If you’re like me, sometimes you’re afraid. Afraid of what? Lions, the dark, breaking a limb, it could be anything.
Some people fear the price of success.
Not necessarily personal success.
It takes a special character — or should I say a naive, confident or stubborn one — to fight the establishment, to build grassroots, to try to change the world.
Building a movement, disrupting a market, fighting injustice, reforming politics, redefining art – these are as grueling as winning the Tour de France, physically and emotionally.
They make you feel tired, hurt and broken again and again. They make your heart scream and your mind protest that it’s okay to stop.
Every time you say no, I’m going to keep going, your heart gets a little stronger.
It learns to carry you a little farther before that pain and panic roars back. It learns to recover faster, requiring less time nursing your wounds.
The difference between Olympians and everyone else is not that they don’t feel pain and panic, because they do. It’s that they want something so badly that they are willing to feel pain and panic as the price of admission. Sometimes everyday.
Being an Olympian is a choice, and it’s not for everyone. It’s a choice to endure intensely human pain to achieve super human things.
That’s why Olympians are worthy heroes. That’s also why the world desperately needs more of them.
Soak that in for a second.
Jay-Z says success is suicide. He made my jaw drop in awe as I soaked in his words during his mashup with Coldplay at the 2009 Grammys. When making change, you’re putting yourself out there for vulnerability, scrutiny and martyrdom. You can’t stand for anything without taking on scars.
But I’m here, you’re here because there were people with the skin to take the blows.
Don’t believe me, ask Michael
See Martin, see Malcolm
See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome
See Jesus, see Judas
See Caesar, see Brutus, see success is like suicide
Suicide, it’s a suicide
If you succeed, prepare to be crucified
Media meddles, niggaz sue you, you settle
Every step you take, they remind you you’re ghetto
So it’s tough being Bobby Brown
To be Bobby then, you have to be Bobby now
And the question is, “Is to have had and lost
Better than not having at all?”
Is it better to have stayed in your shell and watched the world go by? Is it better to gaze passively as your rocket-fire potential dies a slow death? And your community withers?
Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Do you have to be a martyr to do good? Do we all die little deaths for the greater good throughout our lives?
If you believe in changing the world, would the vision of victory control your impulses more than the fear of metaphorical death?
What backlash have you (or someone you know) met within your journey? Was it worth it? Any regrets?
But when I think of people I know, or people in the public eye, who took on the Olympian challenge (whether under the radar or out there in front of everyone), all I can do is admire them. You forget about the pain after you give birth to the child, don’t you?