Inspiration Is Not Motivation

A few weeks ago I was asked to think about the things that inspires me. Now I can rattle off a million different things from the top of my head, but in the end many of them do not really inspire me. They just motivate me.

I feel like there is a strong difference between motivation and inspiration and many definitions get thrown around to define both of them. Personally I think of them as this:

Motivation is that temporarily feeling you have to get off your butt and work towards a goal.

Inspiration is that drive to put continuous effort towards achievements meaningful to you.


Sure you may feel motivated when you watch that montage of the guy doing flips off a roof or seeing that Olympic athlete break another world record, but it’s never enough just to see the accomplishments to be continually driven to work towards them.

So what really inspires me?

Seeing the struggles of others working hard to achieve great things.

It’s seeing those people who keep trying even when it stops being fun . The ones that put in blood, sweat, and tears towards their dreams. The stories of those who try, fail, then get back up and try some more.

When you see the struggle it takes for others to master something it helps take off that skill-level barrier we put up between ourselves and the experts. Everyone who tries something for the first time will be bad at it. The ability to become good at something depends on how much you practice doing it.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” ~Frederick Douglass

If you’re trying to land that back flip, learn a new skill, or lose weight. The important part is to never give up and just keep going.

So what inspires you?
How do you handle the struggle of learning something new/difficult?

Would love to hear from you in the comments!

50 Points in 50 States(Highpointers)

A little while ago I posted an entry explaining this idea called “The Impossible List” where I define the differences between an impossible list and a bucket list. I also provided my own Impossible List as an example. In my Impossible list I have an item where I would climb the highest point in each state.  Since I cannot post all 50 states in the Impossible List without making the post super large, I decided it’ll be more ideal to make one post that will link each state I climbed to its own individual post.

HighPoint List || Progress: 3/50

State Highpoint Elevation(ft.) Completed
Alabama Cheaha Mountain 2,407
Alaska Mount McKinley 20,320
Arizona Humphreys Peak 12,633
Arkansas Mt. Magazine 2,753
California Mount Whitney 14,494
Colorado Mount Elbert 14,433
Connecticut Mt. Frissell 2,380
Delaware Ebright Azimuth 448
Florida Britton Hill 345
Georgia Brasstown Bald 4,784
Hawaii Mauna Kea 13,796
Idaho Borah Peak 12,662
Illinois Charles Mound 1,235
Indiana Hoosier High Point 1,257
Iowa Hawkeye Point 1,670
Kansas Mount Sunflower 4,039
Kentucky Black Mountain 4,139
Louisiana Driskill Mountain 535
Maine Katahdin 5,268
Maryland Backbone Mountain 535
Massachusetts Mount Greylock 3491
Michigan Mount Arvon 1979
Minnesota Eagle Mountain 2301 8.15.2015
Mississippi Woodall Mountain 806
Missouri Taum Sauk 1772
Montana Granite Peak 12799
Nebraska Panorama Point 5424
Nevada Boundary Peak 13140
New Hampshire Mount Washington 6288
New Jersey High Point 1803
New Mexico Wheeler Peak 13161
New York Mount Marcy 5344
North Carolina Mount Mitchell 6684
North Dakota White Butte 3506
Ohio Campbell Hill 1550
Oklahoma Black Mesa 4973
Oregon Mount Hood 11239
Pennsylvania Mount Davis 3213
Rhode Island Jerimoth Hill 812
South Carolina Sassafras Mountain 3560
South Dakota Black Elk Peak 7242  7.19.2017
Tennessee Clingmans Dome 6643
Texas Guadalupe Peak 8749
Utah Kings Peak 13528
Vermont Mounts Mansfield 4393
Virginia Mount Rogers 5729
Washington Mount Rainier 14411
West Virginia Spruce Knob 4863
Wisconsin Timms Hill 1951  6.29.2016
Wyoming Gannett Peak 13804

Awarded the Silver Medal

I had begun my President’s Challenge some time in December 2013. When I started out I had joined just as a fun little way to track my activities. I had no idea how hooked I would’ve become. I started to frequently track my physical activities and slowly started to earn points doing it. It felt great!

A little under 3 months I racked up enough points to obtain my bronze medal. It was a lot of work, but worth it in the end. I continued for a period of time, but had decided to stop. As summer hit I became a lot less focused on my points and more focused on other activities. After a few months into my hiatus I realized just how much my fitness activities were influenced by tracking. I would do hours of physical activities just to earn points.

Once I had stopped tracking points I had also stopped putting in as long hours. It got to the point where my every day exercise routine dwindled down to exercising every so often. So in 2015 I had made a goal that will motivate me to keep tracking. I had taken on the challenge to earn my gold medal before the end of the year. Since the new year I had been bumping up my exercise routine to extend to working out every day.

Now, over 286 hours, and over 90,000 points worth of exercise later I have obtained my silver medal. This feels like a huge milestone for me. I had worked hard to make sure I earned enough points and am now that much closer to crossing off an item on my Challenge List. I will continue to work towards that goal medal, and hope that my work will also pay off to earn a possible platinum.


