Not Giving Up

A couple of years ago, I read the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This week, I started to listen to the audio book for a little reinforcement of the message. What’s the message? How to identify and overcome our biggest enemy: resistance.

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What exactly is this enemy called resistance? It is anything and everything that prevents you from accomplishing what you set out to do. This could be procrastination, addiction, or even that little voice in your head telling you to quit.

I have been fighting resistance all my life. Even when I didn’t know there was an internal war taking place, resistance was still fighting. And the little voice in my head telling me to stop, that voice has been the enemy’s primary weapon. I can usually see the manifestations of this weapon during any endurance training such as running, or rowing. That innocent small voice in my head is the opening salvo in a game of psychological warfare. It starts out small enough, but in time it will take over all my thoughts. It amplifies all the pains I am feeling, whether real or imagined. The ascents and the descents become larger than what they really are. Even a soft breeze blowing in the wrong direction becomes an insurmountable obstacle.

Resistance wants me to stop. It tells me that my goals, no matter how important or noble, can wait until I am better prepared. Gone is the sense of urgency. It would be better to pursue these things tomorrow. But there is no guarantee of tomorrow. If I give in today, how can I guarantee that I will not throw in the towel again tomorrow?

Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up, but kept going no matter what. –Spryte Loriano

The endurance training I do today is a test. If I can win against resistance here, where else can I win? If I can conquer with my mind the desires of the flesh, if I can keep going when everyone else around me has given up, will I not be able to succeed in whatever venture I choose to pursue? Overcome resistance, and we can finish our projects, obtain our goals, and even achieve our dreams. Overcome resistance, and we can win the war.

“Old Blood and Guts” 3 Keys to Becoming Great

Temperance 10/29/2019

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be great? It is possible to be great in specific areas like a sport or in your job. It is also possible to be great at life in general. When they say anything is possible, this is what I want my son to know. It is something I need to constantly to remember:

Anyone can be great!

Are you willing to do what it takes to become great? After all, that is the great question you have to ask yourself. Greatness will not fall into your lap. You will not inherit it from your parents. No one can gift greatness to you. If you want it, you have to go out and get it for yourself. So how do you become great? Let’s take a look at one of the truly great leaders from our nation’s past.

By perseverance, study, and eternal desire, any man can become great. –General George S. Patton

Perseverance. There are many requirements needed to become a general, and time is one of them. For Patton, it took 31 years to get his first star as a Brigadier General and another five years on top of that to become a 4-star General commanding over 200,000 soldiers in World War II.

To build up to that level takes time. It takes perseverance. There is no giving up along the way. You have to keep going, both in good times and in bad.

There are many new employees I come across who aspire to greatness, yet very few make it through the first few years. The excitement falls off. They become stagnant in their progress. Eventually, they get distracted by other pursuits. What they once wanted to be great at no longer seems important, and they end up moving on in life. To be the best in your field, you have to stay focused and continue the pursuit.

Study. We want to put leaders on pedestals and expect them to be flawless. Look at our current leaders today. We have zero tolerance for their mistakes, yet at the same time, we dismiss our own shortcomings.

Old Blood and Guts (Patton’s nickname) didn’t have a perfect track record as an officer. On top of that, he was far from perfect in his formative years before receiving his commission. He wasn’t very good in school and had trouble reading and writing. At West Point, he struggled with his math as well and had to repeat his first year. How could a struggling student finish in the top half of his class? He studied. He continued working on his craft and became a lifelong student.

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. –Harry S. Truman

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If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you. –General Jim Mattis

I often ask people what they are reading. I’m curious, and I’m looking for like-minded souls who may have a good book recommendation. There are two reasons why people tell me they don’t read. First, they say they aren’t very good readers. Well, I am afraid there is only one cure to that problem. Read more. Insider tip: Start by reading things you are interested in. Develop your skill set, and then you can move on to more difficult topics. The second reason why people tell me they don’t read is time. They don’t have the time to read. There is always time. You just have to make it. You have to prioritize what is more important in your life. Did you have time to see what all your friends are doing on Facebook? How’s your progress on consuming the complete Netflix catalog? We have time enough if we want it.

In your field, you cannot become complacent. General knowledge of your subject will not take you very far. If you are not the expert at what you do, someone else will be. Depending on your job, this means you are replaceable by someone has who is willing to learn. You have to know your field. You have to study and stay current on the subject.

Desire. Or as Patton says it, eternal desire. You have to want it. Nobody gets to the top unless they want to get there. You can’t want it today but not tomorrow. It has to consume you to do what it takes to be the best. If that means millions of free-throws, then so be it. They say practice makes perfect. Really, it should be said continuous practice over the course of a lifetime and you may find perfection. To practice for the rest of your life, you have to have eternal desire.

The keys to greatness according to Old Blood and Guts, the great General George S. Patton are:

  1. Perseverance
  2. Study
  3. Eternal desire

Good luck on your quest!