There’s not much worse than living a life of worry; a life of mediocrity; a life of weakness. A life of regret.
Unfortunately, many people live life on their knees – spending the majority of their time being mentally bullied by stress, worry, fear, hate, and regret. It’s an epidemic, especially in modern culture. It’s like people have everything they ever wanted, but don’t have anything they ever wanted.
Here’s a typical scenario:
It usually all starts in the morning when they wake up. They get up cranky and complain about how long the drive is to work or how long the Starbucks line was while they waited an agonizing 12 minutes for a tall latté with crushed ice and light foam.
Then they get to work and complain about how much their kids suck, how much their spouse sucks, how much the job sucks, how much their freshly purchased latté sucks, and how much life sucks…
Then they drive home from work and complain about the commute AGAIN, then get home and complain to the spouse who sucks about how much the people at work suck.
Then they may drive to the gym and complain about how much their workout sucks, how bad the members at their gym suck, how bad the equipment sucks, or how bad their belly fat sucks.
Then they drive home and complain about how being tired and sore sucks, how not getting enough sleep sucks, how being hungry at night and not being able to eat junk food at night because they want to lose the belly flab sucks….while they sit on the couch and watch 2 or 3 hours of late night TV.
They may want to get a better job, have better relationships, make more money, have a better body, or become a better athlete, but for some reason things just don’t seem to go their way.
Life friggin sucks.
The only thing that keeps them from literally blowing their heads off each day is the small glimmer of hope they derive from the opening line of all of their favorite quotes: “IF ONLY”…
If only I didn’t have kids.
If only I knew how to do it.
If only I were younger.
If only I could eat healthier.
If only I could stick with it.
If only I were smarter.
If only I had somebody to help me.
If only the economy was better.
If only I had more time.
If only I could afford it.
You get the idea. It’s always “If only SOMETHING….”
Today was another day in the books. It came and went, and multiple opportunities that you need to take advantage of, opportunities that you have been meaning to take advantage of, opportunities that could help you improve your situation were probably wasted yet again.
Maybe you just don’t care. Maybe you’re cool with being mediocre. Perhaps you thrive in the middle of the road.
Perhaps you enjoy being a whiny little bitch who complains about everything. Maybe you think it’s fun and exciting – even cool.
Maybe you like to watch successful people do what they do and secretly hope they fail.
Maybe you like showing off your belly fat at the pool. Perhaps you enjoy being stuck with an awful spouse, bad kids, and annoying coworkers.
Maybe it’s your goal to be so pitiful your friends, family, and finally your spouse all abandon you.
Maybe your American Dream is having a bad body, terrible job situation, awful relationship, and a hard life filled with regret.
Here’s how I see it. The reason most people are depressed, unhappy, lonely, miserable, and unsuccessful isn’t because they are less talented or skilled, they are just weak minded. They lack balls. And they care too much about the wrong things.
They focus the majority of their time and energy complaining about bullshit and hating on others instead of using it for personal achievement and advancement.
This is one of the main reasons I believe we have “The 99%”…you know…those “less successful” people who can’t stand “The 1%”.
Without getting into politics, this success disparity phenomenon transcends well beyond finance and economic wealth distribution. We see it literally everywhere. In sports, in school, at work, in relationships, the list goes on and on.
The funny thing about the whole situation is that the majority of the 99% (or let’s even make it 95% for the sake of this discussion) just don’t have what it takes to commit to success…and then consistently maintain the discipline, strength, focus, and resolve it takes to see it through to the end until they reach a goal.
I like to call this highbrow natural selection. Only the strong minded survive. The weak minded will get eaten as prey and their fur used as winter coats to keep the strong alive & well.
The success pie is HUGE, but the path of mediocrity won’t take you to the pie shop of success. You may be able to look inside the shop, but you won’t be able to afford anything inside…and trust me…that’s some good pie.
Many of you may feel as if you’re close to the next level but you just can’t break through. Is it your genetic ability holding you back? Is it a mental hurdle? Is it social conditioning? Are you just not working hard enough?
The honest answer is that it’s probably none of the above. It’s all attitude.
Sure, there will always be areas or your life where being average is, well, actually cool. I have zero desire to be a top Paleontologist or Graphologist in the world because those areas don’t interest me. There are also other areas of my life where I am perfectly fine being less than stellar. Yard work and house chores are prime examples. I’ll probably never be selected to anyone’s dishwashing fantasy team because I suck at doing dishes. I am perfectly fine with that.
On a more serious note, there are probably areas of your life where you’ve simply plateaued. You’ve hit the wall. And it sucks. You’re still good, and you’re getting by, but you’re restless, annoyed, and borderline frustrated.
There is always an easy out. You can always choose the easy path, the path of the least resistance, the path of mediocrity. Or you can forge your own path. Nothing worth doing or achieving in life will be easy. Nothing.
Today, Oscar Pistorius will compete in the 4X400 meter relay final in the 2012 Olympic Games. By the time you read this he may have won a medal, or he may not have. Honestly, the outcome of the final isn’t important, and regardless of your opinion of whether artificial legs provide some sort of athletic advantage…Oscar Pistorius, aka Blade Runner, aka Tink Tink, is a global inspiration.