The Floor Is Lava

Training Alone

I have been doing Parkour for a little over 3 years. I had signed up at a local academy that teaches the sport and had practiced intensely. I have meet a lot of friendly faces over the years, but for the most part I have chosen to train alone. I’m what you may consider an introvert. I don’t always try to be but I’m always too focus on improving myself that I become neglectful of those around me.

The academy announced they was going to have an American Ninja Warrior veteran coming to the academy. They planned on doing a “Floor Is Lava/Ninja Warrior” competition in the gym and he was helping to set it up. I’m a huge fan of the series and was pretty excited to actually met such a well-trained athlete. The thing was, I was not excited about competing.

While I do feel confident in my abilities, I don’t feel very comfortable training with others. I feel like I always have to go big to keep up with them. I never feel at their skill level so I just do everything alone until I can be. With all this said, the thought of a competition caused me to hesitate. It wasn’t until finally I had a very memorable discussion with a fellow classmate.

I told him my thoughts on the competition and he just shrugged it off. He told me “Who cares? I’m doing the competition and I don’t care if I don’t do well. I KNOW I’m not going to do well. I’m just doing for fun. This competition is more for myself, not to impress others. You should just come to have fun”.

The words struck me. I never really thought of training with others as doing it for fun. I always felt like because I wasn’t as skilled as them, it would be a waste time to train with them. I decided to register for the competition. Not to try to compete to impress others, but just for fun.

Just For Fun

The day of the competition approached and I was nervous. I had convinced my friend, who’s also into Ninja Warrior, to come with me. I was working the day on little calories and butterflies growing. More than once I felt like I should have backed down. However, I found the courage to go to the academy. I walked around, at first trying to blend into the large crowd there. I saw no sign of my friend so thought I still had a chance to just look like a spectator.

A friend and fellow competitor recognized me when I walked in. He asked if I was planning on doing the competition. I told him I was thinking about it, but was having second thoughts. After he egged me on for a bit I decided to register. No backing down now. My nerves were slowly settling as I spotted a few familiar faces. A lot of these people I have seen train before and was surprised they were at the competition. I felt a little more comfortable knowing that most people here seemed to just be doing it for fun.

I spotted my friend. I stopped to ask him about registration. He told me he too was thinking about it but was now having second thoughts. I also started egging him on to compete, eventually willing him to register. Ninja Warrior veteran, Drew Dreschel, made his announcement that the competition will start and he will demonstrate our course. More or less the obstacles looked easy. I had practiced many of them before so I felt more than confident that I’ll accomplish them. However, the obstacle I felt to be the most disconcerting was told to be one of the first we’ll do.

He began the competition shortly after finishing the demonstration. The contestants were called up and the competition was underway. It was exciting to watch most of these compete. Everyone was extremely supportive for every athlete, even the competitors. Not once did it feel like it was athlete versus athlete, it felt like it was everyone versus the obstacle course.

Slowly each athlete finished their run. Out of 40 athletes, only a small handful finished. It made me question whether I would do well on the course, but I kept trying to remember “It’s not about them, it’s about you”. I heard my name called up to run.

“Read to compete?”

I stepped up to the platform felling a bit heavy. My nerves were starting to get to me. Drew finished resetting the course and walked up to me. “Ready to compete?” he asked.

“Sure, as ready as I’ll ever be…”. I responded. I did not feel very confident and my expression showed it. Drew imitated the sound of a buzzer and my run started. I quickly leaped off the platform to catch onto the wooden trapezoid 6 feet away. I hit it hard and lost my momentum. I pushed myself up on top to reach the next obstacle, the rolling cylinder.

Both my friend and I were very concerned about this obstacle. Nearly everyone there had little experience with it and it showed throughout. While he and I were waiting for our run we decided to go and practice for it in another room. We grabbed some wooden spears and laid them on the ground. We balanced ourselves on them and slowly tried to roll ourselves forward. We struggled immensely until I found a technique that works. The most disconcerting obstacle no longer felt like a challenge.
I balanced myself on the cylinder, an obstacle nearly 5 times larger than what I was training on. It took a while to get my balance. I eased myself forward. The 5 feet roll I had to go through was the most stressful challenge I had to do in my Parkour career. I managed to roll about 2 feet from the angled floor beam. I wanted to get off that cylinder quickly so I went for the reach. Bad move. I immediately slipped and my foot hit the floor. I was out by the second obstacle. I was bummed out and was beating myself up for it.

I knew I could’ve had made it, and made the ones beyond that if I just took a bit more time on the cylinder. I messed up and now missed my chance. As hard as it was, I tried to be optimistic for my friend. His run was soon and I have to hide my disappointment so I can cheer him on

Another Shot

I grabbed a seat with the best view I can find. He was stepping up to his platform and I heard Drew ask, “Ready to compete?”. Drew gave the signal to go and my friend immediately went off. I was impressed. He was a guy who hardly did Parkour but he was knocking each obstacle out. He eventually found himself on the last obstacle, which involved him hanging on a swinging bar and to leap onto another bar. He had told me before that he was worried his small height will affect him in his run. It didn’t become  factor until this obstacle. He was not able to gain enough distance to grab the bar and dropped. Still, he showed an impressive run.

