When you get up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? What’s the first thing you think? What’s your mental state? What drives you, puts fire in your heart, and brings out your passion?
Do you reach for your phone, check your notifications, text a few people, and run immediately to the faux mental-shelter of that tiny blue screen to shield yourself from the loneliness of existence?
Or do you wake up, breathe in, feel your lungs expand, stretch and moan? Then do you feel your blood course down to your toes and back up as you sit up and evaluate yourself, feel your muscles activate and your brain power up? Do you feel your goals, dreams, and focus sharpen and then figure out objectively what you’ve got to do to reach those things that day?
You probably hate generic motivational quotes, motivation websites, and all that garbage as much as I do, but here’s a heavy quote from Teddy Roosevelt, who was a man’s man:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
That is one of my favorite sets of words. It paints such a vivid image in my head and always gets me pumped up to destroy whatever obstacles I’ve got in my life at the time. I might not now how, I just know I’m going to try.
Why are you getting up each day? What’s your purpose?
I ask myself this stuff frequently and look to examples from the past. Those guys — the ones I consider successful — didn’t care about money, didn’t care about women, they didn’t care about any of the drama of life. They put their mission first, above all other things and made it happen.
Making it happen is the grind. It’s all the dirty, tedious, scary, dangerous, and “impossible” things you have to do to get to where you want to be.
Like the fictional Viggo Tarasov said about John Wick in the eponymous film John Wick, are you a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will?
That’s what I ask myself when I wake up. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to think instead of grabbing my phone right away, I’ll be the first to admit my imperfection. I’m the most human of humans and anything I write about is first something I’ve been thinking about or struggling with.
To succeed — or to successfully struggle — you need to have the motivation AND the discipline to make it happen. This is about taking the stairs instead of the elevator (literally and metaphorically).
Don’t change who you are to be who you want to be. You always grow and change, that’s healthy, but don’t change things about you that make you you. If you’ve got values and morals, stand by those — don’t change that for anyone or anything.
Note about purpose and the image I selected for this post: a knife’s purpose is to cut. Its shape and form makes using it as anything else pointless. Once it is cutting, the knife is performing at peak, it is, one might say, fulfilled.
The discipline to stay you and the pressure put on you to change you will grow every year. Every new experience will challenge you in new ways — don’t take any shortcuts or sell yourself out. Stay true to you and even if you fail continuously forever, you’ll be happy knowing that you don’t suck.
This new life I started in Miami has sucked so far. I’ve done some cool stuff, met some neat people, but I’m poor and largely unsuccessful by my own measure, and by other people’s. At the same time, I’m in the place I wanted to be, I have friends and family that love and support me, and I’m grinding (could be grinding harder, but). It’s easy to get bogged down by it all, but I keep myself afloat by remembering that I’m not measured by whatever objects I surround myself with or how much paper currency I have.
I want to be fulfilled and happy — for me that’s more important than anything else. I’m always pretty content, but fulfilled is harder. I’d like to do something heavy duty and important for people, something meaningful and heroic. I want to die doing something that I love. I am not there yet and I won’t be for some time, but I’m taking every new opportunity and riding the wave. I have projects in the works that will be fulfilling to finish even if no one likes them and I have a plan with achievable steps to get the career I’ve always wanted.
My last quote-type thing, someone’s probably said it, but I think I might have said it better:
“On your deathbed, how much money would you trade for an extra hour of life? Don’t work for anything less than that number because that’s literally what you’re doing when you work some low wage job. you might have fun or cool experiences, but wouldn’t you rather be doing what you’d rather be doing?”
Ideally, none of us would worry about money and just chase our dreams, but the grind includes those terrible dead-end jobs just to keep food in our mouths. Don’t ever forget that while you’re chasing your dreams. Don’t be afraid to be humble; truly humble. It’s something I have struggled with since I was a lad.
Remember, too, that everything happens for a reason or nothing matters. Either way, we’re good. Spend time with your friends and family and enjoy every second. Example: even though I work in dirty nightclubs, I always get built up by all the pretty ladies (and dudes :0) double-taking at me and asking me for my number.
Figure out what your purpose is, figure out what you want to do, and then get after it. Do the hard dirty work. There is no time like the present to buck for a better job, film a video, learn to dance, propose, go back to school, kill your rival drug dealer, or assassinate your political nemesis (DM me for hit rates).