Are you open to accept and apply lessons when they present themselves in your life?
I moved into a new community which features a small gym as a free benefit. The gym includes several treadmills, ellipticals, bicycle machines, dumbbells, and several weightlifting machines for exercising all major body parts. The gym was advertised as a state of the art fitness club.
Fitness is a priority in my life, and I was thrilled to have access to a gym within a 1-minute walk of my front door. However, my excitement quickly diminished and was replaced with frustration. For several weeks I utilized the new gym and immediately begin accumulating my list of disapprovals for the space. I thought the machines were cheap compared to the inventory at the large membership gyms I had utilized in the past. I was upset that there were few machine options for weightlifting, and I did not like how the free weights were limited to only a small number of dumbbells. The gym was definitely not a state-of-the-art fitness club.
When I worked out at the gym, I would constantly voice my displeasure to my girlfriend by making fun of the modest space and equipment, plus complaining that I did not feel like my workouts were challenging enough due to the basic equipment options. However, the convenience of the gym being so close to home was still a major attribute because of the time I would save compared to using my paid gym membership which was located many miles away from my home. Therefore, I continued begrudgingly to use the free space, criticizing along the way. I often reminded myself that my paid gym membership offered a much better fitness environment, and I believed I deserved a better gym.
Can you see my entitlement?
One day I engaged in a brief conversation with a gentleman at the gym. We initiated some small talk regarding our workout that day and eventually shared our names with each other. He then made a comment that was the equivalent of a strong slap upside the back of my head.
“Greg, how cool is it that we have this free gym to use? I mean, it’s not fancy, but, with some creativity and planning you can create killer workouts with just these few items. I’m getting better workouts here that I was at the big gym that I used previously. This place is awesome, and, very few people besides the two of us actually use it. It’s like we have a private gym for ourselves. We are blessed for sure.”
He is 100% right! The gym possessed everything I needed to experience incredible workouts. I only needed to adjust and plan how to utilize the equipment to achieve my goals. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and embrace some simple but highly effective exercises. Instead, I had allowed negativity and pessimism to overshadow an incredible gift and convenient opportunity. What a great lesson in gratitude and entitlement.
In reflection, I realized my complaints revealed my entitlement, and my entitlement killed my gratitude.
I made the decision right then and there to take my thoughts captive and change my mindset about the gym. I spoke to my girlfriend that evening and shared the conversation I held with my new friend. I renewed my commitment to eliminate petty complaining from my vocabulary and chose instead to refocus on the seemingly never-ending things in my life that I am grateful for – including my awesome new little gym.
Live The Pursuit of Growth