It’s 4:58 AM. You can’t sleep because the bills are piling up and you can’t afford to pay them. Your job sucks and the people there suck even more. You’re dreading the thought of stepping a foot back in that office. But at least for now, it’s necessary.

You get up, wash your face, and take a good look at the man staring back at you in the mirror. You don’t know where the last 10 years went and you never thought you’d be in this position. All of that college, all of that money spent, and you can’t even stomach the work you do every day. You make your way to the kitchen to eat some breakfast. Your thoughts begin to shift from the shit going on in your life to the day’s upcoming training session. Excitement kicks in. Your heart starts to beat a little bit faster. As you finish your last bit of eggs and oatmeal you head to the car to make your way to the gym. It’s now 5:45 AM and your thoughts of that credit card debt begin to diminish, along with all of that worry about whether or not you’ll be evicted this month.

RECENT: Mindset: The Difference Between Success and Failure

You arrive at the gym and are immediately greeted by your training partners. Some are even going through the same kind of shit you are. But that’s never mentioned. It’s all good vibes and energy that prepare you for the necessary work ahead. It’s leg day and it ain’t an easy one. You and your partners begin your warm-up and then move to the squat rack. At this point, all of your problems are almost forgotten. This is one of those days. You have more energy than usual and are feeling strong. So you keep going. Up and up, set after set, and your partners feed off of it. They keep pushing harder and harder too. The small squat room in the back of the broken down gym you’re training in is now full of chalk and humidity from the sweat of the day’s work. At this point, your problems no longer exist. All you can manage to think of is the few hundred pounds you’ve got on your back and helping those around you get through the same hell. The thought of all the other work you have programmed for the day gives you butterflies, but you keep chalkin’ up and moving forward. There’s work to be done. And you know that if you get through this training session then you can get through anything. So you do. And when you’re all finished, you’re a better man because of it.

During these 60 minutes of hell, not once did you think about that miserable job. Not once did you think about your debt, or that dude your girlfriend might be bangin’. You didn’t think about it because you couldn’t. Because you were smack in the middle of hell. And the only way to get out would be to quit on yourself and the men around you who are depending on you. Or you can dig a little deeper and push a little harder to finish the job. This work requires your full attention. There's no place for worry, fear, doubt or Instagram. Just you, your partners, sweat, and a few hundred pounds of iron.

Road From Hell to Heaven

Image credit: Iulian Dragomir  ©

All of that negative energy you had building up inside is now gone. You feel invigorated. More relaxed. And suddenly, you begin looking at your problems from a different perspective. You begin to see a different approach you can take, potential changes you can make. You know it’s going to be hard to change, but you’ve now come to grips with the reality of possibility. You look at your bloodied hands, full of chalk, and the puddle of sweat below you. And you recognize the amount of work that just went into the last 60 minutes. You realize the potential you have and that, with the right mindset, you could accomplish things far greater than you thought possible. So you leave that broken down gym in search for opportunity. You think a little more unconventionally. This is called progress, and sometimes you just need a little boost to gain some momentum. Ideas are now flowing. You’re excited to take on the day a little differently. You’re smiling at the thought of possibilities, rather than punching your steering wheel on your commute to the office.

And that all started with a little bit of pain, blood, sweat, and hard work. If that 60 minutes of hell never happened, your negative thoughts would have consumed you. You would have listened to the news and filled your brain with more toxic bullshit, and stressed over all of the things not going right in your life. You would have checked social media and felt shitty about what everyone in your feed is pretending to be so great. Instead, you lowered your fucking shoulder and went to work. And you got better because of it.

In life, we tend to focus on a lot of bullshit. We focus on social media, the news, our problems, our friend’s problems, and so on. Not many take the time to focus on themselves and take responsibility for what’s in their control. Not many take the time to chalk up their fucking hands and go to work — and this is a big part of why so many people fail. They’re afraid of the necessary work. They’re afraid of sweat and maybe a little blood. So they never change anything. They just go through life on autopilot and never hold themselves to a higher standard. But not you. Not anymore.

MORE: Know Your Motivation

No, you realize that the road to heaven is paved through hell, and if you want something then you better get ready to get off your ass and work for it. And putting in the physical work on yourself is necessary to achieve great things in your life. Because it gives you the outlet you need in order to take your mind off all of the other shit that does happen in your life. Trust me, when you can barely breathe and have a few hundred pounds on your back, you ain’t thinkin’ about next month’s rent. The only thing on your mind is not getting crushed when you try to come back up.

Hard physical work teaches us so much about ourselves. It teaches us our breaking point, how much we can tolerate, and how far we’re willing to go. And you’ll learn this lesson in the gym, in sports, in martial arts, or anything that’s physically challenging. If you’re not pushing yourself physically then how the hell can you expect to push yourself mentally? Hard physical work not only develops physical strength but is also one of the best contributors to mental strength. Do you want to be great? Then you need to be sweating. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life or if you've never touched a weight before. You can start now. What got you here no longer matters. What matters is what’s ahead.

And you’re in full control of that. So you can choose to lie down and remain in this hell you’re currently living in, or you can fight your way out. The heaven you’re searching for isn’t too far away, just be sure you’re doing what’s necessary to get there. Now go fuckin’ get it.