If there is one thing that guides my life, it’s honesty. Sure, there is a moral imperative to be a truthful, decent human being. Heck, if there’s one attribute I look for in people, it’s honesty. Honesty towards others is something I hold in high regard, maybe because my past suggests that it’s really hard to come by.

This isn’t the type of honesty I want to talk about though. Honesty towards others, sure it’s important, but honesty towards self, that’s where it gets interesting. It’s interesting to me because I think most people are in denial. They are afraid of doing what they want for fear of being judged. I know people who are tens of thousands of dollars in debt, following a path that will turn them into people they don’t even want to become. I also know people that quit on their dreams and are working to survive just because they were too afraid to even go after it.

Why is it so hard to be honest with yourself? Let’s give this a try. When was the last time you sat down and really thought about what you wanted. Go ahead, give it a try…

It’s really hard isn’t it? Being honest with yourself is hard because it inherently means coming to terms with who you are, and who you are may not be who you want to be.

It should hurt. You should be kicking and screaming and trying to convince yourself that those decisions you made were justified, or that the person you were with wasn’t just because you were comfortable. It should be hard, really hard to be honest. Really honest.

That’s my secret. That’s why I run. That’s why I swim. That’s why I compete in events that seem extremely difficult. It’s because they are. These things keep me honest with myself. They make me uncomfortable and discomfort keeps you on your toes. That’s when the magic happens. True difficulty forces reaction. Those are the moments you learn most about yourself.

I’ve doubted myself and I’ve been in denial, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to admit that to myself. Something even harder was to steer the ship in the right direction. It’s hard to ignore the consequences of doing what you really want in life. Once you get a taste, you get addicted. Suddenly the possibilities are endless. Confidence replaces hesitance, and happiness replaces social angst. You might lose some supporters, a few friends, maybe even a girlfriend or two. I know I have. The hell with them if you ask me. Not that they didn’t matter, it’s just that if you want something badly enough, sacrifices must be made, and if what you want is important enough to you, you’ll be more than willing to do the same.

Steer that ship towards what you want in life. Whatever it is.

Somewhere down the line, the air feels clearer. Suddenly there’s not so much pressure all around. The hysteria of doing what is expected is challenged and you go about your day doing what you actually want. Imagine that… It’s the process, not the goal, that matters, anyways.

So to go full circle, there is no one I respect more than the person that is honest with him/herself. To see passion take a different form. To talk to someone about what they enjoy most in life, whether it be picking at guitar strings or putting ink to paper. It’s all about being happy, and you’ll never be happy until you’re honest about what you want.