Last week Isaac Wyant encouraged us to “Contend. Contest. Compete.” He highlighted the need we have as a people to step into situations that test our merit and capabilities. These tests improve our ability to perform and our chances of survival in future trials. So if our entire society becomes willing to step into the arena to be measured, how are we able to gain an advantage?
First of all, most of them won’t step in to contend, contest, or compete. That world is too uncomfortable for many individuals. There are too many unknowns and we have developed a society of people who want to know all of the rules to the game before subjecting themselves to trial. Yet, let us grant for a moment that all of our contemporaries shed their fears in amazing fashion and volunteer for the most daunting of competition. The only way to continue to gain a competitive advantage is to push the limits.
Moderation Is not cowardice when it comes to avoiding the extra slice of cake, or choosing seltzer instead of soda. It is important to stave off desire, an act that is at the very core of stoicism. Moderation and cowardice become synonymous when it comes to strengthening the mind and body. Willingness to push limits and test boundaries is what led to the development of this country. It is how we elevated industry in the beginning of the 20th century. It is how we have prevented anyone from surpassing our ability to innovate.
Walking the tight rope between moderation and testing boundaries is the same line that bisects being labeled crazy or a genius. This world rewards the cunning and the daring. We are all amazing individuals capable of the greatest feats imaginable. Yet, very few of us break out of that monotonous melancholy much of the world falls into. We can chalk this up to the Pareto Principle, stating that 20% of the population is responsible for 80% of our output. This is nothing more than tolerance for the shortcomings of others.
Society is filled with people and places telling us to slow down. All of it is a contribution to the toleration of mediocrity.
The human body needs eight hours of sleep!
You can’t have it all!
You’re doing too much!
Theres always someone out there who is smarter than you, someone who has more money, who is stronger than you.
Don’t join the military its DANGEROUS!!!
Queue Jamie Fox from the Marine when I tell you that is all bullshit that is being told to you by a society of ordinary people. Men and women willing to push the limits, to challenge the status quo, are the only people who have ever changed the world. Ask the budding entrepreneur if sleep is important when getting your business off of the ground. Ask the athlete training for their next competition if someone else out there is stronger than them. Ask any member of our military if they regret their decision. They will all laugh in your face for asking such an absurd question.
The need to outperform others is embedded in our very nature. It is the only way we have been able to ensure our genes are not weeded out of the world. Still, many of us accept mediocrity in our peers, associates, and our loved ones. We must remind ourselves and those we care about that our time on this earth is too short to waste. We must charge each other with the requirement to test, to fail, and to test again. All the while understanding that our willingness to raise the bar for myself does the same for others. Ultimately lifting up all individuals We come into contact with.
Moderation is for cowards! It leads to complacency and complacency kills. In areas like the military complacency can kill you quickly, but in ordinary life it sentences us to a much slower and torturous death. We have 80 years on this earth if we are lucky. It seems like a lifetime until half of it has passed you by. Now you are left wondering, “what have I done with this precious commodity that is quickly becoming short in supply?”
Push the limits. Fail. Push harder. Have sleepless nights where you are tearing your hair out trying to solve a problem. Stress yourself out and expand beyond your comfort zone. Do it all. So when you are lying on that bed, many years from now you can say to your heart, “I emptied the tank and left it all out there.”
John McCarthy is the founder of the Post Modern Patriot blog and the host of our podcast. He is a former Marine Infantry Officer, Husband, Soon to be father, and son. He is obsessed with individual performance in the realms of health, wealth, relationships, and the intersection of all three. He strives to share that with the world so that he can empower others to live boldly. Let’s leave a legacy!!!