I Gotta Be Me

I Gotta Be Me - Raw - ResizeAnyone who does regular physical activity has likely run across at least one modern hard-core guru. The most famous are:

— Jocko Willink, 20 years a Navy SEAL, New York Times #1 Best Selling Author, podcaster, and CEO of his company, Echelon Leadership.

— David Goggins, another retired Navy SEAL, author of “Can’t Hurt Me”. His two interviews with Joe Rogan have over six million views on YouTube.

These guys are tough. Super tough. A few of their quotes tell the story:

Goggins: “There is no better way to grow as a person than to do something you hate every day.” … “Suffering is the true test of life.”

Willink: “It’s not what you preach. It’s what you tolerate.” … “Don’t fight stress. Embrace it.”

I have tremendous respect for both gentlemen. Their military service is the reason I live free. Their athletic accomplishments are amazing. They’ve motivated thousands of folk to get off the couch (although Goggins says “Motivation is crap”). The principles they teach are valuable guides for much of life.

Still, I can’t allow myself to feel guilty for not emulating them.

News Flash – I’ve never been a Navy SEAL. I’m a slightly-older-than-middle age man who’d like to lose five pounds, who enjoys swimming, running, and riding a bike. Key word: “enjoys.” I don’t want to hate it every day. As for suffering … Yeah, it happens, but I avoid it when possible. And hitting the road is what I do to relieve – not increase – the stress level.

Not that I’m a slug. I work out six days a week, sometimes twice a day. There are pool sessions, track workouts, long runs, cycling, and strength training – by which I mean lifting moderate weights while watching Jeopardy.

And quotes? Here are a couple of mine: “Look. An inaugural 5K. Maybe none of the fast people will show up and I can place in my age group.” Or “Hurray! I only walked through the water stops this time.”

So, you’re right, David, I’m not that one in a hundred you talk about who’s a warrior. That would be Jocko, you, and many of your followers, some of whom I know personally and admire. I’m more of a fitness lover. And that’s OK. Because I gotta be me.


  1. Even as a mere “fitness lover” I see a glimpse of the warrior in you, Steve. You use your body vigorously and it’s no coincidence that you have one of the most vigorous minds of anyone I’ve known. William James said “The strenuous life tastes better.” That quote makes no sense to the sedentary man, but to the athlete who has experienced the mind/body rewards of a life fully lived it says it all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s