What is hard?

Today, going into my training session I was thinking about mindset. I didn’t want to go to the gym since I’ve been working nights the last four nights and today is my swing day back to days. I haven’t really slept all that well over the last few days, and I was feeling kind of run down this evening.

Getting off my ass to go train seemed like a hard thing to do. But then I started to think about things I’ve done I’m my life that are actually hard.

I did one tour of duty over in Iraq back in 2004.

Before I dig in too deep, let me say this; my tour was rough, yes. However there are members of our military that had a much harder deployment than I did. There are generations of men and women that served this great country that had combat tours that were unimaginable. Just to put things into prospective for myself, I think about my grandfather’s war – World War II. He was a paratrooper that jumped into Normandy on D-Day. Though I never had the chance to share war stories with him, I’m sure that he had plenty. I can’t imagine how scared he must’ve been on that day. I often find myself thinking about what his tour was like and how much worse it must have been than mine. I also wonder how he had the strength to carry his 90 pound brass balls between his legs on top of all of his gear.

Back to it…

That tour in the desert was hard for me. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I watched as friends lay bleeding on the roadside, or in the desert sand. I was shot at, mortared, and had the pleasure of experiencing roadside bombs on more than one occasion.

I had to leave all my family behind not knowing if I would make it back. Looking back as a father now, that’s a tough thought to chew on. I cannot imagine how my mother must have felt seeing her baby boy go off to fight in a war.

I still get chills when I think about crossing to border from Kuwait to Iraq. I was scared absolutely shitless, and nothing happened until just hours after getting to our permanent post. That’s when Ivory Phipps was killed during the first of many mortar attacks on our base.

I remember the sound of the sirens going off after hearing the thump of a mortar tube. I remember being stuck in the motor pool with no cover during mortar attacks. I remember explosions that lit up the night like the sun was in the sky.

I think about, and hear often over and over in my head the difficulty my first sergeant had during each final roll call at memorial services when he would call the names of our dead comrades, my friends.

I remember being so scared to go out to the shower trailer or port-a-john because I was afraid I would be struck by an incoming mortar.

All of those things were hard for me.

So when I think about getting off my ass and training for an hour, I think about these things. I think about what is really hard.

This shifts my mindset, and I realize that what I’m about to do in the gym isn’t really all that hard.

I use these past experiences to change my frame of reference.

We live an easy life here in America, and for that we are truly blessed. But we have become comfortable, and accept easy as a standard. We’ve become lazy people who don’t want to get off the couch to change the channel on the TV.

We get fat and lazy, and accept these things because getting out of bed in the morning to go train for an hour is too hard.

I know that there has been a time in your life when you’ve dealt with something truly hard or difficult. Whatever it is, use it to change your frame of reference.

I am not telling you to dwell on your loss or difficulty. What I am telling you is that you made it through that hard time in your life. You’re still here today, living and breathing.

So while your still able, think about what has really been hard for you. Then ask yourself if getting back into shape.. or going for a run.. or lifting some heavy ass weight.. or training for that obstacle course race is really that hard.

I think you’ll find that hard is what you make it. Hard is in your mind. Change your mind, and you can change your life.


Always Ready.

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