“By rising to meet a challenge, you provide yourself with undeniable proof that you have what it takes to perform great acts.” — Gary Ryan Blair
There are two kinds of people, those who push and challenge themselves to finish strong…and those who do not.
Which one are you?
The truth is finishing strong is an everyday occurrence as there will never be a task, race, goal, day, quarter or year that does not come to an end.
This means finishing strong is not an act…it’s a habit.
Finishing Strong means challenging yourself to dig deep, suffer, and pay the price that victory demands…
It means testing your limits, and getting to the finish line on fumes because you gave everything you had in the tank.
A LESSON FROM ANCIENT GREECE
The word AGON in Greek is the root of our word “agony”.
It signifies the exertion of great effort while pursuing a goal or worthy challenge.
The Greeks tended to see pretty much everything in life as a challenge…as an opportunity to grow, mature, toughen up and evolve.
Agons (contests and challenges) were part of everyday Greek life…an important tool in the shaping and forging of character.
Each agon was designed to test one’s bodily or mental toughness and prowess in athletics, art, music, debate…all areas of life.
To personalize this concept…
Getting up in the morning to workout even when you’re tired is an agon…a daily battle between your desire to be in great shape and your desire to sleep in.
Doing your homework for an upcoming exam is an agon…so is a fight between your desire for good grades and your desire to play on social media or watch television.
The struggle not to eat that blueberry muffin or partake in that glass of wine is an agon.
Learning a new language or musical instrument is an agon.
A game of chess…as well as courtship is an agon where one person tries to win the other one’s heart.
The Greeks learned that life is one long string of agons…daily challenges that they were required to rise to and therefore incorporated them into their daily lives.
By doing so, they learned from an early age that all it takes to be successful is everything they had in their head, heart and hands.
They were masters at the art of finishing strong.
WHAT’S YOUR AGON?
When will your finest hour come, and more importantly…how will it arrive?
Do you really think it will materialize without an agon or challenge?
Do you think it’s even remotely possible to finish the year strong without digging deep…without testing and pushing your limits…without having to go above and beyond?
In the spirit of telling it like it is…
Most people will do not finish strong because they sandbag their efforts by mailing in one half-assed performance after another.
The truth is we’ve become a society of soft, wimpy, fearful, politically correct, entitlement driven, hyper-sensitive and convenience-addicted weenies.
But, here’s the thing…
Security, strength and prosperity comes from one thing…your ability to produce results, and you do that by making finishing strong a habit.
Every time you mail it in and offer up an excuse for not finishing strong…you weaken your personal power and make it that much easier for everyone to beat you.
Nothing of pride, significance or of any lasting value has ever been created by means of laziness, uncertainty, procrastination and excuse making…nor without an agon.
In short, an agon or challenge is a mandatory requirement for achieving your goals because it’s the only vehicle by which you find out your true capabilities and limitations.
LIVE THE THE STRENUOUS LIFE
My life and work has been greatly influenced by the words of Theodore Roosevelt, who in his 1899 speech “The Strenuous Life”…said,
“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”
The future 26th President of the United States of America was speaking both figuratively and literally here.
“The Strenuous Life” was a strident argument in favor of self-reliance, nationalism, and building character, among other things.
But in my opinion, Roosevelt was a modern day Greek philosopher who understood the value of an agon.
He was strongly in favor of challenging oneself…in actively facing fears and pursuing hard work that tested and strengthened the body as well as the mind, the soul, and the nation.
For most of my adult life, I’ve pursued what I consider to be the organizing principles of growth and lasting change…and can state the following with the certainty of a man holding four aces…
For an individual, team, company, community or country to truly become great…they must seek out and rise to the great challenges that are thrust upon them..and more importantly, the great challenges (agon’s) they thrust upon themselves.
So, I’ll ask it again…What’s Your Agon?
What’s that big, scary, challenging goal that calls out to you…the one that says…come and get me?
The world needs you…all of you, the courageous you, the bold, ambitious, fearless and unstoppable you.
Your time here is scarce…so stand up, put the phone down, step into the arena and always finish strong!
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Gary Ryan Blair is creator of the 100 Day Challenge…a radical approach to goal achievement that shows people how to achieve 10X size goals by applying the methods and best practices of growth hacking.