The Path is Always Waiting
By: Chance Lunceford, Logocentrifugal
I was once an evil man.
I don’t mean misguided and making poor decisions, I mean I wanted to burn the world and myself to the ground. I only succeeded at one of those things.
A phoenix can only rise from the ashes.
I’ve been in some very dark places, and that started very young. I’ve seen and felt and done evil things. The truth that evil exists in other people is alarming and disappointing.
The truth that evil can exist in you is terrifying and disturbing.
I’ve seen one and lived the other.
I chose my path. Maybe I wouldn’t have known it was there otherwise, but I’m the one who chose to walk my own dark path.
I know this.
I used to think I was special, and that I was allowed to be a piece of shit because my pain justified it.
There are no excuses for responsible men, only challenges you rise to or fall from.
I fell, and smacked right into my very own rock bottom.
Fortunately, your destiny doesn’t call just once. It calls every day, during every important decision, and asks you to rise up to your potential. It’s up for each of us to heed the call.
It took seeing suicides, overdoses and prison sentences for my fellow fools, and giving my best to work up to all three. I was presented with the option to live or die in very real and immediate terms. It wasn’t actually an easy choice. Only sane people make the sane choice easily.
Enter legal intervention.
I got in trouble. I traded jail time to go do some talking.
I felt weird about that. I knew I was fucked up, and I wasn’t prepared to unpack all that and take responsibility for all my choices. I’d made a habit of making bad choices, and I was afraid I couldn’t break my habit, but I wanted a way out of my prison.
Counseling was good for me. I am very glad I went. I learned an important lesson; weakness is not admitting you need help and seeking it, but the opposite surely is.
I learned a lot about myself, and I learned a lot about other people, I was able to clear up a lot of blindness and to take steps along the path to perfect vision. It took a couple years to feel that way.
It took me 15 years to destroy myself, it took until now, more than ten years later, that I am prepared to write this. I’m glad to be back on track, and to be strong from the work and discipline, but consider if I’d been ready to go to war 15 years ago.
Don’t let that be you.
Unless it already is, and then just keep climbing. Your best self is always better than the alternative.
Counseling was good for my head, but I had to rebuild my physical health as well. That’s pretty easy right?
At least it’s easy to understand what to do. You eat right and exercise, you get strong and healthy. Nobody is confused about that. Folks who aren’t prepared to accept these truths are not prepared to take ownership for the quality of their lives.
Weak people are more interested in being comfortable than in being optimal.
Ease is a disease my brothers. ‘The easy way out’ has been a phrase uttered with disgust for generations. That’s because the great ones all recognize that difficult things don’t come about without hard work.
I’ll give you just a couple thoughts on athleticism and nutrition, then I’ll trust that you’re clever enough to get on the internet and do some reading. I might even be inclined to believe that you’ll buy and read a couple books on the matter.
1. Healthy food comes from healthy food. Happy animals and hearty plants make for better food. Consume accordingly.
2. Don’t eat grains. Listen, I don’t want to hear it, and I don’t want to argue. Do this or don’t, one is better.
3. Gluconeogenesis, mitochondrial regeneration, all-cause reduced mortality, and more. These are the known benefits to intermittent fasting. I’ll leave it there.
1. SAID - Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands, means you get better at what you do and how you do it. Think about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.
2. A big triangle on a thin stick falls at the first sign of a breeze. Please squat. Don’t be embarrassing.
3. If you can’t touch your toes, and your joints hurt all the time, you’re not badass. Badass men don’t trade what they want most for what they want now. That’s a foolish method. Don’t be a fool.
Cool. Now put the information you gathered into action. Measure results against expectations, and refine them both over time as you learn about your body and what you want to make of it.
Uh-oh. Here come all the excuses and justifications for why you can’t make the time, or don’t have the energy, or blah blah blah.
Hmm… how about fuck you.
I work 60-70+ hours every week, and I’ve never worked less than 50 in my adult life, even when I was smashing myself apart. I cook most the meals in my house because I’m good at it. I have a very large garden that I manage myself. I help with the chores, and spend time with my kids, and I sleep between 3-6 hours per night on the weekdays.
Guess what else I do? I work out between 5-7 days a week. My efforts are not unique. There are many hard-working men out there doing just the same. If you’re not working more than 80 hours per week at a physically demanding job, then you’re making excuses.
