Welcome to the YouTopian Journey. Each week I will be sharing unique wisdom as well as a more in-depth overview of the artwork that is featured on the Instagram @youtopianjourney. This week we discuss why it is imperative that you must play to win in the game of life!
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PLAY FOR KEEPS
“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last week we discussed the importance of making your own moves. Now we discuss why you must play to win.
Because victory is not easy. On the contrary, it is one of the most difficult things to achieve.
It comes down to the drive of the individual. It comes down to the will of the individual.
The hunger for something greater.
The desire to do what must be done.
Driven by a vision that you alone can make real.
This comes down to YOU.
What do you want?
What are you willing to do to obtain it?
Are you willing to go all the way to make your dreams a reality and to accomplish your goals?
Are you a seeker of significance?
Will you engage in a pilgrimage of purpose?
You must ask yourself these questions. The answers are important and cannot be falsified.
Because either you accomplish your aims, or you falsify them. This falsification is nothing to be proud of and will not remain hidden forever. Sooner or later, the truth always comes out.
We live in an age of people who talk of lofty ideals and who boast of impressive feats of accomplishment. But pull back the curtains and you will realize that the majority of these feats and ideals are nothing more than air castles. And these people who boast? The façade cracks. They become pitiable creatures, mere shells of human beings. Hence, there is a difference between talking about impressive accomplishments and actually succeeding in the execution of them.
Talk is cheap and easy. We are a people who celebrate requirements as triumphs. People look on in awe of the accomplishment of things that would have been deemed trivial a mere decade or two ago. Even worse, most of this talk is highly exaggerated. This is nothing new. Marcus Aurelius referred to this behavior in Meditations as “smoke and dust, the stuff of simple myth trying to be legend.”
This is not healthy by any means nor is it productive. Instead, it is extremely counterproductive and damaging. This talk often masks the deficiencies and gaps that must be ameliorated in order to move forward.
But the executors of action? The people who aim for and succeed at the execution of their ideals? Now those are the individuals to admire, to follow, and to emulate. Yet they are often difficult to find.
Because they are often too busy working, moving, shaking, and cultivating their ideals. They simply don’t have the time to constantly post and boast. They are in the middle of executing. This execution is extremely difficult. It requires action. It requires an investment of blood, sweat, tears, money, and time. It requires fortitude in the face of setbacks. It requires facing adversity after adversity with little applause and very little reward from your peers.
It requires charting a course when you are the only person in the world who can envision the destination. More importantly, it means staying on that course when the rest of society surrounds you with their doubts.
Because they will have doubts. They will not praise you for your boldness or your original thinking. They will not prostrate themselves to your innovative ideas. They will not believe in you, let alone show their support.
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.”-Arthur Schopenhauer
In the game of life, all that matters is execution. All that matters is the prize.
All that matters is our willingness to make it happen.
“I'll give you the answer to the question ‘what is most important to the heart of a warrior?’ The answer is, ‘To desire with one's very soul every second of every day to accomplish one's aim.’”-Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
You must face these doubts head on. You must surmount the constant obstacles. You must brave the challenges that may seem beyond your capabilities. You must constantly seek to execute. This is enough to cause the majority to retreat into safety and remain hidden beneath the covers. To voluntarily remain blind and ignorant of their inner powers.
But not you.
You have places to go. You have things to accomplish. You have a game to play. Now commit to winning this game and move forward!
If you find yourself at these crossroads (which you will), then I implore you to heed the words of Theodore Roosevelt and his most famous speech, The Man in the Arena:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”.-Theodore Roosevelt
Do not fear the arena. Do not fear the challenge. Do not fear the doubts and hesitations of your peers. Embrace them as you boldly move forward!
VICTORY OVER DOUBTS & HESITATION
“Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.”-Miyamoto Musashi
If you are going to win at the game of life, you first need to win a victory over yourself. You are already infected, not with a virus, but with inaction, bad habits, fears and doubts. These internal infections will ooze out of you. Others will pick up on your weaknesses. Unless you do something to ameliorate this state, it will not turn out well.
You must train like an athlete that you admire. Not a training of the body, but the training of the mind.
And you must commit to this training, as no one will be there to do it for you. No one is capable of this training but you. Heed the words of Friedrich Nietzsche who proclaimed:
“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!”
You may be wondering how? Simple.
Read the great books and stand on the shoulders of giants. Feel free to leave a comment and I will do a special issue on my favorite books.
Take long and thoughtful walks, unplugged and away from your devices. This way you will be alone with your thoughts, not the endless supply of distractions and notifications. It is far better to walk far and wear out your soles than your soul.
Shore up your weak points through learning and research. The internet can be used not for meaningless work and distractions, but as the world’s greatest library. You have access to this library. It never closes and the tomes of knowledge are there for you, just waiting to be discovered.
Seek out the wise to gain their advice and expertise. We live in a connected age. While I can’t promise that everyone who you reach out to will respond, I can promise you the possibility and that is all an intrepid dreamer requires.
All of this is an investment of time and a deployment of resources. There is no shortcut for this. This will require you to replace distractions with meaningful action. This will require you to grow into the person that you are capable of becoming.
This will make you strong enough to push past the doubts of others. This will make you capable of true action. This will open up the possibilities before you, especially the possibility of victory.
By pursuing this course of action, you become something else, something you never imagined at the start of your journey. New information comes to light. New inner powers are awakened. New strength is not only found but put to use. You are forged into a full-fledged human being, capable of action and understanding.
The action to go after what you desire. The understanding to realize what others are facing and to help them with your newfound powers. The power to remain unique in a society that is constantly attempting to mold you into something that you are not.
“Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men…One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can "be", that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.”-Rollo May
VICTORY OVER CONFORMITY & SUBMISSION
“The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed” -Carl Jung
The greatest opponents in this game are not your peers. The only rivals you truly have are your own potentialities. The only opponents that exist are the forces of conformity and submission. But make no mistake, these are the deadliest of enemies. They hold sway over countless people in every country, holding them back from becoming who they desire to be.
Do not think for a moment that you have beaten such forces. These powers cannot be defeated so easily. It may take years for you to overcome such difficulties and you will be alone.
Because the countless masses do not yearn for freedom, only acceptance.
This acceptance is a force that few can overcome. Yet those who do are rewarded with something priceless, control of their own thoughts and the ability to direct these thoughts to a destiny of their own design.
This is independence in the truest sense!
It is only when you are capable of being truly independent that you will no longer care for the opinions of others. You will have reached a level of existence that few ever do, where you are able to act freely and pursue your own course regardless of the circumstances and the thoughts of others.
I leave you with a warning, a caveat to this issue. Just because you are the winner today does not mean you will be victorious tomorrow. The game always continues. You must constantly be on guard for new threats as well as being open to new opportunities.
You must also remain humble, never letting your success and accomplishments get to you. Be kind to those you meet on your way up as they will remember you on their way down.
Never forget who you are, where you came from, and most importantly, who you want to become.
The game will continue far after you have accomplished your goals.
It is up to you to decide how you want to play.
“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.”-Isaac Asimov
IN OTHER NEWS
I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Insights With Experts podcast, where we discussed everything from entrepreneurship to self-improvement. We went into the depths of some of my experiences and nothing was off the table. I hope you enjoy it and more importantly, learn something new.
If you have a podcast, blog, or show, feel free to reach out. I will be more than happy to be a guest.
ONE LAST THING
If you are enjoying this newsletter, please share it with a friend that needs to see it. Not only could it help them, but they will gain access to exclusive artwork and become part of the growing YouTopian Journey community.
I’m Shaun Gold and if you are reading this, you are already on your journey. Catch you next week.