Roc’s Rule #42 – Never start a fight you can win.
Truthfully, that should be rule #1, but as many of you know, the original 40 rules came from Schlock Mercenary.
Nevertheless, I often get asked what does rule 42 mean? Does it mean go pick a fight with the largest drunk Brutor you see at a pub? Maybe. But it goes much deeper than that.
No matter where you are in life, no matter what your level of perceived success or failure you currently envision for yourself, we’re all comfortable and complacent. Don’t confuse those two things.
I enjoy comforts. I’m thankful for the comforts afforded to my life:
- I love my wife and everything she adds to my continued being
- I appreciate the abundance and variety of foods, clothing, entertainment, gadgetry and what not that are available to me
- I relish the career I have that enables me to push myself further both with corporate activities as well as pursuits abroad
- I am blessed with a strong support network that continually encourages me to do more, to do better
- I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy, for being able to choose my own path, to strive for personal and community excellence
- I’m enriched by all the advancements of the last twenty years that make personal growth so much more attainable in every aspect
It’s a positive thing to understand and appreciate the comforts in your life. If you have a healthy outlook, these can actually catalyze your personal growth and development.
Being complacent, however, is a bad thing; a very bad thing. It happens when we start taking our comforts for granted, allowing them to dictate our lifestyle instead of the other way around.
Look at your body. It didn’t get that way over night. It took years. It might’ve been how you were raised. It might be due to medical conditions or other genuine factors, but for the vast majority of us, it was part complacency, and part ignorance. We didn’t know better. We weren’t educated. As our bodies matured and developed, our eating habits, our exercise routines, all the things that should’ve grown in sync with the growing needs of our mind, body and soul, simply didn’t. Next thing we know we’re stuck in a person that depresses us, and many of us give up trying to make things better before we even start.
The same applies to our careers, our education, our spiritual lives, our personal relationships, our hobbies, our goals, pretty much everything that defines who we are. Complacency is a life killer, plain and simple.
That needs to end. I do mean now.
Nice rant, I know, but what does it have to do with the damn rule?
Never start a fight you can win.
If you could magically get in shape with a single day of colossal effort, being able to go from where you are right now to your absolute ideal self image, would you do it?
You’ve probably already said yes if we’re being honest with ourselves. That would be a fight we could win. There is no victory in it. It didn’t challenge us to grow beyond our comfort zone, or to learn any lasting life lessons. The reality is you can’t undo in one day what took years to do in the first place. It simply doesn’t work that way. Not if you want that lifestyle to last.
It takes time. Time can be demotivating. Time can become mundane, boring, tiresome, so we stop, we give up. It’s a fight that we can’t win without daily conscious effort. It takes extreme willpower, which doesn’t come overnight either. It takes dedication, courage, confidence, support, a change in mental attitude and emotional well-being as well as improvements to body.
If I said walk to that spot 10 feet away, you could most likely do it.
There would be no victory in that win. There was no challenge. If I said run a 42.2 km marathon right now, you’d laugh, or not even bother, or think you might be able to accomplish a smaller distance, etc, etc, but you realize running the marathon is a fight you couldn’t win.
Those are the fights worth fighting.
What would it take for you to be able to run a marathon? What obstacles are in your way? How could you overcome them? Then as Nike says, just do it.
That is the essence of the rule. Push yourself to accomplish things you never dreamed you could. When you do, the immense sense of satisfaction will be overwhelming, and you will find yourself quickly creating bigger and bigger challenges for yourself. It’s a positive spiral all around. It’s a key to truly living.
This applies to all areas of our lives, not just personal fitness.
I’m not close to my brother. It’s a fight I can’t win, in my mind. So right now, while typing this, I am setting a goal for myself. I am going to make the effort to spend time with my brother, listening to him, getting to know him, understanding him. Judging him hasn’t worked. Pitying him hasn’t worked. Condemning him hasn’t worked. Ignoring him hasn’t worked. Our relationship hasn’t been enriched by any of the comfortable things I have done thus far. It’s time for me to try something different, something uncomfortable. I’m not really sure how to go about it yet, but I will be.
For that, sometimes we need help. It’s ok to ask for help. I ask for help all the time from qualified people. You’ll be surprised how many people are more than willing to be there for you, to offer up support and qualified knowledge on a given topic, whether in person or through the internet community.
Take advantage of that. Change your life. Seize the moment. Never start a fight you can win.
I’m here for you. I can’t always guarantee that will be true. None of us can. Examine every aspect of your life right now. Write things down that you want to improve, maybe things that have defeated you in the past. Post that list somewhere for you to see, to remind yourself that you deserve better, that you can do better, that you will do better.
Get equipped with knowledge. Get equipped with dedication and perseverance. Get equipped with the attitude that says “I’m going to improve my life or die trying.”
If you’ve read this far, you know I’m speaking the truth because what you’ve done thus far simply hasn’t been working for you.
So please, be encouraged, be motivated, but don’t let that feeling go away. Don’t get overwhelmed by setbacks or failures along your path. Each day is a new opportunity. Didn’t hit your goal today? Oh well, do better tomorrow. Don’t give up.
I believe in you.