Life’s highs can be exhilarating, they inspire us, allow us to be in the moment and forget about the things that worry us, scare us.
But life also has lows, and they can be crippling. They bring our lives to a halt if we let them. They stop our progress, make us curl up into a ball of sorrow where our pain is compounded; it becomes our entire world. (Read This:21 Things Modern Men Need to Stop Doing)
We follow the road of sorrow often into solitude and pity.
Why can’t I just get a break with x or y?
It consumes us. Darkness all around and hope nowhere to be found.
The moment when the slide begins is the moment you can stop it. And you can stop it. The depths are a choice. If you don’t want to get out of them you don’t have to, but you’re going to merely exist in a dark purgatory avoiding life and light.
Doing something is being something, it’s creating something, earning something, giving reason to why you’re here, a purpose to the breaths you take in and the beats of your heart.
I’m working my way through, The Depression Cure, in which the author highlights the fact that depression doesn’t exist in modern hunter-gatherer tribes who’ve been studied for decades. It’s lower in the Amish population in the States than in any other sub-sect of that great nation.
The lives we live are out of line with the lines we’re genetically programmed to live.
We’re not meant to sit and glare at a screen, nor are we designed to live in a box, alone, nor drive instead of walk nor buy instead of hunt.
We eat in a way that’s out of line with how our DNA demands we eat.
With all of this, however, let’s talk merely about sorrow, about those moments when we get down, the beginning of what can become depression.
It’s A Tragedy, Wasted Talent Is.
The greatest tragedy in life is wasted talent.
De Niro says that line a dozen or more times in the movie A Bronx Tale. He hammers it home over and over again to his son in the movie, but also to the viewer, and if you’re a young kid watching that movie hopefully it hits you.
That line has stuck with me into my 30’s.
This article is that motion I mentioned earlier. I found myself getting down about something, something irrelevant, an obstacle that didn’t need to be an obstacle, but a way. Instead of turning the TV on and watching football, a Sunday routine for the past decade of my life, I went to the gym, then I sat down and started writing.
I’m the kind of guy that has to reason something out, I have to find the lack of logic in the state, then move it out of my system.
What I see and here in the multitude of emails and comments I get on this site and others are guys who are taking steps down that hole, they’re allowing emotion to carry them to a state that will lead to tragedy.
Once inaction takes hold, once you’ve sunk into sorrow and you’ve stopped marching forward it puts you in handcuffs and preventing you from realizing the potential, using the talent, living the life. (Read This:How to Deal with Sorrow Like Theodore Roosevelt)
Motion, getting up off your ass, working, doing something, using the gifts you have and the gifts you’ve earned, stops the free fall into darkness.
What you have to understand, as do I, is that even a moment spent in darkness is a waste. And even seconds, a single thought can lead you to a place where you become not only utterly useless to those who depend on you, but destructive to the man you have to become for them.
Fuck you. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about the individual. When we think only about ourselves it compounds the justification for feeling sadness and sorrow. When you have something or something to work for, live for, hustle for, even if it’s an idea, something or someone in the future that isn’t yet in your life, you have something pulling you rather than pushing you.
Know that moment.
Know the source of the sorrow, the thought and the emotion that threaten your existence and fight.
At the very least, stand up and walk out of the door, get outside and into something, trouble, whatever, just force that little bitch of a voice that we all have within us to shut up and let the warrior, that aspect of you that sees challenges not curses, to rise and thrive.
It’s something that happens in seconds, the way up or the decent down, don’t let that moment pass without you being in control.
Don’t let your emotions carry you to a useless existence. Don’t let your weakness determine who you are.
Black care rarely lists behind the rider whose pace is fast enough. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Depression, feeling down, melancholy, despair, defeat, and sorrow. Their grasp is vicelike. Sometimes it seems as though we can’t break it, but as Theodore Roosevelt has showed over and over again in his life, we can run through it. It’s an enemy that can only be defeated through brute force of will and action, and not by running from that which adds pressure to our lives, necessarily, but by adding more pressure and danger on in the form of new adventures and greater challenges.
The challenge, however, cannot be one we know we can conquer. The weight of the new challenge must be heavy enough to distract us from that which we cannot seem to break free from.
As with most things in life, the way past sadness isn’t in ease, but in action.
