Decide for Yourself: Create Your Own Path

I’ve had a really great day, and I hope you have, too.

To start, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping through my bedroom window — you don’t necessarily need an alarm clock; nature will always let you know when it’s time to awaken, naturally.

I turned on the radio (read: the Dan Patrick Show on NBC Sports), brushed my teeth, guzzled a couple liters of water, had a puff and began the day.

The day really begins with breakfast.  For a long time, I wasn’t able to eat before noon without my stomach feeling like it was tied in a knot an hour later.  Now, I make bacon and eggs every morning, usually accompanied by some sort of Greek yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and nuts, or a piece of multigrain toast with natural peanut butter, and always fresh-ground French press coffee to wash it all down.  While watching the DP Show, I usually read whatever book I’m currently into.  (Right now, it’s Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies; I love biographies of the unique greats in history.)  When the show is over, I start working.

Cover of "Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hi...
Cover via Amazon

What I work on changes from day to day.  It’s usually music- or audio-related and could be something related to my solo album, something for a client, something personal, etc.  Basically, I make sure I’m productive in some way between the hours of noon and 6:00 PM.  Today, I rode to a bike shop in order to get tires and tubes for my bike, and that was enough for me.  It was just too nice outside to work in the studio.

After putting the tubes and tires on my bike, I plopped on the couch and watched one of my favorite bro-tion pictures, Point Break.

Cover of "Point Break (Pure Adrenaline Ed...
Cover of Point Break (Pure Adrenaline Edition)

When I first sat down to watch it, I was trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t go to the gym, even though today is one of my gym days.  I went so far as to try to sell myself on the idea that it would be counter-productive to losing weight because “you’re lifting heavier weights than you have before, and you don’t want to get bigger, so be cool with just riding your bike.”  But then I watch badass surfers with six-pack abs for an hour and a half, and it makes me hate myself enough to change, so…I bike to the gym.

While riding, I sometimes come across areas where there are no sidewalks.  In these areas, the grass has been worn down over time by other cyclists (I’m not a cyclist, by any means; the word just works) and pedestrians.  As I pedal across these dirt trails, I am reminded of the Ley Lines of the earth.  I found myself saying out loud as I rode, “This is natural.  This is a trail of the Earth, and its energy made people ride exactly this way.”

Think about it: in order for there to be a worn-down path for me to ride upon, there had to be someone who rode it first, then a second person to ride it the exact same way, then another person rode it the same way again, and again, and again.  And most of these people probably don’t know each other.  It’s pretty amazing that so many people decided to ride the same route over the grass.

No one got a shovel and made the dirt trail.  The trail was made naturally, over time.  It took the effort of hundreds — or even thousands — of individuals to ride over the same area.  Eventually, a trail was made that everyone follows naturally, and without pause for thought.  The sum of each individual’s small decision added up to a natural bike path for everyone to enjoy.

Once I got to the gym, I was concerned that I would be too fatigued from riding to accomplish my normal workout routine.  What I found was quite the opposite: I pushed through my full routine, and did so using heavier weights than I normally use.  I even did my end-of-workout cardio instead of just opting to have the bike ride home be my cardio for the day.

As I exercised, my mind wandered…like always…

I thought of how far I have come from the first time I learned how to exercise properly (Thanks, Justin Harrison!), and how much I have learned about the process and how to live in a healthy way both inside and outside of the gym.

I thought of my solo album and where I’m at in terms of production and deadlines, what the title will be, the first single, and how it’s almost finished and I didn’t even realize it.

I thought of my girlfriend, the amazing story of us that we’ve been writing since 2009, and how our paths have finally led us to each other.

I thought of my musical career, how I left my $75k/year management job to move to Arizona and get a degree in audio engineering, and how much I love my professional freedom now.

I think… a LOT.

In the humbling book Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor E. Frankl writes, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” As a constant reminder of this reality, I have the words “CHOICE” and “RESOLVE” tattooed on the backs of my arms.  The word “CHOICE” represents the last of our freedoms; the word “RESOLVE” represents being strong enough to stand behind your decisions when you know in your heart that those decisions are right.

Cover of "Man's Search For Meaning"
Cover of Man’s Search For Meaning

I’ve made many decisions, and so have you.  We are all products of our decisions, big or small.

I had a really great day today as a result of all of the decisions I made yesterday, the day before yesterday, and years before today…

– I am able to wake up to birds chirping every day because I decided to not work a “regular” job.  (Oh, how much better I’ve slept since I made that decision.)
– I am able to watch/listen to a radio show for 3 hours every day , uninterrupted and without guilt, because I decided to start working in the afternoons, after I’ve fully awakened and had a healthy breakfast.  (Oh, how much more productive I’ve been since I made that decision.)
– I am able to cook and eat a healthy breakfast every day because I decided that my health is important to me, and eating a balanced breakfast is paramount.  (Oh, how much energy I’ve had throughout the day since I made that decision.)
– I am able to read a book about a subject I care about every day because I decided that reading and learning is important.  (Oh, how much knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained since I made that decision.)
– I am able to go outside whenever I want and ride a bicycle every day because I decided that feeling the wind in my face and getting additional exercise is worth it.  (Oh, how much weight I’ve lost since I made that decision.)
– I am able to push through my full workout at the gym every day because I decided to begin exercising and taking care of myself in 2007, and the results have compounded over the years.  (Oh, how much strength I’ve built up since I made that decision.)
– I am able to completely produce a quality recording of my music every day because I decided to leave the comfort of a steady income, and pursue a degree in audio engineering.  (Oh, how much I’ve been able to make my and others’ music better since I made that decision.)

I am now reminded of a quote by which I live:

“You are where you are today because of the decisions you made yesterday.  Likewise, tomorrow is a result of today.”

The bike trails I rode today are a wonderful metaphor for life: if you keep moving in a consistent direction and make the naturally-correct decisions over time (follow what’s in your nature!), your path will ultimately create itself.

Make better decisions today, big or small, and the results will come.  If you’re anything like me, the results will come sooner than expected…more likely, unexpected.

I cannot wait to share my new music with all of you.  Thank you so much for reading this.

I’m bearing my soul for your enjoyment.

/smooches

:-J

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7 thoughts on “Decide for Yourself: Create Your Own Path

  1. Bravo, sir. Your accomplishments are a pure result of your outlook and attitude. Very inspiring reading.

  2. Very inspiring John. Im at a similar crossroads in my life as it sounds like you were a few years ago. Most of this sounds like the ideas I’ve had floating around my head for a while. It’s nice to see someone else had the same deas, and put them together rather elegantly. Nice work.

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