Funny thing how many of us like to use the word “circumstances”. As if on a wider scope it stands for restrictions, obstacles, dead ends we are expected not to overcome; some already dealt cards we are conditioned to abide by.
Fast-forward to the end of the day, the end of the week, the deadline on your project – and you see yourself sobbing in the corner, blaming things on circumstances, odds, not even hesitating to throw in the towel.
The thing is you see, regardless of the outcome, that hesitating even on the very start and being ready to give up upfront is always a losing proposition.
Bad circumstances can be created out of thin air
And in vernacular this usually translates into being ready to blame almost everything as to be able to say NO to work, effort, engaging yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
You can always put the finger on how week your body feels at a particular moment, how you lack the resources, the people in your surroundings, and whatnot…
But it all comes down to circumstances versus mind; or narrowing down further – excuses versus determination.
And before replacing one hopelessly vague duality with another, here is something more tangible as to capture this more closely.
If your mind can dominate over your body it can dominate over your circumstances too
Being a fitness junkie I always tilt towards making analogies that will touch personal development at its core through comparing body versus mind.
And the premise is simple – making your mind to dominate over your body in fitness terms, it creates a clear message that you can bend circumstances – odds as being previously defined.
It is a materialistic manifestation of the power of determination – As simple as it can get too.
Today for one, I was so tired that I started visualizing the bed even before I came home. The thing was, as my calendar said, that I had to do a workout. A demanding one too.
Now going over the rational calculus of whether or not it is actually “curtail” for me to bring additional pain to my body, I came up with all kinds of excuses. Every circumstance that was telling not to workout was immediately spotted.
But I realized that this kind of behavior will simply spread out in almost every aspect of my life if left unchecked. It was not a matter of fitness anymore, but a matter of principle. Principle that, I strongly believe, will latter on define majority of my efforts regardless the form.
Quote from a friend of Bruce Lee:
“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile (Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a-half minutes per mile).
So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.”
I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a hell of a lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”
He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.”
I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”
So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out.
I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run anymore,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.
Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
I did the workout, a beast (Asylum workout program, anyone?), and now feel awesome. You choose to think a lot about something and you never get it done. Hence act immediately and never try to fight procrastination or circumstances with sheer logic. And never decide to give up.
You see, you chose to throw in the towel once, at the first slap on the wrist, and you are already dead in the water.
Now this is not some flowery prose sermon on how to go with your head against the wall, but every effort will move you from standing still. And in nature there are two options – one either progress or retrogrades; there isn’t any status quo.
And here I will quote Bruce again:
Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
Never be afraid to jump in because of bad circumstances. And never accept NO for an answer. Not from others, and more importantly not from yourself. There is always something that you can do.
Here is some more wisdom from Bruce Lee as to round up this article
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”