David Goggins – Breaking Human Limits

I tend not to watch motivational videos anymore since I think motivation itself is pretty useless – it’s only a spark of energy that’s extremely fleeting, whereas grit and drive are everlasting. However, I came across the story of David Goggins through the below Youtube video interview, and I can honestly say that this is probably the most motivational video I have ever seen. David Goggins is a man that was born in “darkness” and suffered through hardships and adversity and decided to make a willful decision to break his mold and change his life.

“When you think that you are done you’re only 40% in to what your body’s capable of doing.that’s just the limits that we put on ourselves.”

“Visionaries are specially afraid of a false negative: that customers will reject a flawed MVP that is too small or too limited.

The solution to this dilemma is a commitment to iteration. You have to commit to a locked-in agreement—ahead of time—that no matter what comes of testing the MVP, you will not give up hope. Successful entrepreneurs do not give up at the first sign of trouble, nor do they persevere the plan right into the ground. Instead, they process a unique combination of perseverance and flexibility.

The MVP is just the first step on a journey of learning. Down that road – after many iterations – you may learn that some element of your product or strategy is flawed and decide it is time to make a change, which I call a pivot, to a different method for achieving your vision”

Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

Fear vs. Danger

One of my favorite podcasts I like to listen to recently is How I Built This by NPR which has weekly episodes that showcases innovators, entrepreneurs, idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands (copied straight from their podcast description). This week’s episode was on Jim Koch, the founder of the famous beer company Samuel Adams. Every episode is extremely inspiring since the founders of these major companies are very transparent with the struggles during the early days of their companies. In this episode, Jim Koch had a great lesson in which he talked about why he left his prestigious job as a managing consultant at the Boston Consulting Group to start a beer company.

According to Jim, the reason he left his job might sound contradictory to popular belief:

I left my job because staying there was very risky. Leaving it was not risky. And it’s the difference in life between the things that are scary and things that are dangerous. And there are plenty of things in life that are scary but not dangerous. And there are things that are dangerous but not scary. And those are the things that get you.

I can give you a climbing analogy – one of the things we taught people how to do was repel off a cliff. It’s a very scary thing, but you’re also held by a belay rope and that rope will hold a car. So walking off a cliff backwards is scary but not dangerous. Walking across a 35-degree angle snow field on a beautiful, late-May afternoon with a bright blue sky is not scary at all but it’s very dangerous because snow is melting, eventually it’s going to find a layer of ice, it’s going to lubricate that, and now you have an avalanche. That is dangerous but not scary.

And in my situation, staying at BCG was dangerous but not scary. And the danger there, the risk of it, was continuing to do something that didn’t make me happy and getting to 65 and looking back and go, “Oh my god..I wasted my life.” That is risk. That is danger.

Jim explained this point so beautifully and simply, and I think having this awareness of understanding what things in life are scary vs. dangerous will help us make the critical decisions when they matter most. Fear holds back a lot of our decisions, but is the fear just an illusion or is it actual risk/danger? Most of the time it’s probably just an illusion, and not many people realize that fear is almost never correlated with real danger.

Another great quote Jim said was:

You don’t climb a mountain to get to the middle. You climb it to get to the top.

And that’s absolutely right. If you have a hunch that you’re onto something, you don’t start “climbing a mountain” to just get to the middle and say, “Well, that was great” and climb back down. You climb a mountain to get to the top and it’s no different in life. If you start something and make a commitment to yourselfyou go all way. And the “top” is not necessarily victory/success – it’s knowing you gave it everything you had and at the end, you’ll either have success or a valuable lesson/s even if it didn’t work out the way you wanted. But that was a great quote that I’d like to keep in mind from now on.

Action Will Define You

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

– Thomas Jefferson

I came across this simple quote today by Thomas Jefferson and it made me think for a moment. I think most of us are always in pursuit of self-awareness and just better understanding exactly who we are so we can better live our lives and improve ourselves. But instead of looking at your personality, thoughts, emotions, etc., this quote by Thomas Jefferson encourages us to look at our actions to know ourselves. If you’re a motivated go-getter or want to be eventually, you will or must act in that way. You can’t be successful and not have successful actions on a daily basis. It comes  down to the cliche, “Let your actions speak louder than your words.”

Keep Swimming

This will be a short post because I don’t feel like I need motivation today or something to “spark” me. It’s really one of those days where you just wake up and keep moving forward. Putting one foot in front of the other. I posted a short video a few posts back where Idris Elba talks about how sometimes in life you just need to keep your head down and keep swimming. If you keep looking up at the clock or counting how many laps you’ve already done, you may get discouraged and caught up in numbers. But he says if you just keep your head down and keep swimming with the goal of simply not stopping, eventually you’ll get to your goal. This just feels like one of those days where you just get up and say, “Let’s get to it.”