As a kid growing up, I always excelled in school and even skipped a grade due to my above average intelligence. However, as I progressed through middle and high school, I realized that I only had to work about 50% of my potential to meet the same standards as my peers. This led me to become lazy and only apply minimal effort, leading to reasonable but not outstanding grades.

My attitude towards applying myself carried over into other areas of my life, such as sports and relationships. It wasn't until I had a conversation with my wrestling coach, Harris, that I began to understand the importance of maximizing my potential. Harris told me that he would rather have a wrestler like Frank, who may not have been as talented but worked hard and gave it his all, on the team instead of me. Frank, who was obese at the start of wrestling season, worked hard and transformed his body, giving 100% at practice and even running on a treadmill at home.

It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I realized the importance of applying myself and maximizing my potential. During my five years in the military, I was successful and even became a sergeant in two years, but I know that I could have done better if I had applied myself more. It wasn't until I heard the story of Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee who made jokes about his situation and took ownership of it, that I realized the importance of responding to challenges and obstacles in a positive way. Mills, who lost his arms and legs in an IED explosion while serving in the 82nd airborne infantry, demonstrated that despite limitations, it's possible to achieve great things.

This experience made me realize that no matter what situation I find myself in, it's important to ask myself what I can control about it and to bring a positive attitude to the table. Too often, people use their circumstances as an excuse for not pursuing their goals, especially when it comes to fitness and health. Investing in ourselves can be put on the back burner due to other priorities, but it's essential to remember that our journey and how we respond to it is only as hard as we allow it to be.

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