فصل 07کتاب: خود را برهان / فصل 7
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“I am relentless.”
“Our biggest successes are born out of discomfort, uncertainty, and risk.”
Think back to some of your biggest successes in life.
Maybe you made a really big sale, started a new business, or bought a house. Maybe you got married to the love of your life or went back to school or completed a marathon. It could be anything you’re truly proud of.
How the hell did you achieve it?
Well, you probably weren’t sitting on the couch pondering your navel. Chances are you weren’t wrapped up in in the humdrum of your everyday existence either, or mentally calculating the sharp rise in the price of milk since 1977.
So what was it?
I may not be able to guess exactly what you were doing, but I can be certain of one thing: you were uncomfortable. Put a slightly different way, you were most likely operating outside of your “comfort zone”.
From the nervousness and doubt we feel when we take risks in our careers, to the muscle soreness and shortness of breath we experience pumping out another 5 minutes on the treadmill, our biggest successes are born out of discomfort, uncertainty, and risk.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
In fact, the greater the degree of discomfort you experience, the greater the difficulty, the greater the sense of personal accomplishment that comes after.
And that’s exactly why great accomplishments and extraordinary successes are so rare. Because most people don’t like being uncomfortable.
Anytime you’re working to achieve something, you’re going against the current. Often the opinion of the people around you is trying to push and pull you away from your destination.
They’ll say you can’t do it, you’re making a mistake, it’s impossible, you’ll fail. The more unique and out-of-the-box your endeavor is, the stronger the push back can be. Why? Well, mostly because the other people in your life have gotten used to relating to you as a specific “kind” of person. So any time you attempt to break out of that mold, you’re not only messing with your own world, you’re also messing with theirs.
And the resistance doesn’t just come from other people; It comes from your own mind too. Both your conscious and subconscious thoughts can work against you to stop your dreams right in their tracks.
It could be outright negative – “That’s impossible. Why even try?” Or it could be subtler.
“Wouldn’t it be a lot better to just sleep in instead of getting an early jump on things at the office?” “That game on your phone is so much more fun than working.” You could overcome these distractions and objections, of course, as we discussed in the last chapter. But there comes a point on your journey where you sometimes lose track of where you are. You become so locked up in the daily humdrum that you’ve completely wandered off the path and into the middle of the fucking jungle, and are now meandering around with no map, no water and no clue.
Are you going in the right direction? How long until you get there? How much more of this can you take? Maybe it’s over here. No wait, maybe it’s this way.
And when you inevitably stumble or encounter some sort of obstacle, you question the journey at all. Maybe it’s even time to turn back.
At this point, when you don’t know whether you’re up or down, how far you have to go or how far you’ve come, there’s only one thing that can keep you going.
That thing is relentlessness. The momentum to keep moving and moving and moving, no matter what happens.
It doesn’t matter if we’re “feeling it”, it doesn’t matter if we’re gripped by doubt and worry.
Here’s the deal, true relentlessness comes when the only thing you have left is relentlessness. When it seems all is lost and all hope and evidence for success has long since vanished, relentlessness is the fuel that drives you through.
IT’S ONLY TRUE IF YOU AGREE
The most successful among us got to where they are today because they transcended obstacles.
But that’s easier said than done. It’s one thing to say “never give up” (I fucking hate bumper sticker-slogans), but quite another to actually put relentlessness into your life’s most worthy causes.
Listen, when it comes down to it, the world doesn’t stop you from succeeding; you’re not that big of a deal. The universe is neither conspiring for nor against you, and the only thing that stops you is when you buy into the notion that you are stopped. Then, my friend, you really are stopped. Until then, it’s on like freaking Donkey Kong.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Think about all of the things that have been accomplished in human history that were once considered “impossible”. If you told someone from the 1850’s that you could fly from California to China in a hollow metal tube filled with hundreds of people, they’d have more than likely sent you to the local insane asylum for the rest of your days.
But the Wright brothers didn’t accept that flight was impossible. They simply didn’t accept that thought—even though there was no historical evidence to prove that human flight was possible.