When I look at Oscar Pistorius I see several things: Humility, Honor, Perseverance, Strength, Dedication, Determination, and Brilliance…
He is the first amputee runner to ever compete in the Olympics…which is an amazing accomplishment…but sadly, the debate of whether his carbon fiber legs give him some sort of competitive advantage has bred silly amounts of hate and resentment towards the guy…and caused many people to miss the historical significance and positive message of this feat entirely.
Despite the fact that many disabled people struggle to walk each day…
Despite the fact that he’s had to overcome so much to become an Olympian…
Despite the fact that he is choosing to compete at the world’s highest level without asking for sympathy or handouts…
Despite the fact that he didn’t let being born with no legs keep him from becoming one of the best runners in the world…
Despite the fact that he’s inspiring and providing hope to millions of people worldwide (including disabled children & military veterans)…
…there will still be a lot of people who will be happy to see him fail.
Personally, I’d be incredibly embarrassed if I lost a foot race to a guy with no “foots” so perhaps I’d hate him in that regard…but when you look at what he has accomplished from a more analytical lens…you can see exactly how powerful this story actually is.
Despite the jealousy and hate though, the positivity from his story spreading like wildfire. That positivity transcends any scientific advantage debate by 1000%.
Love him or hate him, I think there is a powerful message to be learned from his story.
So regardless of your personal (most likely unscientific) opinion about the biomechanics and physics of running with or without real legs, try not to miss the message here.
Here are 14 lessons I’ve learned from the Oscar Pistorius story:
1. Don’t Let Negativity, Criticism or Hate Bring You Down. Let’s face it, Oscar Pistorius could respond defensively to his critics and haters and say “This isn’t fair. Take it easy on me. I don’t have any legs!” …but he doesn’t even appear to be bothered by any of the criticism. It’s almost as if negativity and hate just provide a stronger fuel to his fire and motivates him to train even harder and run even faster. He must be under tremendous amounts of pressure…because so many people out there are hoping that he wins…and just as many people are also probably hoping he fails. Bottom line, he doesn’t appear to be worried about it either way. He simply blocks out negativity and responds to it all with a champion’s tenacity.
2. Stay True To Yourself and Never Stop Believing. This means to know who you are, know what you want, confront and overcome fear of failure, and then fight like hell for your dream. Listen, nobody is going to go out of their way to tell you how great you are every day, success all starts with you. You’ve got to believe in yourself and your capabilities even when nobody else will…because without belief, you’re doomed from the beginning. So the next time somebody asks you “who is the greatest _____________(insert what you do here)”, just tell them “I am”. Sure there’s always going to be someone bigger, stronger, faster, quicker, taller, smarter, better looking, etc, but if you bring an unmatched will to win, a relentless determination to be the best you can be, and a strong belief in yourself to the table, there will be no stopping you.
3. Quit Hanging Out With Scrubs. I don’t know Oscar Pistorius personally, but I’d be willing to bet that on the long road to becoming the first Olympic runner with no legs…he probably eliminated all negative people from his life. You know, the people who aren’t going anywhere in life, they have no desire to go anywhere in life, and their goal is to make sure nobody they know goes anywhere in life either…so they just hate on everything and spread negative energy everywhere. This person could be your best buddy DaeDae from 7th grade…or it could even be your mom. It really doesn’t matter…eliminate them from your circle of influence. Nothing can drag you down faster than a conversation with someone like this.
4. Battle Adversity With A Positive Attitude. In sports there is a lot of emphasis placed on the power of the “game face”, but one of the most powerful faces anyone can make is just a simple smile. There aren’t very many camera shots of Pistorius where you don’t see him smiling, even on his bad days.
5. Stop Stressing Out. Stress and anxiety are not tangible entities that attack us…because they do not physically exist. We create them in our own minds. Think about it, you can’t touch it, see it, smell it, or hear it. It is your mind that creates these false “sensations” as it attacks itself from a weakened state, thus creating “stress”. When your life is filled with stress and anxiety, it can result in depression, despair, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, pain, insomnia, anger, failed relationships, and general feelings of “un-wellness”.
6. Stop Worrying About Useless BS. Most people seem to worry about the silliest things – useless things that do nothing but drain energy and keep them scared. Ask yourself, what was that “big stressor” you had 3 months ago that had you all freaked out? I’ll wait. It’s not so important anymore…is it? Look, all you can do is all you can do, the rest will take care of itself. There is no need to worry about things you cannot control (i.e. the weather, the actions of others, the economy, etc). Focus on what you can do, and then work on doing those things better each day.
7. Grow Some Balls. It’s practically impossible to reach for excellence when you’re hanging around in your comfort zone. Take the training wheels off bro. Stop wearing the life jacket to the club bro. Take a risk. Live large. Taking on new challenges will push you physically as well as mentally. It will also help facilitate growth. Think about it this way, it is way better to do the right things wrong, than do the wrong things right. Risk aversion will get you nowhere in life.
