I read an Invictus blog post the other day, titled, “It’s Not About Winning. It’s About the Battle” (which you can read HERE). It caught me a little off guard at first. Aren’t we all striving to win? What I realized after reading it is that we all need to be focusing on the battle and let it be our motivation.
The author of the blog post, Holden Rethwill, goes on to talk about watching a video by former Navy SEAL, Jocko Willing. Jocko mentions the story of King Sisyphus, in Greek Mythology. King Sisyphys was punished by Zeus for his craftiness, deceitfulness, and trickery. His punishment? To roll a large boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down before ever getting to the top. For eternity, Sisyphus was forced to endure the never ending frustration of not being able to complete the task, no matter how hard he tried or how much effort he put into it.
There are many people that know this exact feeling. It may be in the gym, trying to PR an Olympic lift or improve gymnastic skills; it may be at work, in a relationship, or with an injury. Many people, including myself, think about throwing in the towel and giving up. We think it would just be easier to move on, find something easier to do. But that is not the case.
In his video, Jocko is asked if he ever feels like Sisyphus, like no matter what he’s doing, he can’t get to the top. “Every day, he pours his hard work and sweat into everything he does. He says that it may seem like an unwinnable battle, but that to him, it’s not about winning. It’s about the battle itself. How battling every day, constantly pushing the rock up the mountain, makes you stronger not just physically, but mentally as well.”
This speaks directly to life. Some may say this is the meaning of life – life is not about getting to the top; it is not about “winning”, it is not about “finishing” ahead of the pack. Like Rethwill states, life is about the grind to be a better you. Life is about continually pushing back and fighting to roll the boulder back up the mountain. There is no settling in life, there is no finish line, there is no giving up or giving in.
In the video, Jocko says that “if somehow he were ever to finally get the rock to the top of the mountain, that he would just push it back down himself”. That’s some powerful stuff right there. Jocko would rather push the rock back down the hill than settle and relax. He would rather better himself by choosing to keep fighting and keep grinding, day in and day out.
Take this as a lesson. Use your daily challenges as motivation to continue to push forward, to become a better person, a better you, a better spouse, father, mother, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, friend, and coworker.
Do yourself a favor and watch Jocko’s video HERE. Be inspired. Get uncomfortable. Push harder. Keep fighting the good fight. Focus on the battle, live in the moment, and let it be your motivation.