Wanted Nail

The occupation of living uprightly is not a part-time position, nor one to be taken lightly. Warriors never lose their fighting mindset. Rather, they take it with them into every element of their life; fighting to the death for their beliefs, values, and loved ones.

Yesterday, I had an encounter that taught me an incredibly valuable lesson. While attempting to sign up for a gym membership, online, I encountered several error messages that prevented me from joining. After calling the gym to explain the situation, one of their employees told me to come to the gym and he’d take care of me. Rather than giving me the membership I had tried to sign up for, they continually tried to sell me a different gym option; having a significantly higher up front cost than the package I had hoped to purchase online. A slew of harsh words and frustration later, I walked out of the gym without a membership, while acknowledging the employees lack of fault for the situation. A friend of mine was with me at the time, and I asked him whether or not I had been in the right. He immediately reprimanded me “Aaron, you did not conduct yourself as a man of G-d or warrior. You were wrong.” Humble pie. I don’t think I could eat another bite.

It’s only been three weeks since I’ve moved here to Los Angeles and I’m beginning to realize how quickly one can change if they don’t watch their guard. My friend and I spoke about character, integrity, and what it means to keep yourself true to your values, regardless of who you live, work, or associate with; the idea of holding yourself to a higher standard, rather than that of those around you.

Thinking about all of the situations that led to this event, I was quickly overwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed at myself for failing to conduct myself in a manner that I could be proud of. I normally have several streams of thought going through my mind at any given time. At that moment, I had about 20 different thoughts racing by me.

There are no excuses for those who choose to live a life defined by excellence. Gold becomes much more expensive when it is pure. Were mediocrity to be acceptable, last night would have been a perfectly acceptable situation to have gone through. However, that’s not the standard I hold myself to. Thus, the immediate sense of shame, regret, and deep inner disappointment was beyond words.

Somebody once told me that I’m too hard on myself. This same individual is somebody who was dishonorably charged from a branch of the U.S. Military, makes excuses for every failure of their life, and has very little going for them. Common sense tells me it’s not a good idea to listen to their idea of what is right/wrong for myself. Regardless if this person were ragingly successful, the principle remains the same; you cannot look to others to determine what kind of standard you’d like to set for yourself. Many people run to lose weight. I run to win.

When I went through several months of mixed martial arts (MMA) training, I knew the battle to be fought was not the guy in the ring, but the voice inside of my head. I placed myself in situations where immense pain was standard procedure. I taught me to push myself past the point of failure I thought existed.

“Train til you puke.” was an excellent quip from a sermon I heard, based on Paul’s verse about running the race to win, for all not runners receive the prize. When you are running to win, it dons’t matter if there is one opponent or thousands; you must beat yourself into submissions so you may claim the coveted prize.

I say all this to say that I don’t believe it’s possible to be too hard on yourself, so long as you are doing so to accomplish a greater purpose than self-inflicted pain.

Train til you puke.

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