Photo courtesy of AP

Photo courtesy of AP

Opportunity Narrows as Capability Wanes

Comprehending how WE live is a pretty common understanding. We know this to be true in the most basic of senses, as in birth, the fragility of life, and mortality. Even intellectually, we can decipher life as a series of processes and chemical actions & reactions. What most of us miss is the prescription for how TO live. How we feel, acknowledge, and comprehend what we do daily and to not simply go through the motions. The prescription can be summed up in two vicious little words, “What if?”

The title is not my own. Those words, and the quotes below, were written by a man I have mad respect for, Mark Twight, founder of Gym Jones. I was planning on writing a piece on the gift of life. I wrote four drafts and tossed them all. Something was missing and whenever that happens, I obsess over it for days until something provides me the clarity to see the thought come to life. And then I read something he wrote:

“Well, at a certain age if you haven’t done it you are not going to do it. You will settle for less. Because you have to. The path of opportunity narrows as capability wanes. I don’t wish I had done more. I’ve accomplished plenty. And passed along much of what I have learned. What I wish is that I had appreciated what I did at the time of the doing.”

That quote hit me like a brick shit house. I was suddenly staring myself in the mirror with thoughts of the past racing by me. Memories of when I started the journey of becoming a Police Officer more than two decades ago. The day I was assigned to DEA Miami and I walked in wearing shorts, a tank top, long hair and earrings. All but one of the Agents who knew me thought I was a criminal. The first time I negotiated with dealers that would have killed me and my family if they had known I was undercover. The first time I had more than a million cash in a room. The morning I decided to join the Army as an ‘old man’ because two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Years later, the first time I wielded a surgical blade and made my first cut. The list is long and memorable. I wish I had cherished it more. I wish I had taken more pictures.

Mark’s expressions describes my entire life. I never wanted to look back on life and wish I had done something but didn’t have the courage to give it my best shot. People that know me intimately say that I’ve accomplished plenty. Yet, I feel like I’m in a race against time. Probably, because I am and so are you, though most of you won’t acknowledge that fact.

The gym is my outlet for passing on what I’ve learned. People ask constantly about what we do. How we do it. What separates us from others. My answers are never concrete because there is no simple answer. It’s not about the lifts. It’s not about weight loss. It’s not about some foolish fitness goals or body composition. Honestly, your goal for six pack abs is something I could care less about. I say to hell with all that noise. It’s just filler words in a crappy Instagram account.

What I do care about is applying the lessons learned in our gym, when you overcome what you thought you couldn’t, to your life outside in the real world. The training is merely a tool. An effective tool nonetheless, and a vehicle for strength and resiliency no doubt. But it’s what occurs in your head that inspires me the most. The changes members go through. The opportunities for growth that gets created. The new belief system that develops as a consequence of your actions.

“The significance of any training lies in its application.”

All the training pictures and You Tube videos in the world fail to tell the true stories. The lifts, swings, and sweat you see is the easiest part of what we do. Frankly, anyone can make you run around and work. It’s in the application of the training that becomes significant and is of value, not the training itself. The transformation from fear to courage, weakness to strength, frailty to strength. It’s in the struggle and the sacrifice. It’s what you do with your training that counts.  

So if there was a prescription for how TO live one’s life, it is this:

“Seize whatever opportunity comes your way because there will be nothing worse than knowing you could have but didn’t, that now you can’t and you’re still alive to wish you had.”

What if? These words haunt me and encourage me. If you are reading this, remember that your time will come to reflect upon your life and the decisions we have made. Will you be caught asking yourself, What if? Will you have resented not having the courage to change the direction of your life? Will you have regretted not having the courage to take on that challenge when you could?

Maybe, it’s time you create the opportunity now. Don’t count on making some corny 2017 resolution only to see it fail two months from now. Rewrite your life. Cherish the path. You won’t live forever.

Coach Rob


Contributions by Mark Twight: