There are 52 weeks in a year. A lot happens in this time. School. Work. School. Hunting. School. I think I have finally reached the age where time seems just to fly by. I have less than 15 school days left in my first semester at TAMU. And as much as I am dreading turning in projects and studying for finals right now, here soon, I will blink my eyes and will be on a mountain in Colorado. Time catches up to us pretty quick. This makes putting your priorities in the right places even more important. Staying on task and being diligent at completing whatever it is you want to complete is a must at this time of my life. Every hour adds up when I am studying and writing, and eventually those hours will produce a final product that I am proud of.
As I do with everything, I directly relate this to hunting, but not yet. A couple of weeks ago, I came to the realization that I needed help with my workout program. I had taught myself some new techniques but was at the point where I wasn’t progressing because I didn’t have a second pair of eyes to tell me what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to fix. I have worked hard in getting stronger these past few years and prided myself in pretty much self-teaching myself a majority of the workouts. This led me to a realization that I had put off for a while. For me to get better, I had to humble myself. I was putting in hard work, but it was headed towards the wrong direction. Sometimes, just because you work hard at something, it doesn’t matter because you were doing it wrong. Life sucks. I knew that I needed to admit that I needed instruction and critique in my movements. I started looking for ways to do this and finally decided on a gym close to me that does CrossFit. Now I’m not going to argue whether CrossFit is right or wrong. People love it, and people hate it. Frankly, I don’t care what other people have to say about it. I know in my mind that you get out what you put in. If I dedicate myself to learn and bust my butt every day, I will get better. Becoming a sponge and soaking in all the information I can get. It doesn’t matter if the guy is stronger, weaker, faster or slower than me. If he can perform a motion better than I can, I am going to pick his brain on how he does it, and will tell him to say when I mess it up.
I was raised on the fact that I had to work hard. I know when I don’t put out my best effort. Sometimes I try to get away with a half-hearted effort. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I get caught. People may hate the idea of hard work, and really, who can blame them. It sucks most of the time. Long hours. Tired muscles. Sleepless nights. I am blessed and annoyed that I have the knowledge of knowing what my best effort is and what is not. I know when I haven’t prepared for something, and when I get that result that I expected from not being ready, it is disappointing because I know that I can do way better. It really is a challenge to get a step up and do what you have to do. Hard work is defined as “a great deal of effort or endurance”. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I can watch tv for 20 hours. That takes strength to stay awake, and endurance doesn’t it? Alright, kind of thoughtless analogy but it leads me to this. To work hard, you must have a purpose. A goal. A challenge accepted. A finished product you want. Why would you work hard at something if you didn’t have a strong reason for doing it?
One short thought I want to add is the idea that hard work creates physical results. The older crowd will know this not to be true, but for the younger generation, this can be a hard concept to grasp. There are going to be a good amount of things in life that you are going to fail at. You are going to work super hard on accomplishing a goal, and then it will all fall apart. Hard work isn’t just a one and done type of thing. You have to set a path that instills your mind to say “whatever I am doing, I will give it my all both physically and mentally. Success or failure. Pass or fail. It doesn’t matter if no one is watching or the whole world is. I will give it my all.”
My first “official workout” with CrossFit was a team exercise. I started out with lots of high expectations to going hard only to find out my partner didn’t have the same mindset. He tried to make it easier, quit with 10-15 seconds left, and had the attitude of “Well, I am just here to get this checked off the list”. This slowed me down, and I didn’t like it. With the 52 weeks in this year, I am looking being able to go backpack hunting, with my tag, for maybe 2 of those. So everything I do up until those two weeks adds up. If I go easy for a few days or quit 20 seconds early on an exercise, that adds up over the span of the 19 weeks I have until the time that I get to do the thing I love. So if I exercised every day until then, I would have 133 workouts. Say I quit early twice a day adding up to a loss of 40 seconds. That adds up to almost an hour and a half of time. So 20 seconds equals a wasted day of working out pretty much.
I love hunting. As I have written before, every aspect of it intrigues me. It is a goal I have. Not necessarily to kill big animals, but to be the best that I can be. And I know that the only way that I can do that is with hard work. No going around it. If I want to reach and beat my own challenge, I have to go all out. To do this, I decided to change up some things in my own life to accommodate my goals. I don’t have a tv in my house anymore. In my down time, I read and listen to podcasts(particularly my friend Jim Burgen’s sermons with Flatiron’s Church, I usually listen to a lesson a day and have learned so much from that). I found that I would waste a good amount of time a day watching stupid shows and that I was gaining nothing out of them. My book I am on right now is “Wild at Heart. It is a great read as it talks about what a Christian man should look like. By taking out the unnecessary things, and replacing them with items that will build me up, I have the chance to step forward in the process of the great adventure known as life. All of these little things add up for me. It won’t be tomorrow or next week, but sometime down the line, it will. Look at it this way. If you had to put in 1,000 t-posts by hand, that would take you a long time. How bad would it be to finish, and look back at your line of posts and see that they are all crooked and out of order? All of that hard work, but since you lacked focus, it is all for nothing.
The old cliché of “practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect” is pretty much 100% true. There are going to be a lot of guys who go to gym, study for a test, or shoot their bow, but if they really don’t have an end goal for why they are suffering now, all of that work will be wasted. We weren’t put on this earth to just go through the motions or to just do enough to get by. If you have minimum skills, you will probably get minimum wage. If you just show up out of shape to go climb a mountain, you probably won’t make it to the top. Life is hard. Life is unfair. I can’t tell you how much it sucks to work all of your bow hunting life to get to the pinnacle. Having a monster bull at 25 yards, and not letting the arrow fly because you didn’t have a shot. That burns man. People talk about being okay with losing or maybe next year I will get the big one. I sure wasn’t okay. I may not have shown it, but I felt like a failure. I second guessed myself so many times following that. That moment in time took all of my hard work and made my dream just vanish into thin air. I hated it. All alone in the wilderness with no one around me, and seeing my goal that I had worked so hard for just slip out of my hands. Now that’s some mental pain right there dude. But I decided to take that anger and frustration and turn it into a fire to be better. With every day, comes a new challenge and every day I can either meet that challenge or fail. I know that God gave me certain strengths and abilities. Some I see in my life and work on vigorously to improve so that I may glorify him in my success’ and failures. Other strengths, I don’t know about yet. I hope someday I will be able to find them and use them in the way that He intended me to. But for know, I will take it one day at a time. Working hard at whatever task I am given. Knowing that I will reap what I sow in the future.