Better to live life as a lion

The Easy Life is For Suckers

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My first fight was as it should be: a battle. Nothing about it was comfortable; everything about it was a struggle. It didn’t take place in the comfort of my hometown, or in the familiarity of my home ring. I had to drive 8 hours just to get to the town where it was held. I was fighting a guy who, on paper was also having his first fight – in this weight class at least, he’d already had 20+ in other weight classes. The fight took place in the winter months in the north of British Columbia – think Logan’s home in Wolverine and you’ll get the idea.young-teddy-roosevelt

It was a completely new experience. I’d sparred for hundreds of hours, I’m sure, but sparring is sparring and fighting is a fight. The two are completely different – which was something I didn’t yet know going in to the fight. The fight itself took place in an old, cold, worn down hockey rink. The ring, in the middle of the surface where the ice would normally be. The crowd, surrounding the ring in chairs, and in the stands.

Although I now walk around at 190 pounds, back then I was petite. The fight took place in the middleweight devision which, in the amateurs, is 165 pounds, but I could barely manage to maintain 155 pounds, even whilst filling my mouth at every opportunity. My meal before the weigh-in and again before the fight was a stupid one: steak, eggs, and hash-browns. I love steak and eggs, but I didn’t put a lot of thought into the fact that you want to feel light on your feet in the ring, and that a full stomach doesn’t feel great when it’s getting pummeled.

When my trainer heard of my meal choices a few minutes before the fight, he told me that if I shat my pants in the ring, it would be my own damn fault. I didn’t, thankfully.

The fight, at least the first two rounds, was nothing like I thought it would be. I’d spent my entire life watching professional fights. Pro fights last 10-12 rounds (15 rounds in the classic fights I loved to watch as well). The first two rounds were usually a process of the fighters getting acquainted - Hagler vs Hearns aside. As I would soon find out, the three or four two-minute rounds of an amateur fight didn’t have any feeling out process.

I expected a jab-fest for the first round, but my opponent, being a much more seasoned fighter, knew that that wasn’t how it was going to go down. I got my ass kicked for two rounds, before I woke up, floored him in the third, but eventually lost a split decision. My first fight of my life, a loss. I was none too pleased, but I wouldn’t let that happen again, and I didn’t.

I wouldn’t let a lack of preparedness lead to a loss, nor a lack of tenacity. It would never again take a punch to wake me up, I’d walk into that ring, be it a sparring session, a fight, a work day, a workout, with the heart of a fighter, the spirit of a warrior.

“Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn’t even be there. Eighty are just targets. Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one. One is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.“ ~ Heracletus

It Took Adversity.

Although I lost, my first fight was the perfect first fight. I faced adversity and struggle in every possible way; from the location, to the opponent, to the outcome; my first fight was literally a fight, a struggle. At one point the thought of quitting popped into my head, of course I pushed it out, took a step forward, and kept punching, slipping, blocking, and absorbing punches. If I had knocked the guy out in 5 seconds, in my mind, it would have been a useless experience that taught me nothing, and would possibly hurt me more than it helped me later on down the road.

I love adversity, at least I’m growing to love it. 

Adversity is what makes a common, weak, average, uninspiring man into a WARRIOR; at the very least, it gives him the opportunity to become one. He has it in him to push forward, to work hard, sacrifice, and push through the pain, and it’s his choice if he takes that path, or the path of a coward.

Without adversity we never live. Without pain we don’t find out if we’re men. We don’t find out if we’re living for a reason, or merely going through the motions waiting for that day when we kick the bucket.

Life is a struggle, a beautiful struggle. The more I see the beauty in the pain, how without it we won’t appreciate the good times, the easy times, just like without darkness we can’t have light, the more I see a benefit to placing hardship on ourselves, and removing ease.

A Case Against the Easy Life

Our goal or dream is to get to the easy life as fast as possible. We want this stress-free, laissez faire existence so bad that we start incorporating it into our lives almost immediately. Much of our innovation comes about to bring this ease. We schedule our lives to avoid hard work as much as possible, or work hard to one day avoid the life we had to lead to be able to afford to avoid the hard work that has got us there.

Ease is the dream. Hard work is the vehicle that can get us there.

I don’t buy it.

As a guy who once had this dream, the more I live, grow, work, and evolve as a man, I see more value in placing hardship upon myself than in removing it – easier said than done, yes, but this truth is apparent. Where I once laid out my perfect life as no-alarm-clock, wake-up-in-paradise-and-do-nothing Eden, my view of what ‘the dream’ is has changed – or at least is changing.

Take this truth as an example:

“There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Struggle and strain aren’t things we should avoid, but things we should seek. Just like our fears shouldn’t make us run, but stand and fight, the struggles of life should be appreciated for who they make us in to, and what they make of usContinue to Page 2 >>>

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  • Lance Howell

    Great article! It’s like at work when it’s not busy it stinks, I don’t get any fulfillment on a down day. But when it’s busy I sure feel a lot better and fulfilled.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      I’m the exact same way Lance, thanks for that.

