I was reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss last night. It had been on my reading list for ages but I had ummed and aahed about it until Saturday, when on the advice of my good friend, guitar legend Dan Baker, I took the plunge and ordered it. Amazon very kindly delivered it on a Sunday and I started dipping in and out of it. So much so that I have dipped most of the 700 pages by this morning, although not slept much.
Loads of stuff really grabbed me in there. I would highly recommend it. But on of the standouts was a lie in the interview with Jocko Willink, the Navy Seal leader. It was really simple:
If you want to be tougher: Be Tougher.
That’s it. Just be tougher. Right here, right now. Starting with the very next decision you make: Be tougher. Struggling with the temptation to eat that cake, have that drink, smoke that cigarette? Just be tougher. Right now in this moment. Be tougher and don’t do it. Set your alarm for 0500 to get that workout or run or hour of studying in before the kids wake up or give yourself that extra hour to sleep? Be tougher. Get the fuck out of bed and get on with it. You can go to bed earlier if you are tired. Tired of being treated like shit by your partner/boss/friend? Be tougher and tell them where to get off.
Thinking about being tougher will not make you tougher. Being tougher will make you tougher. Reflecting on why the world treats you unjustly is not going to change it. Being tougher and doing something to change it will change it. Dreaming about getting fit, getting out of debt, getting your shit together will not get you any of those things. Being tougher, making the hard decisions, sticking with the hard work required to achieve those goals is the only way you will get there. Be Tougher.
It sounds a bit macho, I’ll concede, and Jocko Willink does err somewhat on the side of the macho, but that’s kind of to be expected, Navy Seal Commander and everything, but life isn’t all Paulo Coelho and positive affirmation. A great deal of the time what we need is to kick ourselves up the arse and toughen the fuck up, Princesses. The amount of handwringing excuses and needy fishing for pity and poor me ism that fills the fitness, weightloss, general life forums and social media is almost overwhelming. The thing that derails me most often is feeling sorry for myself or being afraid or a combination of the two. Generation Snowflake may have been coined to describe millennials but I rather think it captures the zeitgeist. It’s okay to acknowledge that we are vulnerable, it’s okay to admit that life gets on top of you, it’s perfectly reasonable to feel overwhelmed at times, but it is essential to realise that the one power you still have and always have is how you respond to those things: you can be crushed, you can melt, or you can start an avalanche. Like most things that are worthwhile in life, it may not be easy, but it is simple: If you want to be tougher, Be Tougher.
anyway on that note, today’s video is not Jocko Willink because there is only so much macho one can deal with on a Monday morning. Instead it’s cuddly uncle Joe Rogan. I have been listening to a lot of Rogan podcasts recently because he has some really interesting guests and some really good conversations. This video isn’t really about being tougher per se but listen to it anyway: