Action goes before greatness.

Greatness

George Mallory was a mountaineer. He took part in the British expeditions of climbing Mt. Everest back in the 1920’s. This was to be the first ascent to the highest mountain on earth. He and his climbing partner Andrew Irvine lost their lives on the North East ridge, 800 feet from the summit. Mallory was often asked “What is the use of climbing Mt. Everest? Why take the risk?”

“Because it’s there.” Was his reply

Mallory knew the risks involved in following his dream. He knew that most people thought he must crazy to pursue such a thing. He also understood a certain aspect about life that most people never will. He risked his life to live his life.

James “The Iron Cowboy” Lawrence is a record holding endurance athlete. He knew nothing of the sport, and ran his first 4 mile fun run on Thanksgiving along side his wife, who urged him to do it. She then signed him up for a marathon the following spring, without him knowing, and he struggled to finish it. He decided to not let it beat him. Ten years later, he now holds two world records in the triathlon. He wasn’t satisfied with that. He set out to do 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 states in 50 days. And did. An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. He did it all with 2 friends, his wife, and 5 kids in tow, helping him along the way. Why?

Why not.

When we see these masters of their craft achieve great things, it seems impossible. If you were to ask Mallory how he climbed so high, or Lawrence how he ran so far, they would tell you it’s something different, something between the ears. It’s sheer determination and drive. It’s a love for the challenge and thrill for the unknown. A true test of the mind, body, and spirit. Each would also tell you they had to start somewhere. It all begins with the first step. Then one more. Then one more.

Tim Ferris is a writer, among many other things, most famously known for his self-help books. He is constantly looking to break boundaries and achieve excellence in whatever he does. He loves the pursuit of knowledge. It is the one thing that you carry for a lifetime. He speaks 5 languages, many of which he taught himself. Why?

Because it’s there.

These people have achieved great things. Mankind is in constant pursuit of pushing the human race further. The ultimate goal is to push it, ever so slightly with each generation, closer to the creator. The path from God, to birth, back to God. I’m never going to climb Everest. It’s not in me. You may never run a single Ironman triathlon, and that’s OK. But there is something that we can do. Find what works, and go for it.

“Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, scientist, apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action. Your talents and creative work are a gift to the world. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

Steven Pressfield