Have you ever wanted a masterfully crafted body? The commercials make these physically fit people look incredible. Just look at them exercising; they look and feel great! Maybe you believed in it so much that you too joined a gym, literally thrilled with yourself about the results headed your way. Once I was. The local gym screamed at me to get committed. Well, screamed is probably not the right word. They mailed me an advertisement introducing me to a new, low rate. Plus, they offered me a risk-free trial. Basically, for a guy like me, it was a chance to flop without paying for it. Sure, they totally believed in me… But just in case I nosedived into failure in the first month, the gym added some fine print and hit me with a yearlong contract. That’s commitment alright. I was appalled. I thought, what is all this rhetoric! Look bro, I just want to lift weights and get buff, understand?
They conveniently deducted payments from my checking account for the following twelve months. The clause stated if I should happen to quit at any point in the contract, they still would take my money, even after the contract was fulfilled. They informed me the only way my membership would terminate was if I delivered them a personal letter stating that I was leaving after the initial contract period expired. Do people even teach how to write letters anymore? Come on! As part of my membership, they added in some free training sessions. In these sessions, a trainer was assigned to me. It seemed their intent was on seeing how close to the point of death they could take me, without me dying. I thought, this sort of thing should be illegal. Luckily, there is a filter on my mouth that keeps me from saying what I am actually thinking. Without a mirror to see myself exercise, I wondered if I casted a glassy stare that saw deep into their twisted soul. I wondered… do they enjoy watching me suffer? What kind of sick person is this?
Eventually I got through those torture sessions orchestrated by evil; pardon me, by the athletic trainer. They provoked me and pushed me onward to do more. I remember during a set of ten repetitions, on the last one they shouted, “give me two more!” Are you kidding me? Greedy sucker, I already gave you ten; now you want more! Unbelievable! After the training sessions ended, the success of my workout depended entirely on me from that point on. Without a push from the trainer, I had to push myself. But the trainer set the path from the beginning. On a serious note, it takes a special person to be a trainer who always pushes someone to become better. In all honesty, they deserve our utmost respect, admiration, and gratitude.
Along the way, I received a new form of inspiration, called results. When you see results, it becomes fuel to push you forward, through all the hard labor. When you achieve some of your goals, like inches or pounds lost and muscle definition, you realize something important. Lots of forces pushed against you. But when you fight to push back more than they do on you, you are developed in the struggle. Through continuous effort and training, you grow stronger.
Pain racked my body in those early days, but I got used to the punishment. Struggles develop you. Don’t just think of a physical struggle though. It can also be a mental or emotional struggle that conditions you, challenging you to do and become more. Had you not struggled through; you would simply be back at where you started. It is certainly the easier way, but it is usually less satisfying than pushing through the harder path. When challenged in some way, don’t think about it in terms of the price you pay to get there. Think about who you will become in the process to overcome the challenges. A great satisfaction lies just beyond your struggle. Something deep within us all yearns to be victorious in life. Choose to fight back and you too, will be developed in the struggle.