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Man Law #65 – Stay Focused, Maintain “Grim Determination!”


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Every plan fails once you engage the enemy.” – Sun Tzu

Or as Mike Tyson put it:

Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouf” – Mike Tyson

Athletes tend to be the ones that visibly display this focus, however, all individuals that have succeeded in the upper realms of their field no what it is to have this supreme confidence in the outcome.

You see the look on the faces of the greatest athletes of all time, the best businessmen and women, and people at the top of their field – a hyperawareness and focus, a look not of anger but one of supreme command over one’s self. A Mental Toughness.  The look of “grim determination.”

The ability to see task through is one that will allow you to master any and everything. Whether you are mastering an instrument, horseback riding, or just trying to make the fanciest drink at the bar, you have to enter a state that blast through any resistance in your way and quiets your subconscious mind of defeat and self-doubt.

Chances are, you have entered this state of mind. Whether you were studying for the SATs, GREs, a final exam that you had to pass or about to go out for an audition, submit a book proposal, or release a new song, you already know what it means to have this grim determination. It’s the underlying belief that “If I don’t get this done, nobody is going to do it for me.” It’s a sense that you need to control your emotions from becoming overly happy or overly sad. That you will survive whatever obstacles come in your way.

I keep the following speech given by Al Pachino in A Whole Nine Yards. It might be the greatest inspirational speech ever given to those who need to stay focused. I have it bookmarked on my computer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4tIrjBDkk


Despite the fact that this is a movie about football, the speech can be applied to anything you hope to accomplish whether its lifting a weight, sticking with a diet, getting into grad school, or simply resisting the need to go out when you know you have to get something done.

Rickson Gracie, arguably the BEST practitioner of Brazilian JiuJitsu has the look of "grim determination." Even after winning the fight, he remains calm in seeing the outcome through to the end.

I like to think of myself as an “Optimistic Realist”. I hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It’s this type of mental toughness that will pull you through tough times.

How far are you willing to fight and die for that inch?

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  1. Pushkin
    November 28, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Apparently I need to watch more women’s pole vaulting. Sweet Lord.

    • DJ Long
      November 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm

      i love women’s track athletes… such amazing bodies, confidence and determination… and amazing bodies… uh, did i mention amaizng bodies…

  2. November 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Let us hope for Mankind’s sake that she won that college scholarship!

  3. DJ Long
    November 29, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I also live by the motto: “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” In my line of work it is moe the important to have the mentality of staring the beast down and attacking it before it attacks you. There have been many times were I acted quickly and decisively to ensure the saftey of hundreds in the past and often had to go “see the Man” sticking to my guns and the facts and gained more trust in my skill and ability. However, there have been many who have stated it well in times of distress:

    Chesty Puller, USMC – “So, they’ve got us surrounded, good! nowwe can fire in any direction, those bastards won’t get away this time!”
    – “We’re surrounded. That simplifies the problem!”
    Maj Holdredge, USMC – “Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a sledge-hammer”

    Get after your goals and tasks in full force. I’ve come to the conclusion some years ago that the phrase “Everything happens for a reason” is straight BS. So, I live by the motto that “Everything happens because of a decision.” Make it happen…

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