You don’t know my granddad but you can learn a lot from him. We all need heroes in life and there are many great minds that walked the earth. Some of them, like Muhammed Ali, already passed away but they remain an inspiration. I actually never had heroes but there was one man who had a big influence on me. He was the man that I wanted to become. He was ahead of his time and learned me tons of lessons. You read it correctly I don’t take a celebrity as an inspiration but I take my granddad. He told my parents that he would make a man out of me and that’s what he did.

A trip back in time before my granddad his mission

I was small and skinny when I was born. I was probably one of the babies that would be thrown off a cliff in Sparta. Too small and too weak to fit in Sparta. I was sick all the time when I was young. My granddad saved my life three times now so I’m own him a lot. The first time was when I was attacked by a horse. He punched it with his bare hand so I wouldn’t be hit by its hooves. The black horse never came close again. He was strong even when he became older.

The second time he told my parents to bring me to the hospital. I had meningitis and was just in time brought into the hospital. He knew this because my grandmother lost a brother due to meningitis and I had the same symptoms.

The last time was when I was suicidal and he gave me hope with just one sentence.

Soon after the meningitis I was sick again. I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I was back in the hospital for another two weeks and my granddad must have been worried. He must have seen how weak I was. So he told my parents to drop me off every vacation so I could become stronger.

He made me crazy about steak, eggs and bacon

We worked a lot in the garden as soon as I moved in. He taught me to stop crying and use my pain as fuel. He wanted to see callus on my hands. He once asked me how you can spot the difference between a real man and a lazy one. I didn’t know but I never forgot the answer. A real one has callus on his hands and a strong handshake. Since that day I’ve never lost the callus on my hands. Training gloves in the gym? Hell no, just real blood, lots of sweat and no tears.

We always got up early when I stayed there. He hated guys who slept away their days. If I wasn’t awake he would wake me up. Then he showed me his morning ritual and I followed it. Even the shaving part was a part of my routine. Coffee became my best friend in the morning.

After work my grandmother had prepared a meal and it was always fuel for the body. My granddad ate pretty healthy even for someone who grew up with the rise of sugar. The body begs for some steak or eggs was probably his unspoken way of thinking.

He learned me to appreciate nature

Once we did the dishes we would go out for a walk in nature. We did the same route all the time but it had a relaxing effect on me. He noticed that I had tons of energy and wanted me to use it.

I started walking again as soon as I had beaten my depression. It’s quality time and I like it. I just put on my headphones and go out. Sometimes I’ll listen to music or podcast but sometimes I just put them on without music. People won’t bother me and I can be alone. Just me myself and I. That’s quality time well spend. You learn to appreciate the little things in the world and I guess that’s what my granddad tried to teach me.

He saw the fighter in me

When I became a teenager we would go for bike rides. He always called me an animal. My granddad still talks about the time I followed a cyclist on a steep bridge. The cyclist passed by and was mocking me and I was like “oh no you didn’t, I’m going to make you eat my dust”. So I accelerated and flew by that guy. The guy couldn’t follow me and didn’t look again when he passed by. One thing worth mentioning is that I was driving a mountain bike and he was riding a racing bike. Technically he had an advantage but I was driven by will. I wanted that guy to see my smile when I passed by.

He always wanted me to become a cyclist. He told me that I had the right mentality to do it. At one point I considered it but my parents didn’t let me. MMA is my obsession and nothing can replace it. I just want my granddad to see my first fight. I will never give up when he’s looking and if he can’t make it I’ll pretend he’s there. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. My fist is the only thing my opponent will see.

He treated my grandmother with respect

Ever seen most couples who’re in their 80’s now? They have one thing in common the guy didn’t do much in the kitchen or inside the house. Now my grandfather couldn’t cook until after my grandmother died. He  told me to never make the same mistake as he did. Real men cook he told me and I learned to cook no matter how my mother reacted.

Besides that he helped cleaning the dishes and helped with the laundry. Most guys from his age never did this but he taught me to help even with things I didn’t like.

He treated my grandmother with respect and dignity. She was his princess and I wouldn’t want to be the guy that treated her wrong. Even in his 60’s he made his sons in law look weak. Never become like them he told me and that’s something I always kept in mind.

His daughters are his littles princesses

I know that you’ll think that most of the dads do this but he’s different. He once told me that he would beat the shit out of a guy if he would hit one of my aunts. Make no mistake he would have done it. He’s not in condition to hit people anymore but back in the day he would did it. He would have thrown a punch and the guy would have hit the streets. My granddad could carry two bags of 100 kg’s at the same time when he was young. Most guys in this day and age can’t even lift 10 kg’s. He often says were a wussy generation who wouldn’t throw a punch or would avoid a fight. I guess he has had multiple fight and they made better instead of  bitter.

My granddad always dresses nice

In his days people used to dress up nice to go to church. I’ve never seen my granddad without a polo or a shirt. He’s always dressed like he’s going to an event. He doesn’t like to dress like a bum. “For me it’s always Sunday”, he told me,” your clothes reflect how you feel”.

My granddad is determined

He came from nothing

He has tons of brothers and sisters, eleven in total. They all were raised on a farm and had to go to work at a young age. My granddad eventually worked himself up the ladder so he could have a steady paycheck. He was never a CEO or manager but he was able to make sure his daughters had everything they needed.

We’re as equally stubborn

Not long ago I went over to help him move a big pile of wood together with my dad and brother. He’s in his mid- eighties now and his health isn’t that great anymore. He has to calm down due to a heart attack in the past but he doesn’t want to sit down. He wanted to help and didn’t back down. When we had to hit a nail to steady a pole he and I got into an argument. He wanted to do it but I was holding the hammer so I didn’t want to give it to him. “You’re extremely stubborn” he said. “I know that’s because you raised me”, was my best response. He laughed at it. My aunt was looking at us, rolled with her eyes and said “oh great now there are two of them”.

My granddad keeps on working even after the doctor told him to quit doing it

He always mows his lawn and this makes his daughters go crazy. My granddad could die doing it but I know why he does it. He doesn’t want to die while he’s resting, he wants to die when he’s active. I would crush my heart if he dies and I’ll really miss him but I hope he dies in the way he intends too. He would die with a smile on his face.

I would be the same when I’m old. I want to die in my own home or garden while I’m still active. Yes, I want to take of my wife and children till I’ll blow my last breath out. So I want to protect the ones I love. I want to chop wood instead of living like a houseplant in front of a television. I want to keep reading books instead of watching some dumb reality show. My grandfather recently said that he’s still learning every day. That’s what I call a powerful mindset.

My granddad laid out the path and I created the rest

He didn’t teach me everything but at least a lot. Thanks to him I’m able to work with my hands and that comes in handy. He told me to quit once it’s done and not when I’m tired and that reflected on most thing of my life. Well not school but besides that it made a difference. I thought myself to go out of the comfort zone, deal with pain and only started counting when it hurts.

Accept the pain or remain the same.

So who’s your inspiration? Is it a family member or someone else?

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