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Monday, January 13, 2014


My workouts are reminding me of a lot of the motivators that I had long ago, but have come to forget. Tonight's motivation again boils down to 1 word: defeat.

How? How is defeat a motivator? Simple: I won't be defeated. I know you're probably thinking "you can't lose? Everyone loses occasionally." I can lose, but I won't be defeated.

What's the difference? A loss means that you have temporary been bested by an opponent. Defeat is a permanent loss. But there are other ways that you can be defeated, not just loss. It can be from constant stress, or one intense stressor. It can be from belittlement, or from intimidation.

As with many other things, defeat can be physical, mental, emotional, or many other things. And just as I described with pain, the threat of defeat can bring you up to fight, or it can crush you. But I don't fall. I refuse.

I'm going to get my geek on here, and make some references to Dragonball Z. If you haven't seen it, then you have been wronged by the social stigma attached to cartoons and manga. (If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend watching it, at least until the end of the Frieza saga.)

Goku (from the Dragonball series) - mostly as he exists in Dragonball Z - is undefeatable. He has a spirit than cannot be broken. As a Saiyan, he is part of a race that become stronger each time their wounds heal. Unlike other Saiyans though, his spirit seems to become stronger every time too.

END OF NERD ALERT - for now. (There will still be references back to this.)

When someone threatens me physically, intellectually, emotionally... I recognize when I'm outmatched. Don't get me wrong, I'm a survivor. Being a survivor I don't just give up. I will give it my all until it has come to a point where I recognize that I am outmatched. But when the time comes that I make this realization, I withdraw. But not forever. I will be back.

Once I come to this realization I better myself. I do whatever I need to do until I can beat you. Then I come back later and I defeat you... except that I don't. I come back and prove to you that I can defeat you. And once I've made that point, I stop to let you recover before you're completely defeated - just as Goku would.

I'm a better person because of that. I know that nobody deserves to be defeated. Many people have tried to defeat me, so I know what it is like to feel defeated. I just don't know what it's like to actually be defeated.

I'm the same even with video games. "Game Over" doesn't mean that the game is over. (Unless, of course, I actually reached the end of the game.) When I die in a game and get "Game Over", it simply means that I need to get better.

But I do have a breaking point. Anyone who has seen Dragonball Z knows that there are some things that Goku does not stand for, and my list is about the same. There are a few things that will release a monster if you aren't careful. You will not harm the innocent or helpless. You will not hurt people just for fun and your own amusement... and above all else, you will not take someone/something that I love away from me, or hurt someone that I love.

At these points, I don't need to walk away to better myself before I take you down. The adrenalin kicks in and most people just back away, afraid of what I am capable of. But if someone was to step in at one of these moments, they would be defeated. Like Goku in his initial Super Saiyan mode, I have little to no regard for the people who created this monster. But (also like Goku) even in this state, you have to push even further for me to truly destroy you. I have mercy on even the worst offenders, until they show me no mercy.

Luckily that doesn't happen very often. And when it does, people are too afraid to actually engage.

The bottom line is that I can build up all of the times that I have felt defeated, and use those times to better myself. If you've bested me physically, I will go work out, run, stretch, etc. If you've bested me intellectually, I will educate myself about the topic at hand. If you've beaten me emotionally.... well, you should probably be careful. I will better myself in every way possible until I find your weakness. That one is the biggest driving factor around.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Pain is the such a crazy thing. There's physical pain, emotional pain, and mental pain. All of those things can add up to one of two things: motivation or devastation. If you're a strong person, pain will motivate you beyond belief. Motivation to be better, motivation to feel better, motivation to do better. If you're not so strong, pain will bring you down and eventually destroy you. It adds up, leading to even more emotional and mental pain, which ends up in a downward spiral that is nearly impossible to escape.

Today was a painful day. Right from the get-go I was beating myself up with some old memories that I just couldn't get out of my head. Trying to push some things out of my head, and out of my past. I was fighting these thoughts all day. Already emotionally draining.

Then 9:30 or so comes around, and I feel my right calf tightening. I didn't feel this one coming, but I knew what was next. I tried to loosen it up, move my leg around and at least stop the pain for a bit. Then the tapping started. And it got quicker, and quicker, until it got hard to control. As usual, this uncontrolled tapping leads to pain and fatigue in my leg, and is starting to drain my energy.

Ed asks me to go install some software at someone's desk while this seizure is going on. He doesn't know that I'm having a seizure, but I am. Now I have to control my leg enough to walk, which just causes it to hurt even more. I'm physically exhausted, and my calf is killing me.

I get the install done, walk/limp back to my desk, and now I need to call someone and do a remote install of a printer. I'm on the phone, still mid-seizure, trying to give him instructions to get this remote session going. My mind is not quite working at 100%, because it's still seizing, so I'm slowly going through this process, forcing my mind to work enough to get through this. My slow thought process leads to slowly forming sentences, and therefor slow instructing.

My fingers aren't quite doing what I need them to do... they're hitting the wrong keys, double pressing keys, skipping letters, and for some reason I tend to reverse letters a lot when I type mid-seizure, which means I'm constantly backspacing and correcting mistakes. A half hour later, I get through what probably should have been a 10-minute or less job.

I sat there and waited out the rest of the seizure. After the leg stopped (almost 11:00) my head was still in a bit of a fog for about another hour, maybe more. Meanwhile, I'm internally debating a somewhat awkward decision that I'm going to be forced to make soon (which I can't go into much detail about) when someone comes to talk to me. This just inadvertently, and unknowingly, makes that decision even more awkward. Between pushing through the seizure and this awkward moment, suddenly I'm mentally exhausted as well.

Now I have a decision to make: am I going to let this push me forward, or is it going to push me down? Years ago it would have pushed me down, and I would have stayed down for quite some time. But being the person that I have come to be, there was no decision to be made. I not only let it push me forward, I forced it to push me forward. On my way home I listened to some of the most infuriating, most energetic, and most scream my head off music that I have. Suddenly, all of this pain has turned into pure energy. Energy fueled by hatred, confusion, neglect, despair, and any other negative feeling you could ever imagine.

I took all of this energy to the gym, and I ran. I ran until I couldn't run anymore. I pushed that painful, exhausted right calf to its breaking point. I pushed until there was nothing left to push. I left all of that pure negative energy on the track, and suddenly there's nothing left; no energy at all. But as the energy slowly returns, it's not negative energy. I've just overcome a huge obstacle, and it feels good.

The thing is, my leg still hurts; It hurts more now than it did before going to the gym. Those memories are still there, and they always will be. That decision still needs to be made, and it will remain that way for some time. But I no longer care. I left it all behind, at least for now. It's all back at the gym until I have the time and energy to fight each one of those things individually. And when I do that, that's when amazing things happen.

So next time you have a painful day, ask yourself one thing: am I going to let this bring me down, or is it going to push me forward? If you decide to let it push you forward, some of that pain may still be there (like my leg pain.) Let that remaining pain push you even more. Turn that pain into energy again tomorrow, and the next day, and the rest of the week. You'll find yourself climbing a mountain instead of being stuck in a downward spiral.