Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

February 27, 2018


Your commitment is the difference between tepid success or massive personal breakthrough.

Your results are completely dependent on your commitment.

Right now — if you don’t like where you’re at, be committed to changing. Take the necessary steps to move yourself from where you are to where you want to be.

In our universe of first world problems, it’s easy to forget that picking up a shovel and beginning to dig is the obvious next step for most of the challenges in front of you.

No one knows that better that Shyam Lal.

He was a poor, hungry 15-year-old teen in Chhattisgarh, India, living in a village called Saja Pahad. A village trying to survive. They were subsistence farmers. Raising cattle and crops in order to stay alive.

It was back-breaking, hopeless work that got passed down from generation to generation. Always in fear of drought — which could wipe out an entire region of the country.

They had no road to the outside world. They were completely shut off. The government unwilling to provide any assistance. 

No roads. No deep wells. No medicine for their dying cattle or sick families.

Water was in short supply. The little that they had of it was pulled from wells that went dry all too soon.

Only to leave them with more disappointment. And death.

At 15, Shyam Lal decided to change things.

He picked up a spade and began to dig. Finding a spot in the forest that was more shaded than the open village living area, he picked up a shovel and started digging a hole.

It wasn’t a well. He was digging a lake. That’s what he told his friends and family.

Meanwhile, the other villagers laughed at him.  Their voices ripe with scorn. If the government couldn’t help them with its heavy machinery — to move mountains of dirt — how could one boy do anything of value.

After all, Shyam had to carry away the dirt each day by himself. It was impossible. Until you factor in the extraordinary power of commitment.

Shyam La picked up his shovel at 15 and started to dig.

And a day of commitment became two. And then three and four and five.

Soon he had been digging for a week. Then weeks. Then a  month. Then months.

Those months became a year. And a year became years. And those years become a decade.

And one decade became two. And then something magical happened.

Some 9,874 days after he picked up his spade on that first day to start digging a lake for his village, he stopped.

Now 42 years old, Shyam Lal had done the impossible.

Where sand and trees and vegetation once covered the earth, there was water.

An acre of it. And deep too.

It was a lake more than 15 feet deep. Started 27 years earlier to save his cattle and crops. With no help from his fellow villagers or the government.  

He just did it.

It makes no sense to look around and question why it’s taking you so long or where all your cheerleaders have gone.

Success is about you being committed. Being committed right now. In this moment.

Taking audacious steps. Digging one more shovel full.

Maybe 9,874 days in a row.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.