“Your colon is going to need to be removed” — not something you want to hear when you’re 19 (or ever).
He wasn’t a kind doctor. He was old, and always grumpy. He seemed so bitter, and acted as if I did this to myself — like it was my fault.
I looked at his pale skin, sunken eyes, bald head, his bloating stomach, and the pouch on his hip that I suspected was an ostomy — literally a sac of !@#$ surgically attached to his stomach because he no longer had his colon — and thought to myself, hell no, there’s no way I’m going to end up like you.
Do you know what people fear most? Spiders.
I always thought I was fearless. I’m sort of an adrenaline junkie. Heights, snakes, small places — nothing really ever frightened me.
Turns out I was wrong. I have one fear. I fear being insignificant. Forgotten. Useless. A burden to humanity.
I wake up and I’m 42 years old, but my body feels like I’m 205 — everything is falling apart. I’ve had multiple surgeries. My colon is gone. I poop in a bag. My liver is failing. And I slurp my meals through a straw because I can’t handle anything solid. And then I realize…
I’ve wasted my entire life.
I’m on my deathbed and I haven’t accomplished a single one of my goals. I’m $100,000 in debt from medical bills. And the only thing I’ve done is brought pain to the ones I love. All I am is a chore that my friends and family have to take care of.
That’s what I fear.
My biggest nightmare is a bubble of comfort and protection where everything is the same, nothing ever happens, and I’m slowly dying.
What if I die and never make a difference? What if the world is exactly the same, or worse, when I leave it?
What if people suffer because I was too afraid to stand up? Because I chose comfort over risk?
So I refuse.
I will not go gentle into that good night.
I will rage, rage against the dying of the light.
A long time ago, I made a vow to myself.
I will pour my heart and soul into fighting for my dreams — I’ll give it everything I got.
Life Isn’t Fair
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be an astronaut (really I wanted to be Luke Skywalker, but I was willing to compromise).
My plan was to become an Army special forces officer — the best of the best — maybe go through Seals, and learn to fly.
Everything changed when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2009.
I lost everything.
I was kicked out, dumped, fired, and lost a full-ride scholarship to the univeristy of my dreams.
My life would never be the same.
I’ve been sick for almost 10 years. Not the stuffy nose and cough sort of sick — I’m talking about hospital sick, like, “will my life ever be ok again?” or “would it just be better to die now?” kind of sick.
I used to go to the hospital often. The doctors didn’t know what to do with me. My body was ridden with inflammation and infections. I frequently wouldn’t eat for 15 to 20 days at a time, sometimes even longer, because starving myself didn’t hurt as bad as eating.
Sometimes I’d lay in bed for days, shaking and sweating in a fever, not even knowing what day of the month it was. Some mornings, a lot of mornings, I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed. A serious explanation of the pain and trauma I’ve experienced is so graphic (and disgusting) that I’ve only ever shared it with my wife. Imagine what it would feel like to have a rope of razor blades slowly pulled through your intestines.
The last decade was the most miserable time of my life. I couldn’t keep a job, I hopped from couch to couch, I lived on food stamps, and I was always deadly sick.
It was hard. Every day I wanted to give up. But I kept going. I took responsibility for my life, and for my health. I took massive action.
I started making sacrifices. I gave up video games and junk food. I started spending less time hanging out with friends and more time studying health and nutrition.
I’m not 100% completely healed (yet), but my condition is at least manageable. I’ve avoided removing my colon, and I’m still able to do the things I love.
And I’m just getting started. This isn’t the end of my story, it’s just the first chapter.
I get it. Life isn’t fair. You’ve been dealt a bad hand. Nobody understands. You don’t deserve the crap you have to put up with.
It’s hard. I know it — trust me.
You can’t change your circumstances, but you can change everything else.
Life isn’t fair.
That’s one of the only things you can count on. You’re no different than anyone else. Everyone has their own !@#$ that they have to fight. Whether it’s disease, trauma, poverty, abuse — whatever. You’re not the only one who struggles. So stop acting like you’re different, like nobody understands. Stop being a victim.
You are worth more than that. You’re better than that. And you are immensely more capable than you imagine — even despite the !@#$ you have to go through.
So get up. Stop crying. Rub some dirt on it. And…
Fight For Your Dreams
I don’t care what you’ve been through. I don’t care how big your problems are. I don’t care how much you struggle. It’s time to get to work.
My entire life I was a jock. All of my skills revolved around my physical prowess. My goal was to become a champion athlete.
When I lost my health… I practically lost everything. My job, my scholarship, my career… all gone. I lost my identity. And my life spiraled out of control. I hit rock bottom. And I’m not going to lie, I stayed there for a long time.
I always enjoyed art. I wrote in my pastime. And I was intrigued by the internet. But I never thought I was brilliant enough to be an entrepreneur, or creative enough to be an artist.
One thing I’ve learned is that everyone has brilliance inside them. And anyone can make stuff. Even you.
Sometime around 2015 I decided to go for it. My life was a mess. I tried to be normal, to get a job, and it wasn’t working. I literally lost every job I could get my hands on. You’re not really employable when you randomly have to rush away for an hour long bathroom break, or when you have to leave every 15 minutes or so just to be safe.
I dove into blogging and internet marketing. I studied and researched like I was getting paid to do it. I analyzed, I executed, I experimented… I did everything I could think of.
I sacrificed a ton. I gave up socializing. I gave up fun. I sold my car, canceled my cellphone, and cut my food budget in half. I spent about 4-5 hours every morning treating my body and getting healthy. Then I worked until I passed out. And did it all over again.
I failed. Miserably. For that entire first year. I couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t find a niche that stuck. I was afraid. But I kept fighting. I kept learning. And I got better.
Now I’m making about $1,500 a month like clockwork, sometimes more. I know it’s not a ton, it’s not my end goal. But it’s made a huge difference for me. It’s a solid first step towards my dream.
And best of all I’m winning.
Though the fight isn’t over yet. My wife just quit her job. We’re having a baby soon. And we just moved into a more expensive place.
It’s like the 3rd round — overtime — and I’m swingin’ with everything I got. My opponent is bigger than me, faster then me, better trained than me… but I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll find a way to 3x my income, get a side-job — whatever it takes.
Fighting for your dreams isn’t easy. Not everybody can do it. Most people quit before they get there. It’s hard. But it’s worth it. Way worth it.
You’re going to struggle. You’re going to meet big obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. But as long as you don’t quit, as long as you keep fighting, you can’t lose.
It’s like in football, the hardest running backs to tackle are the ones who just keep moving their feet. When you smash a rapid on a raft or kayak, you either paddle like you life depends on it or you flip and you go for a swim. You just keep moving.
You keep fighting.
You owe it to yourself. You owe it to the people around you. And you owe it to the world. You are one of a kind. No one else is quiet like you. You have a special place in this world that only you can fill.
Your dream isn’t just a happy thought. It’s not just an idea. It’s why you exist. It’s what you were born to do. It’s fire in your soul. It’s purpose.
Your dream isn’t something that you just wish into reality. It doesn’t matter how bad you want it. You have to take action. It’s something you work for.
So go get to work.