Chapter 4 of the One Life Manifesto: Relentlessness. Grab my full book on Amazon.
Let’s talk about being relentless in your pursuit of excellence. In your lifetime, you will go through both positive and negative experiences. How you handle these negative critical experiences will be an indication of your character, your hardiness, and your ability to carry through in the face of adversity. How you get knocked down and how you stand up will determine how driven you are.
I’ve had several situations in my life that have set me back, including my recent eye surgery. It tested my ability to push forward. Most people might curl into a ball in my situation and give up. Being relentless is about pushing through and finding a way to carry forward. This is my relentless execution to continue to create material even if I can’t use my sight as effectively. I can still use my voice to record these words via audio. It’s about adapting to your circumstances.
If you are relentless, you are able to take on a negative circumstance, embrace it and move past it like it wasn’t even there. Your graciousness in handling obstacles is a determinant of your hardiness, your relentless drive and your level of relentlessness. So, when you are thinking about a negative situation in your life that’s taking a toll on you, the question is, how do you push forward? How do you move past the obstacle? How do you handle it? This is an indication of your character. Do you give up or do you carry on? You leave a much better legacy if you carry forward and you are relentless. You will lead a better life if you carry forward and you are relentless.
Since the age of seven, I have dealt with adversity. Losing vision of my left eye and being told what I can and cannot do, then having limits placed on me at a very young age, I had to adjust and learn to excel in other areas. So, I took into consideration the fact that I was good at school and that was my strength. I excelled in school because I needed to channel my drive in this area to overcome my struggle. I needed to keep me occupied in light of the negative circumstances.
So, what else can you do to channel your energy to be relentless? To give it your all? What can you give your all into? What can you devote your time?
Relentlessness is neverending. You might have a 9-to-5 job, but if you are relentless, you are doing something from 6 pm to 11 pm. To midnight. To 1 or 2 in the morning. You do what you must to carry forward. You have a determined passion. If you are one of those people who does not stop in the evenings, who creates, who accomplishes, who continues to put things forward at night, you are a relentless individual. Somebody not to be reckoned with. It’s a very powerful character trait that will serve you well for many years ahead.
The clock does not stop for you. Your day does not end when you punch that clock. Your day just begins. Find that item, that hobby, that interest, that pursuit, that venture that will take you to the next level in your spare time. Your leisure time should be filled with productive activities. If you are relentless, you will continue to work towards a common goal in your life. All relentless individuals continue to work late hours into early mornings. They execute until they finish.
School teaches us to have structure. Work teaches us to have structure – 9-to-5. Every single day of the weekday. School is similar. Similar schedule all through elementary and high school. Similar structure. None of these vehicles of productivity teach you what you should do after you finish school or work.
What are you doing afterwards? You are free to decide what you do. You may choose to work on your homework. You may choose to watch TV. You may choose to go and eat out.
You may choose to sit there and do nothing and just relax in the sunlight. You have freewill to do as you please. But if you are relentless, you know what you must do and you push forward. The structures of these vehicles – school and work – do not hold you back. In fact, you look forward to working hard after school and work to continue your productive journey. Because you are relentless and you look forward to that window of opportunity.
The unstructured time is the time that you structure to optimize productivity. To optimize what you can accomplish in this world. To optimize how you can make a difference in this world. You are passionate during your unstructured hours. Passionate to accomplish something else outside of the norms. Consider what you do past 9-to-5. Past school hours. Consider what you do and consider finding an interest that will make an impact on this world. When you think about it, you only have one life to make a difference in this world. Do you want to be relaxing? Is it your time to relax? Have you earned relaxation? Have you earned the right to do nothing, to sit there and be quiet? Have you left your mark on this world? If you have not, you may wish to reconsider how you spend that time.
You may wish to reconsider all the activities that you do in the evening and determine if they are necessary. Are they relentless activities to push you towards a productive, meaningful life or are they easy activities? Activities that do not challenge you? Activities that are comfortable for you? Lying in bed watching TV – that’s a comfortable activity. Is that something that you should be doing? Do you feel good after watching TV? Do you feel like you have made a difference? Can you honestly look back at the time spent and say that it was a good use of your time? Was it relentless execution of a meaningful activity?
