You are a tank.
You are rolling over enemy territory, explosions surround you – gunfire rattles from countless enemies hidden in the darkness. You can only see a few feet ahead – based on that you decide where to go next. That’s a good thing, because if you could see the thousands of enemies and obstacles still to come on your journey – even your nerves might get rattled.
You squint your eyes to see through the wafting smoke, the flashing of distant explosions light up the horizon. You know many trials await – but still you push on through the night. A bead of sweat rolls into your eyes; it burns – you are uncomfortable, you are scared, and part of you wants to be at home. Safe at home. But the bigger part wants to succeed…and refuses to succumb.
One thing at a time. Roll on.
Conquer. Roll on.
Fail. Roll on.
Try again. Roll on.
Seldom does the path turn out to be what you thought it would – so you improvise on the fly to keep the edge. At any moment you could be destroyed – but you keep going anyway. You know that the only real way to lose this war is to stop – to give up. You know the sick, sinking feeling of defeat – and you don’t like it. In fact you hate it. So you roll on.
You are a tank.
You are a warrior. You are unstoppable. You can be delayed, you can be knocked down – but you know that people who never quit eventually taste victory. Somewhere you know there is someone else who wouldn’t quit. Someone else who would work this hard. Are they better than you? No way. Roll on.
In order to succeed, you must become a tank. Conquering things that seem impossible by doing them one step at a time – rolling over them. Tasting rejection – feeling the pain – then rolling on anyway. Feeling failure and temporary defeat – and refusing to give in and make that defeat permanent. Roll on.
Are you invincible? Hardly.
Alas even a tank needs reparation. Even a tank needs time to heal and contemplate the next move. A tank isn’t a nuclear bomb – it doesn’t clear all obstacles in one flail swoop (that is in reference to a hunting bird taking prey btw – just learned that today) A tank takes its enemies one at a time, kaizen, slow steady progress.
Don’t be afraid to take a deep breath now and then. In Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale, he says this of James Bond on the first page, in the second paragraph ever written about the Secret Agent:
“James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He always knew when his body and mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge. This helped him avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.” Fleming, Ian. Casino Royale: Macmillan Publishers, 1954.
I wrote a poem circa 2000 that I would like to share with you. I remember writing it; it was after some terrible failure of a plan – I can’t recall which one because I’ve had so many. But I remember the feeling I had – exhaustion. I was barely holding on to hope – then I went to my notepad and this just kind of came out of me:
“The Warrior rests his weary head cause’ he’s very tired,
that’s true. But the Warrior won’t give up you see, until
this battles through.”
Granted it’s not long, and it’s not complicated – but it sums the topic up pretty well. It speaks of the times when I reach my limit – and need to enter into the subconscious realm of sleep. It speaks of a time of recharging – a time to rest before doing battle again.
It speaks of a long deep breath. It speaks of a day to get your mind off things – or if you are in dire straits – a few days.
Be a tank.
But know when to recharge and take cover. Take a minute to find yourself when you are stretched too thin.
The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” rings true. And if it was indeed easily built in a day it wouldn’t be very special now would it?
Expect to fail. Expect to try again. Expect to go slow, to have setbacks, to be discouraged – expect rejection, expect tears, and expect pain.
Expect these things and know there is light at the end of the tunnel. All great things in life require time to achieve; they require the weathering of many storms.
Goals are noble endeavors, but don’t rush them. Don’t rush life and ambition. Kaizen is the Japanese word for constant, steady improvement. It’s also a word you should ingrain deep in your psyche.
If you are improving everyday – if you are moving forward into enemy territory – pushing yourself to heights where you feel slightly “uncomfortable”, then you are a tank. You will be successful. Be a tank. In fitness, in work, in spirit, and in life. Roll on…
Jay Scott is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, NPC National Level Bodybuilder, Fitness Model, Author and Nutrition Coach. Jay owns CE-Fitness, a Personal Training business in Lexington, KY. Jay has been helping people lose weight and transform their bodies since 1998. Contact him at email@example.com or visit his site at www.cefitness.net for books, products, training options and more.