Making The Uncomfortable, comfortable. That's where we begin.
What you see in other people's lives isn't always the whole story. In fact, it usually isn't.
Just because my wife and I have a solid relationship today, doesn't mean we always have. Just because our home is peaceful, doesn't mean it always was. Just because my kids and I are super close, doesn't mean we always were.
Life is hard, and uncomfortable and messy, and when you throw people together who are dealing with their own stuff, that mess gets messier. It's in the midst of that discomfort that you decide, do I push through or bail? If you bail, you give yourself the opportunity to walk away and open yourself to something new. In some situations, that may be the right move.
But if you know you REALLY want that person, that experience, that lifestyle... What if you just stick it out and fight through the discomfort? What happens then?
I've experienced this many times over in my life, but the most obvious illustration of staying the course through uncomfortable situations is my experience with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
My first personal run-in with the sport was at a friend's house. My [now] Professor (Alyn) had stopped by, and we began to talk, which led to him showing me a basic choke. I was taken aback by how quickly and effortless it was for him. I was immediately interested and made a plan to stop by his gym.
My family began Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the following Monday. I had a major hurdle, though. I was extremely out of shape. I actually let the rest of my family start class and I procrastinated under the guise of "watching my two-year-old," so that my wife could participate in class.
Out of all of the things I had spent the past two years working on, my physical health had not been a priority, when in reality it should have been the first priority.
When I finally joined the class, I couldn't even make it through the warmup.
I then proceeded to do everything wrong. I scrambled when I should wait, I got frantic when I should stay calm, I ran when I should have walked, and I threw my back out. - There's a life metaphor in here somewhere for sure.
This could have sent me spiraling, but by this point it didn't because I had spent so much time working on other parts of my mental fortitude, and I knew enough to realize that it was my own fault that I got hurt. I got hurt because I was out of shape and trying to do things that my immature 18-year-old, 185lb self would have done.
Instead of crashing and burning, I took my diet even more seriously and paid attention to what my body was telling me. This process of learning my body and getting it under control took 10 months.
Come November I was determined to get back on the mat, and I was not going to FUCKING STOP. No matter how hard it was going to get. If that gym was open, I was there, period.
It took me almost 1 month to get through the beginning workout, another month to get through the beginning workout and drills and then another month to get through the beginning workout, drills and a few rounds.
Now, I can say I can finish a full hard class and I am showing up 4-5 days a week like clockwork. Consistency is everything.
At any given point in one's life experience, shit can get really scary and uncomfortable, but fighting through that leads to the ultimate bliss. You become comfortable with discomfort. You realize that fighting - or even just slowly trudging forward- through discomfort is what causes you to level up.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can put you into the most dangerous positions imaginable, but the key thing is to slow your breathing and stay in control.
Slowing your breathing slows everything down, and you can start to put hands, wrists, elbows, head, shoulders, feet, hips, etc. in the right places.
At this point you realize you are starting to become an issue for your attacker.
Before I was able to experience the calm in the midst of chaos, I first had to defeat the fear of being defeated.
Oh, and let me tell you that shit is so scary. Have ever had what feels like a near death experience?
The first thing you think to yourself is, "Yeah FUCK that. I’m not doing that again."
I told Professor Alyn my story, and that I needed him to push me and never let me “Bitch Out”. I wanted to be taken to deep waters whenever we rolled.
This 140lb man put so much pressure on my body that I couldn't breath, much less move. My first of many rounds went like this: Pressure > Tap, Pressure > Tap, Pressure > Tap.
Professor would stop and smile at me and say, " Bubba, you need to relax and breathe."
I thought, "Yeah, FUCK YOU," but I just said, "Yes sir. Thank you, sir," and we would press onward for each 5-minute round.
Months later, Professor hasn’t pressure tapped me in a long time. I finally started being able to realize when I was simply uncomfortable versus near actual death (which was never). By truly listening to the movements and breathwork that I was taught, it all started to click, and I was finally lasting longer during rounds and to do multiple rounds in one night.
The more I became comfortable in the uncomfortable, I moved from feeling threatened to becoming a threat. I fight every damn day for my family, and I want others to fight tooth and nail for their families and themselves!
If you're still breathing, you still have fight left, and I promise the feeling at the end of an uncomfortable battle is one of the sweetest things in life.
About the Author:
Alex Hamp is a founder and co-owner of Absolute Aid. When he's not running a company, creating content or building relationships, you will find him with his family, working on their farm, practicing drums or at his second home- Highlight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Alex is passionate about pushing others to become the best they can be in everything they touch. He believes if someone decides to do something, they should give 110%. Seeking To Do More is a part of his everyday life.
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