“I hated every single minute of the training, but I said don’t quit,
suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”
~ Mohammed Ali
As we’ve previously discussed, the biggest problem I find with those I meet, and even mentor, is that they think they want something but they’re unwilling to pay the price that achieving that something takes. There’s always a price for the prize.
It never ceases to amuse and amaze the number of quick fix methodologies that are propagated in so many markets, from personal development to spiritual development, to quick money and fast fitness. I recall one propagator of a meditation program literally calling his product “enlightenment in a can.”
Masters find their innate ability and realize that
developing it is a lifelong pursuit.
What’s your One Thing that you’re willing to give your entire life for? What are you willing to spend all the days from this day to the next for just one chance… just one chance to possibly bring your greatness and genius to the world?
What will you give your entire life for so that you may truly live… and live fully?
Not exist, as some sniveling little clod who wants a quick fix, secret sauce or magic pill. Not merely existing as a free-rider searching for enlightenment or mastery in a can.
Things that come quickly and easily are lost just as quickly and easily. When you find your One Thing it’s yours for life. Come hell or high water you’re going to master it even if it takes the rest of your days.
And believe me it will.
But those things that you earn by the set of your jaw, the long hours of deliberate practice and commitment, cannot be taken. They cannot be touched.
The true “Law of Attraction” is exercised by holding your vision in the storm; by continuing your pursuit when all appears difficult—maybe impossible, chaotic and lost. This is the mark of a true champion.
The true test of greatness is not persistence and perseverance when you see
a light at the end of the tunnel. The true test is persistence and
perseverance when you don’t see the light!
No matter how much the external world ebbs and sways—oh and don’t fool yourself into thinking it won’t—ebbs and sways are a part of the dance.
While ebbs and sways may hurt, and even temporarily appear to destroy your external world… that which you build internal is eternal; and cannot be touched.
What are you truly committed to?
What’s your story?
Do you even know?
Are you writing your own story, or are you living the replay of another?
Are you setting your own course or are you following the masses?
In 1991 when Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their first championship, the entire team, as well as the crowd, went wild. Players were hugging and high-fiving their achievement. As the music blared, Jordan held up two fingers. Signaling to the world, the universe, and to his own unconscious mind, that he was not done. He was not going to set on his laurels; he was going for one more.
1992 was nearly a carbon copy finish. While the music blared and the Bulls celebrated their second big win, Jordan with a look of determination confidently held up three fingers. Once again telling the world, the universe, and everything that exists, that he and his team were still not done. They were going for three.
As history proves, Michaels’ proclamation was correct; and in 1993 they won their third championship after which, Michael quickly retired.
Michael is inarguably a master of his unique genius and craft. He was named by ESPN as the “Greatest athlete of the 20th century.”
Yet after this first retirement is where the story gets truly interesting; and in my mind it stands as a testament to Innate Ability, unique purpose, and the subject of mastery genius and greatness. Even the greatest sometimes get confused, lost, and possibly caught up in hubris.
When Michael retired, post all the fan-faire and accolades, he decided to play professional baseball.
A 6’6” man with the nickname of “Air” (due to his ability to fly from the free throw line and slam dunk 15-16 feet away), is going to play… baseball?
I guess maybe he thought he could jump up and catch extra high fly balls.
“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
~ Steve Jobs
In my opinion Michael lost his way. This stands as a testament to so many of us who are attempting to execute something other than our own Innate Ability and live something other than our own unique purpose.
- Einstein didn’t play baseball…
- Picasso didn’t play the piano…
- Martin Luther King didn’t build a business enterprise…
- And Jobs didn’t perform in Vegas.
Masters know their own story and they write it, play it, and live it fully.
If you follow sports, (which by the way I don’t… I just follow and study great life examples), you’ll know the rest of the Jordan story. After eating some humble pie, Michael remembered his calling and quickly returned to the Bulls in 1995.
Under his leadership the Bulls immediately won three more championships from 1996-1998.
