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Fear Of Dying On A Treadmill

Will Smith on the Laws of Success

The most interesting quote: “The only thing different about me is that I’m not afraid of dying on a treadmill.”

Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s laws of personal success?

1) Have clearer goals than anyone else

2) Believe in yourself more than anyone else.

3) Work harder than anyone else.

One way or another, I have heard the same words from so many different directions, whenever I run into people who have built companies, changed public opinion, conquered adversity, transformed their lives, built empires of art or science. Not “talent” or “luck” or even “intelligence.” But laser like, monomaniacal focus. And in my mind, the only thing it is safe to focus on that way, if you want to have a life in this world, is balance. Even focusing on God can lead to isolation and inability to function for family or society, lead to self-righteous prejudice and an acceptance of suffering in others. Seen too much of that.

“I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.”

That is a level of clarity that most human beings can only marvel at. And anyone with that kind of clarity will produce results others consider magical.

One interpretation is rather literal, that in life there are obligations, and we must address them regardless of the temporary pain: we all have our position in life, and must fulfill it.

I remember I used to run on the trail at Life University.

At around a mile and a half, my body would give me all kinds of “you’re about to die” symptoms. Because I was perfectly healthy, I decided to ignore those feelings. In fact, my attitude was: “if I’d die running, I’d probably die later today anyway. If I die, let me die living my life on my terms.”

And what do you know? At about 2.5 miles, after several minutes of suffering… the pain went away. And I got into a new groove, second wind. And as days went past, although the barrier was always there, it grew thinner and thinner, with less and less suffering… until one day it was just voices and phantom aches that never really manifested at all. That was great. I loved it. Never really went above running five miles three times a week, but that was all I needed, and it powered every other aspect of my life.

Not afraid to die on a treadmill. Not afraid to be laughed at. Not afraid to be first. Not afraid to exceed society’s expectations. Not afraid to speak an unpopular truth. Not afraid to have faith in things for which I have little or no logical proof. You gotta learn to trust your hunches. And what mine tell me is that most of the voices saying “stop!” are lying to us, when going forward represents growth and strength. But damn, those voices can be convincing.

Dr. Carey N. Pabouet-Sigafoose

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