Adversity Introduces a Man to Himself
When you find yourself in the hole, there’s only one option, and that’s to dig yourself out. Every one of us I'm sure has found ourselves in the hole at some point in our life. Whatever it may be, illness or injury, anxiety or depression, out of a job, cut from a team, family problems, a break-up or death of a loved one. Life comes at us when we least expect it and all we can do is take things head on, learn, grow, and move forward. Life came at me while I was in college. Injuries, surgeries, chronic pain, a break-up, deaths, anxiety, depression...all on top of the stresses of being a student-athlete, working and trying to figure out my path in life. During my sophomore football season I blew out my knee, and I remember right before my surgery I posted a quote that said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” I posted this with absolutely no clue how much adversity it would create and that that adversity would truly shape my life. Life came at me and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned infinitely more from the adversity in college than I did from the successes. And I think that’s the optimism you have to have when you find yourself in the hole. When life hits, and when that adversity comes, welcome it, because it will be your greatest teacher. It will be a gut check and you’ll find out what you’re made of.
Recently I’ve had a number of my close friends, former teammates, and classmates reach out to me and tell me that they’re struggling. They’re in the hole; depressed, anxious, injured, in debilitating pain, feeling lost in life. And though we may have different problems, I can relate and empathize with each of them, and if I could offer any insight from my personal experiences, here it is. First off I think it’s important to know there is beauty in the struggle and there are so many lessons to be learned. So do your best to open yourself up to those lessons along the way, and reflect on what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come. Another tool that I find to be really beneficial when shit hits the fan is changing your perspective. For me, a quick way to do that is saying to myself, “it could always be worse.” And holy shit isn’t that the truth. If you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food on the table..that’s something to be grateful for, because the vast majority of the world does not. Telling myself those five words was always a perfect reset to simply be thankful. Gratitude is a powerful tool when times are tough. Finally, your current situation is only temporary. Put in the work, make the necessary changes, and trust the process. There will be a point when you’ll find yourself looking down into the hole, stronger and wiser than when you fell in. And by understanding that, you can take on the inevitable hardships and adversity going forward with confidence. Remember that life is full of peaks and valleys. And while we should live those peaks to the fullest, we should also embrace and appreciate the valleys just the same. The valleys challenge and strengthen our human spirit, they’re where we learn and grow the most, and they make us truly cherish the peaks.
For me, the valleys in college helped me give me purpose, and I feel that I’m here to motivate and empower others to take control of their own health and wellness. I’ve spent the last few years really diving into human health, wellness, and performance and I’ve worked hard to build myself back up. In the words of the Jedi Master, Yoda, “Always pass on what you have learned.” I do believe this is a responsibility for each of us, and I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot over these last few years through personal experience, the classroom, books, research, and podcasts. I know it is my responsibility to pass that on and that’s why I’ve decided to start a new project called The Synergistic Life. It will be a personal account and lifestyle page of the things I have learned and the practices and habits that have made such a positive impact on my life and I know the lives of many others. I by no means have all the answers, and I’m certainly not where I want to be, but I’ve made a lot of progress and I’m excited about my process. I hope this page can be a platform to connect with great people, share visions and ideas going forward, and ultimately empower people to take those next steps toward the life they want to live. The Synergistic Life is about understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts, and that by investing in those “parts” of our life, it can make the “whole” a whole hell of a lot better. When we invest and take time to optimize the physical, mental, spiritual, and social aspects of our lives, we realize that our lives can make a total 180 and we can confidently take steps toward becoming the person we strive to be.
I’m looking forward to writing more blogs on each of these aspects of life individually, so I can’t spoil it all right now. But I can’t leave you without a few nuggets to start making a priority in your life.
My quick tips:
• Physical: Move your body every day, as much as you can. Walk every hour, move and stretch in the morning/before bed, take the stairs, park far away, exercise, and sweat. Invest in the vehicle that takes you through this life. Refuel by making your own food as much as possible. Prepare good, clean meals for yourself throughout the week and take note of how much it enhances your mood and energy.
• Mental: Before bed, put all your electronics away an hour before you want to fall asleep. Find a good pre-sleep routine. Stretch, read, meditate, or journal..whatever helps you relax, take the time to do that.
• Spiritual: Give thanks. Spend time reflecting or writing down the things you are grateful for. Too often we focus on the things we want and take for granted the things that we have.
• Social: Surround yourself with positive people that support you and hold you accountable.
Background: My name is Mark Amick and I’m a 2018 graduate from the University of St. Thomas. I was a student-athlete, that graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and was fortunate to play football for some of the best teams in program history. Every offseason I worked as a student athletic trainer and was lucky to be apart of an integrated sports medicine team. As a life-long athlete I’ve always been fascinated by the human body, health, and performance. My college experience sparked a new passion for this field and I decided to fully dive into graduate school. I am currently in my second year at Northwestern Health Sciences University, where I am pursuing my Doctorate in Chiropractic. I can’t thank the doctors that helped me through my rehab processes enough. They helped me get back to doing what I love, which has given me so much joy. It’s only fitting that I pass that on to others in the future.