a lesson from plyometrics

Since my rant about physical fitness, I’ve decided to walk my talk and get back into shape. Yesterday, I put in one of my workout DVD’s and got ready to sweat. The workout for the day was Plyometrics, and it was basically leg work, jumping around, round kicks, and all-around pain. It was about 10 minutes into the workout and I was already ready to quit, when the instructor points something out: one of the students in the video had a prosthetic leg. His name was Eric, and he was literally jumping around, breaking a sweat, but smiling the whole way and absolutely relishing every second of the challenge. Then the instructor says, “So you have no excuse to quit!”

It’s amazing how intangible things such as passion and determination can so often make up for what we lack in material things such as wealth or, in this particular case, limbs. I can’t even count how many times I’ve given up on something just because it was too “difficult” or “inconvenient”, and then around the corner I see another individual with all the odds against them, achieving more than I even care to dream. What’s embarrassing is that I know I’m not incapable of doing much; it’s that I’m incapable of caring much, trying much, struggling much, and losing much.

This is the missing link. In order to achieve, you have to care a lot. You have to try, again and again. You have to struggle, even though it hurts. And you will definitely lose, often more than you win. And I’m realizing that my problem is being accustomed to a life where everything is handed to me, from the high-speed internet to the drive-thru’s at the fast-food chain down my street. I’ve never been in a situation where I needed something so badly that I had to care whether I got it or not.

Not until now.

I struggled my way through the rest of the 46 excruciating minutes, but I made it through. There was no way I was going to be a whiner about this, not when there are people who survived much greater obstacles than I have, with less than I have been given at my disposal. And although last night was all about getting through a 1-hour workout video, there’s so much more in my life where I have to learn to let the intangibles make up for the tangibles. Passion for lack of wealth. Determination for lack of opportunity. Resolve for lack of a back-up plan. And if I ever get tempted to revert to my old ways, it will only be a week until I have to do Plyometrics again. Hopefully then I’ll be reminded that I have no excuse to quit – not the workout, or anything else I set out to achieve.

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