Imagine yourself in an extremely dark room. A room so dark, you cannot even see your own hands. On top of the lack of visibility, this room is bitterly cold to the point you are shivering uncontrollably. However, in this room, there’s a small flame in what you think is the middle of the room. This flame is so small and so weak that it can barely be seen. It could even be mistaken for as an ember of a fire that used to shine bright. As you look at this small flame, you are curious of the room around you. What is in this room? What potential does it hold? You want to know these things and you finally come to the simple conclusion that there is only one way to go about this:

You fuel the flame.

You don’t try to push the surrounding darkness away. You don’t swat at the darkness in a naïve attempt to push it away from the flickering flame. By doing this you will simply exhaust yourself to the point of inactivity, and the flame you desperately tried to preserve, will die out. Your only way to see this room is to fuel the flame, there is no way around it.

But how do you go about this?

You search for things to throw into this fire to keep it from going out, to burn brighter so you can see the what this room is all about. You quickly find out that there is nothing you can throw into this fire to make it burn forever. Keeping this fire burning is going to require constant, daily sacrifice.

As the flame grows, you begin to see the room and its beauty around you. You see the true potential of this room and that it is much larger and full of life than you expected. The flame is strong and bright enough to give you warmth and comfort. What used to be a room that had only one color is actually filled with thousands of colors. What used to be a room of painfully cold temperatures is being filled with warmth. All it took for you to see this and to accomplish this was to sacrifice and fuel this fire.


We all have our rooms. We all have our flames inside these rooms. Throughout life, our flames have gone through times of being both strong and weak. All of us have had our ups. All of us have had our downs. In other words, we have had periods of success, but we have also had periods of failure. What is the main difference between these two, opposite periods of life?

The strength of our flame.

Fuel your flame! Sacrifice what’s holding you back, throw it in, and let it be used to brighten the room around you. Whether it’s time, pride, or doubt, use it to fuel your flame. Sounds simple right?

“Okay Ashton, I get it, I need to fuel my flame.”

You are right. But that is not my point.

My point is we live in a world where instead of focusing on fueling our fire, we focus on the darkness instead.

 Instead of focusing on the one thing that can shine light on our true potential, we tend to focus on our past failures and the ever creeping darkness in our lives. Instead of focusing on the positive, we focus on the negative.

“Yeah, I ate healthy today, but I still had Papa John’s for dinner on Tuesday.”

“I went 3 for 5 at the plate in today’s game, but I still struck out twice so I didn’t do that great.”

Or my favorite…

“I did lose 6 inches on this month’s assessment and measurements, but still, I only lost TWO pounds.”

You see, we live in a culture where we think negativity has to be included in our thought process. What we are actually doing when we include negativity is giving it attention it doesn’t deserve. You don’t keep a flame burning by just pushing the darkness away, right? Not only do you look stupid doing this, it will not work. You ignore the darkness, fuel the flame, and see all of the darkness and negativity disappear right before your eyes.

Next time there’s negativity in your life, do yourself a favor and don’t give it the slightest bit of attention. It will not do you any good.

Don’t think “I will not eat bad this week.”

Think “I will cook and eat 5 healthy meals this week.”

Don’t think “I went over my daily calorie limit 3 times last week.”

Think “I stayed under my daily calorie limit 4 times last week.”

Focus on fueling your flame. Focus on putting more positivity in your life. When you do this, you’ll see the negativity/darkness flee from you. You’ll see the true potential in yourself and the amazing things you can achieve. In the end, there’ll always be some negative in your life, but it is up to you whether you let it affect you or not.

Ashton Perritt – Exercise Science/CPT