Have you ever tasted pasta that was cooked in unsalted water? You find yourself wondering when will it taste good but that moment never comes. This was my life in May 2011—bland pasta.
People I trusted had recently thrown me under the bus, which felt like a knife to the chest. I never saw it coming and it packed one hell of a punch. It was on my mind 24/7 and I struggled to make sense of it. I found myself second-guessing everything I knew and it filled me with anger and rage. I wanted to slap the shit out of someone but cooler heads prevailed. I knew that it was going to take some time and some answers to process it but I couldn’t help feeling like someone had control over me. It was a crappy feeling and I needed to regain control quickly or else I may become a prisoner to my own negative mindset. Giving up control to someone else was never a part of my life before but there I was standing alone facing the fire. My first instinct was to fight fire with fire and open up a can of woopass upon my enemies. I decided not to play that game as that would simply be playing into someone else’s hand and would make me no better than them.
The one place that always brought me back to earth and softened my frustrations was the gym. I had been working out at Cressey Sports Performance with the greatest athletic coach in the country, Eric Cressey. Eric and I have a special bond both personally and professionally and I trust him like a brother. One afternoon I approached Eric and asked him if he would be willing to help with something. I needed a challenge to deflect my anger but a challenge none-the-less that would make me a better version of myself. I was a high school and college athlete and had spent much of my life working out. Many years ago, I broke the 225lb. bench press mark and dreamed of one day pressing 315lbs. Unfortunately it never happened for me even though I worked diligently for years. I soon realized why so few people are able to do it—it’s freakin hard and takes tremendous dedication.
I really had no business at the age of 47 attempting that which the 25-year-old version of me couldn’t do. Perhaps there are just some things that are physically impossible. It was a hard pill to swallow but this was a new day. I recently had my ass unjustly kicked beyond belief and I felt like the Tasmanian devil. I decided to ask the man who knew more about strength training and conditioning than anyone on the planet. “Eric do you think that this body is capable of benching 315lbs.” He gave pause and said “hell yeah”. In that moment everything changed. If Eric Cressey believes that I can, then why the hell not? I was reminded that if you don’t BELIEVE, you’re dead in the water. Perhaps that was why I failed so often to fulfill my bench press goal. Before I started, my bench press was 265 and Eric gave me just 8 weeks to press 315. That was a significant amount of weight but he assured me that if I followed his program and gave it everything I had that it was possible. I showed up everyday and attacked the challenge as if my life depended upon it. In some ways it did. I BELIEVED that I would make it and spent many an hour just visualizing myself pressing that weight.
On that fateful day, I slipped into the gym hoping to go unnoticed but much to my surprise the entire gym was waiting for me. They were super excited and couldn’t wait to see a fellow athlete reach a personal record. There were so many eyes watching me that I got nervous and felt myself starting to implode emotionally. Just then the toughest son of a bitch in the gym grabbed me by the back of the neck and assured me…“you got this-now lets go”. It was in that moment where belief met anger and out the other side came a man who conquered another difficult situation in this thing called life. What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of emotion by the professional athletes. I didn’t realize that my story would have such an impact. Everyone was hugging each other and high-fiving. I stood there humbled and surrounded by brothers just like me. In that moment, I realized the POWER OF BELIEF in shaping my life. I had finally regained control and had inspired a room of tremendous young men. In the end, getting tossed under the bus was a necessary part of my development. I became more aware of who I am and the power of my choices. So what do you believe?
Dr. Peter Percuoco is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and a Keynote Speaker. With 27 years of experience, Dr. Percuoco has stepped out of the clinic and onto the stage to share his message of hope and potential inspiring people to be the best that they can be.