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?
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.
“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.