If you were to ask anybody who knows me well–old friends and new alike–to describe me, they would likely say that I’m a high energy person. And they wouldn’t be wrong in that assessment.

Why I’m inclined to write this article is because I am a bit of an extreme case, having gone from an absolute nobody who had no confidence in himself or any passion for living, to someone who loves himself and spends almost every waking moment pursuing passion. What I sometimes experience are snide comments about how I should enjoy it while I’m young, or that when I explain how I make it work people rationalize my hard work as this an inherent gift of high energy. In truth that’s not the case at all. At the end of the day I’m likely just as tired as everyone else.

To the people who know me best they see me up and running nonstop. If it was inherent energy, how would you explain the eight years of heroin addiction that I spent half dead laying on a couch in a filthy apartment? If it were inherent energy wouldn’t I have been able to channel that in high school to succeed rather than fail and drop out? No, that’s not what I thrive on.

More than anything, I think that I’ve adapted to circumstances. What if I told you that I get my insane drive from being conditioned through the penal system? That I really started waking up and darting out the door because I was reliant on public transit, and that I actually have a habit of making my bed and keeping my house clean because when I was incarcerated it was a rule. There were repercussions for not doing that. It’s not that I’m fast because I’m talented or have high energy, but instead because I’m impatient and anxious. Would you believe that I started getting into shape because I was too impatient to wait on the #2 bus on 30th and C. St? Because that’s the truth. I was too impatient to wait so I started walking 30 city blocks instead. I started trail running after hiking a short while, because I started being too impatient to put the summit off that long.

In 2009, I was fortunate to catch the luckiest break of my life, and by chance I had the support I needed and ran into the right people in the right place at the right time and was able to capitalize on those circumstances. I was so busy, and had so much retribution, and so many obligations as were agree’d upon my release, that I was pretty much forced to be out at 6am and stayed out until 12am. I did that pretty much everyday for two years. The secret is not talent; it’s tenacity. In that environment if I hadn’t adapted my freedom was on the line.

I had no rights–I couldn’t change the rules–but I was able to make a decision to keep moving. That’s my fuel. It was like the ultimate endurance training. It’s not that I have high energy, but instead that I learn how to budget my energy and make it last for a much longer period of time, and not to mention that I’ve been training that mental and physical game for years now. How can I work so hard for so long? Because I’ve been working my ass off for years. I’m conditioned. How can I climb 50 pitches in a day? Because I obsessively train and am conditioned. And that’s what I think I’m describing: conditioning–mental and physical.

A lot of times I go out and I’m half committed, especially when I’m super burnt out. It’s hard to commit to a big objective, like a ten mile run after a long day at work, but when I just say, “You know what, I’m not going to commit to a number, but I’m just going to go out and move until it starts feeling forced,” and before I know it I’ve made the ten mile mark. That’s pretty much how I live my entire life. Right now I don’t know what I’m going to do or where I’m going to go. I’ll just park my car somewhere and get out and go.

At the end of the day I’m no better than any single person, so don’t ever tell yourself the lie that somebody is inherently better than you, because that is bullshit! Be accountable to yourself, because that person who’s flourishing is likely flourishing because of extreme hard work and dedication–not some inherent gift.

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