“This is the true joy in life — being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
Irrespective of what we may have been told; irrespective of what we may wish or think; neither the world, nor the universe, is here to cater to your selfish little small personal needs. Please read that again.
We’ve been conditioned in so many circles, from personal to spiritual development arenas, that if we’re just good enough, or smart enough, or pray enough, that all our desires will be met.
I defy anyone to tell me that all their desires have been met in this way.
With all due respect, the universe doesn’t work that way.
Yet is it all grim and gloom?
Just the opposite.
I suggest that you act and live as if the universe is all lined up at your back and working to your full advantage. Let me explain.
The universe is impartial to personal needs
Yet partial to expansion and growth.
Science tells us the universe is expanding more rapidly right now than at any other time since the Big Bang.
Evolution is not slowing down… it’s speeding up!
You are a part of this universe; and as an integral part, you must grow as rapidly as it grows to stay congruent with your home.
Wow! Now there’s something you can ponder for a day or three.
The Universe may not always give you what you want…
But it will always give you exactly what you need.
Bottom line: the universe (some say God) wants you to grow. Period.
And that brings us back to our current topic of discussion, Ultimate Human Performance (UHP), what it is; how to achieve it; and how to live it.
It’s important to make the distinction early in this journey that UHP is something to be experienced versus accomplished. Let me explain.
Remember I mentioned previously that most research on UHP has been conducted with extreme athletes? And how this is both a blessing and a curse? (reference UHP installment 3)
Let me give you an example…
On July 11, 2005 skateboard champion Danny Way jumped over the Great Wall of China.
While this is an amazing feat, it gets even better.
Way pulled 4 G’s coming down that ramp. A “G” is the measure of acceleration due to the level of Earth’s gravity.
Now 4 G’s may not mean much to you, but to put it in perspective… an astronaut leaving Earth’s atmosphere pulls a mere 3 G’s.
By the way, let’s remember that those 3 G’s of the astronaut are experienced while encased in a full space suit, heavily restrained to a chair, and safely tucked inside a reinforced carbon space shuttle.
Not standing on a flimsy plank with wheels.
But it gets better…
At the time of his jump Way’s ankle was shattered.
Please understand, not after the jump… before he even began.
Yes you read that correctly.
He was in so much pain he could barely walk.
Physiologist will tell you that you can’t walk on a shattered ankle. Much less go at breakneck speed down a ramp pulling 4 G’s, sail spinning through the air, and come down hard on that same flimsy plank with an already shattered ankle!
Yes, and a hummingbird is aerodynamically unable to fly because of its build.
Hummingbirds don’t study aerodynamics. So they fly anyway.
Evidently Way doesn’t listen to physiologists either.
So he set a world record.
I realize that by now that you might be saying two things:
- “James, I thought you told us previously that we had to ‘risk conditions,’ not environments.” (reference UHP2)
You are correct oh astute one. But this superhuman feat is not being discussed here because of its physical nature—even though the physical nature of the feat is awe-inspiring.
Stick with me.
- “James you stated something about UHP must be ‘experienced versus accomplished.’ Yet, this is an incredible accomplishment.”
You are correct once again oh deep thinker. But I’ve haven’t quoted this superhuman feat for accomplishments either—even though accomplishment and achievement are definitely present.
Again, stay with me.
Maybe this next example will make it clearer.
Last night I watched the movie “Unbroken.” The life story of Olympic athlete Louis “Louie” Zamperini.
No one would even begin to call the life Louie lived easy. In fact, the furthest thing from easy. Actually, the exact and extreme opposite of easy.
But through all the hardships of a bullied and troubled childhood, to a shipwreck during WWII, leaving him on a raft near dead in the ocean for 47 days. To finally being rescued from the raft by the Japanese only to end up as a POW; and to be treated horrifically.
I won’t spoil the movie for you but I highly encourage you to get it and watch it.
Please remember… things can always be worse.
Suffice to say that through all his hardships, Louie was still doing great things at the ripe age of 97 years young! He was alive! He fully lived!
“A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.”
~ Unbroken The Movie
In both cases above, from skateboarding to living through extreme hardship… when each of the subjects is interviewed, they never talk about going after achievement.
They talk about doing what they do for the sheer experience of it!
They talk about living!
They talk about their full-on experience of living!
In an interview Danny Way was asked, “Are you constantly going after world records?” To which he replied, “I don’t even think about world records, I just love to skate.”
“I don’t do it for the money. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form.”
~ Donald Trump
Please tell me that you’re thinking.
This is a characteristic that psychologist call an “autotelic personality.” More on this in a moment.
We’ve lost our way in current society.
A bold statement I know; and in my experience true nonetheless.
Life is meant to be lived! To be a force of nature!
Not to hug the shore of a “feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
And when you’re really truly honest with yourself, the most alive you ever feel—the times when you’re fully engage, inspired and on fire—are the times in which you’re doing something that you define in your own mind as grand and great. Are you with me?
Don’t wish for an easier life, that’s illusion.
Wish for greater capacity and capability to get through the challenges life brings.
When you look at the lives of so-called “heroes” throughout history, none of them, I repeat none of them, had easy-cushy lives.
Just quickly check your own Bible for starters.
Think about it.
Likewise, none of them had “becoming a hero” as their objective.
Again, none of them.
So why are they so legendary and epic in our minds?
Because they inspire us all by their unbending commitment to their own Ultimate Human Performance and potential.
In the words of Shaw, they defined in their own minds their purpose that was mighty; and they committed themselves fully and completely to it.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are more people who have come alive.”
~ Howard Thurman
The autotelic personality is the individual who has the ability to set their own goals and directions.
Regardless of external achievement or circumstance.
Regardless of challenge, pain or hardship.
Regardless of acceptance or acknowledgement from social norms.
We’ve discussed this quality previously and it bears repeating again and again. (reference Mastery, Genius and Greatness series). The autotelic personality focuses upon internal experience versus external acknowledgement and achievement.
Please read that again. Turn it over in your marvelous mind and let it sink in.
In the words of the wise Eastern masters, they truly embody the characteristic of “doing for the sake of doing.”
Let’s not forget that Einstein penned some of his most influential papers while working as a clerk in the Swiss Patent Office.
Likewise Sir Isaac Newton (after being potentially exposed to the plague), had to spend two years basically in quarantine.
In a circumstance that would be sheer boredom to most, Newton chose to play in his mind with his ideas regarding the universal theory of gravity.
Research clearly shows that the autotelic personality is the happiest, most fulfilled, engaged and inspired person on the planet. Irrespective of their surroundings or circumstances.
Regardless of external achievements or circumstances. The have the ability to turn even apparent trash into treasure.
Please read that again.
The human mind is interesting in that it can make a heaven of hell…
And just as easily make a hell of heaven.
A brief check of history shows that UHP is:
- Very rarely if ever birthed from “ideal conditions”…
- Never achieved when pursued as achievement by traditional definitions
- Always done for the sake of doing and compelled by a driving force of purpose and sheer joy.
What compels you in your life?
What is the ultimate performance that you can live and bring to the world?
What is your purpose in being here?
When would NOW be the time to truly begin to love real life and live?
When would NOW be the time to access and live your own Ultimate Human Performance?
The world is waiting.
Your life is calling.
And the journey continues…
Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic,
Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!