Learn To Love The Grind

Learn to love the grind. Being successful takes hard work. I know that’s not really earth-shattering news. I am sure most people know this; but then why do so many people consistently cut corners and take the path of least resistance? I have never heard anyone say that they don’t want to be successful, but often the ACTIONS of people show differently than their words and claims. I have come to realize, however, that very few people are willing to pay the full price that success requires. If you want to be successful in school this year, you will have to work hard. Period. There is no argument here. I call hard work, “learning to love the grind.” Let me give you an example of how this works…

All of my life, I have hated the idea of running. I know that’s odd for a Physical Education teacher to confess, but nevertheless, it’s true. Sure, I love sports and activities that require running; such as basketball, baseball, and football, but the idea of running for the sake of running has always seemed like an odd activity to me…that is, until a few months ago.

One of my goals for this summer was to run. I no longer wanted running to scare me or get the best of me. As a challenge, I needed to conquer my life-long dislike of running. I didn’t pick the best summer to make this decision either, because in early April, I was in the beginning stages of injuring my knee from overuse – eventually I would tear my meniscus, the cartilage in my knee joint. Running is one of the worst activities for pain because of the impact each step on hard cement creates on your knees. Nevertheless, I needed to conquer my mission. Pain would not be an excuse, only a trophy after I win the battle.

I love challenges. However, my personality is a little different than most. Conquering running would not be enough. I wanted to do more. When I watch joggers in the park, they all look the same – they wear running shoes, shorts, earbuds, and sometimes carry water. I hate being the same! My mission in life is to stand out. My way of standing out…wearing a twenty pound tactical vest while running! Bad idea for knee pain, but a great idea for demolishing my fear or running.

My plan was to follow an app called, “5K Runner”. I trained 5 times per week. 5km per session. Twenty pounds strapped to my back. Knee sleeve over the left. *Nsync on the iPhone. Let’s go…


Here Is What My Summer of Running Taught Me

  • Change always sucks at the start.¬†The first two weeks were awful. Each step of pounding on the hard cement was a clear reminder of how much I hated running. The tactical vest was strapped so tightly around my ribcage that I couldn’t breathe deeply when I was tired. I eventually trained myself to breathe calmly because otherwise, I would have feinted from the panic and loss of oxygen. Each day I thought about quitting. Change sucks. Running sucks. Walking is better. Easy is better.
  • But…change is awesome if you can DEFEAT the start. Enter week 3…running was becoming easier. I was becoming faster. My breathing became controlled. I began to notice some SERIOUS results. The results motivated me to run further and faster. I began to hate the off-days. Wait…WHAT! Hate the off-days? Hate rest days? Yes! Each time I ran, my endurance increased. My confidence increased. The feelings of increase became intoxicating. When I ran, I felt alive. Change is awesome! Running can be defeated! Walking isn’t challenging. Easy is for losers.
  • Success comes when you learn to LOVE THE GRIND. There is a reason why few people run. It isn’t fun. It hurts your feet, legs, and knees. Your lungs burn. You sweat profusely. It takes time away from TV. But…I have learned to love it. I am now running 7 days per week because the feeling at the finish line is tremendous. It’s like an addiction. I have trained myself to love the grind. Running has increased my overall health, strengthened my bones and muscles, burned 1000’s of calories, and consistently puts me in a better mindset. I simply can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve running now. Without exaggeration, learning to love the grind will contribute to me living a longer and happier life. While others are chillin’, I AM GRINDING.

You, School & Grinding

I am a teacher. I know the average student tries to do the least amount of work possible while still maintaining respectable grades. I get how the system works. Now think about how the  simple act of learning to love the grind will catapult you towards the top of your class and school. If I can teach myself to love running with a wrecked knee and 20 pounds strapped to my back, then you can teach yourself to love learning. You can teach yourself to love asking questions, teach yourself to love studying, and teach yourself to love reading. If you learn to love these things, the grind, you will become incredibly successful.

It took me until I hit my third week of running to where I noticed a shift in mindset. Remember though, the first two weeks were incredibly difficult. Use your mental toughness and crush the enemy that is the start. As I said, change sucks at the start; but it can be defeated.

Can you study 1 hour an evening? Can you ask a question in front of the class every day? Can you focus on your textbook for thirty minutes at a time? If you can learn to love the grind, and train yourself to master these habits, you will become unstoppable. If I can do it, certainly, you can too!

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Let me know how you are training yourself to love the grind.

See you next Sunday!

Jon Hansen



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