I have always identified myself by my ability to keep moving forward (keep rising up) in the face of all the punches I have taken.
I survived and even thrived when my dad died at 11, when my Godfather (who stepped in and raised me as his own) died at 18, when all of my grandparents died, and when I almost died in the same accident that took the life of one of my best friends.
I was determined to rise up above my circumstances. Being the guy who “comes back” in sports and in work has always fired me up. It spoke to the hero inside me. That hero, that athlete, that fighter who keeps getting hit, keeps getting knocked down, but is somehow always rising back up. Always getting back at it, despite everything that life is throwing at them.
This has been a huge impediment in my life.
By defining yourself as someone who gets back up from failure, you are inviting failures into your life.
Our mind has the power to create our future. So if we identify with overcoming failure and getting back up, we will have to create a failure to knock us down. After all, we can’t get back up and prove we are resilient if we don’t get knocked down.
Instead, look at obstacles as objective challenges, not punches coming after you.
If you don’t, you will look at obstacles as things coming after you, personally attacking you, and not objective, stand still challenges.
Real success isn’t supposed to be this triumphant, heroic journey. Real success happens from consistency, not just intensity.
In our culture, we romanticize failure. We create stories about great men and women overcoming unimaginable hardship and rising up to the occasion. And these stories may be true. But what is not mentioned in these stories is these people’s identification, or lack thereof, with failure.
It is impossible to be successful (my definition of success is happiness and fulfillment in all parts of your life) long-term in life if you identify yourself with rising up after being knocked down by failure. Because you will be constantly creating failures in your life and will eventually burn out. That is exhausting.
People who are successful over the long haul (even ones who have overcome obstacles and failures to get there) don’t identify themselves as people who can rise up after failures. They identify themselves as people. That’s it. They see obstacles just as they are, simply things on our paths. Objective. Emotionless. They are part of the path.
Like a river, people who succeed just keep flowing. What does a river do if it encounters a mountain? It doesn’t “persevere,” it simply goes around it. In other words, it goes with the flow, not even recognizing the obstacle as an obstacle, but just something right in front of them.
Perseverance and resilience are a totally unnecessary state of mind.
It’s like General Stockdale, who was a prisoner of war for 7 years. He didn’t look at this as an obstacle to overcome or a terrible challenge he must strive to beat. He looked at it simply as what is happening now. He knew he’d learn from the experience.
It’s a purely internal view of the world. Exactly what the Stoics and great Yogis like Sadhguru preach.
Ways Identifying with the Riser can affect you.
Sports — Subconsciously wanting to be down and come back, often causing you to lose a game. Subconsciously playing to your opponent’s ability.
Life- You fed off of failure and work your hardest right after it, instead of just working hard the entire time. It is like you want that failure to prove you can overcome it. (When someone breaks your heart, you work harder than ever in your personal and business life, instead of doing these things all the time.)
Business — Feeding off of the high of putting out fires and “saving the day” when you’re on the brink of failure.
This is why the saying made famous by Ryan Holiday, “The Obstacle is the way” is so true. But a better way to put this is, “The way is the way”
When you start thinking more about flow and being an easy rider over persevering and “Rising up,” amazing things start happening in your life. Less fires occur, things start to magically manifest to your benefit. What you would view as obstacles and challenges now appear as opportunities to grow. The people you lead (including your family) start to feel this sense of calm. This calming affect spreads to them.
Everything around you starts to “Flow.” And when you flow, that’s when the real magic in life happens. That’s when you start to lean into your authentic path and 10x your impact in this world.
Shed the identity of the Riser, become the river, achieve true flow, change the world.
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