"Man, I hate these." My early-morning client said as he finished up a set of walking lunges.
"I know man. But they're going to build you a heroic ass and quads."
He and I train at the perfect time. Halfway through his workout, the sun starts to peak up over the hills across the river and flood the studio.
"So, if you get a DWI, how long do you have to wait before you can go to Canada?" he asked.
"I'm not sure...they take them pretty seriously up there."
He has a buddy that wants to go to Quebec City for a vacation, but he isn't sure when he'll be allowed in the country, since he has a DWI on his record. A stupid mistake that will follow you around forever.
After exchanging a few thoughts on the stupid things we did when we were younger, I let him in on a fun fact about myself.
"I almost got one when I was 24. And if I had, I would have never met my wife, or come to Texas. It would have changed the entire course of my life."
I was a reckless 20-something.
I lacked discipline, I followed my base instincts, and it turned out to be a dangerous way to live.
One Thursday evening, I drank more than usual (and that's saying something).
For reasons unknown, I got in my car, pinned the pedal to the floor, and rolled the car over on the highway. My only memory is landing on the roof, and frantically crawling out the window, which caused the only injury I sustained; a small but deep cut on my wrist.
This was a wake up call.
It was the wake up call of all wake up calls.
And it set in motion a series of changes that drastically improved my life.
But this car crash was also the result of a certain way of life. One where short-term pleasure was King, and personal responsibility was avoided.
I had no work ethic to speak of. If it was hard, I avoided it. If it required sacrifice, I ran the other way.
The only thing that mattered: Doing whatever the hell I want.
I drank 4-5 nights per week. I smoked weed to the point of oblivion on a regular basis. I put in the minimum required effort at work.
At home, dishes piled up in the sink, and laundry piled up on my floor.
Dark emotions and self-loathing began to cloud my mind.
And eventually, it led to a car crash that should have killed me. A mistake that could have killed someone else. And an event that could have changed the course of my life in the worst way possible.
I should have gotten a DWI that night. The only reason I didn't was because the police officer on scene, for some reason, decided to give me the break of a lifetime.
Actually, let me correct that. Not dying was the break of a lifetime. Avoiding the DWI comes in second. And they both happened on the same night.
As you can imagine, this incident rattled my cage. From then on, I decided to do things differently.
I started to see the value in doing hard shit. And I began to seek it out.
I learned discipline, and I practiced it every day.
I was no longer led by my base instincts. I no longer did whatever the hell I felt like.
Instead, I pursued what was right, whether I felt like it or not.
And an interesting thing happened. I was happier. More fullfilled. Life had more meaning.
By adopting discipline and structure, life's simplest pleasures became more profound. A cup of coffee on the couch became luxurious. A simple conversation in a taco shop became exhilarating.
Not only that, but I started to move in an upward trajectory. Progress, in all areas of my life.
But don't get me wrong. I'm far from the epitome of discipline. You might catch me sleeping in when I can, slamming a few too many cookies, or getting unreasonably upset if you cut me off in traffic.
I strive to do what's right and good, but I still contend with my fair share of flaws.
What I'm saying is, I've played both games. And it's not even close....
Discipline, structure, and hard shit beats pleasure seeking. All day, every day.
A little structure and discipline will both change and save your life.