it helps remind myself that I am committing to a longer and harder process than what infomercials and magazine articles would have me believe…”

“I commit.”

This is something I have been saying to myself lately when I am lifting. This usually happens when I am into my heavy work-sets. It helps me let go of everything else and focus on the task at hand. I’ll have a quick conversation in my head to get me and it’ll go something like this:

“Do you commit?”

Yes.

“Why do you commit to this training? Why do you put yourself through this?”

To be the best version of myself I can be.

“Even if nobody is watching and nobody cares what you do?”

Yes.

“Even if nobody benefits from your training?”

Yes.

“Even if you are alone and nobody knows who you are or what you do?”

Yes.

“Do you commit to this process, even if you are the only person to benefit from your training?”

Yes.

As I do this, I will grip the bar and begin to envision the gym going dark; the people in the gym disappearing one by one.

It is just me and the bar, and then I will say, “I commit.”

This has helped me focus on the process; to the hard training. It helps me zero in on the task at hand and give everything I can to the lift, or to the activity I am doing at the gym.

Does it give me instant PR’s and gains towards my goals? No, not necessarily. Gains and PRs will come as I continue to pursue my goals. But it helps remind myself that I am committing to a longer and harder process than what infomercials and magazine articles would have me believe.

Commit to the training. Embrace the struggle, the hardship, the suffering.

I am committing to a lifestyle.

I am committing to embracing struggle.

I am committing to enduring suffering.

I am committing to overcoming hardship.

I am committing to self evolution; self betterment, self-improvement.

I am committing to health, strength, and vitality.

I am committing to engaging negative thoughts and emotions with a positive outlet.

And so much more.

Years ago, I heard a man say that he had chosen to go through the “physical door” of training in his journey first, in order to enter the “spiritual door” later. I have come to understand, just a little bit, of what he was talking about during the training of the last year.

There is a vast ocean of knowledge that you can learn about yourself and about life when you voluntarily put yourself through hard training. Those are discussions for another post.

So, my final thought here, my final encouragement to you, my dear allies, is to commit to the process.

Commit to the training. Embrace the struggle, the hardship, the suffering.

Commit.

Pursue Mastery.

 

Fight through the pain

52 weeks.
365 days. Or, if you prefer the musical, “Rent”: 525,600 minutes.
Many of you reading this particular post won’t have clear context on the background for post and that’s perfectly fine – one shouldn’t reveal ALL the cards they’ve been dealt.
So, in classic Inigo Montoya fashion, “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

On this Sunday, 52 weeks ago, I entered into what has been the hardest suck fest of my adult life.
Seriously.
It was painful and raw. There were many depressing moments, to say the least.

Compared to the trials others have faced and are facing, maybe it wasn’t so bad. But this is my trial, it is the path I must walk. They don’t walk mine and I do not walk theirs.
On the outside, from the perspective of the average spectator: not very much has changed at all.
Behind the curtain, however, it’s a different world entirely. Entire mindsets and ways of thinking have been changed, corrected or thrown out. Truths I have held onto – proven false or worthless – have had the same treatment. Foundational things have had major renovations. These foundational changes have then trickled into the rest of my life.

There is no going back.
Red pills were swallowed.

Matrixes were unplugged.

Eyes were opened. 

Fears were confronted.

Challenges were engaged.

Obstacles were overcome. 

Lessons were learned.

Growth happened.
When posed with the Cypher-esque question of whether I should’ve taken the “blue pill” in all of this. I do no regret doing what was needed and swallowing the “red pills” to get me where I am now.
Though it has been hard, I must say that through this whole thing, I am grateful for it. It sounds so cliché, I know, but I am grateful for the journey. 

Don’t get me wrong, the pain fucking sucked, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.
Though this journey is not over, I am stronger now because of it. I didn’t roll over and give up. I got up and kept moving forward. Even when I didn’t want to. I pushed, I learned, I grew.
I wasn’t alone. 

I had a small core who were there with me. Coaching me, encouraging me, helping me work things outage sift through the mess.
To those 52 weeks of life, I say, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you, I am a better person because of this.”
I would also like to lovingly add, with a twinkle in my eye, the same way some of my training partners say to me as I have pushed them at the gym, “Fuck you.”
Life can be brutal and unforgiving, but, there are lessons to learn from it and levels of strength (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually) to gain from it.

Use the pain, the hurt, the anger as fuel to push you towards your goals and objectives. Don’t waste the pain, use it. Conquer your battles in spite of the pain.
No matter what, keep moving forward.