Brain Leather
Do the thing and you will have the power.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Vague at best. Yet ever since I first mouthed that sentence, it has crept into the stem that holds my brain in place with increasing frequency. I find myself subconsciously repeating this little statement when there is a hard decision to make. Maybe not even hard decisions, but ones that will require some effort on my part. Something that is easy to do, but just as easy not to. The small decisions that when made, keep us from having to make the big decisions.

Well here was a small decision. I needed to get the hell out of Denver and escape the heat of my festering neighborhood. I called a good buddy to see if he wanted to venture up to the high country to sling some arrows (that's what we tell our significant others at least) and for some general bullshitting. He's in.

Fifty arrows later, three worn out dogs and a roaring campfire with the conversation greased up by some Yuenglings, we get on one of my favorite conversations; the conversation of success.

Of course this starts off with hunting stories of our heroics, but my partially inebriated brain is drawing some correlations to success in more general terms. Work, family, love, and life. You know, the little things.

We go through the obvious culprits that breed success: Drive, hard work, being at the right place at the right time. Nothing new here. But that voice, that incessant voice that has been reverberating through my core says "Do the thing and you will have the power".

Enough already. I want the power, but what the hell is the thing? These damn riddles with their open ended interpretations. Give me the answer and I'll do whatever it takes. But we all know by now that it isn't the answer that matters, but the questions we ask.

I snap back into it as Shaun is discussing physical toughness, him being a personal trainer, it seems like the natural place to take the conversation.

"This attribute is what leads to success in the forest chasing game that we could never hope to match in strength. These animals do this for a living. They punch in to the clock the day they're born and don't punch out until my arrow slices through their heart or the nagging from their old lady makes them end it themselves. And all the time in between they are honing their skills to make me look like a fool while chasing them." he explained.

Meanwhile I sat behind a computer well into the night working towards the "worlds pastiest" award for computer nerds, I think to myself. I have to say I think I'm a step ahead of the competition.

"That can't be it. I have a better chance at winning the bronze medal in women's gymnastics than I do out performing an elk's physical toughness." I fire back through the haze.

"Glad to see you're still with us." comes Shaun's retort.

Ignoring this, I continued on. "You see, I'm often successful on my hunts. And I've thrown luck out the window when I heard Selma Hayek married that rich fella, so I refuse to believe it's that. As for physical strength, I agree it helps, but unless I punch an elk to death, it's not that either.

"Yea, but physical toughness is one of the ingredients for mental toughness." Shaun said.

"Now you're on it."

Mental toughness. Everything else is just a part of what leads to this. The thing. This is what separates the Cameron Haneses from the rest of us. This is what we strive to gain in the off season, gain with every naysayer attempting to crush our dreams because they refuse to chase theirs. We gain or lose this with every decision, whether we know it or not. Mental toughness, the THING!

Mental toughness is the stacking of experiences, physical toughness (depending on the situation), drive and above all our integrity. Yes integrity, the ability to be honest with ourselves. NEVER making excuses as to why we didn't succeed.

Excuses quite simply, are lies. Lies to ourselves to protect our egos and lies to those we seek to impress and/or hate to let down. Make them enough and we start to believe them to be true. We are creating our own reality after all.

We then become victims of our circumstances and don't take our lives into our own hands. We wait for others to hand us what we deem as "ours" by right. And if we don't get it, the fault is never our own. Instead we have an excuse in our back pockets ready to be pulled out when the first signs of hard work are in site.

Do the thing and you will have the power... DO. Not "I'll give it my best shot" and  when I can't accomplish it, I'll have an excuse ready to cuddle my poor ego and tell it that everything will be alright. DO THE THING.

"You with me there buddy?" I heard Shaun through the fire.

A sharp pain in my stomach faded me back into reality.

I felt the landing gear settle into place. Stewardesses prepare for landing, we're bringing this bird down.

"Uh... yea. I'm here." I paused. "I have to go do the thing."

Shaun gave me a puzzled look as I walked towards the truck to grab a roll of toilet paper.

"I'm going to go do the thing behind that bush... Maybe tomorrow it'll give me the power." I mutter behind me as I waddled off into the woods.

Not sure, but I think I may have missed the point of what Ralph meant.

// Fred