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January 15, 2018

#MondayMotivation

What The Hell

And then one day you wake up and ask yourself…what…the hell…am I doing? Maybe you started down a certain path because you thought it was the right, or responsible, thing to do. Maybe you were trying to make other people in your life proud of you. Maybe you were subconsciously covering up your insecurities or failures. Or maybe, you don’t really even know why you went where you went, or why you are what you are. Regardless of motive, the day of reckoning between what you’re doing, and what you were meant to do, comes to all of us in due time. The question is, when that day comes…what…the hell…are you going to do about it?
The difference between pain and misery is that pain is suffering with a solution on the horizon; misery is suffering with no resolution in sight. When you wake up and realize you were meant to do something else in life, don’t let that realization turn into festering misery as you watch your shot at a better life pass you by, knowing exactly what you could have done to make it happen. Take the short term pain of starting over, and use it to start laying a foundation for change in order to hone in on what you really want out of life, and to leave the feeling of being unfulfilled behind you.
So good morning, we hope you slept well, but the day of reckoning between you and who you’re meant to be is here, and it’s time to figure out what the hell you’re gonna do about it. Whether it’s your job, your relationships, your hobbies, or your side hustle, let’s get rolling and stave off misery by lining up your plan and taking some action. There will still be pain and there will still be suffering, but your pain has a plan ready and willing to manifest itself in the form of passion…you just have to get up and go get it.

-CPT Ryan

January 8, 2018

Monday Motivation

Who Not What

On January 7th in the year 2000, at a small gymnasium in Sumter, South Carolina, the students of Thomas Sumter Academy had gathered on a Friday afternoon to have a pep rally for their winter sports teams. In one of the final acts, a few of the school’s basketball players stole the show with a skit where they posed as highly unskilled cheerleaders, drawing laughter and applause from the raucous crowd of teenagers in the bleachers. This was nothing new for this trio of players, most notably a 17 year old Air Force brat by the name of Josh Peck. In the chaos of the pep rally, and the thunder of school spirit, nobody in that gymnasium had any idea Josh was about to change their world forever.
Josh had grown up all over the world and back, as he and his mom went wherever the Air Force sent them. In his travels, he developed not only a trademark sense of quick witted humor, but also a deep sense of compassion for others. As Josh grew, he honed those skills to the point where every interaction with him would become memorable for the other person. Even the innocent fast food workers weren’t immune from Josh’s infectious sense of humor, where he would scheme up some sort of act in their brief time together that would leave them laughing, and with a story to tell.
Although never the star athlete, he loved sports and was a beloved teammate, who could often be found donating his free time to coaching little kids. He would no doubt have them in hysterics, all while honing their fundamentals, and developing the same love for athletics he had. He cared deeply about those around him. That caring nature not only drove him to start bagging groceries at the local Winn Dixie just so he could pick up the tab when he and his friends went out to eat, but to also become the first line of defense in his mother’s dating life in the years following her divorce, where more than a couple potential suitors would fall victim to his exceptional quick wittedness as he attempted to scare them off.
Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In the moments following that trademark skit, suddenly the world would be forced to reflect upon those feelings Josh had evoked in them over the years. As the gymnasium roared with the sound of the school’s fight song, Josh collapsed on the gymnasium floor, and in an instant, he would lose a battle he never knew he was fighting to begin with. Unbeknownst to him and his family, Josh suffered from an undiagnosed case of Marfan Syndrome, and the same enlarged heart which endeared him to all he came in contact with, would also take his life.
Josh was my cousin. And I don’t tell his story for the sympathy, the fanfare, or the all too predictable “Life is short” speech. The message I want everyone to take from Josh’s story is that anyone, regardless of success, fame, or fortune, can forever change the world not because of what you are, but because of who you are. In Josh’s short 17 years on this planet, he used humor, compassion, and love, to make every interaction count. Close to a thousand people showed up to his funeral in the following days, and the family was overwhelmed with support, and stories of Josh’s kindness and humor. Josh’s compassion became a model for students at Thomas Sumter Academy, where his jersey, bearing number 14, hangs in that very gymnasium to this day. And his mother Randi, my aunt, would lead the charge in the months and years following, to have lifesaving defibrillators placed in as many schools as possible to help prevent such tragedies in the future.
As for me, I have spent my life still trying to live up to that 17 year old kid. I live everyday chasing the principles he embodied, and trying to place the needs of others over that of my own, forever thankful I was able to see that even a teenager from Dalzell, South Carolina, can change the world. So remember, you are significant, you are meaningful, and although nobody has the power to change the entire world, everybody has the ability to change their world because of who they are, not what they are…even if it’s one life at a time.
To learn more about Josh, go to http://joshpeckfoundation.org/
-CPT Ryan