Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Own your dreams

Too often I have people tell me "I wish I could just train all day" or "I wish I could be a fighter" Which in turn I reply "well what's stopping you?" Well you don't understand, I work so and so many hours a week, they say, I just don't have the time, blah ba blah ba blah. If you have a dream then own up to it, it's yours, stop making excuses. Too often we will see people who have "made it" and pass it off as they were lucky, or were just born talented, or they didn't have as much going on in their life so they had more time, etc. Rarely do people see the work that goes into accomplishing goals, rarely do people see the heart breaking failures that lead up to them, rarely do we see the countless times they almost quit, and sometimes did, and rarely do we see the numerous people who told them that they were fools for thinking they could ever achieve their dreams and that they should just give it all up.

It's not a question of whether or not you can achieve them, it's a question of whether or not you are willing to go through everything that it will take to get there, a question of what you are willing to sacrifice in order to reach them. I've heard every excuse in the book for why someone can't even start going after their dreams, and for every one I've heard there has been another person that has had the same circumstances, if not worse, and achieved them anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand and can sympathize. It took me almost ten years from the time I knew I wanted to be a fighter to the time I actually stepped foot in a gym. Fear and doubt kept me from ever even taking a chance till one day, I'd had enough. I realized how short this life is and I'd rather spend it failing at a dream than succeeding at mediocrity. I'm too old to start, what if I never make it, what if I'm no good, what will my friends and family think if I tell them, what if it's just too difficult? It's questions like this that tormented me anytime I would think about actually going for it and I allowed them to weaken me until I put it deep in the back of my mind. But dreams, real dreams, can never go away. You can run from them, hide from them, ignore them, cover them up with something else, but eventually, they will come crashing back into your life. It took the sudden death of one of my best friends to finally tear the veil from my eyes and I knew I had to start living if not for myself than at least for him.

Now when I first started I was in school, working and training everyday. I would wake up at 5am just to get my run in before I had to go school. After that I would go straight to work and from there, straight to the gym for a good 4-5 hours. Looking back I don't know how I did it and was still able to perform so well. Eventually circumstances happened to where I was either going to be homeless or have to basically stop training at the level I was in order to get "a real job". Part of me just said "well it had to happen eventually, you can't do this forever, might as well quit now". But no matter how tough it got I knew that I would live the rest of my life in regret if I gave up on something that I knew in my heart I was meant to do. I ended up moving into the gym. There was some storage rooms upstairs, really just closets, I cleared one of them out and moved in. I would 
wake up at 5am, go run, then do my bag work and everything else, alone. After that I would clean the whole gym and then teach the morning class in order to pay for my "rent". Thankfully by this time I had already graduated as it freed up a bit more time for me to train. I lived in that gym for about 3 years. Freezing in the winters, boiling in the summers (Las Vegas), crawling with thousands of cockroaches, that Dorian one day dubbed 'la familia'. The doubts and thoughts of quitting would often come creeping back into my head, especially in the times when I had fight after fight fall through or when I'd have serious injuries. During those really tough times it was the the people coming up to me telling me that I inspired them, that I helped them change their lives in some way, that really gave me the strength to stick with it. I knew if I only did that for one person than that was priceless but to do it for countless people was indescribable. I knew that no matter how bad it got I would never give this up. I knew that in going after my dream it helped give others the courage and strength to go after theirs, and to me that is what life is all about, helping others.

I know it's tough, I know it seems like there is no way that you will ever be able to achieve your dreams, but just remember, no matter how difficult it may seem, there's someone who has had it twice as tough as you and still found a way. A life spent pursuing a dream, even if never reached, is never wasted.

"Face your fears, live your dreams"-El Presidente

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