Sometimes you just need to go do something awesome. You need to burn the ships. Puff your chest out against an angry enemy. You don’t need an excuse, an explanation, or permission. You just need to go do it.
If you’re waiting on a spreadsheet to make the case for you, or logic or peer pressure or precedent, you’re destined to living a life that is insignificant. Life sometimes demands that you throw caution to the wind and go do something unreasonably remarkable.
The truth is that anyone can almost make it. You can go a little bit down the path towards triumph. You can fake the right determination, repeat the same motivational “mumbo-jumbo”, and pretend like they’re trying harder than you really are.
But there’s a difference.
You know it. And history remembers it.
History remembers your weakness, your mediocrity — what you could have done with the heart of a champion.
Maybe it’s time we go back to being primal. Maybe it’s time to pick up a club and fight for duty and honor and a future worth living in.
Maybe it’s time to be a bad-ass. Like Tlahuicole.
Tlahuicole was born in 1497 in one of the northern towns of Tlaxcala, Mexico in the days when the Aztecs laid claim to most of that corner of the world — before Hernando Cortez conquered them.
He was born to a royal family at the peak of the dominance of the Tlaxcala. Under the influence and leadership of his family they now controlled a confederacy of 21 small city-states.
Because he was part of nobility, he was sent to the Calmecac where he was put through rigorous battle training and taught to endure pain. As part of his ritualistic training, he was trained to endure torture without whimper or cry. Part priest, part warrior — he emerged from the academy as a zealous Aztec leader. Fearsome in battle, he as known for fighting with heavy clay clubs that he would bash into the heads of his opponents.
When Montezuma, the Aztec king, wanted to kill Tlahuicole’s people as a sacrifice to the sun god, he found himself fighting for his life. The war between the Aztecs and the out-matched Tlaxcans lasted for twenty long days — with Tlahuicole killing Montezuma’s son in combat and hundreds of elite warriors sent to kill him. The Aztec warriors finally captured Tlahuicole only after mortally wounding all of his soldiers and overpowering him in brute force.
Montezuma was so impressed by the carnage done by Tlahuicole that he pardoned him — offering him women and treasures to lead his Aztec army. But Tlahuicole refused. And demanded that he be sacrificed in combat like the other captives.
They led Tlahuicole to the gladiator arena and chained him by the foot to the Stone of Combat. He was stripped naked and handed an stone-studded war club. As we custom, the greatest Aztec warriors in the nation, called the Jaguar Knights, were given the honor of slaying him. As they set upon him from all sides, Tlahuicole fought with the vengeance of a man possessed.
Over a hour of hand-to-hand combat, Tlahuicole killed 8 of the knights and wounded 21 more that were sent into the arena after him. Even as he sank to his knees fatigued and wounded to the point of death, those who watched described him as a “mad man”.
An Aztec priest pushed aside the warriors waiting to execute him and ceremonially exalted the name of Tlahuicole: “From this day forward he shall be remembered as ‘tlahiloquichtli’. (The “rabid warrior”)
Forever history remembers the unconquerable spirit of a unrelenting warrior. One man willing to lay it all on the line.
Your mission isn’t to grab sword and spear and club and lunge mightily with gladiatorial rage at the oncoming hoard. It’s smaller than that. Less life-threatening. More refined.
It’s just to fight for your dreams.
To stand up for you. To believe that you are worth fighting for. To work a little bit harder.
You don’t need anyone else’s permission to do that. You can be awesome all by yourself.
So stop waiting for your sign or your calling or even one more degree. Just be incredible.
Live a life that challenges what you think is possible.
It won’t be easy and a lot of times it won’t be fun.
But it’s worth doing.
So why ask permission to get started?