I don’t want to be the man who runs away. The man who runs away from the fire. I want to be the man who runs toward the fire. Toward the flames. The fire burns. The fire destroys. The fire can kill. But the fire is also warmth. The fire is also light. The fire can be negative. But also, positive. It all depends upon your perspective. I am not running away. No matter how intense the heat becomes, I cannot run away. I CANNOT. Deep within my soul, I want the pain. I want the struggle. I want the fear. I want the challenge. I want the refining. I want to know who I am, what I am made of. I want the bond of brotherhood that can only be forged through the fire. I want to lead. I want to hold others to a higher standard. Challenge others to a higher calling. The fire. It’s burning. It’s calling. Run away? Run towards? I will go first. I will see you on the other side.
Today is an amazing day. Today is an awesome day. Today is a gift. Today is an opportunity. Today we have breath to breathe. Today we have clean water to drink. Today we have fresh food to eat. Today we have a warm place to lay our head at night. Today is NOT just another day. Today we have the opportunity to learn. Today we have the opportunity to teach. Today we have the opportunity to listen. Today we have the opportunity to grow. Today we have the opportunity to love and encourage those around us. Today we have the opportunity to bring the light into the darkness. Today we have the opportunity to get better, to get healthier, to get stronger. Today we have the opportunity to be real. Today we have the opportunity to express. Today we have the opportunity to share. Today we have the opportunity to create. Today we have the opportunity to serve. Today we have the opportunity to move our bodies. Today we have the opportunity to challenge ourselves. Today we have the opportunity to get uncomfortable. Today we have the opportunity to lead. Today we have the opportunity to be the example. Today we have the opportunity to change a life. Today we have the opportunity to change the world. Today is an amazing day! Today is NOT just another day. Live your life fully today. Expectantly. Fearlessly. Unashamedly. Today is here!
Every day is a struggle. Every day I struggle. At times, the struggles are frustrating. They can be overwhelming, annoying, and so draining. At times, my struggles are relentless, relentless to the point I just want to quit. I just want to give in, give up. The struggles beat me down. Wear me out. Why won’t they relent? Why do I have to daily endure these challenges, these testings, these struggles? Why can’t I have at least a little peace? At least a little rest once in a while? The struggles can consume me, engulf me at times. They never truly stop, they never truly let up. They are constant. I know that they are forever a part of my life. OK. It’s OK. The struggles exist. They aren’t leaving. The struggle can be beautiful. The struggle is beautiful. In the midst of the chaotic struggle, I have learned to find beauty. I have learned to use the struggle for my benefit. I have learned to use the struggle as fuel for my fire. The beautiful struggle. Some way. Some how. I continue on. I will continue on. Through the storm. Through the chaos. Through the weakness. Through the pain. Through the frustration. Through the loneliness. Through the anxieties. Through the struggle. I can’t quit. I won’t quit. I will walk on. March on. Run on. One step at a time. One task at a time. One day at a time. I will learn in, through, and from the beautiful struggle. I will grow. Mature. Change. I will become better. Stronger. More driven. More focused. More disciplined. I will overcome. I will win. I will share. I will endure with gratitude. I am thankful for you, my beautiful struggle.
17 years ago today. America was attacked. America changed. The world changed. Instantly. Forever. I was in middle school. Young. Naive. Living the life I knew to live. I had no clue what the World Trade Centers were. No clue about the significance of the planes flying into these buildings. I just didn’t understand. My parents never talked to me about patriotism, the military, etc. September 11th, 2001 was really just another day for me. The following years, as men and women fought the war on terror, to protect my freedoms, the United States of America’s freedoms, were years clueless, clueless about the price people were paying for me. Clueless in regards to the cost of freedom. You don’t know what you don’t know. Over the years, I am thankful my understandings and appreciation toward 9-11, the military, and the cost for my freedom has grown. I realize now the significance of the events of the events of 9-11-2001. I realize how great our military is, how valiantly men and women have fought for our great nation, for our freedom! I now realize the importance of service for others, for those who cannot protect themselves, for the continuation of freedom. I now realize, freedom isn’t free. There is a cost, a price for our freedom. I am thankful. Grateful. Forever indebted. 17 years ago today, America changed. The world changed. Today, I am changed. Today, I thank and remember those who have given it all.
There are a lot of uncontrollables in life. A lot of things we just simply have no say in or over. Life is crazy. People are crazy. Life is unpredictable. People are unpredictable. You never know what a day may bring forth. You never know what awaits around the next corner, through the next door. And this is why we must realize the importance of preparation. Being an individual who is prepared, is an individual who will find opportunity, endless opportunity. Ultimately, the one who is prepared, will find success. I cannot control a lot, but I can control my personal preparation. I can control my life, my words, my actions, my business. I can do today what I know I need to do, to prepare myself for tomorrow. To prepare myself for whatever life may bring my way. If you want more, prepare more. If you want to fulfill your dreams, your goals, your destiny, be the one who prepares. Do the little things. Be the hardest worker. Be the one who continues to learn, the one who is relentless in all of their pursuits, relentless in their preparations. Be the one who prepares as though there will be no tomorrow.
The pain is temporary. Pain only endures for a time. And then, it’s gone. It’s your choice, it’s up to you how you deal with, how you handle the pain. If you want the pain to linger, if you want the pain to stay with you, consume you, engulf you, then it will. Pain can become your identity. It can become your crutch. Your life-long excuse. And eventually, the pain will be your demise. But you can also allow pain to teach you. Correct you. You can use pain to help you grow. Mature. Become better. Allow the pain to test you. To test your mental fortitude. To test your physical fortitude. Allow pain to be a part of your life. Allow pain to guide you. And dare I say, pursue pain. Pursue discomfort. Pursue the unattainable.
Nobody knows what is on the inside of a human being. Nobody knows what is deep within an individual’s soul, deep within an individual’s heart. What is on the inside of someone, is that which truly defines who they are, and who they become. The inner man, the inner woman, is the expression we see from those around us. Whatever is going on inside of us all, is manifested each day we continue on this life journey. The passion, the drive, the dedication, the discipline, the joy, the satisfaction, the gratitude, and relentlessness of an individual, is created inside, birthed within. We must master the inside, if we desire to master the journey.