Chapter Four: Taking Control
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.” ― Charles Swindoll
Let me take you back reader, if you indulge me to January of 2018.
The post-Christmas blues were in full effect and the struggle to readjust back to normal day-to-day life was as ever challenging. Though this year would prove to be the toughest.
I had planned to get back to a fitness regiment shortly after New Years Day, my first workout was a HIIT Cardio session which really tests the limits of your body, exuding a lot of energy. Although these sessions are mentally and physically challenging, leaving you gasping for oxygen come the end of them, you usually get a post-workout buzz of energy - this didn't happen.
Instead I felt worse, a sore throat, dizziness and tiredness all hit me hard. The next day, I felt even worse, I had been hit by a nasty Flu that had effected my Dad also, who I must've caught it off of.
For the next five days, I didn't speak a word due to my condition. Spending most of it in bed, out of sync, unmotivated. At times it felt like it would never get better, it was the worst I'd probably ever felt in terms of an illness.
Luckily come the next Saturday, I found it within me to utter a few words, and regain my voice. I steadily and slowly improved, my appetite taking a little longer to restore. I arrived a week late back to Uni, where my housemates quickly barged in to tell me "WE were signing up to the gym", yes not just them, we all were!
My sluggish and unconvincing response slightly dampened their enthusiasm.
Eventually they broke my stubborn resistance and we did sign up to the gym, and so began a journey into getting fitter, week by week. My diet and eating began to improve, and so too my cardiovascular fitness which I focused on as most gym newbies do. It was around this time that a life-changing event happened that would have a major ripple event to it.
Having just turned 20, it was a decision that didn't come lightly, and was one of the toughest I would have to make..but it was one I had to do.
I took control of my life.
Out of respect for those involved and the circumstances surrounding the decision shall remain private, but what it taught me was one of the biggest lessons I've learned - and that sometimes, you have to pull the trigger and make the hardest choice. I had two paths, the easy one was clear, obvious, because it was the one I'd been walking down for many years. The hard one wasn't clear at all - there was no president for it, no light in sight, I didn't know the repercussions it could have.
Though I chose short term pain, for long term self growth.
Soon my mind opened. I became more productive, more positive in my outlook. In relation to my fitness, my health improved, taking positive steps week after week. I set new goals, achieved them, then set more and more..
By May I had transformed, physically and mentally for the better.
Since that decision, I have completely switched my life into one of productivity and positive thinking. In less pretentious terms - I've got more shit done!
By taking control in one big way, I was able to take control in many others. I learnt a love for long walks - particularly one on an early weekend morning from Canary Wharf into Central London. There was something about these almost 10 mile walks, along with my Dad that was soothing and mind opening. We talked, discussed, found solutions to problems, helped get out my frustrations.
I have since made it a regular occurrence that I go for multiple walks to clear my mind during the week, usually early in the morning.
Weightlifting entered my life months after entering the gym, and although personally I'm always aiming for more and am not near my goal yet, the meditation and sense of personal achievement that came with the struggle of lifting weights helped me massively. Being able to shut a door, put some headphones on and just go into a zone for an hour or so, really are my favourite parts of the week.
I took control in small things like only having one coffee a day, no longer with any sweeteners, doing fasted cardio, waking up earlier, disciplining myself to get shit done efficiently, so by the night I discipline myself to relax and have fun.
If you are still following this reader, the message I'm trying to impart to you is that you CAN take control of your situation. I could've let the setbacks at the start of last year define the 12-months ahead , instead I made hard choices, took risks and have become a better person for it.
Every person's upbringing, situation and lifestyle is different, and by no means am I stating all issues can be fixed easily by one decision, but I do believe our mindset and attitude is key to our success day to day.
I witness so many people in similar positions to myself complain about the world being against them, and in truth I'm sure we all feel like that but you've got to remember there is always today to make a change. Even if it is small at first, and go bigger later, you've still made progress.
I always want to feel like when I lay down on my pillow at night that I've achieved my personal goals for that day, and even if I haven't its on me to improve and become better tomorrow.
Taking control isn't always easy, and its probably going to require hard work and sacrifice, but if you're currently sat unhappy with something, letting life dictate you, rather than you dictating it, then its time to ask yourself some difficult questions and all the answers may not be the desired ones, but in the end you can improve, we all can.
Have a good day.
End of Chapter Four.
Recently added to my playlist: "Let Me Know" - No Wyld, "Please Be Kind" - JAWS, 'Me & You" - HONNE, Tom Misch, "Wander With Me" - Tom Misch