Today's blog was written for wild/STRONG by ENS Christian D. Strong, STRIKE Warfare Officer, USS BAINBRIDGE.
Editor's Note: I met Christian while training at CrossFit Sua Sponte. I'll always remember attending his Naval officer commissioning ceremony in Raleigh, NC - because everyone who spoke about him said a number of the same things. How dedicated he was to achieving his goals, how focused he was on attaining what it was that he wanted out of life. I am lucky to call Strong one of my friends and I am glad that despite his moving away to Virginia and me moving across the country, we remain close friends.
Let's ask the hard question. Did you live your life today to its fullest? Did you take time to be the best you, you can be? Are you able to close your eyes tonight and live with yourself? Are you able to sit down and be satisfied with your performance today? Did you pay the cost to be able to live with yourself? This is a wildly unpopular topic among the common masses. No one wants to examine themselves and feel bad about what they have done. However, as Socrates taught us, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
What did you do today? Were you hungry? Did you hustle? Did you think of others? Did you think of yourself? Were you obligations met? Did you learn? Did you grow? Or was today a day where you were on “Pintrest” and watching youtube videos? I’ve had those days. And at the end of them, I have always had a sour taste in my mouth. I can’t fall asleep easily at night. I toss and turn, fighting the untapped energy and potential I didn’t execute. I missed appointments, classes, and my list of things to do grew longer.
It is hard. As I wrote in my first guest article for wild/STRONG - it's supposed to hurt - and as you continue to hurt, you grow used to the deprivation and adapt. And it becomes easier. As you start making your appointments, not cutting class and completing your daily tasks, people begin to notice. Your word becomes valuable. Your word becomes your bond. You become a person of consequence. When you say something, there is a related outcome - you realize that your life isn’t enough for you anymore. You want more to live by, more to achieve - you start assessing your life differently.
What determines if you can live with yourself? There are those who live their lives by a moral code that they use to gauge right and wrong. They use this scale to determine if they living lives of value and contribution. They are hungry and successful. They are violent and wild. They are fair and just. They are not perfect but seek perfection. They are - you know they are - they know they are. Then there are those who are not - who use excuses as to why they didn’t achieve today or why they didn’t go to Pilates or Barre or whatever made up fitness fad they are following. They complain about the guy who shows up early or why their boss hates them. PEOPLE YOU ARE WILD ANIMALS. Be the best version of yourself! The lion who doesn’t eat, dies! BE. So that at the end of the day when you are done and sipping a beer you know you did the day right and are ready for the challenges and dangers of a new day.
I won’t sit here and claim I am perfect or that everyday I live a life I am proud of. There are those days where I am downright smoked - that evil angel of lethargy creeps in and I find myself “Netflix and Chilling” by myself (editor's note: nobody wants to think about Officer Strong "chilling himself"). But at night, I find myself again tossing and turning. All the fire of an unused day and a hungry spirit are still awake, raging inside of me - I know exactly why. I didn’t say no. I didn’t get up and go work out; challenging both my body and mind to be violent and untamed. I didn’t read to strengthen the most potent and dynamic tool I have. I didn’t spend time with my sailors or my friends. I didn’t stop to appreciate all I had done and focus on what was coming next. I wasn’t a man of consequence.
So I take that lesson, and that pain of the failure and I apply it to the new day. Why? Because I am a man of consequence. My life relies on it. My leadership as an officer in the United States Navy is solely dependent upon it - you can do this too. Maybe you aren’t in the line of fire, but if you can get Peter and Linda that report a day early at work, they take notice - if you can ask you boss if they need anything else done on a Thursday, they take notice. If you can inspire someone to work out or go on a hike or read a book, others take notice - they begin to feel it. Be a person of Consequence. Have value in your life. Be Wild. Be Strong. Be the Definition.