Your story about your potential determines your potential. Please read that again. But Michaels’ example teaches that your story must be grounded in who you are and what you’re here to do.
Jordan’s story is basketball—not baseball.
Mohammed Ali’s story is the greatest and smartest boxer of all time—not building a tech company.
Jobs’ story is tech innovator, perfectionist, and business leadership—not ballet.
Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. For what the world needs are more people who have come alive.
~ Howard Thurman
When Jordan held up his fingers each successive year he was telling and living his own life story. When he forgot his story, he was not masterful and by all accounts miserable. Michael was frequently seen attending Bulls practices and games sitting sullen on the sidelines.
A recent study shows that 71% of individuals polled are not engaged, inspired or happy with their work.
Could it be they too have forgotten (or maybe never even knew) they’re own unique story?
Again, what’s yours?
“The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?
~ Robin Williams as Professor Keating (Dead Poets Society)
The purpose of life is to live. Period.
Truly living is much different than just existing; and to truly live you must be doing something that you love.
We always love those things that we’re good at doing… for we’re all hardwired to accomplish mastery. This hardwiring to mastery of life and craft is a deep seated need whether we’re consciously aware of it or not.
A true master is one who masters both the art and science of life and living.
We’ve explored what true mastery means. Please be reminded that it’s not “walking on water, manifesting material out of thin air, or being some highly enlightened being” (whatever the hell that means).
Mastery is knowing fully and completely why you’re here, as well as your special purpose to fulfill.
And then living it fully!
Mastery is becoming world class in whatever craft you’re hard-wired to master; and whatever unique purpose you’re here to play.
And most importantly… playing fully!
And by the way… becoming world class by your own measure whether the world at large recognizes it or not! Please read that again.
If you haven’t yet found your One Thing to give your entire life for… you’ll never fully live. Most lead lives of “quiet desperation” and shuffle through day to day, lost in mere existence versus truly living.
Please, let that not be you.
I was conducting a live event experience a few years ago in Phoenix. There was a reporter in the room that during Q and A (What I call Open Frame), raised his hand and asked, “After all you’ve been through James. Why didn’t you go off and do something different? Why did you return to the same industry and face all the negative energy and vitriol?”
On some level of logic, he was right. Why didn’t I?
There had been many days in which I had thought I would just fade off into the proverbial sunset, wishing more than anything else, as a very introverted and private person, to just be left alone.
But I can’t.
It’s not my story.
In more cases than not, the path of masterful pursuits is not logical.
Nor is it comfortable and easy.
I answered him, “Three words Matt. Clarity of Purpose.
“When you’re completely clear on why you’re here, your unique gifts to bring and your purpose to fulfill… you don’t quit; even when it would be much easier on the level of physicality to quit.”
But the death of spirit and purpose is the hardest most painful death of all.
One of the best scenes, from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Matrix, is where Neo is talking to the Oracle and telling her he is unable to make a certain choice. She replies, “You must.” Neo states, “I can’t.” To which the Oracle answers “Oh yes you can, and you must. Because the choice has already been made. Your job is to figure out why.”
You have a unique purpose to fulfill.
If you don’t fulfill it there’s a void in the Universal Plan.
There’s also a void in the depths of your own soul.
Once you know your Innate Ability and unique purpose; once you know why you’re here and what you’re charged with accomplishing… the choice has been made.
Have you found your choice?
Are you listening?
My greatest wish for you is that you find this perfect and unique place within yourself. When you don’t, you flounder, merely exist, and life is miserable.
Oh, but when you do find it… life is magical and oh so meaningful (meaning-full).
Find your Innate Ability and unique genius. I can help you. (mentor with James)
Put your genius to work in alignment with your purpose…
Commit fully and completely to mastering your craft and bringing world-class work to the world.
Write your own unique story…
And you will not only leave a lasting legacy… you will really live!
And after all, isn’t really truly living the sole (soul) purpose of life?
Be a Leader. Live Your Purpose; and Take Your Power Back!
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