Progress comes at a price. You have to make tough calls and take the hits – Mayor Aja Brown
Do You Know?
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But you have to be willing to take the hits, not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”
Going One More Round
The words above are some of the most potent words to be spoken on film. Rocky Balboa, the fictional underdog character, played by Sylvester Stallone, is a boxer who rises from obscurity to become the champion of the world. In expressing the words above, Rocky leaped out of the fictional world and spoke to our non-fictional existence. They remind us that we are not immune to life’s troubles regardless of the lengths we go to insulate ourselves. At one point or another, we will get hit. How do these hits manifest? Loss of jobs and businesses, death of friends and family, identity theft, accidents on the road, among others. I still recall that evening in October 2020 when I got into a car accident. I was gobsmacked. Thankfully no one was injured, only the car I was driving got totaled.
Life hits often ground us and leave us wondering, Why is this happening? Why now? Why me? Most of the time, answers to such questions aim to gain clarity in the heat of the moment and lead us down the dark alley of self-inflicted blame and failure if dwelt on longer than necessary. Instead of developing the resiliency to go one more round, we sabotage our progress as the rodents of negative thoughts gnaw at us, threatening to take us down.
Learning from one of the pioneers of aviation, we can discover that higher ground is key to dealing with the aftershocks that try to muzzle our thinking when life hits.
Finding Higher Ground
British Aviation pioneer and pilot Sir Frederick Handley Page was flying his plane when he heard the unmistakable noise of gnawing and chewing. A rat had climbed on board and was chewing at wires connected to vital flight controls. Knowing disaster was looming if the rat was not dealt with decisively, he remembered they cannot survive higher altitudes.
Page took his plane higher. Soon after, the gnawing stopped. The rat was lifeless. Danger had been averted. By going higher, Page thwarted the inevitability of a crash. We can decide to find higher ground in life when the hits we take tempt us to sink and crash into despair, discouragement, and distress.
How do you go higher?
Front and Center
I have learned to keep what matters at the front and center when life hits hard. I go higher by reminding myself that I was born with a purpose and a destiny. My life is not a mistake so the hit is not going to keep me down. There is still potential in me, and I have a race to run and finish. I am not sure why the hit happened, but I intend to learn and grow from it. As bad and ugly as it may be, this hit will make me a better person who will help someone else know that progress is not out of reach despite the hits and setbacks of life. This tectonic shift in thought and talk silences negative thoughts that gnaw at your mind attempting to stall or derail your forward thrust.
In military terms, front and center is a call or command phrase used to bring attention to an individual among the constellation of ranks of soldiers. This call is largely connected with the presentation of an award or recognition of achievement. When you take a hit in life and bring to the front and center your purpose, values, or vision, you are calling your mind to weigh and pay attention to what’s important. In this season of your life, no matter the hit you are taking and its intensity, can you specify what is front and center to you? I believe this is where we can take a stand against the intended effects of the hits we experience.
Final Thought: I have good news and bad news. The bad news is you are going to get hit at some point in your life. Probably more than once. That’s enough bad news. The good news is that you can recover from a hit. You may not be unscathed, but you can be confident that the scars from the hit will be a reminder that life hit you, but you didn’t stay down. Take the hit, find higher ground and keep what matters front and center.
Keep on keeping on!