Excuse me while I pass you by dude.
Discipline your behavior, and follow through on your personal commitments. You’ll miss a day here or there, and that’s fine. We all have moments of failure and days of weakness. That’s not the point. Nobody expects you to be perfect, just excellent. Pick your ass back up, and get back after it.
So now we’ve got the mind and the body feeling better. What’s next? Well, you didn’t really think that all that time you spent being less than you could be was without consequence, did you?
Of course you didn’t. Because you knew all along what you were doing to yourself, and through you, also the people who love you. Now that you’ve got yourself into a position to be able to make some moves, you’ve got to make all the failures of your path merely the path to your successes in the future.
If you’re strong and sharp and unfocused, then what’s the point? What weight do you hope to lift? What cloth do you hope to cut?
That’s not enough.
A responsible man does not waste valuable things. Time and energy are finite and precious. They are also the means to accomplish your goals. So is money.
Money is not your goal, it is a tool to accomplish them. Energy devoted to financial attainment should be in proportion to the world you’re trying to build with it.
Design your goals in alignment with your principles. If you’re going to do that, you have to know your principles. There has to be actual specific rules that you measure your decision by. How can you be wishy-washy about your principles, and be sharp and honest when you’re making moral decisions?
You can’t. So write them down. Right now.
Those of us who’ve been deep enough in the pit for the sun to seem a star have an advantage here. We know the destroyers intimately, so we know how they play their games. This makes it easier to write rules of behavior that keep you out of their clutches. Even so, you know the things in your life that you don’t want to be repeating. Think about what you’re doing leading up to doing them. Figure out the steps you undergo, and design behavioral interrupts along the way. There’s just one thing left on this point.
You gotta actually do it.
The best plan minus execution fails as often as the worst plan. Don’t be the sucker that thinks deeply but moves briefly. The man prepared to move into action and think on his feet will learn to navigate challenging situations. This is a skill the same as any other; you get better at what you practice and how you practice it.
Now you’re strong. You’re on the path to good health, physically and mentally both, and you’re prepared with principles, effort and discipline.
Good, now think about applying all those traits to at least the following:
1. Shoring up foundations - Weak links in your habits, your community, and your habits will fail first. Fix any weak links that can lead to catastrophic outcomes.
2. Serve your best self - There’s a hero within you, and he knows how the path between where he is and where you are. If you’ve written down your principles, and you’re fencing your actions to fit within them, you’ll come to understand the sensation of destiny working through you.
3. Progressive skill mastery - Follow your interests, and when you find something you like, become as skilled as possible in the doing. If you’re going to do anything, why would you ever give anything less than all you’ve got? Half-measures lead to full failures. Plus, as my father has always said, If you’re the best at something, you’ll never want for money.
4. Keep your relationships tight - Relationships take time, effort and consistency. Stay in contact with, and do what you can to support, the positive people in your life. You have principles now, and if there are people in your life who work against them, calmly inform them that their services will no longer be required. Negative relationships destroy positive momentum.
I was once an evil man and a destroyer. I am not now. I am a good man and a builder.
There are many more steps I took and tools I used to get here. However, the foundational pieces are laid out for you here. There’s no doubt that if you’re reading this article, then you’re looking for tools to become more than you are. Take what you can from the lessons of my life, and use the best pieces to further your journey along the path.
I offer you my mistakes, and the lessons I learned from them, because I want to save you from the suffering I’ve known. I don’t love exclaiming to the world that I was once a monster, but I’m grateful to be able to say that I’m a good man. Part of my purpose is to admit mistakes so that I can learn the lessons they offer, and to teach those lessons to others before they make the same mistakes.
One last thought to leave you with. I can’t make your choices for you, only you can do that. You’ve chosen your way into the life you’re in, and if you’re not satisfied, you can choose another path. The responsibility for the condition of your life lies squarely on your own shoulders. There are events outside your control, and you can’t do anything about those, but everything else is up to you. You will never reach perfection, but you’ll be much closer if you try, and the alternative is to give up and suffer every one of your progressively more miserable days.
Don’t be a miserable whining lump. Be a hero, be a champion, be a MAN.
You’re already on the path.
Be sure to give Chance a follow on Twitter: The Born Know It All for more exciting and heartfelt content.