Taking things for granted, and the true fight for success


I have often been amazed by life’s perplexities.  Why is it that you can have two people, from the same neighborhood, attend the same school, with almost the same upbringing and get two completely different results?  One person can go on to fame and fortune, while the other person could spend a lifetime fighting drug addiction and prison time.  That is life.  Accept it for what it is.

What about motivation?  I have never been a person to be motivated by money. Don’t get me wrong–I love money.  I am a slave to it, but I am not IN love with money.  One hundred dollars to me is not really a lot of money to cry over, yet I am fascinated by people who go out of their way to nickel and dime someone selling something on Craigslist for ten bucks off the asking price.  Moreover, I find it fascinating to see people get excited over making a two dollar profit.  I know my perception is a bit off, because if the person sells 10,000 items in a week for a two dollar profit–for each item, then that will translate into big money–and a Ferrari

I guess that is why I am not into business.

I am more of a dreamer.  When I was younger I had dreams.  Some would call them “pipe dreams”, but I would refer to them as “Delusions of grandeur”.  Either way, it makes for an interesting life story.

Take for instance, when I was 20 years old.  I enlisted in the Navy.  I had dreams of becoming a U.S. Navy S.E.A.L.  Nothing would be cooler than being a member of an élite fighting machine, and SEAL’s get all the hot babes.  I only had 42 days from the time I enlisted to the time I was to ship out to boot camp for training.  Time was not on my side, but I was motivated to making my dream a reality.

1) SEAL’s need to know how to swim…I can swim (check)

2) SEAL’s need to know how to run….I can run (check)

3) Sit-up’s and push-up’s (check check)

I was all set.  All I have to do is try out, and I got the gig.  Besides, How hard is it to run, swim, do push-up’s and sit-up’s?

I quickly learned–after 1/2 lap in the pool that I didn’t have what it took to be a U.S. Navy SEAL.  I decided to quit.  The SEAL’s that were administrating the test were displeased with me, and my simple  ease of quitting.  I regretted that decision, and I decided to go back the next day to redeem myself.  I quit after 1/2 lap–again, in shame.  After years and years of shame I finally realized that it was just not in my cards to be a US Navy SEAL.  I did not have the motivation, nor did I have it in my “DNA” to complete that dream.

On the other hand, there was my friend Rob.  Rob came from Central Falls, R.I.  Central Falls is not a city that people brag about coming from.  There was a time that Central Falls was known as “Cocaine Capitol” of the United States.  But, that doesn’t take away from the pride that many people from Central Falls have–about where they live or, more importantly, where they came from.  My friend Rob was truly awesome.  He was very quiet, but when he spoke he either made you laugh or he made you think.  I like Rob.  We joined the Navy at the same time.  While I took the training as not necessary, my friend Rob took it as a job.  He spent 8-12 hours everyday at the YMCA.  He swam an unbelievable 6 miles a day.  He would run 15 miles a day.  He would do 2,000 push-up’s and 5,000 sit-up’s–a day!  He did this for seven days, and he also monitored his diet.  He would do all of this, and we would laugh at him.

I don’t have to tell you that Rob passed the Navy SEAL test, and I don’t have to tell you that he has been a Navy SEAL for the past 18 years.  He only has two more years to retire, but plans on doing 30–if the Navy lets him.

So, why did he succeed?

We were both raised by single mothers.  We both had 2 other siblings.  We are both black.  I often said that maybe if I had a mentor I would have been a SEAL..but, Rob was a mentor.  Right?  I mean, we all saw the things he did.  We all were witness to the personal sacrifice he made for the job that he really wanted..and I laughed–we laughed.

I guess the main point of this story is that we just can’t take things for granted.  It sounds simplistic in nature, but this is the true meaning of what that statement means.

If you’re a person that is passionate about something, and everyone knows that you’re really good at being  passionate about something–don’t take the road to success for granted.  Don’t think that just because some people like your work that success will fall in your lap.  If you’re a good writer, that’s fine.  If people tell you that you are a good writer–that is fine too, but don’t think that by simply writing a couple hundred articles you will be writing for Vanity Fair or The New Yorker.  Success is not obtained, but fought for.  It is fought for everyday, by people from all walks of life.  Lady Gaga was a freak for years until she got a break.  It is often easy to look at her success, but no one sees the years of failure and pitfalls.  And, no one sees the repeated failed attempts that she had made in her quest for fame.  She never took her eyes off the ball, though.

I envy people like that.

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2 thoughts on “Taking things for granted, and the true fight for success

  1. But Lady Gaga is only 24. She didn’t have to fight for too many years.
    I am kind of lazy about my dreams too. I wanted to be a doctor. Went to pre-med and ended up saying fuck it, it’s too long of a process and just became a nurse instead. My bad.

  2. True Peggy, but LadyGaga started working at the age of 14. She would use most of the money she made to make flyers, t-shirts, demo tapes, etc. My brother graduated premed from NYU. He put himself 96,000 dollars in debt, and now he’s an air traffic controller. Talk about derailment’s 🙂

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