>Sunday August 25, 2002

3:30 in the morning on a Sunday. It’s cool and damp as I walk into the gym. Not a soul is there but the cleaning man and the front desk clerk. I start off my morning cardio and let my mind drift. Why do I quit? I’ve spent my whole life starting things, then quitting. Why? As I pick up the pace, I flip through my mental files. I think back to grade school, middle school, high school. When I was a young child, I was diagnosed with a learning disorder. The older I got, the harder academics became. When people tell you that you can’t do something enough times, eventually you stop trying. You become afraid and you quit before you can fail. I’m on to something here; I quit because I fear failure. I fear the pain that failure brings. The looks of disappointment from parents, the sick feeling in your stomach as someone says, “better luck next time”, the tears that come when you think nobody is looking. Fear is a powerful motivator. I keep rolling the idea around in my head as I accelerate past my pain threshold and move into my final sprint. Fear, failure, pain, suffering. Long time enemies that I need to get working for me. Fear keeps me from my dream. Fear keeps me locked into a comfort zone. Fear of pain hampers progress. Pain is a sign of growth. My legs still burn from my weight workout Wednesday. But that means they are growing. The same should be true for emotional pain. It hurts, but it does get better. I step off the treadmill and head for an open space for my abs. I set up to do ab crunches on the ball, an evil, evil exercise. Right away, my theory is tested. My abs burn, it hurts, it’s uncomfortable. I want to quit. It would be so easy to do what I’ve done other days and do a half ab workout. Nobody will know. There’s nobody here but me. Thing is, I’ll know. So this time I push through. Funny thing, it stops hurting. It’s not comfortable by any means, but it doesn’t hurt. I finish up the whole workout. I look up in the mirror and today I really like the person I see. It’s one small victory over a lifetime of fears. But one step at a time is how you build a dream.