Ever wondered why we so often wait for life to throw us curveballs instead of stepping up and challenging ourselves? This is the fundamental question that we tackle head-on in our new episode of Excellence Above Talent. I'm Aaron Thomas, and I pull back the curtains on my personal journey, sharing how the philosophy of 'embracing the suck' has helped me adopt a healthier lifestyle and smash my personal and financial goals. I walk you through how voluntarily choosing to challenge yourself can bring long-term benefits like improved health and financial stability.
I then take you on a deep dive into the '75 Hard Challenge', a life-altering experience that has tested my resilience and discipline. It's not for the faint-hearted, but the rewards are immense. Hear about my endeavors with this challenging test of will, and my unflinching determination to overcome it. Drawing from this, I share my goal of running a half marathon and connect it to the broader theme of self-challenge and personal growth. So join me as I help you embrace your fears, confront life's trials head-on and elevate yourself to new heights. Who knows, you might just come away inspired to set a challenge for yourself and rise above life's trials.
You're listening to Excellence Above Talent, a podcast where we have the hard conversations about the lives of men and what leads us to achieve greatness and suffer defeat. Hear from other men's journeys as well, as we all learn and grow together to become inspirations to ourselves and those around us. And now your host, aaron Thomas.Speaker 2:
What's up, my beautiful people, aaron Thomas, with Excellence Above Talent, I wanted to jump on and talk about challenging yourself. There is a quote that I've read. It's been a long time ago, but it's a quote that has stayed with me for a long time and the quote, on paraphrasing, says if you don't challenge yourself, life will challenge you. And it took me a while to process what that quote really meant, because a lot of my life I have allowed life to challenge me and I didn't take or put the ball in my court and challenge myself, which would make my life easier in the long run, but in the short run it's not so fun. So I'm going to break it down, what that quote meant to me and what I'm doing now to challenge myself and life and not allow life to challenge me. So a lot of times people don't want to eat, write or work out, and so they let life create a challenge for them. They become obese, they're overweight, they're out of shape, they don't like the skin that they're in, or they don't like to look at themselves in the mirror because they don't like the body that they see, and it's simply because they never took the challenge to life and allowed life to challenge them. And now they have diabetes or they get sick easily or they can't walk up a flight of stairs without wanting to pass out. Those are things that life challenges you with because you're not taking the opportunity to challenge yourself. And if you challenge yourself in this area, if you wake up in the morning or if you're a night owl, you go to the gym at night and you hit the weights and you eat somewhat right Well, it's not all junk food. You try to meal prep and take care of yourself and the short run. It is very challenging because people assume I like to get up at 5 am in the morning. I do not. It is a struggle most days to get up at 5 am to go work out, knowing I am about to get slaughtered by this workout. During the workout I am wanting to quit because it sucks. But I showed up and if I can show up, I'm going to do my best and try my hardest to put it all on the line. So waking up at 5 am is not ideal. Going to a gym and working out until you want to pass out is not ideal. Coming home eating the correct food, having meals prepped, cooking more, not eating as much processed food is not fun, because the number one in McDonald's that Big Mac, large fries, power 8, no ice man. That's a whole lot easier and for some reason it takes a whole lot better. But short run it sucks. Long run I'm able to move around more freely than the person who waits for life to challenge them. And don't get me wrong, I still get tired walking up stairs, but it's not a tired where I'm about to pass out. It's just like well, that put a little burn in my thighs. It's a difference and I hope y'all can kind of grasp that concept of challenge life, or challenge yourself in life, before life challenges you. And the same goes for your financials. For a long time I just I sucked with money. It wasn't something that was taught in my household. Hell, we didn't have a whole lot of it. So I mean, how could it be taught? And if you don't, if you allow life to challenge you, when you get money, you'll spend it on things you don't need. You're going on trips you don't need to go on to, to try to act like you have it all together when you don't have it all together in front of people that who could probably care two craps about you versus challenging yourself to stay at home, build, save, invest, like it's not fun in the short term, but in the long term you get to go on vacations without wearing about money. Go on vacations that you're not paying monthly for, because a lot of people go on vacation and they pay monthly on those vacations after they've come back. So they've got the experience and they still owe $2,000 on their vacation experience. Life was meant to challenge you. No one's going to get out of life unfazed, not challenged. This is not how this world was built. That's not how life is built. So you're going to go through things that you don't want to go through. You're going to have to face fears that you don't want to face. You are going to fail. There are so many people in my circle that is afraid of failure and I let them know that you fail every day. You wanted to get up at five and you got to be 502. You failed. You wanted to lift a certain amount of weight at the gym and you