Life is a collection of failures and successes for everybody and it’s not what happens to us that matters, but how we react to what happens to us.
You don’t measure a hero by their achievements, you measure a hero by the adversity they have overcome on the way to those achievements.
The following is a guest post from my good friend, Roy Naim.
A while ago Tim called me “A Real Hero” I remember that day. I remember when he encouraged me to write for the blog telling me people need to hear my story.
They WANT to hear my story. He went on to explain that people relate to everyday people more than the “big shots.”
We all love Richard Branson. Big name entrepreneur. Uber successful. Does a lot of good. Role model to us all. And yet, we cannot relate to him. We feel so far away from him that it is hard to say “if he can do it, so can I.”
Yet, if I tell you that your next door neighbor is a big success and has a great business – your whole total outlook of what you can truly do changes.
So I am a hero I was told. People can relate to me. People can say “if he can, so can I.” Awesome…
The Fallen Hero
Except, am I really a hero anymore?
If you read the old post you will see it is about my story of losing weight. My journey as a runner, my journey in losing weight. I went from 360lbs to 209lbs.
If you knew me before at my heaviest and then meet me at my lightest, you would not recognize me. You would probably say, “WOW, Roy, you lost a person.” You would ask me how I did it and I would tell you all sorts of things. I would feel good and you would be inspired.
And yet, there is a new part to that story. The weight starting to creep up. I went from 209lbs to 230lbs. Not too bad. I can lose it.
230lbs to 275lbs. Eh, OK, I got to control this thing. This got out of control.
275lbs to 330lbs. HOLY #$%! What the heck happened here?
And there goes your hero. The man who inspired many to lose weight. The man who inspired many to run races. The man who inspired you to take some sort of action toward your health has failed.
Or rather, he had a massive setback.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!
I came up with all sorts of excuses. Momma keeps feeding me. My friends like to eat out. I am not THAT fat. My clothing must have shrunk. Boy, my breathing is heavier – must be the air, after all, I live in New York.
Excuses after excuses. Stories after stories. Everything was responsible but myself.
But, I recognized a bit of what was happening to me. After all, I know HOW to lose weight. I’ve done it before.
So, I went on the cycle of what is called “the yo-yo diet” where I lose 30lbs and then I gained it. My clothing fit a bit but then my buttons can poke your eyes out if they dare pop.
And yet, I felt lost. A friend told me “I get it. I understand why you are overweight, again.”
PLEASE TELL ME! I remember thinking to myself.
He continued and said, “it is because you have already done it once. It is no longer a challenge for you. You saw, you came and you conquered. And now, that you saw that can you do it, you felt like you no longer had to keep it up.”
I remembered smiling at him at the time (while I was eating a piece of cake, by the way). I remembered saying something polite and quickly got up and left the room.
Was that it? I needed a challenge? I needed something to care about?
Well, the thoughts remained in my head for a few days, thinking about what I have done to myself (after all, no one really forced me to eat, even Momma).
I remembered thinking about what the great Zig Ziglar said, “I’m so positive I can lose weight that I don’t even bother starting.”
Cool. And like most ideas, I let it slip to the back of my mind. What does my friend know about losing weight? He is one of those skinny people. And yet….maybe he is right.
All Was Not Lost
Even as I was gaining weight (and I did have to buy a new suit for the new weight) – I refused to buy any more new clothing.
I kept telling myself I will get control of this. I will win this fight. I will go back to what I was used to and I will even get skinnier. This is just a phase. And yet, my “new” suit was too small. Momma kept telling me to buy a newer one. I kept saying “No! I will get back to the gym. I will lose the weight.”
And a few weeks goes back. Months. No REAL change. Just yo-yo.
I was fooling myself. I was thinking all is fine when in reality it wasn’t.
Forget the fact my clothing didn’t fit (and if you ever wondered why I refused to sit down while in a meeting, well, I didn’t want you to see that my dress shirt was so tight that I can shame an Abercrombie model).
Forget the fact that I had back pains and my breathing sounded like a train was passing through. Forget the fact I woke up tired and felt lazy throughout the day. Forget all that.
I was just UNHEALTHY. I was killing myself. I was doing it to me. The excuse that I was “big bones” was a lie. I was FAT. The excuse that “this is how my friends like to hang out” was a lie. They can go out to do other things. I was just FAT and wanted more food.
Then it hit me. I am doing this to myself. I was letting myself down, not just the many who called me a hero. I was lying to ME with the excuses (and lying to others when coming up with excuses why I couldn’t hang out with them).
But I had to make this a CHALLENGE. I know who I am. I know how I work. I need a HUGE WHY and the HOW will become bearable.
Now, losing weight is a HUGE challenge but I wanted more. Something to truly push me. And this is when I found Lose4Autism.
It is a weight loss challenge, much like The Biggest Loser (and yes, there is a big prize) AND more importantly, it is for charity. Raising money for kids with autism (a school in NJ). I wanted in. I’ve seen the impact autism have and I have also seen the impact the right education can do for them.
The theme is health. My health. The kids health. Our health.
We All Need Leverage With Our Goals
I had the leverage. I was feeling like crap. I also had the positive leverage raising money for charity. I have the new habit of rocking the gym and doing activities I enjoy (ZUMBA anyone? SERIOUSLY, try it out once). I even recruited my family members in this challenge.
My running is back up. My breathing is normal. I sleep so well and wake up with much energy. My back – I am lighter so no more pain. My eating is normal. MUCH better than when I lost weight the first time. I’ve made cooking healthy fun.
And all this got me thinking. Perhaps, as modestly as I may, I am a hero. Perhaps with all the struggles and setback – I can still accept the hero’s title.
Why? Simple. All heroes have challenges. All heroes fall back at some point. The KEY is to use those setback to get right back up. It is BECAUSE of those setbacks that I can get back up again.
Let me explain that.
There is a verse in Proverbs that says “a righteous man falls seven times and rises but the wicked falls into mischief.”
A student, writing to Rabbi Hutner, complained that he felt stuck in life. He felt that he hasn’t grown and in fact that he has fallen back a few times.
The Rabbi responded, “how glad I am to hear that you are struggling and that you recognize where you are in life.”
Out Struggles Can Make Us Great
He went on to say that we live in a world where our struggles are hidden when in fact it is the struggles that champion us.
We need to hear about the struggles, we need to learn about them for only then will we understand how a person can become so great.
The Rabbi went on explaining the above verse saying “only a fool” would think that a great man just keeps getting up and that is his virtue.
NO. It is BECAUSE of the falls, it is BECAUSE of the failures, it is BECAUSE he fell down seven times that he is able to stand up and stay standing.
So here I am. I have failed many times in this journey. I have gotten many different undesirable results and yet, I believe, I am making my final stand with the weight.
I will see this through the end. I will raise money for charity and I will continue on my own hero’s journey.
It is my hope to be a person who is inspiring so that you can do something for yourself.