Pain Is Fuel. Here Are The Two Types You Can Burn

pain is fuel

Focus. Intensity. Pain.

It all starts when the alarm goes off in the morning. 5am. That obnoxious iPhone ringtone is there for a reason. It’s there because I can’t move fast enough to try to turn it off. By the time I do, I am so rattled by the ringing that I am already awake. “Who the hell would make a freaking ringtone like that?” I put my phone down and reset the alarm…with the same tone for the next day. 5am. Same…obnoxious…ringtone. It’s doing its job.

My body leaves the warm covers but then the most important part of the day happens in the next two seconds. As soon as my feet hit the floor I take a second to pray. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go after my dreams, so not only will I be able to realize them, but inspire the world around me to go after theirs.”

Time to get dressed.

I head to the kitchen, drink some water, prepare my protein and pre-workout and throw my iPod headphones into my ears. Usually, the first thing that comes up is a speech by Les Brown. The first words to ever hit my ears in the morning are these…

I don’t what that dream is that you have. I don’t care how disappointing it might have been. As you have been working towards that dream. But here’s what I know. That that dream  you are holding in your mind…that it’s possible. See sometimes we can’t say ‘I can do that.’ But what we can say that ‘It’s possible.’ That I can have my dream. As we run toward it. As we work on it day in and day out.”

By the time his speech is over, I am halfway to the gym. I open that bottle full of pre workout and can feel the caffeine hit my empty stomach. My senses light up. There’s this slight rush that often hits my in the back of my neck and then works its ways behind my eyes. I am aware. The music bumps. My grip tightens around the wheel. 10 more minutes and I am where I want to be. Despite the pain I know that is going to come, I am willingly driving quickly towards it.

A long time ago when I played baseball I was told by a sports psychologist to stop at the threshold of the field and only walk in when I was ready to be a baseball player and nothing else. But today, as I cross into the threshold of the gym, I do something quite different. I tell myself that I am willingly going to drag into the gym all my problems, my past, and my worries and defeat them. Because with every rep the things that seemed so hard or that challenge me today become less and less worrisome. I defeat my fears in the gym with proving to myself that I am stronger than them. And while life seems to get more complicated over time, well, I get stronger and race towards my dream. No longer does fear hold me back from achieving my own personal greatness.

It’s a new world for me. Dragging in my pain with me. Using the failures and the pain to motivate myself to achieve something I never have has been the missing link I have been seeking for a long time. I used to be scared of bringing that with me. Of uncovering the past. But truly now I am friends with the Black Dog. He doesn’t nip at my heels anymore. I take him into the gym with me and feed him as much as I can. Because as much as this project is about improving my life day by day, it’s also about putting the past to rest – a concept that has eluded me until now. I didn’t have a place for it. I thought it was writing, and in many ways it is, but I have found a new home for it – and it stays in the gym.

There’s this interesting line I cross in there that I haven’t been able to put into words for a long time. That moment when you are almost in a trance. Muscles are full of blood. Eyes are focused off into space. The beat is thumping in your ears. Everything, for a time disappears. Then you stand back up, throw  300+lbs on the bar and squat yourself to the floor. Your legs are shaking. Your muscles burn. And you find something within yourself during those reps where you thought you couldn’t take anymore but you did. Those reps I bring that old pain into the forefront of my mind. The dishonesty. Being ignored. Being told I couldn’t. The times I was bailed on. Flaked on. Lead on. Hurt. I bring it all back and use it.

I use the pain.

I use the pain to build myself a stronger foundation. I use the pain to motivate myself to achieve my goals. I use the pain to give myself the opportunity to let it all go. Because once that weight is re-racked, that pain of the old seems to be a little bit less. It seems to have been left on the bar and taken out of my body.

Fuel yourself with positivity. It will change your life like you have never experienced before. But if you hit a wall, remember to set fire to the pain. Use that pain to take yourself to places you have never been. Use that pain to let yourself be free of your past.

– Evan Sanders

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  • made58
    February 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Reblogged this on MadeleineMaya.

  • hipmonkey
    February 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    After being on a drug called Klonopin for 20 years I have started the process of weaning off. That’s a different kind of pain, but trust me, it hurts! I am learning to use the pain to my advantage and to keep going through this process. The pain makes me feel alive, and though it truly sucks, I want to stop taking this med the VA prescribed bad enough to continue till it’s out of my system. This post provided me with enough strength to go another day, and increased my determination to succeed. It makes my daily pain from spinal surgery seem like a day at Disney Land 🙂 So t/y

  • Dalo 2013
    February 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Very well done. Pain is not just a great motivator to take positive action, but it build both the soul and body stronger.

