I feel right at home here in Fort Worth, Texas.
Despite the stark differences in culture, it reminds me of my home town. A small, Canadian Army base in Northern-ish Ontario.
Army convoys on the highway, soldiers in uniform, and military aircraft flying overhead are things I grew up with. Of course, the trucks and tanks are a little older up in Canada. And instead of F-15's, we have helicopters.
But unbeknownst to me, Canada isn't exactly known for it's military.
This becomes evident every time I tell someone I grew up on an army base, and they reply with,
"Canada has an army?"
Yes, Canada has an army. There may not be a lot of funding, and the equipment is old, in some cases ancient.
But we do have an army, and it's filled with great soldiers.
In fact, I had the incredible opportunity to start my career at the military gym in my home town.
The weight room was unlike anything I've seen. And I'm not referring to the equipment. I mean the people.
Everyone from infantry to special forces trained there.
The room was packed, humid, smelly, and filled with literal savages.
The average physique would be the most impressive in any other gym. And they backed up their muscle with top- tier performance. They could lift heavy, knock out endless pull ups, and run a mile and a half with blistering speed.
As for me? I was a skinny kid with a little athleticism.
I was one of the weaker guys in the room. Certainly among the skinniest.
But not for long.
There are countless factors that dictate whether someone will successfully transform their body or not.
I can take credit for some of them.
I stuck to it, even when it felt slow, or downright pointless.
I gave up the short-term pleasures necessary to reap the long-term satisfaction of a leaner, more muscular body.
I lifted the weights, I ate the food, I read the articles and studies, and I treated my body like a never-ending science experiment. And I did these things over and over and over...
But it would be a terrible omission if I didn't mention my environment.
A full immersion in a culture of high-performance and greatness.
Before social media and selfies.
Before you could get an insta hit of dopamine and affirmation.
Nothing but barbells, dumbbells, weight plates, chalk, and of course, a room full of savages.
For me, this was a stroke of luck. A case of being in the right place at the right time.
What I learned from these guys was invaluable.
They set the bar high, and showed me what's possible.
They showed me why it's so important to get comfortable with discomfort.
They demonstrated the true meaning of 'grit.'
You know the saying, "You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with"?
It's true, whether we like it or not. And having the chance to learn and grow in this environment is a major reason for much of my progress, in and out of the gym.
Learning goes beyond the memorization of information, or the practice of certain skills.
You're always learning. Always.
You're constantly picking up habits, traits, attitudes, and behaviors from those around you.
Surround yourself with people who don't give a shit, pretty soon, you won't either.
But surround yourself with people who set the bar higher, you're likely to rise to their level.
So build up your circle carefully. Model yourself after those who have achieved what you want to achieve. And be mindful who you take your advice from.
Most important, surround yourself with people who make you better. Cut out those who pull you down.
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