The Man That Changed My Life (A Reflection on Luck)

I think you can fucking write, so prove it…

~Bob~

I have been reading Rory Sutherland’s “Alchemy”.

I am not fond of writing book reports (read the book), but there is a point I wanted to share.

Rory discusses the role of LUCK, and how it is undervalued in modern society. The Ancient Greeks called luck Fortuna, and “fortune” was recognized as a probable but incalculable force in one’s life.

Luck was REAL (and is real), and good and bad circumstances could occur to someone that they had NO CONTROL over, could never account for, and any attempt at explanation would be post hoc fallacious reasoning.

How many times in your life have you gotten lucky?

Seven Years Ago, I met a man, his name was Bob Ihlenfeldt.

At the time, I had been writing for one year (unpaid as a contributor on Elitefts.com), and I wrote a lot on facebook. That may sound ridiculous, but at the time facebook had a better reputation, and writing long form facebook posts could actually get you a following.

I wrote frequently about life and about fitness. Very similar to what I do now. It got me a following, a small one, but so far as it mattered, I was a “nobody” in the fitness world.

For context: At the time, the idea of being a “fitness influencer” didn’t really exist. The fitness dream to supposedly being successful and making a lot of money was to become a published WRITER. Fitness magazines were still held in high regard (although this would change within less than 2 years), and writing for a magazine came with a lot of acclaim. The most well known fitness professional at that time were all people who had written BOOKS.

(Keep in mind, this was 7-8 years ago. Today it’s all about youtube and instagram)

Bob contacted me anonymously, and I remember our first interaction vividly

“I’m Bob Ihlenfeldt. Do you know I am?”

………lengthy pause (I was googling and no idea who he was)

“You fucking don’t, do you? I’m the Angry Coach.”

For context: The Angry Coach was a very very popular monthly column on Elitefts.com where Angry Coach would RANT about the fucktarded, stupid, asinine, dumfuckery bullshit of the fitness industry.

-These were not “trolling” rants though, don’t be mistaken. The Angry coach was an legitimate expert level coach, and in the middle of dissecting why such and such fad or trend was contrived bullshit, he’d also be dropping “knowledge bombs” on everything from lifting to networking to relationship building. He’d teach you how to think, and the man was wise, whoever he was.

So when he said Angry Coach, I knew immediately who he was.

And as I found out, Bob was also one of the big time editors in the fitness industry. He was THE lead guy at a media conglomerate that owned multiple fitness magazines.

If you wanted to write fitness articles, he was THE MAN.

And he had just messaged me on facebook.

Bob as it turned out was a fan of my writing, and my monthly column on Elitefts.com. He said that the fitness industry was filled with dumbfucks who didn’t know what they were talking about, and it was clear from my writing that I knew what I was talking about.

Bob recognized applied knowledge. As I found out later, he’d been an Army Ranger, an NYPD police officer, had worked in a SWAT unit, AND was a high school football coach.

To say he was “no bullshit” was a vast understatement. Bob despised almost everyone, and he knew EVERYONE in the fitness industry. He shared “insider” knowledge with me that I will legitimately take to my grave. (it’s also partly why I’m inherently distrustful of anyone who presents a “clean” image. Open sinners are the most honest people in this world. Everyone else trying to appear as a Saint is a liar).

Bob was also that wholly masculine archetype where one is both an immensely self-righteous asshole , while also being incredibly kind hearted and compassionate. This paradox must be witnessed to be known to exist.

Bob helped A LOT of people. Many many fitness pros who became writers owed to him for giving them the chance.

As it would turn out, I would be the LAST of his proteges.

Bob contacted me in November of 2013. I was working in Hollywood at the time, I was 23, and I felt like my fitness career was going nowhere. I’d been a personal trainer for 3 years at that point, full time, working 60 hour weeks, and unless I worked in a corporate or opened my own gym, there was no “future”.

Bob’s offer to write, which was quite literally

I think you can fucking write, so prove it…

It came at one of those pivot point moments in life where you have two paths to take. I was seriously thinking I should just go back to school, but the writing offer changed the game.

I wrote an article for him in 3 days, it got published, and I got paid $900 for that article. It was the first time I’d gotten paid to write.

At the time, $900 was about what I made in a week. It was life changing.

Bob was ADAMANT that I be a writer. He blunt-force told me it was my killer skill that could create my life.

I listened to him.

Bob was honest to the point that it scared the hell out of people, especially ones who avoid the truth.

He never held anything back: not how he felt, not how he worked, and not how he cared about people, or did not care… His integrity was unmatched.

He didn’t bullshit, ever.

As it happened, within three months of writing that article, I’d gotten another job offer to be an online coach, my writing income was enough to cover my rent, and I was able to quit working at the gym and go independent.

There would still be more stumbles and falls along the way, but 2014, that was a transformative year. In a way, it was the year that set me on my current trajectory, it internalized that being a WRITER was a viable means of life and livelihood.

I think about him often still.

He was brutal and angry and raw and real, all the time, he despised ever having to be “politically correct” about anything.

To say he was influential on mindset would be a vast understatement.

He was an honorable man, and I KNOW my life would not be what it is today had he not contacted me all those years ago. He was the LUCK that changed my life.

Sad ending, Bob passed away in 2014, only 7 months after I met him. I still remember every conversation we had to this day, and I miss talking to him.

I looked up to Bob a lot, although I never told him.

Bob was a Reminder to be Generous with my Time

I’m not in the position that Bob was to get people a job, but I remind myself constantly that a few minutes of my day could be a life changing interaction for someone, regardless of how minor it seems.

We are all instruments of fortune in each other’s lives.

Have You Ever Gotten Lucky?

It’s a question worth asking yourself