  • rina862
    February 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, great stuff.

  • dan4kent
    February 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    If it hurts, something is working because you’re brain is getting the message. Message rec’d, you know what to work on. It’s like a flare gun for getting better, living a humble life from a victorious perspective. Challenging! Dan

  • frugalistagiftguide
    February 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Well said. Love the prayer!

  • winnymarch
    February 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    nice story

  • blkgoddess
    February 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Great post. Like some guy or lady said “pain is weakness leaving the body.” Working out really helps.

  • progressionofme
    February 17, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Fantastic post Evan. This one hit a chord with me, as I have struggled a bit lately with increasing my weight on squats and have been discussing with a friend how I can use emotions to fuel this…

  • Rajiv
    February 17, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Using the pain. Yes, this can work,,,

  • blondinbrille
    February 17, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I use the pain and see it as something positive … After the gym or any intimate contact .. lol … Are many ways to build muscle on …. Some wonderful than the other

  • blondinbrille
    February 17, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Reblogged this on blondinbrille and commented:
    Do not fear the pain….

  • B.C. Laybolt
    February 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Awesome post, sir.

  • jblondie09
    February 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Lovely post. Raw. Honest…and reflective. 🙂 I think I’m gonna start praying when my feet hit the floor…unique idea.

  • theloveculture
    February 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    “The dishonesty. Being ignored. Being told I couldn’t. The times I was bailed on. Flaked on. Lead on. Hurt. I bring it all back and use it.

    I use the pain.

    I use the pain to build myself a stronger foundation. I use the pain to motivate myself to achieve my goals. I use the pain to give myself the opportunity to let it all go. Because once that weight is re-racked, that pain of the old seems to be a little bit less. It seems to have been left on the bar and taken out of my body.”

    Yesssssssssssssss. Also, powerful speech by Les Brown. Just finished listening to it. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for this post!

  • Rachael
    February 18, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Inspirational Sir! Pain is something we all experience and yet all handle differently – thanks for sharing. Prayer is awesome. Made me realise though that I prayer the same words over my children each night but I don’t have a consistent one for myself… I’d better fix that…

    • Rachael
      February 18, 2014 at 12:40 am

      *pray! Oops…

  • joDee
    February 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    This. This. This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you.

  • Meghan
    February 18, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Reblogged this on C'est la vie!.

  • Healthy Fresh Start
    February 18, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Fabulous and very inspirational! I just bought a gym pass with a friend the other day and I am going to remember your words every day that I am there! Thanks 🙂

  • lil74
    February 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and reminding us to hold onto our dreams, to look beyond the pain and/or rejection. I keep reminding myself the past does not dictate the future and if we apply the right attitude, a current situation/challenge also has the potential to bring us that much closer to our dreams. As my sister would say, Lil is this a good or bad thing….let the challenge unfold a little before you panic! Keep on keeping on…to hell with playing the victim….we are survivors

  • magmap
    February 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    You are a great inspiration. I pray twice in the morning. once I get up and then before I get out of my car when I get to the grouphome. Thank you!!!!

  • VISION: “See it before it actually happens. Use your Imagination… See yourself becoming the person you want to be… Your imagination have to take you beyond the pain, beyond the trouble, to the next level…. Keep seeing… Keep p
    February 23, 2014 at 1:36 am

    […] day after, I came across the better man project’s blog on turning pain into fuel. His caption on Les Brown’s “Dream” speech initiated me to Les Brown. I kept […]

  • twyler
    March 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Twyler(dot)com and commented:
    My thoughts exactly. Heavy-metal therapy.

  • Amberr Meadows
    March 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Loved this post, and I’m now subscribed to receive each one!

  • daniyalwazir
    November 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Haha Waoohh!

  • milk and honey beauty
    December 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Nice! Not sure I could take that level of positivity every morning on my ipod though!!

  • ss
    December 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Very captivating …love your blog.:)

  • ss
    December 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    ” Those reps I bring that old pain into the forefront of my mind. The dishonesty. Being ignored. Being told I couldn’t. The times I was bailed on. Flaked on. Lead on. Hurt. I bring it all back and use it.”

    You hit the nail on the spot with these words ….:)

  • scottsthoughts27
    January 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Amazing!!! Prayer perfect way to start the day.

"raw. electric. a daily shock to the soul."

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