A Lesson in Appreciation

The bad times help us appreciate the good.

Things seem to be good here in this pic taken in Vegas so I figured it’d fit with the article haha.

The good times wouldn’t be as good without the hard times. Success isn’t as fulfilling without failure. And happiness isn’t as enjoyed or appreciated without an understanding and experience of what sadness is and feels like.

If all we have to compare is fun with fun and there isn’t an opposite in our lives, we may enjoy happiness, because we’re obviously happy, but we wouldn’t really know just how much to appreciate it.

The same can be said with our health, we don’t know how much to really appreciate good health until we lose it. We can also say this about friends and family. We often appreciate them most when it’s too late.

I started working out when I was 16.

I was a ridiculously skinny guy in high school and I desperately wanted to change my physique. I was also an athlete, so naturally I needed to add some muscle onto my skin-and-bones frame for sports, but also because I wanted to attract a girl or two.

Most of what I started to do in the gym I found in a bodybuilding magazine or heard from one of the many jacked friends I had. I figured I’d just do what they did, they’re jacked, so, that’ll get me jacked – simple right?

Well, not so much.

I did the different workouts from the magazines, found a few online, and the rest from my buddies. I did these – without any success – throughout high school and into college. I was a twig in college, I looked like a 9th grader when I was 20 because of how skinny I was. It really effected my game (basketball), I was always giving away 30+ pounds to whomever I was guarding. It also effected my dating.

Girls in high school wanted guys who had some muscle, and that was even more evident in college. I didn’t need to be huge, but I at least needed to look like a man, or at least my age.

I spent a total of 7 years doing workouts of guys who put on muscle like it was nothing. My genetics for building muscle were NOT GOOD. So doing the amount of reps they were doing, the exercises they did and following the frequency of their workouts didn’t bode well with my skinny frame and shitty genetics.

I HATED being skinny!

Spending 7 years working my ass off, trying to build muscle and a body that I’d be both confident in, and proud of – but consistently failing was tough. It took it’s toll, and I’m not going to lie I completely gave up. At one point I accepted my fate of being this skinny little guy forever and quit trying to build muscle.

However, eventually things did change through a series of odd events which included my introduction to the wonderful sport of boxing, along with an awesome job as a trainer – where I would eventually meet THE GUY who helped me turn things around and bring an end to those 7 years of frustration and failure.

Right now I’m 40 pounds heavier than I was when I started boxing. More like 55 pounds heavier than I was in high school and college, and a hell of a lot leaner as well.

But, if I wasn’t born such a skinny little shit, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate what I have now. I also don’t think I’d be able to relate as well to guys who have a similar problem, whether you find it tough to put on lean muscle, or lose fat. It’s a lot easier to empathize when you’ve been on both sides of the fence.

In every situation in life, we have things that we can appreciate, things that we can be thankful for and look forward to. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to see them than others, but the good times exist.

How do we better appreciate the good times, and not get down in the bad?

  • I start each day by writing down 3 things I’m thankful for, 3 goals I have for the day, and 3 ideas I have.
  • When achieving a goal, keep in mind – or on paper – or even keep an image of what you were like before you ever achieved the goal.

Sometimes goals take a long time to achieve, and they kind of happen out of the blue after years of putting in work and grinding. Keep something that reminds you of what life was like before the goal is reached, both good and bad.  It’ll keep you level headed and modest when things are going great, but also help you appreciate all that you have even when you’re in the midst of turmoil.

Writing down what you’re thankful for on a daily basis keeps things in perspective. We all get down at times, find things frustrating or even hopeless, but if we sit down and really think about it, there are always at least 3 things in our lives that we’re thankful for.


What’s the biggest goal in your life?

What’s 1 thing you’re thankful for?