Even though they had no physical proof and it had never been done before, they were determined to make it happen and they were relentless in its pursuit.
Now compare that to your own problems. If you’re like most people, your goals probably aren’t nearly as ambitious as inventing the first airplane.
You probably just want to make more money, face your fears, find your soul mate, lose some weight or strike a blow for a better life—things that have been done millions of times before, and will be done again and again in the future, by people just as capable as you.
These goals ARE possible. However, don’t be fooled by the self-help bullshit that tells you “You deserve it!” Because you don’t. No one does. That conversation will leave you waiting and wanting and eventually a complete victim to your own life. Sometimes you just have to grind it out, stake your claim and hustle for what you want. You will need to quite literally make it happen.
So when someone looks at you and says, “You’ll never make a million dollars” or your brain is telling you, “It’s impossible for you to lose 100 pounds,” you have two choices. You could succumb to the notion that you don’t know what you’re doing, that you lack the resources, that you don’t have what it takes or that you or your life needs to be fixed before you can do those things. And then you can quit.
Or you can disagree. You can absolutely refuse to accept it and reach for your greatness. You can say, “No, you’re wrong, and I’m going to prove it.” The impossible only becomes possible in the moment you believe it is.
“We would accomplish more things if we did not think of them as impossible.”
- Vince Lombardi
Here’s the crazy thing: you can never really prove what’s possible or impossible.
You could throw yourself at something a thousand times, failing miserably on every attempt, and yet succeed on attempt #1,001.
The truth is, you can never really know. We never really have all the facts. As humans, we still only understand a tiny fraction of our own minds let alone the world or the oceans or space or technology. If someone tells you they have all the answers, call them out on that bullshit. The truth is they’re winging it just like you, just like everyone else. Answers? Gimme a freaking break!
So if we can’t even say for certain that it’s impossible to put a man on Mars, how can any of us know what we’re really capable of in the day-to-day living of our lives?
They can’t. The only question is whether you agree with what you can and cannot do. An opinion only becomes true when you accept it and stop acting on your potential.
My own life is an example of what’s possible when you live life beyond your own beliefs and the views of others. I was a pretty average high-school student, but I’ve gone on to travel the world and coach thousands and thousands of people. I’ve guided doctors, lawyers, politicians, actors, celebrities, athletes, CEOs—hell, I’ve even coached Catholic priests in Ireland and Buddhist monks in Thailand!
There’s a wondrous, magical life out there waiting for you in the unknown and while it’s not all cherry pies and bubblegum, there is a reality that you can accomplish that’s far beyond the one you’re currently wasting away in.
BLAZING THE RELENTLESS TRAIL
To see this idea of relentlessness in action, let’s look at a major success story that you and I are likely to be familiar with: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold was born to relatively poor parents in a small town in Austria, just a couple of years after the end of World War II.
Yet young Arnold dreamt of going to America and acting in movies. What do you think his parents thought of that dream? What do you think his fellow Austrian townsfolk told him about his ambitions or whispered behind his back?
Remember, we’re not talking about today, where we have television and internet and smartphones and anyone with a wireless connection can become a celebrity. Back then, most households didn’t even have a TV.
“America” was a nebulous, fantastical concept for Arnold and the people he grew up with- a place they had only seen in pictures or movies.
So you can pretty much guarantee that everyone he knew thought there was no chance he’d ever realize his dream and if he had accepted that at any point, their words would have come true.
If he had agreed that he wouldn’t become a world famous bodybuilder, it would’ve been true. If he had agreed that he couldn’t move to America, he wouldn’t have. If he had accepted that he’d never make it into movies or he’d never be a star actor or he couldn’t become governor, he would have quit.
But he never agreed with what the world or other people told him about what was and wasn’t possible.
He was relentless. He spent hours in the gym every day, pushing his body. He practiced his bodybuilding poses. He read books. He learned business. He auditioned for movie roles.
Relentlessly. Giving up or changing plans simply wasn’t an option.
And if you look at his path, you can learn something valuable about relentlessness: Sometimes, it’s all you have.