  • Spence

    Again, this is an awesome article!

    I have to say, I have never really thought about taking the easy road, but then again it has never been offered to me. I grew up where between my parents there where 5 jobs, and I had one when I was 12. By the time I was 14 I had two jobs, school, and I was just getting into training. Fast forward 6 years, and a bit has changed, but no easy road still.

    Your articles get me thinking about how I have grown up, and who I am becoming. If you asked me a couple years ago, I would have said that I wish I had grown up differently, that I had had more of a childhood, but now, I am extremely grateful for the way I grew up. It caused me to become mature and dependable at a young age. I enjoy working hard and playing hard too. Sure, I may not have had much of a childhood, but I honestly have no regrets.

    I guess I was just born to walk the hard road, and live a more strenuous life.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      I agree. There’s a reason for it. Maybe it made you tougher for something that’s about to come, or more well-prepared for great things in life. The strenuous life is one of growth – its one of LIFE.

  • Paul

    Great article. I have just a speed bump in my professional life and at first I thought it was a major issue or disaster. I know see it for what it is. A chance to grow, a chance to plan my future, to go after what I want and what matters. I dont feel that this will happen by taking the easy route paved out by other people. No I feel this will happen when I make the decisions regarding my life and get up off my ass and perserve. I thank you for this article as it has inspired me even more. Keep up the great work.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      That’s great to hear Paul – really happy you connected with this article. That’s awesome.

  • Ben

    Inspiring perspective, Chad!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks Ben!

  • http://twitter.com/TheUrbanSpartan TheUrbanSpartan

    This is one of the most inspiring blogs I have ever read… I understand. I am Warrior, I am Spartan. Brilliant!!! Thank you for writing this. @theurbanspartan

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      No problem man, thanks for the comment, glad I can be of some service.

  • Nick Casteel

    Really good article. I personally have found that typically I can trace any results I don’t like to when I had gotten complacent or lazy about something. so I started to say to myself whenever I feel myself starting to be lazy don’t be lazy don’t be complacent you’re going to get a result they will not like. So hard or go home.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      I like it man, and great way to put it.

  • Andrew Peters

    Spot on-the most growth comes with the challenges!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      well said. and thanks.

  • Kurzon Dexx

    Thanks for reminding me life is for those who drive off road and not the comfy highway. Life is meant to be experienced to th Nth degree. You remind me life is a journey and we have so much opportunity to create great living legenday lives.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Great way to put it Kurzon, thanks for the comment.

  • Terry Morton

    Chad I have learned so much about myself from the challenges in your blogs. I look forward to every one and usually read it 2 or 3 times and then use the archives when I need to refresh my memory on something you’ve written. Sometimes I think you have looked into my mind, soul or heart and written exactly what I need to hear, kinda like a good Baptist preacher…haha, you nail me! I appreciate the work you do and the effort you put into it! Thanks

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks a lot Terry, really appreciate that.

  • Chris

    Man… i really needed this. I’ve been starting to get lazy. My motivation was starting to lack in everything I do. But this just gave the biggest kick in the ass I needed!! Thanks for this Chad!!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      We’ve all been there, and no problem, glad you found the article.

  • http://www.acalltoaction.net/ Trevor Wilson

    Beautiful post Chad! And inspiring!

    The path of least resistance will never lead anywhere worthwhile. Every time you take the easy way out you make yourself weaker. A lifetime of these decisions leads to a weak weak man. In every respect.

    The hard path is the only path that leads to strength. But few these days are willing to take it. So damn sad.

    Thanks for yet another motivating post Chad! I’d rather hear a hard truth than an easy lie any day.

    Cheers!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks man!

  • Joseph

    Not a comment about the article (though it was great, and at a time when I needed it). I’ve been reading your site a lot, especially lately, and the articles are really good, the tags are helpful for categories, and you’ve got plenty of great in depth articles. The only thing is that I need the big picture (specifically about nutrition) so I have a foundation to add the details to. I know you wrote at least one or two articles like that but I having trouble finding them under all the detail articles. If you could have a place on your website for master-articles or some such in each category that would be great. Also good luck with that book, keep working at it. I’ll be buying it when it comes out.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Joseph that’s a great idea. Thanks for that insight. Have you signed up for the “legendary man” training course at the top header? – click apply now. All of the foundations are in there. I give you the perfect day with regards to diet, training, and everything you need RE: fitness.

      • Joseph

        Thanks, just did, for the info. I can’t do the course right now, I’m traveling in Russia, but in my spare time of been working on a plan for when I get back to the States, sort of an AOM boot-camp. This site’s been very helpful.