8. Be comfortable sucking. If you’re going to overcome your aversion to risk (aka grow some balls), you’ve got to learn to suck and accept that you suck. Listen, Oscar Pistorius probably sucked at running on his artificial legs at some point. Now he’s an Olympic runner. It’s perfectly normal to suck at anything when you first start out, the key is, you must START OUT. Fail once, fail twice, fail a thousand times who cares – as long as you’re learning from it you’ll improve and grow. Try this: instead of focusing on things that are easy for you (things that you’ve already conquered 1000 times), focus your energy on things you find difficult; on things that you make mistakes; in areas you are flawed. Be ballsy.
9. Eliminate The Bullshit. There is nothing I hate more than people who always tell me what I want to hear instead of what I need to hear. Stop scratching my balls and keep it real! I swear it seems like everyone is stuck on some bullshit positive affirmation kick lately instead of dishing out what most of us need most – a kick to the balls. No ball scratching, ball kicking. My advice to you is, find a mentor who will give you brutally honest constructive criticism. A mentor who won’t pull any punches. A mentor who truly cares about your success. Someone who won’t spoon feed you bullshit.
10. Kill The Ego. If you want to grow and develop, first your ego must die. Once you learn to let go of ego and accept criticism (hopefully from the no bs mentor mentioned above) you will begin to see incremental improvement and progress. Sure, your ego may get a little bruised, but just dust yourself off and walk it out. You’ll be ok chief. Trust me. So instead of exhibiting a reactionary, defensive response to criticism, take a step back, and reflect – then try to draw value from it to spur growth.
11. Focus. Let’s face it. Most successful people have laser like focus and most unsuccessful people don’t. Successful people can start a task, make errors, re-do their calculations, and figure it out. Unsuccessful people will start a project, lose focus, revisit the project while they have a million other things going on, then worry, stress out, run a billion tests, obsess over unimportant details, second guess themselves, over analyze the situation with a molecular level of granularity, and figure out nothing. This inability to focus on the task at hand is a surefire way to succeed at nothing and fail at everything.
12. Train Inside Out Not Outside In. Again, I don’t know him personally but it appears Pistorius trains and competes with the goal of inspiring others and providing hope. It isn’t all about personal glory and vanity with him. Fact is, many people train for the wrong reasons and then feel the need to validate themselves by what they accomplish. Many of these types exhibit obsessive compulsive behavior during competition prep as they are absolutely consumed by the fear of failure and possibility of success. This type of “results first” training approach usually results in a feeling of relief rather than a feeling of excitement after the competition. I call this sort of training “outside-in training“.
On the flip side of that, athletes like Pistorius who are internally motivated, see competition and winning much differently. They are very fulfilled after a win and they are able to find happiness and satisfaction in even the smallest of successes. Even tiny accomplishments brings pleasure, joy, and growth. As this type of athlete continues to grow and develop, their fulfillment levels are compounded even more. Plateaus and failures will disappoint this athlete, but only make them more eager to compete again. We have definitely not seen the last of the Blade Runner.
13. Always Act Like A Winner. Win or lose you’ll never see Oscar Pistorius walking around with his head down or hear him making excuses, even in defeat. Neither should you.
14. Quit Hating. Let’s face it, everyone hates a winner. Fact is though, hating and being jealous of another person’s looks, success, family, income, legs, or fake legs, etc just takes way too much energy. All of that energy spent hating could be better spent working toward your goals. Oscar Pistorius may be hated on by some…but I haven’t heard him once express bitterness or resentment for having not been born with fully functioning legs, or hate on anyone for having a pair. He simply goes out there and kicks ass, and does the best he can with what he has.
So now let me ask you: Do you have what it takes to stop worrying, panicking, questioning, calculating, re-calculating, analyzing and pondering…and start doing? Do you have what it takes to commit 100% to yourself and your goal?
Are you willing to take a few risks and make sacrifices to finally get what you want out of life? Do you realize that if you continue living in fear that you will continue to live on your knees?
Are you going to continue down the path of mediocrity, failure, and misery and let life pass you by – or are you going to get up off your knees, take the life’s balls out of your mouth, and start kicking ass?
Life will make you its bitch if you let it, but Oscar Pistorius is living proof you can succeed in life despite overwhelming odds against you. The guy is beating world class runners who have legs…and he has NO LEGS.
Regardless of whether you think his “legs” give him some sort of competitive advantage or not is your opinion…but honestly…I don’t see anyone else kicking international Olympic ass in any other sport wearing carbon fiber blades or arms…but hey…maybe we should all just chop our legs off and become Olympic track champions…
In my opinion, Oscar Pistorius is an inspiration to MILLIONS…especially to people with disabilities who pray every day just to be able to WALK AGAIN, much less run! He may not win an Olympic medal, but we will probably never see anything this incredible in sports for a very long time.
I mean think about it…we have people WITH LEGS…hating on a dude with NO LEGS. What kinda sense does that make?
Thanks for reading, please hit the ‘LIKE’ button and drop me a comment below. I’d love to hear how Oscar Pistorius has inspired you as well.
PS – If you’re an Oscar Pistorius fan, check out this video interview my old college roommate Ryan did with him a short while back. This is honestly one of the nicest, most humble dudes you’ll ever meet. CLICK HERE to Watch.