ernest hemingway boxing, brog

A Glass of Scotch, And A Mission: Be Legendary

What inspired Hemingway to write, nay, LIVE with such intent? Why did Teddy Roosevelt do and experience more in his life than most of us would even dare to in our dreams? Why is it that so few do, while millions more dream, think, and wish?ernest hemingway boxing, brog

It’s 9:31 on a Saturday night. I just finished up a newsletter that I’m proud of. So proud that I poured myself a few fingers of Scotch – the MaCallan 10 year – and started thinking and drinking…

My thoughts spring from the collection of books sitting on my desk.

Roosevelt. Hemingway. Napoleon. Pressfield. Schwarzennegar. The list could literally go on for hours. Now I’m down to two fingers, and the theme from Raging Bull blasts into my right ear. Jake LaMotta, De Niro, Pesci, Scorcesse…

Why is it that the names mentioned will grace the history books, while so many others won’t? It’s not because they’re better people. It’s not because they’re more complete or well-rounded? Actually, they’re probably the opposite – with a few exceptions. They were each so driven in one area of their lives, that the other areas of their lives faultered.

Is that the reason, the secret to living…

Focus on a singular goal, while letting other areas of our lives fall by the wayside? That may be a path to success, but it isn’t the recipe for happiness.

Forget about success for a moment. Forget about the accomplishments. And think only of the actions.

Arnold did things that his friends wouldn’t even try. He left Austria. He became Mr. Universe, then Mr. Olympia. Then, with broken English, became the biggest movie start on the planet. Then the governor of one of the biggest economies on the planet.

He thought, then did. He didn’t think then wish. He did.

Teddy Roosevelt, a man I’m starting to study next month, did. Hemingway wrote, he drank, he hunted, he fished, he boxed. His life is filled with action, not wishes.

But we do stuff too. We take action. Our actions, however, are taken on small things, letting the big things stay in that realm where we will wish, but not dare to try. We THINK about writing a book, but we’re not authors, right? We’re not a Hemingway. But neither was he before he took action.

We think about traveling, but never set foot on the plane because of the slou of excuses that WE pile up in front of that plane ticket. We set goals that we know we can accomplish, so there’s no real incentive of actually accomplishing them. Our DREAMS are even small! We push the big ones down, and focus on the one’s that may one day actually come true.

Who are we to say what can and can’t be?

Each of the names mentioned had unlikely success stories. Every name engraved in a history book had no quality that we don’t possess at birth. They had no rite that we don’t have to conjure something up so unbelieveable, then have the audacity to attempt it without a thought of what would happen if we fail.

I set big goals this year. Very big ones. But are they big enough? Hell no! In accomplishing them they’ll give me the freedom I want, but they won’t etch my name next to any of these Legends. They’ll leave me unfulfilled.

And it’s not that etching that I lust for so passionately. To stand amongst a Lincoln, a King Jr., would be unbelievable – even impossible – yes, but that’s not the driving force. It can’t be.

To be great isn’t what leads great men to reach greatness. TO LIVE DOES.

roosevelt

“If I did not do this work, I would regret my entire life.”

What is “this work” to you? What is this trip, this project, this book, this body, this creation, this mission, this sport, this goal, this dream, this wish, passion, image in your mind that you want to see in flesh? That you want to create. That you want bring to life.

One finger left

Why do some think nothing is impossible, while the rest of us see only obstacles? It’s a question that needs to be adressed in each and every one of our lives if we’re ever going to truly live.

Answer these questions on a piece of paper. Take these facts, at your core, as truths. Not notions, or ideas that are true in some situations, but as universal truths in all of our lives. We aren’t being the men, the people, we have the capability of being at this very moment. Forget about the future. I’m talking about right now…

Truth: If we want something bad enough, we can make it so.

Truth: No great man in history was born with something we’re not. Timing, luck, yes they exist. But greatness – however we define that in our own lives – exists within each of us.

Truth: With every minute we move closer to death.

Truth: We don’t do half of the shit we really want to do.

Truth: We don’t dream BIG ENOUGH.

Truth: We let fear dictate our actions. Fear that WE conjure up. An emotion that isn’t real. It doesn’t exist unless we allow it to. We have the power over the very thing holding us back! Think about that. You and I are our own limitation.

Truth: We don’t work hard enough.

Truth: We get distracted too easily, and we lose focus far too often.

Truth: If we keep on doing the same shit we do everyday, we’re going to have regrets at the end of our lives.

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  • Dean Phillips

    Damn! Loved this so much!!

    I’m so pumped to be a part of the Legendary journey man.

    I’ll be reading this again tomorrow morning to set my week up for even greater success my man!

    P.S It was a damn good newsletter! It inspired me with mine.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks a lot Dean, you’re awesome bro. And you’ll be up on this site in a week or so with an article of your own. Thanks for that submission.

