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The Power of Choice

Time flies. It’s been a month since my daughter was born (June, 2008). It seems like she arrived just yesterday.

Since I don’t know if we’ll have more children, there is something I’d like to address while the memories are fresh. First of all, we (men) have it easy. Labor is a literal term. It’s hard work! My wife was in labor for over 24 hours without pain medication. She was on her feet for 90 percent of the time, working through one contraction at a time. She was obviously tired, but taking a break wasn’t an option.

I sat by her watching in amazement.  This labor was much different from our first child (much longer and more difficult).  My wife was truly a warrior!  Personally, I was exhausted, but you can be damn sure I didn’t mention it.  I had the easy job as labor coach.  My wife was the one fighting the actual battle.  Watching her fight through one contraction at a time was incredible.

Mothers deserve plenty of credit for going through what they go through. Labor can come at any time. The only certainty is pain. We just don’t know when. It isn’t like a fighter who knows that he’ll be in the ring at 9PM on Friday night. Labor is unpredictable. Living pregnant for 9 months and then facing the uncertainty (and certain pain) is  incredible.

Yet, as incredible as it is, women have given birth since the beginning of time. Labor isn’t new. It is something that all mothers have experienced. And please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not at all minimizing the monumental task of delivery. On the contrary, the birthing process shows me that we are all much more capable than we realize. Ask any mother how labor compares to 30 minutes of exercise. The most intense workout in the world is a walk in the park in comparison.

If a woman is pregnant, the baby has got to come out. Staying pregnant forever isn’t a choice. When choice is removed from the equation, we all become much more capable.

The same can be said of many situations in life. For example, I’ve had several emails in the past month from individuals asking about my sleep (or lack of it) since the baby was born. Everyone wants to know how I can function on such little sleep. The answer is really quite simple however. There isn’t a choice. If one of my children needs me, I’ll be there. Parents of infants know exactly what I’m talking about.  Children are more important than sleep. Once you are a parent, you are a parent for life. Parenting isn’t periodized or tapered. If the baby wakes up crying, we don’t have the option of hitting the snooze button. You get up and care for your child.

I cannot stop providing food for my family because I am tired. It isn’t a choice. When you have a job, you do it. Sure, there are choices in terms of different careers, but we all need to work and pay taxes. It is part of life. The bill collectors don’t care if we are tired. We do what we need to do, and if that means working with less sleep, so be it. No one said life was easy, and if they did, they were full of sh*t!

For another example, think back to when you were in school. As a student, you show up each day and do your work. We all went through school. As a kid, I didn’t choose to attend school. It was chosen for me. My mother didn’t negotiate. Going to school was the law!

Making Your Own Choices

The time will come however when we must make choices for ourselves. Consider the high school student who heads off to college. He is no longer living with Mom and Dad. He must make the right choices for himself. He must wake up for class. He must make time to study. Will he study, or will he go out partying?  He alone must choose.

While this entry is somewhat random, the concept of choice is closely related to health, fitness, and sport. We make choices each and every day. Personally, I choose to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle. I could choose to drink beer and eat pizza all day, but I choose not to. Life isn’t always about what we can or cannot do in terms of capability. More often than not, our lives are based on the choices that we make.

As William Jennings Bryan once said,

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.”

Unfortunately, many are either misinformed in terms of what decisions to make, or do not believe that they are capable of achieving anything worthwhile. There are many who honestly believe that they are not physically capable of improving. Fortunately, a solution is not only possible, but right around the corner.

The first step is actively choosing to change, and then believing in your decisions.

If someone else chose for you, you wouldn’t think twice. You would do it (just like going to grade school). If someone put a gun to my head and told me to jump, you can be damn sure that I’m about to fly! More often than not, the ability is there. It’s always been there. It may be dormant however, which is why you must choose to wake up and use it.

How your life unfolds will largely depend on the choices that you make going forward.

Don’t underestimate the power of choice.

Ross

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23 comments

23 Comments so far

  1. Justin July 19th, 2008 3:40 pm

    Another great post from the Kings of Kings!!!

  2. iluvburpees July 19th, 2008 4:14 pm

    Wow…that really makes you think. Good job giving the mothers the credit they deserve. After reading about the pain they endure, I’m really motivated to go do some hill sprints!

    Keep ‘em coming.