Theodore Roosevelt is a famous figure for what he did and said, but also for what he endured and how he endured it. In his twenties as a man on the rise in New York’s political system, Roosevelt’s young wife and his still vibrant mother (only forty six) died within hours of one another.
Crushed, Roosevelt wrote only the quote above, marking that horrific day with a big X in his journal. Roosevelt’s method of dealing with the tragedy was to thrust himself into a situation he was not completely sure he could endure, as was his default. He went out west to Dakota, bought a ranch, hunted, and became a cowboy, living a far more difficult life than he was, living off of his father’s money in New York.
The escape wasn’t so much running from his problems and memories – though that had to be part of it – but running into something new and arduous and dangerous. The West was still wild. He endured real hardship and harsh conditions, even dicey situations with outlaws and gunmen. It was the unknown, the difficult, the adventure that Roosevelt constantly used, even later in life as he explored unknown and uncharted parts of the Amazon after a crushing defeat in the national election, to get tougher when life had seemed to deliver him a blow that he could not get up from.
He was filled with vigor and perspective after mastering an entirely unfamiliar world of danger on the American frontier – and defeating, by sheer energy and physical exertion, the grief that had threatened to overwhelm him. “Black care,” he explained, in a rare unguarded moment on the subject, “rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough.”
Again, Black care rarely sits on behind the rider whose pace is fast enough.
In other words, sorrow cannot take hold of the man who’s life is so fast-paced that it cannot catch him.
TR’s default was action, but not only action in the sense of work or climbing the ladder as we’re expected to do, but action in an unexpected direction. As sorrow threatened to grip him he sought stress, pressure, and the unknown. There was always a physicality to how he dealt with malaise.
When you’re trying to survive, to make it to the next hill or outpost or day, you have little time to think about that which aims to keep you down.
Most of our ‘defaults’ when we experience tragedy is to collapse, confine ourselves, try to work through our pain not by acquiring more of it, but by closing ourselves off to any more of it whatsoever. We vacation; we take time from work to work through that which is suffocating us. (Read This:You Don’t Deserve a Vacation)
So what’s the solution?
Should we stay as we are, where we are and accept the sympathy that comes our way, the helping hands that are thrust in our direction with a hint of pity in their touch? Or should we put ourselves in situations where we cannot dwell on what has been done and what has happened because the greater dangers are in our present adventure?
Instead of turning our backs on our hardship, even diving into our sorrow, maybe the path to healing mirrors the path to strength in the gym.
In you’re training you have to progressively overload the muscle to get stronger. That is, you can’t lift the same weight day after day and expect to see real improvement. You need to constantly lift heavier weight. What was difficult to lift a month ago won’t be difficult enough now.
In life, what was tough to handle in the moment won’t be in time if the difficulty of what you attempt to endure on a daily basis is progressively tougher. The tougher you are, the better equipped you are to handle the tragedies life will throw your way – which is inevitable if you intend to live a life of action.
There’s also the aspect of nature and silence. TR spent a lot of time hunting in the Dakota area, be it moose or bison or wolves or grizzlies, he was alone on horseback a lot. Alone in silence, real silence that cannot be found in a city or town where he must have been forced to come to grips with what happened.
Each day should not weaken you, but test you.
When we feel down we sit back, rest easy, feel worthy of complacency. But each day should be a test. We should test our mettle through discipline and by experiencing things we’re not completely sure if we can endure. And when life hurls tragedy upon us, we should test ourselves even further.
Do those things that you’re not sure you can accomplish.
In his wonderful speech, The Man in the Arena, Roosevelt highlights those who are engaged in the struggle, facing their fears, going beyond what they’re certain they can endure, essentially, those who are participating in life. He compares them to the critic who points out how the strong man stumbles.
He clearly didn’t just speak these words, but he lived them. As should you.
When you’re feeling down, act. When you’re in despair, hunt and conquer something that frightens you a little. When you’re worried about whether or not you’re good enough or strong enough, find out if you are or aren’t by going beyond what you currently know and presently know you can endure.
When life knocks you down ask for more, don’t ask for a break.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’s a former 9-5er turned entrepreneur, a former scrawny amateur boxer turned muscular published fitness author. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
You can contact him at – http://www.ChadHowseFitness.com/ https://www.Facebook.com/ChadHowseFitness https://www.YouTube.com/ChadHowseFitness