Resistance to change in the status quo.
People who don't think about why it's important to them.
Indifference, fear of ambiguity, and the desire to get back into your comfort zone.
Physical, mental and spiritual fatigue.
Worry over damaging relationships.
All are conditions which exist everywhere, everyday. The overwhelming situation makes you want to quit trying to do something new and amazing, doesn't it?
Quit tomorrow, then.
There I was: Day two of U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. I hadn't slept in the past 48 hours. The entire time was filled unrelenting vigorous physical challenge in a program intended to weed out the weak. I was exhausted. I'd cracked two ribs on one of the sections of the obstacle course earlier that day. I hurt.
The first four days of Ranger School is where 60% of dropouts occur. Our class had already lost a large number of strong, determined soldiers who'd prepared for months by sundown on day two.
It had been a hot day and now that the sun had gone down the temperature was dipping into the 40's. We were on Malvesti Field slogging through the red Georgia clay. Malvesti Field is that place you always see on television. You know the scene, bald-headed soldiers crawling with their miserable faces pushed down in the mud beneath a ceiling of barbed wire. To add to my exhaustion and the ribs, which shot bolts of excruciating pain throughout my body everytime I raised my right arm over my shoulder, I now had what felt like a half-gallon of red Georgia clay underneath my eyelids. I was almost blind and trying to negotiate the challenges Malvesti and the Ranger Instructors (RI's) delivered while I begged my eyes to produce enough tears to wash out the sticky mud.
While I pushed my body, there was a war going on in my head. I was thinking about the fact that it was only day two and I had over two months to go! I thought; with all of these forces lined up against me, if I am feeling this weak and vulnerable on day two, how can I possibly last? A feeling of despair came over me. I had a choice to make, hide my weakness, or tell someone about it in an environment full of the toughest people on the planet.
I decided to take a risk.
"I'm not sure I can make it through this course," I whispered to my Ranger buddy, Arjmandi. He was going through the same things I was. He also knew about my ribs and my eyes.
"Come on, Eakin. I'm going to help you through this."
"No, I'm telling you. I'm not sure I can get through the next 60 days."
"Eakin, I'll make a deal with you. Get through tonight, with me, and we'll both quit tomorrow."
Getting through the night seemed possible. How much worse could it get? Besides, Arjmandi was going to help me. What if he needed me later on? I couldn't help him if I wasn't there, could I? I committed myself in the moment to that short-term goal. "OK. I'm with you, buddy."
"OK, Eakin, these RI's want to break us if they can. This next time through, let's scream like madmen and show them they can't break us."
We screamed like banshees! We laughed the whole way through the suck! We made it through every event that night brought us. For our efforts, we got a few hours of sleep that night.
When we woke up, I looked at Arjmandi.
He was grinning from ear to ear. "You still going to quit tomorrow, Eakin?"
I smiled back at him. "Yeah buddy, I'm going to quit tomorrow."
When you're feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of your situation or the challenges you've taken on. Find something productive and meaningful you can focus on and do it.
Remember, there is someone out there who believes in you and what you're doing. Lean on them when you need them. The love, brotherhood, and trust you create in those relationships will always be the core of your success.
If you don't take a risk and ask for help, you won't get what you really want. Real strength is not shown in facing your problems alone, it comes from having the courage to let others know you need them.
Sometimes you're the weakest, sometimes the strongest. Give what you can, when you can.
Quit tomorrow. Why? It is always today. Tomorrow never comes.
I haven't talked to Arjmandi since we graduated from Ranger School in February, 1999 (Class 2-98), two months after he gave me this powerful gift. If I knew how to get in touch with him today, here's what I'd say:
"Thank you, Arjmandi, for being worthy of my trust in a time where I was most vulnerable. You taught me a lesson which has served me well and has helped me accomplish more than I ever thought possible. I will always love you like a brother for that. It's been fifteen years, but I still know I can count on you and that, my friend, is priceless. For you, and because of you, I will always quit tomorrow."
I hope this article finds you some day. When it does, drop me a line. We'll catch up.
If you're tired of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges life throws at you, it's time to pick new challenges. Find people who will support you and show you the way. Download our Success Planning Guide for FREE! This guide is full of tools designed to help you through GPS Theory's process of changing the way you think and is a companion to my new book, Finding Success: Get what you really want.
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