The bus lessons started back in high school. I will never forget getting into the high school of my dreams. This school was known for being dominant in sports, but they were especially useful in track and field. They had an outdoor track, an indoor track, and the perfect training environment for a hungry young track star for a scholarship.

In Toronto, Ontario, Birchmount Park had a particular athletic program that allowed kids to go to school even if you did not live in the area. The program attracted some of the most beautiful specimens from around the greater Toronto area. My parents lived in Markham at the time, which was about a 30 - 40-minute drive from the school.

My parents could have driven me to school every day if they wanted to, but they did not. They made my brother, and I take the bus. It was a small detail that would forever change my life.

Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming. - Richard Branson

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Why Was Riding The Bus Significant 

The bus represents the journey through life and how messy it can be, but it also taught me more than I ever expected. The bus is not always convenient or comfortable, and those are two things we are always searching for in our lives.

Netflix is popular because you have the convenience of watching on-demand on the comfortability of your couch. 

Amazon is always growing because of the convenience of buying so much in one place and the comfort of it being delivered to you quickly.

You can look across the company after company and see how convenience and comfort always attract people by the boatloads. We are hard-wired to want our lives to be more comfortable. 

The problem is that this ease does not always make finding our success easier. Success is not still accessible, and if you expect it to be, you will get punched in the mouth when you have to go through something hard.

The bus was significant for me because it made my life harder. My parents could have given me a ride and made my life easier. I'm thankful they didn't because it put me on the path to accomplishing something more significant than I knew I could.

The bus is not always convenient or comfortable and those are two things we are constantly search for in our lives

5 Lessons Learned Riding The Bus 

1. Desire Must Drive You 

If you want something, you will do what is needed to make it happen. I am not talking about sacrificing your soul, or you're first born here. I am talking about reasonable sacrifices like changing your diet or giving up something important to you.

When you desire something enough, you don't see anything as an obstacle. I knew so many kids who could have been more successful in sports and life in general, but there was no strong desire.

Getting on the bus was a confirmation that I wanted to be a great track and field athlete. It built that confidence in me because it took me an hour and 20 minutes of public transportation one way across two different cities to get to school each day. Then I had to do it again to get home.

2. Toughness is a Competitive Advantage 

The world is trying hard to move away from the idea of being severe. It's no longer what you can endure, and the focus has been on emotions and expressing yourself. I don't have an issue with that, but you have to understand that you can beat people by merely being tougher. 

Riding the bus made me gritty and independent. You see so much on the bus in a city with 6 million people like Toronto. You see fights, arguments, bus drivers get pissed off, selfishness, people having horrible days, etc. It toughens you up to life because you get exposed to so much.

When I would get to school or track practice, many people did not understand how far I had to travel to get there. The only person who would put themselves through that would be someone who wanted it.

3. Discipline is Everything 

Taking the bus each morning was the first time I had to get up early in the morning. No excuses, no complaining. I had committed to going to a school that would take over an hour to get to each day. That meant I had to get up early as hell to get there.

When kids at school heard what time I had to get up to get there, it was shocking. It made me more disciplined, though. I had to get to bed on time to make sure I could get up. I needed to use my time wisely on the bus to ensure I was getting all of my homework done. 

Discipline makes the difference. People who are discipline stay focused on what they want the most over what they wanted now. It kept me awake from partying and focused on what I needed to do to run fast and get a scholarship.

4. Poverty is Something You Should Go Through But Not Stay In

The more time you spend on the bus, the crazier the situations you witness firsthand. A lot of times, problems stemmed from stressed people trying to make ends meet. This helped me become more driven because I did not want to be in situations like many people I saw. 

Once I was an adult years later, I was faced with some hard financial times after losing my job and having my second daughter. Life was tough, but I was not phased. Like the bus, I remembered that going through poverty can be great as long as you don't stay in it. The hard times create the drive to want to be more.

5. Go The Extra Mile for The Right Environment

Going to Birchmount for high school was worth taking the bus because it put me in the perfect environment. When you're 14 years old, and you love running and wanted to make it as far as you can, you need to be around like-minded people who want the same things. 

We forget this in life. We love comfort so much that it's easy to forget that we need to be around people who will push us outside of what is comfortable. If you're the best at what you do in your circle, no one will force you to be better.

When you get around like-minded people, though, things get competitive. That competition is good because it will force you to be more than you ever thought you could be.

Riding the bus made me gritty and independent. You see so much on the bus in a city with 6 million people like Toronto. You see fights, arguments, bus drivers get pissed off, selfishness, people having horrible days, and so much more. It toughens you up to life because you get exposed to so much.

Easy Choices Hard Life - Hard Choices Easy Life

You can make easy choices in life, or you can purposely make hard choices. When I started taking the bus, I made a hard choice, and from that came so many rewards that made life more comfortable. 

The hard choice of taking the bus made me more disciplined, and it put me in a more competitive environment. Thus, the track became easier and easier because I had to be tough even to survive going to school. 

Find a way to take the hard routines in life and do them on purpose. 

  • Take cold showers
  • Take the stairs
  • Jog to the store instead of driving 
  • Sleep with no AC on in the summer
  • Scrub the floor by hand sometimes 
  • Fix things yourself 

You don't have to do these things all of the time, but it can pay off, in the long run, to make your life harder on purpose. It prepares you for the difficulty life can throw at you. 

When you choose to make life as easy as possible, difficulties are sure to come, and you will not be prepared. You will dry up when life gets hard because you don't know how to handle it. You don't understand adversity or the benefit of being more rigorous than the problem.

The hard choice of taking the bus made me more disciplined, and it put me in a more competitive environment. Because of that, the track became easier and easier because I had to be tough even to survive to going to school.

Conclusion On Taking The Bus

It's not about the bus at all. What this is really about is making harder choices. Being driven around is easier, but ease does not always lead to success. Sometimes its difficulty that will wake up your desire to want to be great.

When you are not sure how you're going to make ends meet, that may be the thing that finally gets you to start that business. 

Stop falling into the trap of going the easiest thing possible. Take the hard road to get to your destination. It will always be harder, but the rewards will be much more worth it.


Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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