My first real experience of radical life transformation was when I was 18 years old. I had spent the last year at college with my best friend from high school drinking and partying excessively and ingesting every substance I could get my hands on that might possibly give me an escape from my own misery. I was 100 pounds overweight, I had never had a girlfriend and I was completely and totally miserable. On top of my rapidly compounding feelings of self-loathing and despair stemming from all my poor choices was the unfortunate experience of totaling my car and having a complete falling out with my best friend and roommate. I had zero motivation for college, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do in school or with my life and now I was faced with the challenge of how I would get a new car and get myself out of the circumstances I knew were totally holding me back in life. I had the choice to either stay in school and resort to public transportation and riding my bike while I worked part-time or taking the semester off and moving back in with my parents and getting a full-time job. I opted for the latter.
I’ll never forget the ride home with my mother, I was as unhappy as I had ever been in my entire life. Yes I was unhappy about poor life choices, and the fact that I wrecked my car. I was also unhappy about the fact that I was so overweight and unhealthy and was desperately seeking affection from the opposite sex. However mostly I was unhappy about the fact that I had just realized my best friend had such a bad substance abuse problem that all I had become to him was a source of funding for his addiction. This was boldly displayed to me when I came back at the end of the semester and found that he had sold all my college textbooks which I needed to study for finals surely for money to indulge himself in one of his many vices. There is that saying that “when it rains is pours” and I’m sure we have all had the experience of problems, challenges and obstacles seeming to stack up on each other in rapid succession to the point of overload.
When I got home my mother gave me a gift, the book “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama, probably the first self-help or personal development book I ever read. I don’t remember exactly what I read in the book that hit me but I do remember realizing this: The circumstances we find ourselves experiencing in life are a direct result of the choices we’ve made, and if we aren’t happy with our circumstances all we have to do is start making different choices.
I’ve heard that to change and transform your life you either need INSPIRATION or DESPERATION. I can definitely say without a shadow of a doubt that I found my motivation in that latter. The reality is that until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, we will never change. I was miserable, definitely the lowest point I had ever been at in my life up to that point and I decided to change, big time. I got a job at a company called Mission Pharmacal in town doing manual labor. We made the base product for a calcium supplement called Citrical. I worked Monday through Friday at a shift starting at either 730 or 830 am wearing pants and long sleeves, steel toed shoes, latex gloves, a hairnet, safety goggles and a breathing mask. The job was so physically demanding that I was sweating profusely usually within 15 minutes of starting work and by lunchtime my clothes were so soaked I would either change them or dry them at home on my lunch break. Two or three other workers had actually gotten herniated disks in their back at the job from all the heavy lifting and I actually tore a muscle in my back within the first 2 weeks. It was a lot of work and by the end of the day we were all pretty beat up.
However every day I would leave work and drive to the health club and start my new workout regimen. I would do cardio and lift weights for 1.5 to 3 hours every day then barely have enough energy to make it home, eat dinner, shower and go to bed. I probably only drank or even hung with friends once or twice during the time I had the job and within 6 months I had lost over 80 pounds. I didn’t even look like the same person any longer. I got a new car and I went back to college after taking 2 semesters off and actually would run into people I knew and they literally didn’t recognize me. It was quite the experience. I definitely discovered that I got a lot more attention from girls feeling a lot better about myself and even got my first girlfriend. I also got very good grades in school and for the first time in many years felt the potential for greatness surging through my body again. Things had really turned around for me.
The best thing about the whole experience however was not the results, it was the discovery of realizing that I could do so much more than I thought I was capable of doing. Some of the guys from my job were inspired by all the weight I lost and incredibly impressed that I had the discipline and willpower to go workout after such a hard and physically demanding day at the job. Some of them even joined me at the gym after work sometimes. I realized the amazing impact that we as individuals can have on other by having the courage to make drastic changes in life. As Jim Rohn says “Life does not get better by chance, life gets better by change.”
What is it that you would like to change about your life? Make a decision to take action and do something different. If you want to transform you life, first off you are going to have to start by changing the mindset and attitude you have about your life and what you are capable of. If you are surrounded by people and circumstances that are not helping your growth but hindering it, then you need to know yourself well enough to know that you need to cut the dead weight. I didn’t have an environment of people who were pushing me forward and motivating me to change the aspects of my life that were holding me back, but I at least removed myself from the environment and relationships with people who were obstacles to me reaching my objectives. If deep down you really are longing to change aspects of your life but haven’t hit that place close enough to rock bottom that the pain of staying the same is far too great for you to bear, made a decision. Do whatever you have to do to find inspiration and start disciplining yourself to make the new choices and engage in the new activities needed. Otherwise the inevitability that will follow is either the pain of regret or the ensuing troubles, challenges and hardships that will continue to fall upon you until you are ready to change.
Life Transformation 101 Summary: If you want to change things in your life, you are going to have to change things in your life. If you want to get something you’ve never had, you are going to have to think in ways you’ve never thought and do things you’ve never done.
Get Inspired and Transform your life in any way you see fit.