    -Mike

  3. Chuck July 19th, 2008 7:25 pm

    Hey Ross. It’s your boy Chuck. This comment is 110% to your wife. All power to a TRUE WARRIOR that she is!!! so as Justin said to the King Of Kings. This one is to the Queen Of Queens. Mrs. Enamait!!!

  4. GlenKelly July 19th, 2008 8:56 pm

    Respect to all mothers and all women, gods best creation!

  5. hagler July 20th, 2008 12:41 am

    what a fantastic post

  6. Uncle Bulldog July 20th, 2008 12:47 am

    Incredible post! I don’t think anyone could have said it better! Here’s to all moms!!!

  7. Brian July 20th, 2008 2:38 am

    People have the choice to improve themselves not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. The resources are out there if we look hard enough, and the right people are out there, if we just only ask. What holds us back are the enemies named laziness, fear and pride. But the solution is simple: action abolishes fear, overcomes laziness, and swallows pride. So choose action.

    Oh, and my regards to the family.

  8. David July 20th, 2008 11:09 am

    This blog post = wisdom!

  9. Tony July 20th, 2008 1:32 pm

    Ross the greatest compliment i can give you is to say, you are a proper DAD’
    Regards Tony

  10. Hindsfeet July 20th, 2008 4:39 pm

    I just “stumbled upon” (StumbleUpon.com) this post, and I just had to say wow! Not really about the stuff moms go through, though that was great insight, too, but the entire *choice* thing… lots of wisdom there. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  11. Andy July 22nd, 2008 1:13 am

    keep rockin it Ross! Man – you’ve got beautiful kids! And you are right about motherhood and pregnancy…Great post!

  12. Gil July 22nd, 2008 9:23 pm

    Great post, as always, Ross.

    If I had it my way, EVERY day would be Mother’s day..

  13. Marcia R. July 25th, 2008 3:49 am

    My dh just sent me this link (since we just birthed our 4th babe!) ;-) and I wanted to let you know that you are an amazing man with an amazing heart and obvious passion for what he does– (parenting as well as working out!) Awesome post on both counts–women & labor and the choices we make! I’m feeling it! Kudos to you, your incredible wife and precious children!

  14. tony July 25th, 2008 7:55 am

    the toughiest MFer just got tougher in my book.

  15. Padorian August 20th, 2008 4:55 am

    Ross man…this was not random…this was a very very good post.

    Thank you for putting it up.

    This is existencialist philosophy man, this makes people tick and change their lives.

    I, for one, have been deeply touched by this post.

    Thank you.

  16. Sheila October 17th, 2009 2:40 am

    Great post. My Exercise Physiology teacher used to ask 2 questions. The first one was “How fast can you run?”.
    The second questions was “How fast can you run if I put a gun to your head?” It put things in perspective.

    The only other thought I have is that I am thankful I never experienced labor! OUCH!!

  17. [...] demonstration of human potential.  It also confirms my beliefs from a prior entry (regarding the power of choice).  When choice is removed from the equation, we as people become far more capable than many could [...]

  18. gugi March 30th, 2010 7:43 am

    Yeah.very inspiring.

  19. [...] put away some of the birthing books that my wife and I read during her pregnancy. As mentioned in a past entry, she endured more than 24 hours of natural labor! It didn’t happen by accident however. Yes, [...]

  20. Mike (Panther Fitness) October 28th, 2010 10:14 pm

    Hey man great post
    Totally agree with you that we are free to make choices to look after our health and training, so many people i speak to want to have a better body, lose lbs but you know they wont do anything about it.
    They want things that come easy, not very inspriring think people should read this blog it should inspire them to get up and make a choice to train and be healthy.
    Good work!!

  21. Pedro Ornelas January 1st, 2011 7:00 pm

    My Names Pedro Ornelas and i made the wrong choice of fighting. I was trying to protect my friends from bullys. and i was trying to defend myself by fighting. Now i got kicked of school by the age 16 and now im 17, turning 18 on april 13. Now I learned respect.I love my family I love helping everybody that needs help, and I wanna join boxing but i wanna be a heavyweight and still be fast like mike tyson

  22. Jillian May 28th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Takes a real man to openly admit the respect and appreciation he has for his wife. It was a great blend introdution to your whole idea of the power of choice. That power is based on our drive for personal achievements.

    Phenomenal article
    Biscayne Boxing & Fitness Club

  23. David January 9th, 2012 2:12 pm

    Ross your posts are great, you are inspire passion and lots of energy, keep the good work and keep motivating people like that!

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