When I signed up with elitefts, I recall poking fun at all of its little sayings; it's just how I am. I'm that guy who gets in a fistfight with somebody and that same guy ends up my main homie. Slogans such as “Focus Trust Strength (FTS)” or “Live Learn Pass On,” and “Earn Your Regrets” all have comedic value until you live to see them firsthand. One, in particular, has had me thinking a metric fuck ton as of late: “Driven.”

When I first glance at the word, I think of some clown with a “Lift Angry” shirt on and bright red Beats headphones rapping out loud to some gangster rap song portraying a life that he’s never had or in which he’ll never partake. It’s a straight fantasy land, but he is the man, and he is driven, and nothing is getting in his way—well, unless the keg party this weekend is going to have hella chicks on deck. There's the flip side to that coin; I think of the dude who does it all right, eats right, sleeps a lot, trains hard, rinses, and repeats—that's driven, right?

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I feel comfortable agreeing that all of the abovementioned examples show drive. They do—maybe not in the way that you or I would understand or be able to relate to, but they have drive nevertheless. Now, there is having drive and being driven, at least in my little bubble of a world, and this is my write-up, so let me tell it how I want to tell it. There's a little invisible line you cross over when you are driven, which separates you from the drive guys. Driven—for me is a gift and a curse, but I am driven.

Being driven has caused me to make many shitty, terrible, selfish choices over my lifetime. I could mention a lengthy list of things I've fucked up or missed due to being driven. I think one of the ones to which I revert when I'm riding all alone is missing my brother's wedding, a wedding at which my daughter performed, because it was squat day. At that time, I drove 350 miles overnight to squat with Dave at the s4. Sorry, Shippy, and sorry bro. I hit 800 for five reps that day with a cripple wrapping me and no spotters. That set my numbers up for the Arnold, and I won via a 905 squat, though.

A second one is a number of singing and performing events and award nights I missed of my daughter’s. Psh, I have no number I could place on that. I missed her seventh-grade award ceremony to train, and the school knew it. When she graduated from eighth grade, she was receiving the most prestigious award the school offers: "Heart of a Warrior." I got calls from the teachers, principals, and even the superintendent making sure that I was going to be present.

Angelina (I call her Shippy) sat me down and said, "Dad, I know you want to be the best, and I never complain when you miss things, but you cannot miss this." I didn't. But just the fact that staff called nearly every day making sure that I'd be there put my selfishness in perspective. The person I loved most had been patient to the point I hadn't realized I'd neglected to be there more. I missed the seventh-grade one and a month later totaled 2281 in Iowa, a 31-pound-total personal record.

Naturally, my justifications, my total pounds, and all of my shortcomings are worth it then, right? I mean, if a man works 100 hours a week at the mill, he's a hardworking blue collar, and if a detective stays out weeks on end chasing down a murder suspect, he's a fucking hero. I get it: One is providing, and one is taking bad guys off the street, but what is the justification for neglecting their families? Men and women who are driven will complete the task at hand by all means necessary. I'm sure that many divorces have come out of the two professions I mentioned, just as I'm sure powerlifting or any competitive sport has. As I stated earlier, being driven is a gift and a curse.

The greater the curse becomes, the greater the gift that will follow. You dig your hole so deep with a total disregard or those near and dear to you that you get this fire within you, this need to win. Failure becomes a haunting menace; you lose, you fail, and all that shit you did (or didn't do) was done in vain. So, you scrape, and you fight by blazing a trail littered with debris, hoping, wishing victory was at the next attempt. Only to realize it's not the win you're after, nope that's not what keeps you going, you learn it's the fucking chase, and I'm sorry my friend but that is a fucking curse. A ticking time bomb, a zombie, a gypsy lost in the rush of chasing greatness, trying to convince yourself this is it, one last time.

When I hear the Garth Brooks song "Rodeo," this specific line stands out and sends a bolt of lightning down my spine: "It'll drive a cowboy crazy, it'll drive a man insane, and he'll sell off everything he owns just to play the game, and some broken bones and a broken home will all he'll have to show for all the years he spent chasing, this dream called rodeo." That's it right there—no end game, no quitting, just being driven and not giving a fuck.

I'm sure that most driven people end up alone staring at the ceiling at night thinking, but they know one thing: They gave it everything. I hope that when my time comes, I can find comfort in knowing that I went all in. If I never achieve the number I have inside my rock-hard stubborn overly sized Irish head, I won't have the black cloud of "what if" over my head; love me or hate me, either way, you could never honestly say I didn't give it 100%.

So, the next time you see a 30-second Instagram clip or a YouTube video, don't let your fish lips squeak out the words "lucky" or "if I was sponsored." If you think the guys doing these numbers are lucky, you're dead wrong. Instead, ask yourself what this guy had to do to get sponsored, cause here's a newsflash, asshole: Being sponsored doesn't lift weights, being sponsored doesn't prevent injury, and being sponsored doesn't mend broken families.

So yeah, when I see the word “driven,” I imagine a band of people out there just like me, chasing the chase—dreamers doing whatever it takes to get closer to, well, death. Being driven means only that— you will drive yourself into the ground, no breaks, no downshifting, no pulling over to fix a flat, until the wheels fall off, and even then, I'll ride the rims down to the rotors, ‘cause I'm just that kind of guy.