The bodybuilding lifestyle, work, and my marriage are the most important things in my life. Over the years I struggled to find the right balance in order to succeed in all three. I realized that much of what I was prioritizing in the past was not helping me progress forward. Watching TV, playing games, going out, getting away on the weekends, being lazy, and relaxing was not going to get me where I wanted to be. You could argue that these are important from time to time, but I can’t. My productivity and time spent working on my goals has steadily progressed from fifteen years ago to now. Today my day starts around 4 A.M. on all seven days of the week in order to get all that I need to get done each day. I realized how valuable time was and how much I was wasting. There’s never enough time for everything we want to do so we have to make the best use of our time. I cannot stress that enough.
Balance is one of the hardest things to truly achieve because we tend to adopt an “all or nothing” mentality when we set out to achieve something. This leaves everything else in our life to the wayside. What some might not realize is that to be truly effective in achieving your goal, you do not have to be 100% all of the time and neglect everything else in your life. The most important parts of our lives are our families, relationships, and careers. Just image your life right now with no family or significant other, but you have a good career and your fitness goals. I guarantee your quality of life would plummet drastically and depression would kick in. So, to me, balance is being the best you can be while putting honest effort into all that is important to your life. Just do not allow your passion to cloud your view of what is really important.
Now implementing this balance comes with being able to put in 100% effort and be fully engaged in the present moment. The mind must let go of one part of your life to be present in the other. I realize this is very hard, but it is possible and just takes active effort. Letting go of the pressure and expectations we place on ourselves when progress cannot be made is a good thing. Too often when we hyper focus on only one goal we will tend to obsess about it to the point it rarely leaves our mind. This is what I call a potentially unhealthy balance, which can lead to anxiety, irritability, impatience, poor work performance, and even loss of relationships. This occurs because you are not truly present in the moment with other important aspects of your life.
Do not take your relationship for granted, just show up for work like a mindless drone, neglect your relationship, and put all the focus into bodybuilding or personal goals. I can tell you from personal experience this is not wise. As much as it might logically seem like a good formula for success, it is not. I made more progress in bodybuilding and was happier overall when I was putting full effort into all that mattered to me. People confuse time with effort and productivity. The focus should be on total effort put forth and productivity. Time becomes irrelevant if productivity is poor.
In my present life there is no turn off switch for me or my wife. We are always planning, being efficient with our time, and striving to be better in all of the areas that matters to us. It has become an addiction, an anti-depressant, and a way life—it is so gratifying. I’m the only one who knows whether or not I give 100%. I determine that, no one else can. My 100% from years ago isn’t even close to what I’m capable of today. I haven’t always been like this; it has been a constant progression over years. I was inspired by people who had things that I wanted and inspired by others who worked harder than I did and never complained about the work they put in. I used to wonder why some people can give their all and work a 40-hour week but feel overworked while others can work almost double that and have the total opposite outlook. It’s all because of mindset. Too many people are complacent and just simply accept “I am who I am.” But I do not. I refuse. I believe I can always be better and can always work harder.
In the end, the amount of hard work and effort you are willing to put in is solely dependent on how much you want something. Many of you may think you want something badly enough until you see or experience the long bumpy road ahead in order to get there. You know you truly want it when you do not consider anything you give up in order to achieve your goal as a sacrifice.
Just know, moving forward, the amount of work and consistency you can put into something is determined by you. Go as hard and as long as you can until you are where you want to be. You might not be the best in the world at your craft, but in the end knowing you gave it 100% is extremely rewarding. You only fail or lose if you give up.