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Posted on May 2, 2012

Day 2: Midnight Fighter

Day 2: Midnight Fighter

Midnight Workout

The second day of my path through Take No Days Off has been fueled with the need to be part of the movement. I’ve been listening all day to the mp3 version on my laptop, my phone, my iPad, practically encompassing it in background of my work. I keep discovering more passion from within the speech and within myself as I delve into whatever I’m doing. I’ve proudly stopped gaming, particularly MMORPGs, because I’ve always believed they had a steep benefit curve where you’d be inspired, developed the personal skills, harnessed the bond with your friends and cousins, and then it’s just an addiction…a waste of time.

What marvels me is the ability of this video in itself to influence my lifestyle so radically. I’ve always read inspirational cases, stories, witnessed some, and experienced others, but not like this one. I related to it in so many ways on so many levels that I felt the speech was intended to me. From the voice, to the metaphors, to the story itself, to the asthma relation (which I had and know exactly how it feels) to the part where success is ditching parties and shooting hoops.

I had obligations that stopped me from achieving my personal projects for 8 months now. I still have them, but like a maniac I’m working day and night to finish them and start working on my own.

Project 1: The gym

It was a long day of studies and projects, with friends coming over and doing shenanigans and stuff. I had my work done, that was a definite, but part of my new aspiring self is to hit the gym. I needed that feeling of self-satisfaction, of loving my own body and appreciating it. Just like a car, the body needs maintenance, and mine was getting rusty.

I only had the chance at midnight to do it. Usually my brain would persuade me that working out at late nights isn’t beneficial and would render sleeping disorders, but not that time. I managed to stumble upon a weekly workout plan that focused on getting fit and strengthening the abs. Strenuous exercise, long or short, had to be perfected and reps fully done no matter what. I ended up doing that and remained pumped up enough to run for 10 minutes and rafting for another 5. It might seem not much, but it’s an achievement for me nonetheless. Day 2 was victorious, overcome, and looking forward for a resting night until next day’s achievements.

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Posted on May 1, 2012




Take No Days Off!!

There comes a time in every person’s experience that reaches a low-point, a period where goals seem out of reach, difficult, or out of life’s current contexts. To make things worse, you can’t. Shit happens to hit the fan and you seem to be standing in front of it with no aid to do nothing, no will to change anything.

This happened to me. In fact, it still is…until the last 3 hours. Depression (though not clinically diagnosed), anxiety, self-hate, dissatisfaction, stress, nervousness, chaos, dis-organization…basically any personality adjective with a negative prefix was haunting me at one point in time. It happened for a bunch of reasons.

  • France: Living far from home is a challenge I was willing to take no matter what the consequences were. I decided to grow up, to become the man I desire to be; self-sufficient, responsible, ambitious, hard-working…a man. Yet the culture shock itself was the kick-starter for my demise. Living as a European, or more like a Frenchman, seemed like a daunting task. From the infinite amounts of paperwork to dealing with the ‘French arrogance’, things weren’t looking bright ahead
  • Masters: Doing my MSc in Innovation, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship was the purpose I came to France for. As fancy as it sounds, it all boiled down to doing daunting projects, complex exams, and a live business case with a real company that expected a bunch of students to bail it out of a crisis. When 28 modules are spread along a mere 9 months, things are bound to get loose; pressure was building up, while the morale was sinking below…way down below.
  • Lifestyle: “When in Rome, act like the Romans do”  –  I tried to integrate with the French. My sense of style was slightly altered, I admit. I rented a bike, ate French food, befriended French, had baguettes with every meal, you know how it goes. Yet I couldn’t see myself fit in such society, where the majority of people are atheists, where life is colorful but living is black and white. There seemed to be an absence of joy, just like the sunny days.

Over the course of 8 months, these factors drew me down. Sure, the honeymoon phase was awesome. I managed to travel all across France, but when the courses start a-rollin’ , you gotta start jugglin’. Whatever was on my mind, it had to be put on hold until I could catch up with my projects. Dues, bills, groceries, laundry, legal paperwork, and all kinds of responsibilities were scattered on my To-Do list without no idea where to start. Luckily, somehow, I managed…to survive at least.

Lest, my journey in France is nearly over. It was truly a test of faith and perseverance. I can’t smear it altogether and curse the moment I stepped foot in the biggest European country. I met awesome people, great experience, and memories worth a lifetime.

But that wasn’t enough to pull my spirits up.

See, when you’ve recently started to cook, health sits in the back-seat and survival mode steps into dominance. From experimenting cinnamon with spaghetti to having seafood with cream sauce, things were alright as long as there’s a full belly.

Sports? Who really had time for sports? The fitness room was 2 floors below, yet working for 16 hours every day didn’t seem to encourage shaking away those fat tissues. It was on my To-Do list for months, but to no avail.

It wasn’t until I encountered T.N.D.O (#TNDO) [Short for “Take No Days Off”]  from close friends of mine. I wouldn’t dare call it a revelation, but more of a wake-up call. That sad fate I’m facing is a product of my own decisions. Once I watched this video that day, I felt the urge to watch it again the next day, and the next one, and the next, until that need to change struck to me, and forced me to get up after 15 straight hours of work and go to the gym. After 6 months of self-persuasion, all it took was a low-point and an inspiration speech with an acronym symbolizing the concept.

This doesn’t seem to be the regular inspirational videos you watch from time to time. It carried a message that embodied an athlete, and a touching metaphorical message that struck right through my  senses and into an endless loop that kept repeating the whole scene.

The start of this month has become a change I hope to sustain. After infinite means to optimize my time and gathering enough energy to succeed, I finally got it. It was about determination all along.

I declare myself mesmerized with my own obsession to succeed. For some time now I’ve been stumbling in a quicksand of ideas, troubles, and opportunities, and it’s time to set the records straight.   What’s best to learn than through your own failures and the success of others? The key is to thrive for success as bad as you want anything else. The video will explain it all.

With the hopes of remaining inspired for the next couple of months, I’ll keep posting updates to how that change has affected me. It already did, but that’s only the beginning. TAKE NO DAYS OFF!


When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.




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Nicolas El Hayek located at Beirut, Lebanon , Beirut, LB . Reviewed by rated: 10 / 5