Bryce Foster is the biggest jerk I know. He is a constant critic with a razor tongue. His ability to breakdown another person’s opinion, effort, or goal and make them feel as if they shouldn’t even try is uncanny. He is unrelentingly egotistical and I love him. He has been my best friend for over twenty years and he inspires me.

When we were young, we pushed one another by constantly criticizing and belittling each other. “Anything you can do, I can do better” was the theme of our friendship. Nowadays, we support one another and give credit where it is due, but there is an element of “you’re still an idiot” in every “I’m proud of you”.

Our lives mirror each other in many different ways. We are both recovering addicts. We are both ex-cons. We are both egomaniacs. But most importantly, we are both self-made men.

Over the years, Bryce and I have discussed how we turned our lives around. Without the regular comparison of how crappy our lives have been and how good they are now, I would have never figured out how we did it.

Bryce spent the first twenty years of his life in auto-destruct mode until he was incarcerated for assaulting a peace officer. After eighteen months of prison, he came out with a new perspective, but a lack of vision. I watched as he reluctantly fell back into the world of drinking and drugs.

His anger was still focused inward and that was destroying his life. I am no stranger to self-loathing and saw through Bryce’s prideful façade. We both hated everything, most of all ourselves.

But in our early twenties, as I started to pull away from self-imposed chaos, I worried that Bryce was lost, destined to be a cautionary tale for our generation. After all, who was more important to Bryce than himself? Who could match his stubbornness and make him change? Who could give him a vision separate from his goal of self-destruction?

Enter: Bryce Foster.

Bryce Foster Junior was born on March 3rd, 2011. I always crack the joke that the only thing Bryce Foster loves more than Bryce Foster is Bryce Foster and boy does he love that kid. Bryce Sr. has dedicated the past four years to becoming the father his son needs. He quit drinking and doing drugs and recently celebrated the four year anniversary of his sobriety.

With the clear mind that accompanies such a feat, he has built a career, bought a house, and retained shared custody of his son. His willingness to change, and his ability to transform his anger into positive goal building energy, is the secret to his success.

Bryce started from the bottom and worked his way up. He got a job in maintenance, fancy for “guy that cleans up puke”, at a hole in the wall bar. After a few months, he became a “bar back”. He worked in that position, learning the tricks of the trade, until he eventually became the lead bartender.

That sequence was a plan that he put into action. Bryce didn’t like how his life was turning out and used his self-resentment as motivation to succeed.

Being an ex-con and a recovering addict, he knew the odds were against him, but he wanted to prove that he wasn’t just another felon or junkie. Spite drove him out of bed in the morning and got him to work. He created a duality in his head. There was “old Bryce” and “new Bryce”. He hated old Bryce and strived to be better than his former self.

His used his critical mind to single out his weaknesses. His razor tongue sliced up the idea that he was a failure. After a year of getting paid to serve drinks while maintaining his sobriety, he acknowledged the shift from chaos addict to determined father.

Having accomplished a planned sequence and having built a foundation, Bryce decided to go back to school. Since his number one priority was to gain a marketable job skill as quickly as possible, he went to get his Commercial Driver’s License.

Upon completion of the course, Bryce went out and obtained an entry level CDL position. Again, starting from the bottom. After several months, he applied for a job working for the railroad. They interviewed him and liked him, but he was not qualified.

Bryce made the decision to gain all the qualifications necessary to get the railroad job. He took his meager truck driving resume and used it to get a job at a company that processed and hauled chemicals. The work was dangerous, but he would get the experience he needed to be hired by the railroad.

Most people can’t spend two years working at a place in harsh, unsafe conditions with a future goal in mind, but that’s exactly what Bryce Foster did. He would go to work and see guys getting injured on a regular basis. He took the risk, knowing that if he wanted to build his ideal reality he would have to persevere. He thought of what it would be like to have more control over his destiny, to own a home, and to provide for his child.

On days where he felt like quitting, he would call himself a “pussy” and goad himself into toughing it out. He didn’t have a safety net. If he didn’t continue until he reached the other side then he was a dead man. He was responsible for his son’s wellbeing.

It was all or nothing.

After two years of psychological and physical stress, Bryce called the railroad and told them he had acquired the skills necessary for the position. After an interview where he exceeded their expectations, they hired him.

The railroad job has put Bryce in a new tax bracket and provided him the funds to buy a house. He has risen from the depths of despair to the relative heights of success. His goals, thus far, have been accomplished and his life is a testament to what happens when you have the motivation to change.

The mental stamina it takes to struggle for years in order to claim your “place at the table” is rare. The reason most people fail to change or accomplish a planned sequence is simple: they rely on will power.

In theory, will power is your internal reserve of energy to use for personal development. It can be utilized, but it can also be depleted.

It is important to replenish your reserve or find a different source. The stimulus, internal or external, that causes any form of anger can be a catalyst. Bryce used his anger as a tool instead of relying on willpower alone.

When I talk to Bryce now, he is noticeably less angry. He has burned it off in pursuit of his ideal life. He stopped aiming his anger at himself or other people and started aiming it at the path in front of him. He has even started to speak publicly in an effort to benefit recovering addicts. I feel privileged to have witnessed his transformation and I am proud to be his friend.

Anger is often destructive, but it doesn’t have to be. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred or transformed. Bryce transformed the energy of his anger into the motivation to change, and he is not special (even though he thinks he is).

I don’t expect individuals who are laid-back and relaxed to try and get angry to accomplish goals, but if someone is already angry then they have an internal combustion system that can be used to build their reality. Anyone struggling with anger issues can use that energy to transform their lives. All it takes is discipline, awareness and the willingness to change.