Location: Shanghai, China
Humans are social creatures.
We come from the interdependent tribe.
We all need connection.
It’s hardwired into us by millions of years of evolution in a cold, dark, and dangerous world.
The men who didn’t live with other people died. And their genes and stories died with them.
This basic truth hasn’t changed.
What has changed is the way we now live.
Most of us now live around many more people than we evolved to be around.
And the internet connects our experiences, thoughts, and ideas to even more people.
And for most of us, our lives are warmer, brighter, and safer than anything our ancestors knew.
Modern life is quite comfortable.
In a world like this, do connection, respect, and love have the same meaning?
Do they have the same importance?
Do they matter?
They matter more than ever.
See the Connections
Connection is realizing that nothing happens within a vacuum.
Connection is realizing that we are all pieces of an ever-growing puzzle.
Connection is realizing that we can influence the growth (or destruction) of that puzzle, and that this growth makes us strong.
The Great Wall at Mission Realization Command
What is respect?
Respect is a process over time.
That process begins with the Silver Rule:
Do not do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.
What is love?
Love is a readiness to die for someone.
Only when we’re ready to die are we truly alive.
In The Zone
People talk about being “in the zone” to describe a state of extreme focus.
Spiritual people call it mindfulness.
Living in the moment.
I often call it love.
Whatever you call it, it exists.
It’s a state when the hours fly by like seconds.
It’s a moving meditation.
The most in the zone I’ve ever been was risking it all with an assault rifle in my hands.
I was in the the zone because I knew that my actions in that zone were matters of life an death.
I was doing work that matters. A lot.
But that doesn’t mean that the only way to do work that matters is by kicking in doors.
Being in the zone is what matters.
I don’t need war to be in the zone, and neither do you.
I’ve felt the love just this past week.
I’ve felt the love, while training my athletes.
I’ve felt the love, while coaching my communication clients.
I’ve felt the love, while staring at my Great Wall with someone I love.
I’ve felt the love, while breathing and taking 10 minute cold showers alone.
I feel the love typing this to you right now.
Do What Matters
In modern society, it’s easy to fool ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter.
For some of us, maybe it doesn’t.
Are you doing the same dreary thing, with the same people you don’t like, day after day?
That’s not important.
That’s the opposite of love.
That’s a waste.
Are you willing to risk your life for your your calling and the people around you?
Are they willing to risk their lives for you?
That’s life and death, guts and glory.
That’s the zone.
The truth is this: All human actions are matters of life and death.
You’re alive, and you will die. These are facts.
Where can we find connection, respect, and love?
Find whatever puts you in the zone and you’re on your way.
Belief Is What Holds Us Together
When I was at war, the men to my left and right were willing to die for me.
Like a spartan phalanx (battle formation), if one man falls out of line and runs away, the entire line breaks, and everyone dies.
The same was true of any tribe: if members weren’t willing to devote their life for each other, and if the tribe itself wasn’t bonded by a strong belief system, then the tribe was useless, and it’s individual members would pay the ultimate price.
But you don’t need to pay that price.
Work That Matters
Returning to the US after combat, many soldiers feel as though they’re having their heart and soul ripped out of them.
They were a part of something much bigger than themselves, something that they were proud to risk their life for.
Then they are discharged to rejoin a modern American society where many people’s devotion to anything other than Hollywood and empty consumerism is questionable.
Life and death are reality, and that is why doing work that matters is still so important to human health.
Even better if its a common goal that we achieve with people who believe what we believe.
Can you imagine what an American soldier feels when he sees Americans worship guys who play warriors on TV while real warriors bleed out in Afghanistan?
But that’s another topic, for another day.
If you don’t believe me today, you will soon. I promise.
Make the most of it.
Find your calling where the hours fly by.
Find your movement.
Find your moment.
Find your zone.
Find your love. And live it!