It’s probably not surprising that I enjoy a very well-done inspiration speech. Certain people who truly have the gift – whether by virtue of being blessed by the gods of Olympus from birth or through, careful, meticulous practice over time – really capture my attention. The ability to move inspire people to do more and be more than they thought possible just fascinates me.
But something about Ray Lewis’s speech struck a slightly different chord with me when I watched it. I still had the chills and felt fired up at the end… but a few minutes later, I found myself pausing to think about what he said from a slightly different vantage point. Ray starts off with:
If tomorrow wasn’t promised, what would you give for today? Forget everything else. Forget everything else. Forget that there was any sunlight left. What would you spend today thinking about?
The reason this got me to thinking was twofold. First, it’s about taking nothing for granted today and if tomorrow is never promised, how will you live today. Second, it also got me thinking about the motto of this blog: Relentlessly push yourself forward. These two ideas taken together basically add up to an idea of going non-stop, full tilt, every single day. All good things, right?
But can we really do that? Should we expect ourselves to really and truly do that? I don’t mean that in some absurdly constructed argument sense where someone says, “No one would live that way since they would make horrible choices, spend all their money and live like lunatics if they 100% committed to that day being their last on earth!” But what I mean instead is… can you go 100% every single day? Furthermore, should you even try?
The reason I got to thinking about this was not to say that embracing utter sloth is somehow a good idea, but to wonder how to pace this effort… how to handle the daily ebbs and flows of time, energy and desire. No one is going to be “ON” 24/7 – not even the most dedicated and motivated. Burn out would be inevitable with a blistering pace like that.
But hard effort every day? The best attitude you can bring to the table every day? Doable without a doubt. Will your best on a rainy Monday with all-day meetings be as good as your best on a sunny Friday with bluebirds serenading your every step? Probably not, but that’s fine. It’s the daily practice that matters.
And that’s where the importance of finding inspiration – whether in a speech, book, song or conversation with a good friend – matters so much. For in those moments, you can see the possibility of moving a few steps past what you thought was your upper limit. And when you get past those sticking points to a new, brave place… then you have progress and you have moved yourself forward.
I can’t say how this day will turn out, but I am going to take Ray’s advice and be “pissed off for greatness”… for I can feel a little bit more mojo pushing me to that place beyond what I knew possible. Time to hustle.