  • http://www.acalltoaction.net/ Trevor Wilson

    Fucking awesome bro! Seriously. Love the passion oozing from each passage! Nothing wakes a man up like a slap in the face.

    Now you’ve got me wanting to hit up my scotch collection and write some inspiring shit. Alas, I’m out of Lagavulin 16 year. But I have some Auchentoshan . . .
    Cheers!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Your collection is murdering mine right now. I’ve finished my two bottles of Mac-18. My Highland Park 25 was polished off over the holidays. My 10-year’s almost done. I need to re-stock! Maybe grab a Lagavulin 16 – thoughts on it? … I also need to grab a Laphroiag 10 or 18 year.

      And thanks man. Oddly enough, this article gives me a kick in the ass too. I’ll be coming back to this one and reading it from time to time.

      • Bob Dressler

        The Lagavulin 16 and Laphroiag 10 are my two favorites, both amazing in their own right. The Laphroiag is $37 cheaper in my area (but there isn’t $37 worth of difference between this two, in my opinion). The Lagavulin is richer but less smoky, the Laphroaig is intense but so satisfying. You won’t go wrong with either (or both:)
        By the way, I’ve read most of your blog and recent articles, but have never commented on anything. I feel prodded, however, to comment on “How to Live a Legendary Life.” Out of all the blogs I follow and people I read, this is the best thing I’ve read in months. Thank you.

      • http://www.acalltoaction.net/ Trevor Wilson

        Agreed. The Lagavulin is smooth and classy, but still retains all the “balls” an Islay whisky is known for. Laphroaig is like a kick to those balls.
        Both have their time and place, but Lagavulin is top dog here.
        Cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/keith.claridge Keith Claridge

    Awesome and inspiring post. It’s amazing how inspirational whiskey in, I need to get me some whiskey in and see if I can write blog posts as good as this one!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Haha, dude it is. Read something inspiring. Even a quote – thinkexist.com is a good resource – then pour a few fingers and let the words flow.

      I don’t do it that often. But maybe this’ll be a weekend writing routine or something. It was fun to do.

  • Nick M

    Man you have been killing it with the articles this year. You have been continuously fueling my inspiration to be the man I want to be. Yesterday I got rid of the T.V and xbox out of my room so they will no longer be a distraction. Told myself who cares about if I go 19-0 in Madden, it won’t help me 10 years from now and I could be doing something instead that will. Pura Vida!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      You hit the nail on the head man. I’ve set up a new office. No distractions. Just room to work and write. You’re going to kill it. Love the focus.

      And thanks bro, I’ve been putting a lot into every one of these articles, glad to hear you’re liking them.

  • LaconicDrew

    Chad,
    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, but just felt the need to comment: I know you’re big into reading books that are motivational as well as realistic in achieving success so if you haven’t had the chance to read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, I think it would be a great addition to your brain library. He says there are fewer rags-to-riches stories; rather most success stories have to do with hard work and taking advantage of opportunities: some of which we plan, and some that happen at the right time. For what it’s worth.
    Part of the silent following,
    Drew

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Glad to year from you Drew. Thanks for the comment.

      I’ve read Outliers, great book. Bounce and Talent is Overrated are two others that take a deeper look into the topic of talent, and dispelling it as a myth. They focus on purposeful practice, the 10,000 hours principle, and timing as well. All of them are great reads.

  • Danno

    Really enjoying your recent articles. I was reading this morning on being “zealous” for one thing. Being so focused in on one thing that you are jealous of/for it. I want to be the kind of man that has a passion like that. Good thoughts Chad.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Dude, that’s a great point.

      Join me in doing this (I make this mistake every minute of every day, but I’m changing)…

      Instead of saying “I want to be the kind of man that has a passion like that.”

      Rephrase it to say, “I’m GOING TO BE the kind of man that has a passion like that.”

      There’s no “if”. We create our own “ifs”. You’re going to be that man. It’ll take work, and action, and even a lot of learning to get there, but you’ll get there man. So will I.

      Great note, thanks for that.

  • Juho

    Hi Chad,

    Been following your writings for a while now. Some great stuff here.

    I had a interesting chat with an fellow who was deep in to a reliqious stuff. He was going on and on how “the god will give you anything, if you’ll just ask! But people don’t ask! I’m telling you, if you would just ask (I wan’t this really bad) the god would give it to you!”. I was quite interested of this idea, after reading your blog (and few other blogs with similar mind setting that you have).

    For me, the roots are interestlingly similar. You wan’t something so much, that you are willing to throw that ball to god, or as in your case, wan’t it so much that you go ahead and make it happen. Both ways are leaning to same direction -> strong believe/decision/hope of something to happen. Obviously you have more or less erased that hoping part : )

    Just came to my mind while reading this article.

