“With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.”
This past week I have learned a lot while traversing the countryside around northern Finland, but perhaps the most vital lesson was the overpowering human spirit to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible. If we spend our days caught up in someone else’s life, or fail to set the bar high enough for the personal achievement we want for ourselves, than we cannot inspire others. I was interviewed several times by the international press, and spoke with many swimmers from around the world. Each time I stressed the values in continuing to do what we do best – living the life of adventure we hold so dear, and to find that higher purpose outside of ourselves.
We must continue to be ambassadors for peace and prosperity.
To build a legacy, one that will truly be remembered, should be the driving force within each of us. Why else are we here if we cannot live to inspire the society to know that anything is possible? We must set the example not to fear, to not be afraid of taking risks and to know the rewards for our perseverance are beyond measure. Life as we know it can be very short. We run the risk every day we step out the door that it might be our last. The truth is to understand that fear is an internal grasp on our soul that will take hold and never let go. To fear anything is a waste of precious time, because what we fear is what we need to overcome in order to find what we are capable of. Embrace the fear, embrace the pain and embrace the emotional highs and lows of victory over fear. A coward dies a thousand deaths – a hero dies but once.
Welcome your future with arms, your heart and your mind wide open. Whatever comes your way might be tough, you might shed a few tears and get a few scars, but you will overcome the task. You can overcome the pain and not be afraid to shed a few tears, because the pain is there to remind us that the past was real. The scars, and the pain are not on the outside, but the marks left behind from being a coward when life challenged you to be your best. If you haven’t had achievement recently, or life is dragging you down, take some time by yourself to ask those personal questions as to how you are living your life. Are you cowering in the face of controversy, or attacking it head on? I don’t understand all the negativity in society; if you aren’t happy then change your routine. Throw yourself into something you never thought was possible – it is amazing how you can cope and overcome! Build the legacy you want to pass on to your children, your future children or you family and friends around you. I always remember the United States Navy commercial that asked, “If someone wrote a story about your life, would anyone want to read it?” Will your life story become a ‘best-seller’?
Quit living your days in the shadow of others. Quit watching garbage on television, spending money on tabloid magazines and acquiring useless material goods that are a quick fix to your problems. Are you so caught up in gossip, and how celebrities live their lives that you want what they have? Why not become the ‘celebrity’ in someone else’s life since that is so important to you? Leaving a legacy will never begin by caring so much about someone that doesn’t care at all you exist – that is reality. I stopped watching ‘fictional’ television a long time ago because I realized there weren’t enough hours in the day for me to accomplish what I wanted; why waste precious hours watching something so useless. Let others live their lives as you forge ahead with yours. Let them be inspired to use their time following your life’s work.
Show me by example how tough you really are. I want to see the pain in your eyes as you overcome what is eating you alive. I want to see the scars on your body as you trained to persevere and I want to see if you are man enough to be kind to everyone you meet; greeting them with a smile and a warm ‘hello’. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself. I do my best to continue to want to walk that narrow road because with God on my side there is nothing that will take me from accomplishment. I am fine with any consequences because I refuse to live in fear.
I would much rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
The truth is I am writing my life story each and every day. I will never cower to any challenge, and I strive to be the strongest I can be by being kind to my fellow man and will always be there when anyone I love in my life needs a hand. That is what being tough is all about; doing the difficult things in life that no one else wants to do. Think about it. Set the example of what the world needs to see. As Mother Teresa said, “Give the world the best you have and it may not be enough. Give the world the best you have anyway.” The world doesn’t need any more tough guys, it needs kindness to others and a passion to live every day the best we can and with every breath we’ve been given. The world isn’t going to survive on women and men who only care about themselves – it will survive when we can all be strong enough to care about each other.
Set the example the world needs to see. I want to see how tough you really are.
With love and respect,