Ever make a decision that you knew in advance was going to piss people off, enrage everybody, and leave you to be criticized as wrong, foolish, and a proprietor of the impossible?
Did that criticism stop you, or did you move forward? I don’t mean stopping to consider the arguments; after all, I’m a fan of weighing the facts and coming to as objective a judgment as possible. Rather, I mean having weighed all the facts, considered the alternatives, and still making a decision that will enrage a friend or family member—at that point in time, did you move forward with your judgment, or bend?
I’m not talking about playing the role of underdog. Everybody loves an underdog. A few rare people love a hero. I’m talking about playing the role of the villain—accepting the role of the villain, and not batting an eye.
I kinda’ like being the villain. Provided I think my decision is proper, being the villain is fun. It’s a shame not everybody shares the same vision, the same interpretation of how all the facts will pan out over time, but that’s just life. Some people can’t handle disagreement. I love it. It makes me happy deep down, when somebody criticizes my decisions or beliefs, to stand there and silently think, “Well, I guess we will see… give it time.…”
My life has been a long series of putting forth preposterous scenarios, and then making them happen—being told, “You can’t do that!”, and proving the world wrong. It’s not because I derive a great satisfaction from proving everybody wrong (though I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a little fun). Rather, it’s because my vision simply tends to be different. I do things my own way, always have, always will, and I’ll never understand that there is an alternative, try as I might. Sacrificing one’s independent judgment is giving away one’s mind and spirit, gift wrapped with a bow on top.
You once asked me why I think I’m always right. And I realized you’re right. At least I think you’re right…. I don’t really know now, do I? (Dr. House, House: M.D.)
There is a sappy saying that our grandparents told our parents growing up: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That is to say, learn to make the best out of the worst situation, don’t always expect life to be automatically perfect and wonderful, continue moving with your best foot forward regardless of circumstances.
My thinking is slightly different on that front: when life gives you lemons, turn them into a prime steak with a fine wine; don’t settle for lemonade, as it still sucks in the grand scheme of things.
The alchemist always intrigued me:
Alchemy… is both a philosophy and an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold, investigating the preparation of the ‘elixir of longevity’, and achieving ultimate wisdom, involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of several substances described as possessing unusual properties. [Wikipedia]
Turning a common metal into gold. Creating a formula for immortality. Slightly stronger than turning lemons into lemonade. I’m sure they, too, were criticized and questioned by everybody around them, seen as the villains of their time. And I’m sure it did not stop them.
But some are stopped. Some hear the questions—from friends, family, coworkers, peers—and grow paralyzed. The questions kill the movement, destroy the action, and end the decision.
I take risks; sometimes patients die. But not taking risks causes more patients to die, so I guess my biggest problem is I’ve been cursed with the ability to do the math. (Dr. House, House: M.D.)
The failure to act, in actuality, is the acceptance of death. The only truly wrong decision is no decision, or indecision, take your pick. We can forecast the future to some small degree, but “doing the right thing” is more about making the right decision, in the moment, with whatever you’ve been given, be that lemonades or lead. When everything is over, even “legacy” and “reputation” become something of empty concepts, if they are tied to fear and they stop you from walking a new path…
…if they stop you in your attempt to turn lead into gold, and lemons into wine.
-David A. Johnston
David Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within. You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( GEARDUp.com ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.
David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.