Sure, success comes courtesy of hard work. A lot of sweat equity will, typically, help you to go far. But sometimes, particularly on days when you’re feeling a bit unmotivated, success also comes by looking to other people for inspiration. When you see the spectacular things that other people are doing, it tends to be nothing short of invigorating. They make us realize what is indeed possible. They make us want to do, and be, more – they make us see our true potential. They make us think: “if they can do it, then why not me, too?”
There are days when my workouts just don’t seem to be working out so well. Days when I really am tempted to throw in the towel. I think: “treadmill or relaxing in my comfy bed while watching TV?” I just want to give up and go home – if I even make it out the front door in the first place. My bed is just sometimes far too comfortable!
That’s when I try to remember the people who, despite disabilities, still get to gym, still keep fit. There’s the man who sits in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down – yet he still exercises, to the best of his ability, several days a week. And there’s the blind woman who, with her guide dog by her side, lifts weights three times a week.
Then, too, there’s the 90-something-year-old man who has not let age get in his way. He’s at the gym nearly every day and he’s probably in better shape than many who are half his age. He is staying strong and continuing to live his life - no sitting in the rocking chair, watching life go by, for this guy!
If they are doing it, then I can do it, too. They aren’t making excuses – and so I don’t feel like I can make them either. I mean, here I am, young and healthy. And so really, what’s my excuse again?
And then there's Elaine Kwon (who's in her 40's, by the way). I find her to be a definite inspiration – not just for her level of fitness, but for all that she has achieved in her life.
She is not only a Concert Pianist, Ambassador of Performing Arts and Education, and Affiliated Artist at MIT – but she is also a Tae Kwon Do Black belt (2nd degree) and a Five-time US National Tae Kwon Do champion, Traditional and Creative Forms.
She was named one of Boston's "Most Alluring Women" by Boston magazine and appeared as one of "Ten Toughest Bostonians" in the Improper Bostonian magazine. New York Moves magazine also honored her as a 2008 Power Woman. She’s even been on Oprah.
She has completed a triathlon in Hawaii, a marathon in Paris, and the annual Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City.
I see what she has done, what she is doing, and it motivates me to work a little harder. She is a woman who is truly living life to its fullest – and she, in turn, makes me want to live my life to the fullest. She makes me think of all that I could be doing. She makes me ask myself: “am I truly taking full advantage of this day? Am I living life to the fullest?”
Elaine is devoted to being fit – and fitness has rewarded her greatly. Elaine is walking proof of all that is attainable by living a healthy lifestyle. I mean really, does woman look like the typical 40-something gal? She is vibrant and looks better than most twenty-somethings I know.
She actually didn’t even start her martial arts practice till she was 25. And she says that she’s gotten stronger (both physically and mentally) in the past 10 years. Also, she only eats when she is hungry - something we all could benefit greatly from.
Most of us think aging means getting worse – but Elaine just keeps getting better as she gets older.
"I've learned that your body will serve you well if you treat yourself with respect,” she tells More magazine. “I feel like I can do anything now. I have more flexibility, strength, and endurance at 40 than I had at 26.”
If ever I needed a reason to keep going to the gym, to keep eating right, Elaine is a very good reason, indeed.