    Cheers.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Hey Juho,

      Interesting that you brought this up. I’m a Christian. I don’t talk about it a whole lot on this site because I don’t feel the desire to, nor do I have the right to tell people what to believe. My goal is to simply inspire, and give guys like myself the tactics that are helping me create my own path.

      I have a different approach than your friend, though…

      …Pray as if your life depends on God, then WORK as if it all depends on you.

      I think too many people, both religious and not, depend on others to see success. When we don’t get it, we blame others because they didn’t “bless us” with what we asked. They, whether it’s friends, family, or whatever god we pray to, become a scapegoat for our own laziness, lack of ambition, and lack of daring to really go after what we’d truly like to see in our lives.

      Our actions will determine where we end up in life. Our faith will give us the strength to get there. I never want to look to my God to place blame for where I am, or what I haven’t accomplished. I think that’s weak. My relationship with God is about something deeper than accomplishment. Martin Luther King Jr. gives a great speech on the 3 characteristics of a great life, look it up, awesome speech.

      … I just figured I’d add that. I’m sure you and your pal had a more in-depth discussion about the topic, I don’t mean to discredit what he said, and I like his approach, just figured I’d give my two cents.

      Thanks for the comment man, and I’m grateful you enjoyed it!

  • Spencer

    This has to be the most motivating and inspiring things I have read lately! It has told me that I have some things to do, and quit making excuses and procrastinating. The more I read your stuff, the more I get motivated, and this one has to be the best one yet. Keep em comin!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      That’s great to hear Spencer. Happy this one was well-received. Thanks bro.

  • moises

    Great post Chad! really very inspiring … you are becoming a great writer! thank you!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks a lot Moises! You’re always on here commenting, appreciate it man.

  • Vincent

    Some confrontational words Chad, your killing it in 2013. The articles you posted this year makes me take an hard look at my current life and look at the negative influences that still rule in a part my life. It takes the Be Legendary part of the blog serious and gives some really useful lessons in how to become more legendary.

    I always wonder, do guys like Schwarzenegger for example, still are slacking or getting distracted from time to time, or do they work so hard most of their time, that when they are distraced, they feel they deserved it and don’t see it as procrastination of their work?

    Maybe you know an answer for this question, or how do you see this?

    If you look at the daily routines of great achievers, it looks like they don’t make much time for things like that. The routine of Obama for example is inspiring. (Wake up, gym, papers, breakfast with wife and kids, work, dinner with wife and kids, work some more and then bed). Most of his time is work, he takes some time for himself (gym, papers), for his family (almost everyday breakfast and dinner together, beautiful thing that he still is able to do that while he is the President of the United States).

    Great and inspiring article this again, thanks.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks Vincent. Appreciate it man.

      With regards to focus. There are a few guys I know who have a fundamental understanding how useless distraction is. I talk about the Resistance, as Steven Pressfield has coined that thing that takes us away from our work. Be it laziness, weakness, fear, or whatever.

      Daily, we’re in a battle against the Resistance. In my own case, it definitely is a battle. But I’m getting a lot better and working when I’m working. Arnold would be the same. When he works, he works. Distractions aren’t real if we don’t let them be…

      … If that makes sense? It’s early..

      When you work, make that the only option. Shut off the internet. Get away from the TV. Be in a space where all you do is work, nothing else. This space is where you create.

      If distractions aren’t an option, it’ll be a lot easier to focus.

      • Vincent

        Thanks for your response.

        It makes sense indeed, I’ve read your article about the Resistance that takes you away from your work and I’m aware of it, I still have the same problem. It takes a lot of my willpower to continue to work when all the distractions I have are in the place where I study.

        I found the 6 rules from Arnold a while ago and that speech is great and really inspiring, especially the following sentence: It is important to have fun in life, of course, but when you are out there, partying, fooling around, at the same time, someone out there is working hard, someone is getting smarter and winning, just remember that. And if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around, its hard hard work.

        It makes you look to your current behavior and time spending, just like the articles you write here.

        PS. I have to get a copy of that book about the Resistance , is that the book: The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield?

  • Nbk

    Thanks a lot for the inspiring article bro.I can leave away my laziness by thinking about it.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks for the comment man. Glad you got what you got from the article. Love reading stuff like this.

  • First Hunt

    Hi Chad, this is a great post and inspired me to start a blog!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Dude, that’s great to hear – comment on here and let me know when it’s live. Would love to check it out.

  • I-DASH

    Right on Brother!! Ive read alot of inspiring shit but this packs HEAT!! Thanks for helping me get through med school and for the reassurance to launch my fitness product (my dream into action). You are an inspiration and i will obviously stay tuned

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      That’s awesome man! Thanks for the comment, that’s pretty damn cool, glad you liked the article too.