Witnessing commitment and discipline can be incredibly inspiring. Sure, most people are working toward something, but only some are truly dedicated. This can be seen through their actions, beliefs, work ethic, resourcefulness, and so on. When we cross paths with people like this, I think it’s important to take something away from that interaction. There is always something to learn if we just keep an eye out for people who are setting a positive example.
Recently, I came across an individual who has demonstrated both commitment, discipline, and other admirable qualities. I was a little surprised, however, with the person. It was my brother.
His name is Alfred. He is seven years younger than me, and just started his freshman year of high school. Because of college, I only see him on holidays and vacations, each time astonished at how much he has grown and changed.
In the past (as the big brother), I generally spoke all the motivation, tips, advice, etc., to him (and trust me, I still do!). But he has moved to a whole new level of self development recently and has been an inspiration to me as well.
His story is this: he was a little out of shape and decided to start working out. Quite honestly, in the past he has wavered in his decisions and often changed his mind within a few days. Nonetheless, I was a little skeptical when he started in late July.
We even took those “before” pictures you see on TV before they show those ridiculous “after” pictures (which have clearly been Photoshopped).
He started working out but I couldn’t witness much; within three weeks I was off to college for three months. When I returned in November, however, I could see that those three months were not wasted. He had improved tremendously, had a strict workout regimen, had complete lists of exercises, and even had several sheets to keep track of the results. When we wrestled (and trust me, he couldn’t wait to wrestle), he was no longer my “little” brother. He was strong, much stronger than he was before. Most surprising was that he developed his lower body as well. My dad, Alfred, and I have always had very skinny legs. In fact, I had pretty much given up working out my legs. But my brother somehow turned his into rocks, and upon seeing this I started working out my legs three to four times a week!
In addition, he has become an avid runner and doesn’t take days off. Over Christmas break, when the weather mirrored Antarctica a couple of times, he still ran on his assigned days. I was so impressed because in the summer he didn’t run at all. Now, he can run over ten miles and is considering a half-marathon in April.
The culmination of his growth is perhaps summed up by his eating habits. Over break, he didn’t eat ice cream…not even once! Not even when I had my wisdom teeth removed and ate ice cream in front of him for days! He also has smaller portions for meals (trust me, this is hard with a Greek mother). Lastly, he even turned down buffalo wings from PJ’s (the best wings ever, and one of his favorite foods). I was shocked to see how dramatically he had changed in three months.
Why does he do all this? Why does he work out so hard and eat the right foods? Simple. He wants to be in shape more than he wants ice cream. He wants results more than he wants to relax. He wants strength more than he wants fatigue. I admire his dedication. He has created a fine example of how commitment and discipline can lead to significant change. It’s just about slow, steady, and continual growth.
As I go about my days, I constantly watch motivating videos, listen to motivational speakers, and read motivating books. These things add fuel to the fire of my life and help me carry on. I also think of individual people, and look to their examples as inspiration. It’s probably no surprise that my brother is now one of those people I think about. I think about how hard he’s worked, how far he’s come, and how dedicated he is to achieving his goals.
My message for you, then, is this: you never know who or what will inspire you, but there are probably a lot of examples very close to you. Keep your eyes open, and take an interest in people’s lives. You never know who might be setting an example that would be good for you to follow.
This photo was taken before I left for school, and accordingly, before most of his major changes took place. But hey, it’s a cool photo and the theme is a nice break from the snow outside! Plus, mom needs a shout out too!