didn't. You failed. If you're in school, you want to make a certain grade and school and you didn't. You made a B and out of A. People make that something like because I didn't make an A, I have failed, and it's not even you failed. It's just like now. You know what you need to do the next time to create that A, to pick up that weight, to wake up in the morning. But life, life is meant to be challenging and if you're not processing or challenging yourself, then life will do it for you, and I think that's why a lot of people love David Goggins. I think he's understand that concept of embrace to suck Like it's going to suck. But you have to choose which one you want the one that you create and embrace or the one that life creates for you because you don't want to take the time to embrace the suck for yourself. So I am embracing the suck. I've tried the 75 hard challenge twice. The first time I did 20 days and the reason why I failed was because of the progress picture. I know the progress picture. I forgot to take a picture of myself, failed. I waited a couple of days to reset and start again and this time I lasted 23 days and it was a workout on a Saturday. It was 10 pm. I woke up, should have worked out and I didn't, and I had a lot of things going on. That Saturday I came home at 10 exhausted, told myself you got to get up, you got to work out. I set my timer for 30 minutes to get a 30 minute power nap. I woke up at 2 am. Yeah, I felt that bad boy for sure. And so now I want to try it again. And I want to try it on top of there is a half marathon in October in Midland and I have told myself last year I wanted to run a half marathon and I didn't. And an opportunity came up where someone was like, hey, you should run a half marathon, and I was like, hey, that's stupid. But I remembered that that was one of a goal of mine since last year and it kind of relit my fire to now start training for a half marathon while going through the 75 hard program. And so I'm in the process of planning my days for the next 75 days to make sure that I have workouts on deck, especially during the weekends, to make sure that there's a meal plan, that I have cooking the meals, prepping the meals, eating the meals, that I have a routine when I get up in the morning, and the routine that has worked for me was getting up in the morning. You're going to the bathroom anyway to pee, so grab your phone, pee to your business, take that picture, the progress picture. Come back, get ready for work or working out, have a bottle of water next to your desk I mean next to your either your nightstand or your desk and your room and drink that bottle. Just go ahead and get that eight ounces or 16 ounces in your body to get your body used to. Okay, this is what we're doing, and if you work out in the morning as well as read 10 pages in a book, you have most of that day completed and now all you have to do is maintain your water intake. Make sure you're not drinking alcohol, doing no, no cheat meals, make sure you're staying on your diet, getting that second workout in. There's a lot of times where I put everything on my shoulders at seven PM. I didn't wake up in time, so now I'm running around. My water intake is bad, so I got to drink half a gallon of water before 12. I got to do two workouts. I have to take a progress picture. You start to stack all these things up and then it starts to feel like you can't complete it because there's so much more that you have to do that you've put on yourself Like no one forced you not to get up in the morning, no one forced you not to drink water during the day, so it's something that you did yourself. And now you have to work out for an hour and 30 minutes, drink in the same amount of water just to try to catch up. So if you can conquer the morning, then you've got most of that challenge under control. And that was my issue. I wasn't conquering the morning because on Saturday I knew I had a busy day and I chose not to get up and that's how I failed. And the first time I felt the same thing. It just got crazy, got up, was running around and then, boom, here I was at 12.01, popping up Like man. I didn't take it and I also don't want to be that person saying yeah, I did it when I did it, like I legit want to be able to say, hey, I did this challenge. And a lot of people have been asking, like what are some workouts that you do for this challenge? I do crossfit in the morning and I usually walk in the evening, the weekends yoga, and there's so many different plans or programs on YouTube that you can do 45-minute yoga session in the morning on the weekends and then, if you can make that time, figure out a time. 45-minute walk If you like working out and you have a membership to the gym. That 45-minute workout in the gym and then boom that walk. Sometimes, when I knew I needed to get two workouts in, I would walk for an hour and 30 minutes. I'd walk 45 minutes, take a little breather and then bang out the other 45 minutes. Whatever you do, whatever you really want to do, you have to find time for it, and I know a lot of people say I can't find the time to do this or do that. But if you ever really paid attention to your social media time, you watching TV, the things that you're doing there, you can squeeze out 45 minutes a day, twice a day, just off of the social media and TV time. And if you have a kid that is active and you know that there's a game or you know that you won't be able to be as mobile, you can always set your timer for 45 minutes at practice or at a game and get that walk in while still cheering for your kid. You have to find creative ways to get uncomfortable, and it might be. You don't want people thinking you're crazy because your kid is in the game and you're walking around cheering on your kid, but that's something that you might have to do during these 75 days to get yourself out of the comfort zone and to embrace the suck and to challenge yourself