5 Old School Dudes Who Inspire You To Work Your Ass Off

During my high school days, history lessons were the best excuses to doze off in class.

Fast forward twelve years later.

Here I am, telling you to study history. Because historical figures tell us how to succeed, and have a great (read: badass) attitude that make people remember you — sometimes even after a few thousand years.

Here are 5 old school dudes (read: historical figures) who are true inspirations to humanity. They are responsible for proverbially kicking my butt hard so that I work hard to achieve my dreams.

By the end of this post, I hope you are inspired. I hope you will not only get a dose of motivation, but also be inspired enough to take massive action.

Because if these folks who had no Google and iPhones can succeed, there’s just no reason you and me cannot.

1) Ludvig van Beethoven

Man, this dude had lots of talent, but what makes him stand out is his badass attitude.

Most of us know him as the crazy composer who would shout loudly at people because of his deafness.

However what we didn’t know about him is that his musical talents did not show any signs of slowing down despite his deteriorating hearing. Why?

How can a musician continue to write music when he loses his hearing?

Well, Herr Beethoven is not an ordinary dude. If he doesn’t hear his music, he bit on a metal rod that connected to his piano soundboard and “hear” from his jawbone vibration.

What if when there’s no pianos around? Easy, he simply “hear” his music in his head.

Of course it is not easy for the grand master.

But Beethoven continued to write beautiful music. Because he loved his art so much, that deafness was merely something he chose to dismiss as an “annoying problem”.

Lesson Learned from Ludvig Van Beethoven

Facing some setbacks and failures? Learn ways to overcome them, and continue to kick butt. NOTHING can stop us from chasing our dreams.

2) Claude Monet

If losing your hearing is disastrous to a musician, losing your eyesight is equally catastrophic to a painter.

Except Monsiour Monet who couldn’t have gave less crap about his eye problems.

At the age of 74, Monet started to develope cataracts in his eyes (a disease that makes your vision blurry). If this happened to anybody else, they would probably think:

“Hey, this is a sign that I should stop painting. At 74 I am old enough, my time is up!”

But these are utter nonsense to the great artist.

While Monet was not at all stoked that his vision has turned blurry, he did the unthinkable:

“If my vision is becoming blurry, I am going to paint blurry pictures!” *

(* Not the actual words said by the artist. I totally made this up. But Monet totally painted blurry (but great) pictures.)

He shown no signs of slowing down. He even repainted some of his pictures in between cataract surgeries.

And guess what? His blurry pictures are still prized collections of art lovers.

Lesson Learned from Claude Monet

In a crisis? These may be hidden opportunities in disguise. Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

3) Sun Tzu — The Art of War

Sun Tzu was THE military strategist of all times.

Most folks know him as the dude who wrote The Art of War, but nobody realized what an epic badass he was.

Because Sun Tzu was a super disciplined dude. So disciplined that he would kill for the sake for discipline.

And by “kill”, I mean this:

He turned his potential employer’s girl friends into tasty, juicy, mouth watering human burger patties.

Because he’s making a point: he takes no shit from anybody.

Sun Tzu was attending an interview session by his potential employer — the Emperor of Wu. And like most evil HR directors, the Emperor didn’t buy Sun Tzu’s story about how great his military strategies are.

So the Emperor decided to be cheeky, “If you can train my 180 concubines (read: girlfriends) to form an army, you will get your job.”

To his surprise, Sun Tzu said, “Piece of cake. Watch me.”

But the ladies laughed at Sun Tzu. He then repeated his orders, “Ladies, may I so kindly request you all to face your right hand side please? Indulge me please?”

Of course the ladies laughed loudly. So Sun Tzu just can’t take anymore of these nonsense. He became so pissed and pointed to the 2 of the emperor’s favorite girl friends, and thundered:

“Off with their heads!”

So the 2 poor girls were turned into burger patties. This scared the hell out of the other concubines. Long story short, Sun Tzu totally terrorized them and made the 178 remaining concubines followed his orders like a puppet master.

And of course, he got his job.

What We Can Learn from Sun Tzu

I am not saying you should flip out and kill people just to make a point. You shouldn’t.

But you can be as principled and as disciplined as Sun Tzu.

Sun Tzu was willing to do what it takes, and show that he was the most badass dude around to lead an army.

But there will always be naysayers around us. They would always say, “Why don’t you try getting a REAL job?”, “This idea is stupid.”, or “Are you crazy? You are going to fail.”

Pay no attention to them, the last thing we need in life is yet another person exploding negative vibes around you. Instead, work harder than every single of your competitors.

Lesson Learned from Sun Tzu

Show the naysayers you are more badass than Sun Tzu, and they are just clueless. Proverbially kick them in the butt by showing them your ACTIONS.

4) Soichiro Honda

No, not the E-Honda sumo wrestler from Street Fighters.

