In Progress with Anthony McClain: Our Path Is Our Own

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For the month of May—also known as Mental Health Awareness Month, Anthony McClain—trainer, former SoulCycle instructor and CEO/founder of the McClain Strong brand—will be sharing a fresh perspective on positive thinking to help you build your mental fitness in a weekly  column.

As human beings, we get caught up in the difference between where we are now versus where we see ourselves. Regardless of the circumstances of where you start—health, wealth, education, location, relationship status, social connections—we all find something to perseverate about. In a time where the majority of us, willingly or unwillingly, spend hours a day comparing ourselves to our peers, our mentors, and celebrities, it is easy to find dissatisfaction with our current circumstances. I can speak at length about how the increased connectivity that has come about via the advent of social media is potentially harmful, but I digress, that is not the point of this column.

The significance is that we all need to come to grips with the reality that our paths are our own. They may share similarities with others, but your path is unique to you. We all experience a myriad of hardships. For some of us, mere breathing is persevering. Everything that happens to and for us, we must learn from. I’ve heard many stories from luminaries, and when they speak about their journeys, they often acknowledge that there is a lesson in everything—every experience, every encounter, every day. If we can’t learn and extract what’s necessary from our current circumstances, what is the point in moving closer to the life we are intended to live in the first place?

The remedy to the dissatisfaction you may feel along your path is being intentional about what thoughts and which details we invest our energy in. If we focus our energy on negativity, real or manufactured, chances are we can only have a negative outcome. Finding the lessons in the discomfort, shifting our mindsets and adhering to mannerisms that are conducive to us becoming the best version of ourselves is a practice. An action. An effort. A ritual.

Initially, it can be extremely difficult. You may have been talking to yourself or viewing the world in such a pernicious way that may be hard for you to unlearn. This change in the way you see your circumstances will not happen overnight. Also, your dreams don’t come to fruition on your time schedule, but that doesn’t mean that your dreams aren’t meant for you. It simply means there is more to learn, and truthfully, there will always be more to learn even after your dream has been realized. Your path will definitely be different from that of others. It may be longer, it may be shorter, but it is always necessary.

Two of my favorite examples in this respect are LeBron James and Michael Jordan. They were and are considered the best players of their generation yet it took them both over seven years to win a championship. Tom Brady went in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft and ended up being the greatest of all time. Your journey is your journey for a reason. It might take you a while to get what’s yours, but it’s still yours.

Sometimes we stare so hard at what we don’t have, we fail to realize we have what we need. Nurture it, build upon it and believe that what you see and feel for yourself is meant for you.

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