to be the best possible version that you can be. And so I've created a Facebook page and we are going to motivate and push each other to be the best we can possibly be during these 75 days. And if you fail, you fail. Pick yourself back up, figure out what you did that didn't work, and then keep going. And it's not failing. If you don't get to 75 days, you've learned what you needed to do. The next time you do it to push yourself further, and so it's just I'm in this process and I sometimes get in this mindset of I get too comfortable with life and I don't embrace the challenges that life has to offer me. So I wait for those challenges in life, and I just realized like I don't like the challenges that life gives me. I would prefer to go ahead and challenge myself, and so, even if life does want to challenge me, I'm already at a stronger place, to where it's not really going to affect me in too much of a crazy way. So if you don't choose to do hard things in life, life will choose for you, and if life is choosing for you, you're not really going to like what life is choosing. So you might as well be the author of your book and create the challenges that you want to make yourself better, versus waiting for something in life that is created for you to make it better, because so it also is a mindset thing to me. If I know I'm putting myself through this, I can't try to blame anyone for why or what is going on in my life. If I'm miserable and hate it, I can't look up and blame anyone. I get to go to the mirror and look at myself and be like you're the reason why I'm doing this. So it takes to blame away from something or someone and it puts it squarely on your shoulders of this is what you want it to do. So there is no blaming. A lot of times when bad things happen or challenging things happen in your life, it's easier to blame someone or something, and that changes your attitude. If I can blame you, I can give up easier because it wasn't my fault, it wasn't my choice, I did not choose to do. But if I put myself in a program for 75 days, I have to really be disciplined to make the effort to live life in a challenging way. Your attitude is different because you can't blame yourself and most people don't blame themselves to begin with. You can't blame yourself for why you're doing 75 hard. You just got to accept hey, this is what I chose to do, so let's just try and do it. And the last thing is people make the assumption that we are going to live forever, that this world doesn't come to an end very quickly. I saw something maybe I was reading something and it was talking about midlife crisis and how a lot of times we as a society, we was taught that a midlife crisis was a person in their 50s. So that means a person in their 50s was going to live another 50 years. Most people don't live 100 years. I mean, we're looking at 75 to 85 on average, right? So if you're in your 30s, you could be in a midlife crisis. If you are in your, if you're 35, you're for sure. If you're 40, like we assume, we have more time than we do. And, with that being said, if you understand and know that the time that you have is fleeting and it's not as long as you think it is, why not take the ball in your court and live out the rest of your life the way you want to live it out, versus allowing life to put all these challenges in front of you to make your life harder? You know what it sucks to see people you know in their 60s and 70s not being able to walk or move around freely, and some of that stuff is genetics and you know things that they couldn't stop. But then some of that stuff is just, they stopped moving, they stopped being active, they stopped trying to embrace something that was hard in their life and they just said okay, I'm old, so this is what it is, and now their needs don't work or it's hard for them to walk. There are classes all over the world with older people in them doing the work working out, squatting and deadlifting and benching and lifting weights, and so it's not something that is just crazy, but it's something that it happens. And it sucks for me to look out and see people struggling because they don't want to get out of bed and start that process of embracing the challenges of life. But also, you might be young and you think you have it. You have a long time, you don't? I'm not trying to be morbid, but let's just be honest. We don't have a lot of time on this earth, so why not be the fittest and the healthiest we can possibly be, to be more active with our kids or grandkids or nieces or nephews, because they're not going anywhere and you also want to show them a life of? This is what being healthy looks like, this is what taking on or this is what putting the ball in your court looks like not waiting to get sick, not waiting to have to work out, but just going out there and doing it. And the people who are in the Facebook group who just chose to get up and start this process August 1st is popping off. It takes courage to challenge yourself. It takes courage to be different, because you will be different for 75 days. Your friends are going to be like, hey, let's have a drink and I can't. It takes courage to say yes to something that you might have failed before. So August 1st, that is, next Tuesday, 75 hard challenge will be commencing. I do have a Facebook group. If you want to join in on it, you can always reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram and I can add you to that group. Excellence above talent is the Facebook page as well as the Instagram page. Let's get to it, let's make it happen and in 75 days I'll tell you the results. So if anyone hasn't told you today that they love you, let me be the first to say I love you. You are awesome. You're amazing. You deserve the best that this world has to offer. Do not give up, do not quit. The world does not get easier, but you get stronger. Y'all have a blessed weekend and we'll see y'all next week. Bye-bye.