Source: I’m not the same person as I used to be.
I use the above image to reinforce my point, but the physical changes alone hardly scratch the surface.
On the left, I was 15 years old. I weighed less than 90lbs. I was sick just about every day (undiagnosed with). I was missing 2-3 days of school a week. I was a straight C student, at best. I played World of Warcraft relentlessly. I didn’t have many friends, and the ones I did have lived in my computer and my gaming headset. I was lonely and depressed. Insomniac, no doubt exacerbated by my late night gaming sessions. I viewed the world through an extremely pessimistic lens. I often contemplated suicide or at the very least, leaving home.
On the right (photo was taken last year), 23 years old. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, and eat extremely healthfully to keep my celiac in check. I rarely miss a day of work. I graduated college at the top of my class with a near perfect GPA and with honors credits. (For those hating on WoW, I did so even while playing the game.) I made friends with the big guys at my local gym and joined their inner circle of bodybuilders and powerlifters. I work at an advertising agency and a huge part of my job is to be out and about, social. I meditate daily and sleep soundly. I see the world and the self as something we all hold the power to create. I strive every day to help other others realize the depth of their own potential and become the person they know they can be.
When I look at that skinny kid on the left, I remember a lot of pain. I remember certain stories and certain feelings. But I do not recognize him. I have changed so much since then that he is more a distant memory I must remind myself is real, otherwise he will fade into the distance all together.
And you know what?
That’s a beautiful thing.
EDIT: People wanted to know what the catalyst was for my change, so I’ll add it here to my answer. In short: I ended up attending a drug rehab trip when I was 19 in Florida with 12 other guys where we canoed 320 miles down into the Gulf of Mexico in 30 days. During the trip, we each spent 3 days alone in the wilderness fasting and living in a solo tent. I came to the deep realization that nothing in my life was going to change unless I made it change, and as soon as I came back I committed myself to years of inner questioning and outward expression, forcing myself to grow into the person I knew I could become.
EDIT 2: So apparently this showed up on Reddit (I love you guys), and there seems to be some confusion as to whether the “guy on the right” in the above photo is actually me, or a UFC fighter by the name of Urijah Faber. Although I am honored for the comparison, I cannot take credit for his hair nor his fifth degree blackbelt. If one would like proof, you can find me here:
EDIT 3: Since I’ve been getting so many requests about my training routine, I decided to put together an e-book including the four routines I’ve used in my years of training. You can download it here:
I’ll be adding more e-books to my website in the near future covering everything from diet and nutrition, motivation and self-mastery, and my own personal creative writing, short stories, poetry, and books. Thanks everyone for the motivation and support!