After he finished the judges announced the next run. Following by “If you would like to re-do the course, you can for a fee”. I decided to try it again. I felt like I could get farther along in this obstacle course if I didn’t focus on speed, but focused on completing.

I paid the fee for retrial and waited to be called up. Drew finished resetting the course and asked me once again, “Ready to compete?”. I smiled at him and said “Yes”. I made my jump from the starting platform onto the trapezoid. I whizzed by it much faster than my first run. I approached the rolling cylinder with confidence. I rolled myself patiently. I was in total control as I inched myself to the angled beam. I got off and quickly walked up the beam. I approached the next course. I had to climb through a small, 4 foot, tunnel while hanging from a wooden beam. I traversed my way across with ease.

I now had to pull myself up from a hanging position to the top of the tunnel. I placed my foot on the supporting pipe and my foot immediately slipped. “Damn, the metal is too moist to get a good grip”. I struggled to get myself on the top with the slippery beam. I eventually got on top and made it to the fourth obstacle. I now had to go through a series of vertical bars to get to my fifth obstacle. I grabbed hold of the first bar, and noticed the same moistness was present on these bars as well. It was quite the struggle to carry myself across.

I knew the pathway to get across this obstacle; I learned it after watching the competitors before me. At the time, however, my mind was focused on keeping myself hanging on the bars. I tried to reach for the bar in front of me, but it was a struggle. I ended up grabbing a bar closer to me on my left. Bad move. I was now further away from the bars I needed to use to finish the obstacle. I tried to reach for it but was unable to make the distance. I tried finding an alternative route but it proved to be difficult. My arms were giving way and I eventually dropped.

This time, I was not bummed. Despite my failure, I had fun doing it. I shook Drew’s hand and thanked him for the competition. I was greeted with several others telling me “Good job”, and met up with my friend. We discussed some strategies I could have done to prevent slipping as well as future training exercises we can do. I couldn’t appreciate him enough for competing with me.

I also appreciate both Fight or Flight Academy and Drew Dreschel for hosting such a fun competition. I may not have been training intensely as I normally would these past few months, but today has been a reminder on why I fell in love with Parkour in the first place. This competition helped me get over my uncomfortableness with my abilities. I no longer am going to take my training with people with the mindset to “Impress” but rather to just do it for me. I can not wait to run next competition.

Swimming Without Lenses

One of my goals for 2015 is to obtain my life guard certification. In order to achieve this, I felt it best to improve my endurance in the water. I have what many people may consider an active exercise routine(1 hour minimum, 6-7 days per week), but swimming becomes a different challenge for me. I want to assure I’m at my best so I set myself up to train several days a week where I gradually increase my distance each week.

With all the obstacles I face in swimming- such as swimming on an exhausted body or walking 2 miles in below 0 weather to get to the pool- none has been more prevalent than the gear. You see, while I have been in swimming classes since I was young, I never trained to go for distance or speed. Swimming gear was such a foreign concept to me I had to Google the proper way to wear a nose clip. Although, the most troubling gear has always been the goggles.

I use to swim with a pair of nonadjustable pair of goggles I had since grade school. While the goggles did stay, I found that water will still find a way into my eyes. I decided to save a bit of money and buy the best pair of goggles I could find at my local sporting goods store. The goggles had a lot of nifty little features printed on the box, including “Anti-Fog” and “Immune to explosions”. As you can imagine, I was excited to try these out.

So today I went to the pool to try out my new goggles. As expected, it felt a little too snug on my face. I spent a good 10 minutes trying to adjust, fit, and test my goggles. After the twentieth some adjustment, the plastic bit snapped off. The goggles were not only nonadjustable, but could not even be worn at all. I was disappointed, not only because I was out a $30 pair of goggles, but because it made it that much harder to train freestyle.

Still, determined, I tried to do my first set without the goggles. I closed my eyes to avoid the stinging of chlorine,but I immediately hit the divider of the lane. I knew that freestyle could no longer be practice, and plan for today’s sets had to be discarded. After a bit of debate I settled to switch my sets to involve doing my least favorite stroke, the back stroke. I never really enjoyed the stroke, simply because of how sore I get from doing it. I always have the impulsiveness to be tense up and go fast when doing a backstroke. While this is okay for me doing a 100m cool down, it was not ideal for a 1000m swimming workout.

I went at it, and quickly felt myself tense up. I tried to relax but that only caused me to want to push myself harder. By the half way mark my body was experiencing soreness. Luckily enough, I was able to find a quick-fix for my goggles. Unluckily though, I learned that out of the features it claimed to have, “Anti-Fog” was certainly not one of them. I completed my entire workout on sore arms limbs and cooled down with a bit more of the free style. Walking on my legs felt like jello but I was happy that I completed the workout.

My takeaway from this experience. Firstly, I definitely need to improve my backstroke. Out of all the strokes, this one is the only one I can never do in a relaxed state and today has shown how much of a problem that can be. Secondly, I’m always going to bring a spare set of goggles. If it’s one thing I learned, there’s no telling when my goggles are going to bust on me. There’s no telling if one of those times is when I do need them.