How Will You CHOOSE To Respond To Adversity?



After all I have been through life continues throwing me some heavy-duty, Rocky Balboa type, rib-breaking body blows. Compared to many I am blessed, but on occasion — I don’t feel that way. The reality of owning a business in these current economic times can weigh heavy upon one’s psyche. Very real pressure can crush even the strongest and broadest shoulders. Some days, I feel much like I did a few years ago. Similar situations caused apathy, which in turn led to laziness. The result was that my weight ballooned to a ponderous, pachydermian three hundred and seventy-five pounds and my fitness levels plummeted to previously unforeseen depths.


On a morning a few days back, when the alarm clock sounded, for the first time in a long time, I had the desire to unplug the chronograph, roll back over and continue my slumber. Reawakened by my current situation, my inner demons reared their ugly heads.


Visions of carbohydrate crammed foods danced in my head. Pancakes, home fries, doughnuts and waffles for breakfast started bubbling to the forefront of my brain. Later, I could go for a pizza and a nice pot of macaroni. Then, in the evening, maybe a pie and a pint or two of ice cream. Ah yes, the comfort foods would work their soothing magic.


The demons screamed into my skull:


Why exercise?

Why eat right?

What is the point?

Think of how nice it would be to sleep, on a full belly, an extra few hours each and every morning.


I knew that the combination of sloth and gluttony would once again isolate me from the outside world. The calming influences of empty calorie, nutrient devoid foods would help me sleep. The lack of exercise would convert the excess consumption into a protective lard layer, and I would once again be isolated from the rest of the human race.



I felt like I was being held from Hell’s fires by a proverbial rope. I glanced up and studied the rope that has kept me afloat in even the worse situations. I noticed that the repair jobs from the previous occasions in which life almost took me down, were once again frayed. The gremlins and graveling, which were busily hacking away at the rope, were more than halfway through.


As my gazed remain fixed; I pondered a few thoughts: Will the rope give all together? Will my life and future plummet into a great abyss? It very well might. When it desires, life can be a cold and heartless bastard. The big question is:


Will I embrace my inner demons and willingly hasten my demise?


I stayed in bed and wondered what it would be like to have had a charmed life. I asked myself more questions.


How different would it have been if my father hadn’t been forced onto disability by a life altering injury?


How would it have been if my parents could have afforded to send me straight to college out of high school?


Was my judgment to enter the Navy, to alleviate the burden of at least one child to care for, the correct decision?


Yes, the self-doubt and self-pity of despair were being cheered on by the demons. Much like the negative focused naysayers, my inner mischievous sprites were acting as the harbingers of doom — joyfully, fanning my flames of despair, discontent, doubt, and disillusionment.


How easy would it be to embrace their self-destructive message!

How simple would it be to return back to my former indolence!

How effortless would it be to add a hefty burden to the rope!


As these thoughts ran through my head, a truck driver outside my window slammed on the brakes. As the tractor-trailer came to a very loud halt, its cargo violently shifted and I was jarred by a thunderous clang. My still sleeping brain interpreted the clamor into the clang of iron plates being dropped onto the gym floor.



Thoughts of clanging and banging iron sent a familiar shiver through my body.


I jumped from my bed. The demons hid in terror. I would not give into their cursed cheering.


There is no time for self-pity.

There is no time for self-sorrow.

There is no time for self-destruction.


The rope is starting to show threads and I am not sure how long it will hold out. However, I will not increase its burden by adding weight to my frame.


As much as we tend to think otherwise, there is very little in our lives over which we have control.


Well run businesses fail.

Bad, at times awful, things happen to good people.

Politicians pass laws regardless of the actual outcomes.

Hard working, loyal employees often find themselves without a job.


Is adversity a setback or an opportunity?


It is all in how we choose to view it. We can allow bad luck, bad decisions and just flat out bad situations dominate, control and beat us down, or — we can choose how we respond.


You see, I choose how I respond. I choose not to allow those demons that are screaming affect me. And, I choose to tell those demons to go straight back to hell!


The one thing we can control is ourselves.


We can control our mental attitude.

We can control our fitness level.

We can control what we eat.


In spite of Gary Taubes’s anti exercise writings, I continue my endeavors in exercise. I am confident that by being physically fit and strong, if that rope does give out, I will be powerful enough to reach up, grab the remaining end and support myself.