Over the course of the last few years, a philosophy began to gather in my mind. Based on observation of my own and others experiences of life, the rate of decay in our life is affected by our mindset. We all age. In the end, the grim reaper will pay us a visit. So, why exercise? Why take care of yourself? Why struggle when the destination is the same? There is an old saying that it’s not about the destination, but it’s about the journey. For me, the equivalent is that it’s not about winning, it’s about the fight. The struggle is the point. I’ve been working and playing with this philosophy for the past five years, trying to get it into coherent thought. Last night, Jocko Willink put the words to my thoughts in a way that’s better than I ever could have. On episode 17 of the Jocko Podcast, Jocko finished with this stirring speech:
…if you fight with all you’ve got, more often than not you won’t go down at all. You’ll win. But you got to make that attitude part of your everyday life. The extra rep. The extra mile. The extra round. The right choices to make yourself stronger – mentally and physically. Stand and fight. Fight against weakness and against fear. Fight against time and decay. Fight back. Go down swinging. Give every day, everything you’ve got. And when you face a challenge – even something where you don’t believe you can when, maybe it’s a situation where you cannot win – but if you can’t win, remember this: you have nothing to lose. So stand up and go forward and go out in a blaze of glory. Fighting with everything you’ve got. Every ounce of energy. Every bead of sweat. Every drop of blood. Till your last breath. And then – AND ONLY THEN – you can stand down. You can put down your sword. You can put down your shield and rest in peace.
Click play to hear it from the man himself.
Yesterday, I almost gave in. I wanted to go home, to avoid the mats, to not meet my wife at the gym. I wanted to be sad. Right before leaving work, the podcast got to this speech. I listened to it a dozen times in a row. Rewinding and listening again. The stray thoughts from learning martial arts, from trying to get back into shape, from fighting off depression, from watching family members health decay, from financial struggles, from life came through my headphones in a gravelly voice. Hearing that speech at this time in my life was needed. Jocko said it way better than I ever could have, and he was correct. The right choice was to get on the mat and work on the single leg takedown. The right choice was the power hour at Title Boxing Club with my wife. I’m still sad about watching my Dad’s health decay, but yesterday I stood up and went forward.
Thanks to Jocko Willink and Echo Charles for another excellent podcast. If you haven’t already, listen, subscribe, and support what they’re doing. Fight back. Go down swinging because there’s nothing to lose.