Question: What can I know? What can I do? Who can I become? What should I hope for?
Answer: Anything & Everything.
We live in the greatest time of human history- a time that allows us to reach for the highest of peaks, to strive to become the best in the world, a chance to chase excellence in all that we do.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do no act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle
In order to become excellent, one must pursue it everyday. A person becomes excellent by making a commitment to it, by instilling a mindset that will accept nothing less. If at any point a person allows even a modicum of mediocrity to seep into their lives, it will spread like a wildfire, burning to the roots their ability to continue on their path of excellence.
Every successful person knows this. The richest people in the world still abide by the core values (and habits) that enabled their wealth. For them, it is the pursuit of excellence that brings satisfaction; there cannot be a destination and a person never arrives. Money is great, but it is just a way of keeping score.
If one aims to achieve a certain level of prosperity, they should hope to never achieve it, for if they manage to reach its summit, it would escape them as soon as they abandon the principles that propelled their effort.
The thing I favor most about life and living is knowing that it is a temporary existence. I know that my breaths are limited and that feeling, that sense of vulnerability propels me forward like nothing else can. If at some point I will no longer be, then my time being will be done at maximum effort; Nothing less is worth considering.
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve and to conquer.” – Arnold
Ambition- to realize excellence, there has to be a sense of wonder in how you perceive the world. It is ambition that drives this wonderment.
To look at the tallest mountain and say, “I will climb to the the top of that motherfucker and scream to the world that I have done so.”
“Start with a dream. Maybe a dream that is personal and small, but worth doing. Then dream a bigger dream. Keep dreaming until your dreams seem impossible to achieve, then you’ll know you’re on the right track. Then you’ll know you’re ready to conjure up a dream big enough to define your future and perhaps your generation’s future.” – Vince Coffman, chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin.
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics
Limits are preconceived and often times they are set by a society that has become shackled by its own comfort and privilege. Nothing is safe from the ambitious man, for even if he sets his sights on all of the world, it is possible for him to reach out and take it for himself.
“I had ambition not only to go farther than any man had ever been before, but as far as it was possible for a man to go.” – Captain James Cook, explorer
Belief- ambition without belief is a fools gold. It is shiny and nice, but it is also worthless and empty. It means nothing without the courage and belief to go out into the world seeking the fortunes of the bold.
Imagine James Cook, one of history’s most fearless explorers. As ambitious as any man in all of history, imagine if he doubted his ability to execute his vision. If for even a moment, he lacked the intense internal belief to conquer all of the world, then history would only know him as another dreamer. Just another mediocre dreamer that lacked the belief to follow through on their ambitions. Excellence requires belief.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. ” – George Bernard Shaw, playwright
Discipline- is self-mastery is discipline. It is the idea of doing hard things, things you don’t necessarily want to do but know that you have to do, every single day. You do these things until they become an unbreakable habit, until doing them embodies the person that you are and the person that you are becoming. The softer and more comfortable our society becomes, the harder it is also becoming to cultivate a life of disciplined habit.
Self-mastery is becoming a thing of the past, regulated to the factions of historical code. We will someday look back and deeply regret our life of hedonistic pursuits, because it will one day become the downfall of man, just as it has befallen many of today’s men. A sense of discipline can be liberating- it means you have taken control of the circumstances in your life. Excellence in all things require discipline in all things.
“Self-discipline is that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.” – Joseph Addison
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Then, Greatness will come.
“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.” – Harry S. Truman, US President
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
- Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Captain James Cook: A Biography by Richard Hough
- The Rocks Says… by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
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