“It is better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand as a lamb.”
Take a minute to process that…just think about what that quote means. If you’re like me, and I bet many of you are, that quote stirs something in your soul. It tugs at your mind and your heart. It inspires one to wonder, to hope, and to dream. Dream of what, you might ask? Of a life that inspires, a life of passion and wonder, a life that is truly legendary. Of a life that is probably much different than the one you lead now.
Confession time…I feel much more like a lamb than a lion. For years now I have felt lost, apathetic, in a word uninspired. I trudge through life, dreading waking up in the morning and going to work, wishing my day to pass faster, and then retreating into books, movies, and whatever fantasies I can conjure when I have a free moment. I lack passion, I lack drive, and most of all I lack courage. I feel like a failure to my wife, my friends, and my family, not to mention my lackluster performance at work, and I have been too scared to confront that. I have been afraid of what really living life requires and it sickens me.
Today I came across this quote and it struck me. It hit right to the core of the thoughts and feelings that have been swirling up inside of me. It appeared to me on another website geared towards twenty something men and was accompanied by a photo of the WWII invasion of Normandy. The picture is a famous one, from the perspective of the landing crafts, the G.I.’s swarming into surging surf and storming the blood soaked beach. Many men gave their life that day, good men and bad men, men that felt life so strongly that they would do anything to defend it, including losing theirs. I can’t even imagine the fear and courage that those young men must have felt, but their actions inspire me.
Our own battles may seem less epic, less dangerous , but don’t fool yourself, the story of your life and the journey of young men today is no less harrowing and no less costly. We are all dying. That is a fact that we cannot argue with, that we can deny, but never refute. We only have a certain amount of heartbeats in this life and most of us wish away the bulk of them. We keep hoping that one day we’ll find that passion, one day we’ll find our purpose, one day we’ll take that step, but instead we commit suicide by inaction. We fail even to take that first step on our journey of life, content to float along and accept whatever life dribbles down to us. The great men of history, Ben Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, Dick Winters, and so many others were not content to drift along aimlessly, they saw life as an adventure, a quest that could only be taken through contemplation and passion. They were not satisfied with the “safe” life of a sheep, they sought to be lions. They sought to be men who could look back on their lives and smile, knowing that regardless of whatever mistakes they made, they lived life…they really lived.
What does this have to do with me? With you? Possibly nothing. We could both decide to keep on keeping on, muddling through life waiting for our big break, or maybe we could decide to start living life and trying to be the best damn men we can be. For me this means deciding what my passion is, what my purpose is, and where my heart wants to go. Like I said, I am lost in a dark wood right now, the path of my life lies up ahead through this dense forest out of sight, it’s up to me to fight my way out. It is up to us to decide that each and every day we will no longer be weak lambs, but strong, upright lions. That we are willing to make a stand and truly live, even if it means facing literal or metaphorical death. For me one of my first steps is going out on a limb and starting this blog/website to document, encourage, and share the journey that we are embarking on.
I love writing, it is a passion of mine and it gives me purpose. Sadly, I have let the daily grind wear me down and snuff out my passion. No more. No longer will I give in to the fear of putting my soul out here to share, I will not give in to the nagging doubts and the inner voices that tell me no one cares about what I think. It is my intent to start this blog to discover what is takes to truly embrace life and grow to be a man of greatness. I hope to do this in a community of men, and women, through this forum. It’s not a terribly unique idea, there are many other websites and blogs related to the same ideas (artofmanliness.com and chadhowsefitness.com, to name a couple). My hope though is to focus on a wider array of topics as they relate to what it means to be a man in today’s society. I will not only give glimpses into my own personal experiences, but also will write about what manliness is, skills from the past and present, and what it takes to be extraordinary in all aspects of our lives. I also welcome guest posts from any writer who wishes to contribute, I truly want to include as many voices as possible and focus on all aspects of manhood and the journey.
The title of this post comes from the South Carolina state motto, I heard it in passing as I sat down to write and it too captured the attitudes that I am feeling. I am alive and while I am still breathing, I have hope that we can be the men of history, men whose lives echo long after we are gone, because we decided to live with purpose and passion. Next post I will delve a little deeper into what I think it means to live like a lion, what virtues and attitudes we need to adopt to survive on this journey. I hope you will join me, life is too short to cower in the background, I for one am storming the beach and I plan to fight for my life. Come on…