Before Arnold, no Austrian bodybuilder had ever gone onto become an A-list action start in the United States, let alone be elected governor of California. You can be sure he spent a good part of his life and career not really knowing where he was going. There aren’t any road signs when you’re trekking through uncharted territory, it’s all discovery and exploration. You are blazing a trail, not following one.
When you find yourself in that situation, all you can do is focus on and deal with what’s directly in front of you. You just put one foot in front of the other, taking things on as they present themselves.
Even Arnold, who had a big, grand vision, ultimately achieved it by taking one step at a time.
He’d go to the gym and start working his biceps. He’d focus on each movement, each rise and fall of the dumbbell, rep after rep after rep, feeling his muscles flex and tear and grow.
Then when he was done with biceps, he’d move on to shoulders. And then back. And then glutes. And then quads. And then calves.
As he worked each respective muscle group, he gave it his full attention. And then it was on to the next one, moment by moment by moment.
When he had worked each muscle, each body part, to exhaustion, he went home. But there he was the next day, doing it all over again. Relentlessly.
Look more recently at people like Malala Yousafzai who stands for the rights of women and children in Afghanistan or Michael Phelps and his record breaking athletic accomplishments or Jessica Cox, born without arms and currently flying commercial airlines.
Are you getting the picture here?
The key to becoming relentless is to focus on the problem in front of you. Give it your full attention. Become someone who progresses even when all seems lost. The answer is always out there; all you need to do is find it.
Then you can move forward to your next obstacle. And you give that obstacle your full attention until it’s taken care of. Then there’s the next and the next and the next.
By doing this, you never have to wonder where you’re going. You’re not worried about how many miles you have left to walk. You become someone who loves obstacles rather than avoids them because obstacles are your keys to success and growth. You simply take one step at a time.
And if you come upon something that’s blocking your path, you find a way to get over it or get around it. Then you keep walking.
Relentlessness doesn’t mean charging into the fray headfirst, swinging and flailing your arms every which way. It’s focused, determined action. Again and again and again.
You’re not bashing your fist against a brick wall until it’s bloody and bruised. You’re using your hammer and chisel to slowly, methodically chip away piece by piece until eventually there’s a hole.
And then the hole gets bigger. And bigger. And before you know it, you’re like Alice stepping through the looking glass to a whole new world.
YOU ARE RELENTLESS
When you’re not sure if you’re following the right path, when you’ve been knocked down a few too many times, it’s completely fine to get discouraged, hell; even defeated. What’s not ok is to stop.
Because you can always lean on relentlessness. When you have nothing else, you have relentlessness.
Rather than worrying about whether you should keep going or turn back, press in relentlessly. Relentlessness has one direction, and that’s forward. It only has one option, and that’s to keep the momentum going.
There is no giving up. There is no quitting. There is no changing of plans.
Relentless is the bodybuilder who goes to the gym for hours every day. Relentless is the prospective entrepreneur who has been ridiculed or rejected for their completely original idea but keeps pitching it anyway. Relentless is the overweight Mom who feels like she’s never going to get there. Relentless is the newly minted college graduate at the bottom of the corporate ladder barely making enough to pay her rent and yet staying at the office later than anyone else just to learn as much as she can. Relentless is you.
Anyone who’s ever gone to the gym knows that the results aren’t immediate. You don’t spend 30 minutes on the treadmill and look like a new person.
But that doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t working. You’re making progress. With each exercise, each step, each movement, each action, you get a little better, a little closer.
Until one day you look in the mirror and think, “Wow”.
It’s the same thing with your business or your health, or your career or your relationships. Even when you don’t see anything happening, it is. Even when you’re not quite hitting the mark, you’re making progress.
Until one day you look at your bank balance or your new job or your children or your new house and think, “Wow!”
That’s why you have to keep going. Relentlessly.
Because when you’re trekking through the jungle, you don’t know if you’re three days from civilization or 30 minutes. All you can do is walk. The only way out is forward.
Sit up, straighten your spine and repeat after me: “I am relentless”.
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