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Go Ahead, Hit Me

“I can’t teach someone how to take a punch.  That’s about internal fortitude, you have it or you don’t.”

Mike Tyson

 take a punch

Fortitude is the mental strength and courage that allows one to face pain, danger, adversity, difficulties, and even temptation, and not draw back.  Without the mental toughness to not draw back in the midst of harsh conditions, you have lost before you even start.

Growing up, I was the fat kid and a cry-baby, and therefore attracted the attention of bullies.  I was the king of drawing back.  I couldn’t take a punch, didn’t want to take a punch, and would cower at merely the thought of taking a punch.  Guess what? That mindset invited even more punches to be thrown my way, and not just physical punches, plenty of emotional ones as well, aimed directly at my core identity, “the guy who was easy prey.”

Everything changed once my mindset changed.  Once I learned how to “punch” back, and to do so in a strategic and skillful manner, taking punches equated to motivational stimulus, not pain.  The Warrior Culture of the Marine Corps, started out by teaching me how to physically punch back, but in the process, instilled a Mental Toughness mindset that took root and became internal fortitude.

Being able to take a punch might not be able to be taught, but the Mental Toughness mindset can be learned, and deliberately assuming that mindset, day in and day out, will eventually lead to an internal fortitude that is tougher than steel.

Mental Toughness is a process and a lifestyle.  Controlling your emotions and conquering your fears is a game changer, without it, I shudder to think how dreadful my life would have been.  I don’t go looking for adversity, I don’t go looking for a fight, and I don’t enjoy difficulties. On the other hand, difficulties don’t enjoy me either, adversity doesn’t much like me, and I actually like getting punched occasionally, it reminds me how much fun it is to win a fight.

Boo Yah!

The Trail Un-Blazed

“We will either find a way, or make one”

General Hannibal Barca

 Trail Unblazed

Hannibal Barca, was a Punic Carthaginian general, and arguably the most prolific of military commanders.  He is one of my favorite historic figures.  Some sources claim the city of Barcelona, Spain, is named after him.

I love the story of Hannibal’s brilliant move to attack Rome. His plan was to come, not from the Mediterranean, via the expected sea route, but to go through Spain, up into Gaul (France), through the Alps, and down into Italy.  Oh, and by the way, he was bringing the 218 BC version of a division of tanks, he had Elephants.

When Hannibal sprung this genius plan on his commanders, they freaked out. The War Elephants were brought into Spain from Africa.  These early model tanks weren’t exactly built for the cold, mountainous (trails yet un-blazed) environment of the Alps.  It was right about this point, that Hannibal tells his officers, “We will either find a way, or make one.”

BOOM!! I love this guy!

Fast forward to today, I just read that the USA’s middle class is ranked, 27th in the world, with the average American middle class family’s yearly income at $38,000.  (Shout out, to my Aussie mates, for handily grabbing the #1 slot.) Objective reality tells me, that we as a nation, are slipping fast, and no one is coming to rescue us.  We each, as individuals, can wallow around in the despondent pool of mediocrity, or we can each, either find a way to prosperity, or make one.

Seriously, what is your plan?  Even if you are in the “upper class”, the writing is on the wall, the status quo ain’t getting it done.  As for me and my family, we’re going through the Alps. I really don’t care if the trail is yet un-blazed.  Quite frankly, I like it that way, there isn’t any riff-raff on this route.  I left all the naysayers on the Interstate Highways, where all roads lead to the same old-same old. Oh, and as a bonus, Rome will never see me coming, just like Hannibal.


Boo Yah!!