Dig Deep, Rise Up, & Rage On!
Most people wake up each morning and they rage. They attack the day, or at least some part of the day, with gusto, fervor, and energy. But there is a very stark contrast in how and where this energy is expended.
There is an African proverb which states…
Every morning the lion wakes up and it knows it has to be the faster than the zebra if it wants to eat. Every morning the zebra wakes up and it knows it has to be faster than the lion if it wants to survive.
“Regardless of whether you are a lion or a zebra you have ot get up ready to run if you want to survive.” Joshua Medcalf from Hustle.
Which Are You?
You wake up in the morning and you pursue. Whether that is a job, the family, an entrepreneurial pursuit, or education. The time, effort, and energy is expended in these pursuits. But the deeper questions becomes “Why?” Why are you spending your energy pursuing these goals?. Is it because you are a zebra and are simply attempting to outrun the lion. Are you a zebra just trying to outrun the slowest zebra. Or are you a lion who is controlling their domain for the purpose of meeting their own specific goals?
For most of my adult life I was the zebra who was running. But I was only attempting to outrun the slowest zebra. Because of my chronic pain and my inability to admit its effects on my life I was floating by. I was too afraid to put the energy and effort into any pursuit. I was too afraid of how drained I would be in the execution. In order to pacify this type of life, I would take the easy job, the easy pursuit, and attempt to not expend too much of my time or energy.
The problem with this way of living is that more than once I was caught by the lion. When you live life as the zebra you live with fear, anxiety, and constantly looking over your shoulder. The emotional, spiritual, and physical drain this lifestyle eventually takes on you is overwhelming. But when you are the lion, you are in charge. You are running the game and dictating the rules. This mindset and attitude can change everything in pursuit of your dreams and goals.
In making a radical mindset transformation from the zebra to the lion there are three principals I wake up every day and pursue. Everyday I remember this statement because this is not a one time decision. In living too long as a zebra I allowed this mindset to rule my life. I have to be careful when the pain becomes overwhelming to not allow myself to fall back into the old patterns. So everyday I recite and execute these three principals like a well versed mantra.
The first principal is to dig deep. This is the dig deep within my soul and strength in order to attack the day in order to get the zebra. This value can manifest itself in many different ways. It can simply be getting up out of bed. Pushing through a mental block when I know I need to write. Getting myself in the right mindset to spend time with my family instead of mindlessly watching TV or surfing the internet. Because those activities would require less energy.
What allows me to dig deep is understanding my Why? By creating an individual mission statement which allows me to dig deep because I understand why I am here and what I am doing. Digging deep is pushing past the superficial activities in life to discover what lies beneath the surface of your own life which brings about your purpose.
There is an opening scene in the movie The Matrix where one of the main characters, Trinity, is running from the bad guys. Trinity is running across roof tops and eventually flies through the air, crashes through a window, and rolls down the stairs. She lands at the bottom of the stairs guns drawn at the window she crashed through waiting for what might be coming behind her. As she lays there she begins to tell herself “Trinity, get up, get up!”
This particular scene sticks in my mind during those times when I am attempting to dig deep and push through the fog. When I am trying to write, attempting to find the energy to take a walk, or working on a project where I struggle to concentrate. I will literally whisper to myself “Eric, get up!”, “Dig Deep!” The words are a reminder that I at least need to attempt to push through this time to see if I can accomplish a task. It by no means is easy, but is a necessary step to walk every day if I want to stay the lion. And I am able to “get up” because I understand my why, I have a purpose to get me up off the ground.
The second principal I need to follow is to rise up! This principal is what separates the lion from the zebra. For even the zebra is going to dig deep, most of us will when we are being chased. But being able to rise above the noise, messages, and clutter of this world is what makes us a lion.
Zebra’s are followers and are only going to do the bare minimum in order to get by or survive. Following what they are told, staying in line, and always one step ahead of the slowest zebra in every situation. The lion blazes their own trail. Seeking their own path in work, relationships, and life. They take the time to define their goals, then create a specific plan in order to achieve their dreams and live life on their terms.
Rising up is choosing not to live like everyone else. In doing so the lion is taking the extra steps to ensure their ability to rule the plains. They are educating themselves, taking care of their bodies. learning, and serving others. The repeated verse of society is to serve yourself and you are the only one that matters. But rising up is creating a better you in order to serve and help those around you.
The last principal is to Rage On! This is where the rubber meets the road. For as a lion you not only define your dreams and create a plan to achieve them. You get out there every day and hustle to execute against them. When the obstacles, challenges, and limitations come your way you keep running and keep fighting. You do not let minor setbacks stop you from achieving your goal. You know you need to catch the zebra at the end of each day in order to live to fight another day.
Raging on is the burning desire inside of you to do more and not live as the status quo. But it also is the motivation to dig deep and rise up everyday to live an extraordinary life on your terms regardless of your circumstances.
Raging on is what keeps me going. It keeps me focused and reminds me I was created for more, but it is up to me to get up everyday and execute against this plan.
This world is full of zebra’s. What it needs is a few more lions to make an impactful difference in this world. It does not matter the challenges or limitations you face. If you want to live an extraordinary life then it is time to dig deep, rise up, and rage on!
Are you a lion or a zebra? What is the first step you need to take in order to become the lion today?
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