Warning: Adult situations and topics ahead.
Have you ever heard these?
Seize the day.
Live each day as if it were your last.
Live life to the fullest.
People like to say these things. But when it comes to doing, they tend to bring up other quotes like: “Oh, I can’t do that, need at least 8 hours of sleep or I can’t function.” or “I just can’t get that done, I have other plans.”
Every now and then I try to picture their conflict of desires and efforts and it looks a little like this:
“So you mean to tell me that if you knew you had 1 day to live you’d first make sure you had a really good night of sleep instead of doing something that would make the life worth living?“
Hi, my name is Vlad, I run marathons.
I am for all practical purposes an obese guy. 6’1”, 205 lb.
Yet every year I tell people that I run marathons and half marathons for fun. This year I did the “Goofy Marathon” at Walt Disney World which is a Half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. Over 40 miles including all the walking from the parking lot.
I’ve done marathons and half marathons all over Florida for years now because it’s the time I get to disconnect from my life and business and gain some perspective about how easy it is to give up and just how much nicer it would be to do nothing at all.
Yet, when I talk to people that are in far better shape than I am, I constantly hear one thing: “Oh, I could never do that. I just can’t do long distances. I just can’t do running. Or jogging. Or walking really. I can’t do cardio.”
The words “I did a marathon” don’t imply that I ran 26.2 miles and that it was down to me and a Nigerian who just happened to be a better sprinter in the last quarter mile. I was behind him. Way, way, way behind him. I’m pretty sure that by the time I was half way though my marathon the said Nigerian was already getting his first drink on his flight back home. You get the picture, I jog. For hours.
The Secret To Failing
I am not arrogant enough to tell you that I know a secret to success.
I am however experienced enough to tell you that I know the secret to failing. I’ve failed at stuff more times than I can count and it all comes down to one thing:
I didn’t try hard enough.
Now don’t get me wrong. I had fantastic excuses. Really, really, really good ones.
However… As I’ve gotten older and slightly less foolish I’ve realized that I have a rather limited amount of time around here (life) to do my thing and earn the kind of lifestyle I want.
If you honestly look back at all your failures you can probably track down at least half of them to the lack of effort, care or time you put into seeing them done.
The reality is that yes.. you can do a marathon. People that survived horrific diseases make up an unusually large number of marathon participants. Practically crippled and astonishingly old do as well. Anyone can run a marathon. And trust me, you can make it through the day without 8 hours of sleep.
So you’re gonna go register for that marathon today, right? Wake up at 6 AM tomorrow instead of 8 AM? Yeah?
Of course not. Cause what’s in that for you, right? And I don’t mean what’s in it for you like a year down the road or four years later – what’s in it for you right now, immediately?
There is a reason why most people don’t have college degrees. It’s not time, it’s not money, it’s not brains – it’s effort. It takes a heck of a lot of dedication to pursue something that’s four years away for which you’ll be in debt for a decade and benefits won’t be fully realized even longer than that.
Yet, people are able to see beyond that. People are able to walk / run / jog. People are able to go to college. People are able to have kids, sleep 4 hours a night and keep on making things better with each and every day.
Optimism vs. Pessimism vs. Reality
I’ve fired a lot of people who felt their barely-40-hours-a-week were enough for them to keep their job. I’ve passed on a lot of resumes that felt cover sheets were not necessary.
The reality, whether you’re a pessimist or optimist, is that you’ve got to treat everything like it’s your own and your own benefit it on the line. If you’re cynical about that, you’ve already lost. And that’s what happens – people go into things with the best of intentions but get cynical, tired, exhausted… they give up, slack off and ultimately they are out of work.
The same happens to entrepreneurs. We get excited about projects and potential revenues, we start building a business plan, we fund it, we build it, we market it, we start to really see the results but it’s just not enough right now. We want more. Faster. Different. We lose interest, we let someone else deal with the difficult stuff. We ignore the leadership we need in our business.
So… what now?
Nobody is going to go run a marathon as a result of all this, nor are you going to go get a college diploma or put in any more hours at your job.
The point of this blog post is to understand how things fail.
Do you want more than what you’ve got? Do you want a better life? Well, then you’ve gotta do more than you’re doing now and do it consistently and persistently.
If you need the qualifiers like how much time, for how long and how hard – then don’t bother. Desire for success is an internal quality and work ethic is something you build every day. You’ve either got it or you don’t.
So this is a brief introduction to my answer I promised in this post. The first question in trying to determine if you need to continue or quit is in being honest with yourself about your current predicament. Did you get yourself in this position and do you believe that by working harder or longer you actually have a shot. If the answer is yes you’re on the right path.