I've spent too much of my life hearing, "You can't!" "You shouldn't!' "You wouldn't!" "You're going to hurt yourself!" "What are you thinking!" "I would never!" Those comments have been made a time or two from everyone around me.
Then there's the, "Oh I could never do that!" "I'm not that strong." "I would fall apart (or worse) die!"
People can't fathom how someone could take continual obstacles in life and learn, grow and build upon them.
I've lived through unhappiness, heartache, and poverty. I've been in a head on collision with a broken face and skull. I've been lied, cheated and stole from. I've been beaten and abused. I've been robbed and enslaved. And I've been diagnosed with a non-curable disease.
None of those circumstances was from one person, and some were just by chance. So, why would someone continue on?
Because I made a choice. I chose to be happy. I chose on a beach to forgive. I choose to do what I must to no longer be without. I walked out of the hospital the day of my wreck. I've healed. And I am taking control of my disease as much as I possibly can.
Can't is a word so frequently used, it's a crutch. When I tell, mainly women, some of the exercises I'm doing, like pull-ups, I immediately hear the pushback. "I can't do pull-ups. I don't have the upper body strength." As I prepared for my mud run, I heard, "I don't have the strength or stamina to do that!" Now that I'm about to embark on the American Ninja Warrior competition, I hear, "Those obstacles are crazy! I could never do that!"
Of course these people can't do a pull-up, don't have the strength or endurance to run an obstacle course, nor will they ever get the chance to participate in the hardest obstacle competition in North America. They can't, because they have already convinced themselves of it.
Many people don't believe in my abilities. I haven't trained as long as most of my fellow competitors. There are numerous individuals that don't believe in my strength to handle each task. And yet, this whole time, I've never believed the doubts. I've continued to train, even though the odds were stacked against me. I've built muscle and refined technique. I only began going to Iron Sports Gym (a ninja/obstacle course gym in Houston) four months ago. In that short time, I've progressed at lightning speed.
My competition may be younger and able to out lift, pull, jump and swing me. Most of them have trained 3-10 times longer. Many of them have competed on the show before, some multiple times. I may be the underdog in this race physically, but one way I excel is strength of mind. I haven't come this far in life, because I'm weak. I haven't endured lessons of life, because I told myself I can't. Although, I may have thought I can't want to. While hearing what seemed like at the time a death sentence, I never thought of giving up. My energy has come from my relentless drive to prove any naysayer wrong.
So, when I step on that platform and begin my next race through American Ninja Warrior's course, I will know I can, I have and I did. I will leave fear in Texas and commit to each obstacle. And should my feet touch the water, I will know I have not drowned. Because I can't even with I can't...and that is when I could.
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