But Soichiro Honda was a great fighter himself. He was the founder of Honda Corporation — but before that he was an “epic failure”.

Here are some of his notable “failures”:

i) Honda Had Lousy Foundry Skills

Soichiro Honda tried to manufacture piston rings in his foundry. He invested ALL of his savings (and pawned his wife’s jeweleries) — hoping that Toyota Corporation would buy them.

The result?

Out of the 30,000 piston rings he produced, Toyota only accepted 50 for for consideration. Out of the 50 pieces, 3 whopping pieces passed quality control tests.

That is a agonizing 0.01% success rate.

Just imagine the Toyota executives’ jeers that crushed Honda’s hopes.

ii) The Race Car in Flames

While the Toyota folks were playing with Honda’s piston rings, the man himself was testing his invention: a new engine cooling mechanism for his racing car — in a REAL race.

Honda was on full throttle, pumping gas into his engine like no tomorrow. His car tore through the race course like tearing toilet paper.

But it all went up in flames when the winning car just in front of him suddenly stopped.

His car was gone forever. And Honda was hospitalized with some serious injuries: a dislocated shoulder, fractured left arm and a disfigured face.

Did Soichiro Honda give up making cars and motorbikes?

Of course not. With a badass motivation made mountains crumble, Honda recovered and continued to kick butt.

Then his factory was completely destroyed — 3 freaking times.

iii) The Factory That Has 9 Lifes

The man was at it again — his piston rings finally gets Toyota’s approval and he was supplying 40% of all Toyota’s piston rings.

Then President Truman decided it was a good time to drop some bombs in Yamashita — TWICE. (It was World War II)

Honda had to rebuild his factory after every bombing. Can you imagine what type of motivation this dude has in his mind?

Just when he thought the crazy Yankees finally ran out of bombs, mother nature decided to play a real sick prank on Honda’s factory — this time by an earthquake.

But bombs and earthquakes just won’t shake Honda’s confidence. That’s why Honda Corporation is a multi billion dollar conglomerate. (And it’s also why I drive and love with my Honda) :)

Lesson Learned from Soichiro Honda

Every time you have a set back or challenge, realize that Soichiro Honda went through a humiliating rejection by Toyota, a totally botched car race, broken limbs and destroyed factories.

If he didn’t give up, why should we?​

5) Roger Bannister

For decades, sport experts believed that running a mile (about 1.6 km) under 4 minutes is physically impossible for human beings.

They just “KNEW” that 4 minutes is a “brick wall” of peak human performance limits.

And people believed these so called experts 101%. In the 1940s the world record for the 1 mile run was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds.

Until Roger Bannister, then 25, decided all these believes are pure, raw bullshit.

To cut a long story short, Roger Bannister broke the world record by running 1 mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

All the experts’ jaws dropped to the floor and went out of business. When the presenter boomed through the microphone:

“…The time was three minu…..”

The 3000 strong audience roared so excitedly that an earthquake erupted from the tremor. Oops, sorry for the exaggeration. They thought it was an earthquake.

But even more amazing things happened since Roger Bannister ran the first sub 4 minutes mile.

Within a year, John Landy (another runner) also broke the 4 minute mile record. Nowadays, many good high school athletes can run sub-4 minute miles, no big deal.

What We Can Learn From Roger Bannister

How many times did someone tell you something like these:

“You are destined to be an employee, go study hard, get good grades and get a job”, “No, you have no talent in this, be an employee and be safe”.

What about this one?

“No, you are not going to be rich for your whole life.”

I heard this so many times, but I know for a fact that it is just a bunch of bull.

Well, the experts told Roger Bannister that he will never run 1 mile under 4 minutes, too. He just assumed that they are wrong.

Sometimes, family and friends with good intentions try to protect us from failure. It is completely understandable, but most of the time they are wrong.

Because they are not experts in you. You are.

Anything worth doing will seem completely insane and impossible to achieve at the start. Expect set backs and expect failures, see what didn’t go well, and pick up your pace and try again.

Lesson Learned from Roger Bannister

Anything worth doing will seem completely insane and impossible to achieve at the start. People will jeer and persuade you to abandon your “crazy ideas”.

Ignore them — be the Roger Bannister of your field.

Be More Pumped Up Than Ever

If people who didn’t have iPhones and Google were that awesome, there’s no reason we can’t be awesomer than these dudes.

They were all super confident in their believes, and refuse to budge on their principles. And they were willing to do what is NECESSARY to achieve their dreams — not just what is CONVENIENT.

How Are You Going to Achieve Your Dream?

By now, I hope you are inspired. I hope your motivation levels are burning brightly.

I also hope you are going to take massive actions to achieve your dreams.

Let me know in the comments — What are your dreams? What are you going to do right now to achieve them?

Be tough. Be mentally invincible. And I will see you at the top.


Originally published at www.thebadassmind.com on August 20, 2015.

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