My speech here is not to make you feel guilty for how you spend your time. It’s more to open your mind to realize how much time you do have to pursue activities that may be challenging. There is quite a bit of time in evenings and mornings to accomplish what you would like. You always have an opportunity to start now. To change your schedule now. You don’t need to dwell on what you did in the past. If you do it now and in the future, that matters. Mostly now. You can look at your busy schedule and say: is that activity something that I need to continue to do or can someone else do it or can I eliminate it. In all likelihood it may be an activity that you can just scrap away.
We tend to have quite a few activities to fill our day. It’s not necessarily productive to be busy, especially when most of those activities are not furthering yourself. Not furthering yourself towards goals. Not furthering yourself towards objectives or meaningful tasks accomplished. Being busy is not necessarily being productive. So, determine if the activities that are filling your day are draining you or bringing you down. You can take a few hours in a day of focus and accomplish more than someone else with an unfocused 8 hours in a day. It allows you to do even more because you have 24 hours to complete different tasks. So, if you have 8 focused hours on meaningful tasks, imagine what you could accomplish in a year.
The average human does not have a productive 8 hours when they spend it at the water cooler. In the lunchroom. At another desk. In a meeting. At a classroom. Passively listening. Dozing off to sleep. Running on caffeine. Those are not productive hours when your mind is not fully engaged in what you are doing. You may as well sleep in, get enough sleep and eliminate the caffeine. Eliminate the unfocused, stressful tasks so that you have a couple more hours for quality productivity. You can get those productive hours. You can start on your path to relentless execution. If you start looking at your 8-hours-a-day at the workplace and ask: am I giving it my all or am I approaching it carelessly? You may wish to readjust.
I believe that if you are working for somebody, then you should give it your all. And you may not be at 100% every day. But you have the privilege of providing value to somebody else. You have the privilege of accomplishing a lot for someone. And if you choose to work for someone, you should give them your all. You should be relentless in your tasks throughout the day. You should be there. You should be present. You should be giving your best.
Because in return you are given wealth. Wealth allows the ability to live as you may. The ability to buy things, such as transportation, food and clothes. You could live off of food alone and perhaps get shelter from someone. But you do need some wealth in order to survive. To at least purchase food, to be able to solve your hunger every day. So, if someone gives you the opportunity to work for them and not be hungry, you should be grateful. You should be hard-working.
You have a duty to be hungry for them in return. Be relentless for them as they are solving your basic needs. They are putting the necessary wealth in your pocket so that you can thrive. So, when you are thinking that your job is not the best situation or you are in an unfortunate situation, think about the fact that someone is giving you an opportunity to solve your hunger.
Think about the privilege it is to be able to afford commodities and luxuries in life and then re-consider how you approach those 8 hours and how your mindset is towards your job. How your attitude is towards your job. You should be positive. If you are not, leave. As someone else is more than happy to take your place and solve their hunger, to be relentless for their employer. The individual solving their needs. Step aside and let others carry forward. For if you are not relentless in your 8 hours, five times a week, or however many hours you are paid every day, you are not delivering the best of your ability. If you think that you are leaving space in the tank, re-consider how you are approaching your job. You should be grateful. You should be thankful. You should be proud of your situation and what you have accomplished thus far.
There are plenty of people out there who wish they were in your shoes. Who wish they had what you have. No question, you have an opportunity. If you are relentless you will see success for you. You may not be happy now with your current situation. However, if you are relentless, others will take notice. And you will automatically push forward and you will get what you want.
However, if there is any hesitation in your step, others will realize it and they will say: this individual is not relentless and not determined to make a difference.
Stand out, stand up, take initiative, take it on. By the end of the day, be exhausted. Be so exhausted that when you lie on your bed, you will have no interest in watching TV. You will only have an interest in falling asleep for 6-7 hours so that you are ready and willing and waiting for the next day. So that you can deliver your relentless effort again the next day.
Every day should be a day of exhaustion. Every day should be like a day in Egypt. You are walking through the desert and you need to walk for miles just to get one glass of water. You should be feeling exhaustion every day. This is an indicator that you are working hard. You are passionate. You are producing meaningful material. You are finishing meaningful activities. You are making a difference in this world. You are helping others if you look at life that way. Even though you are exhausted at the end of it, you are excited for the next day. You are excited by every day. You are excited by the tired journey. That is a great feeling to have. A feeling free of guilt that you wasted your life. As that is not something to do is to waste your life and have a life of regret. That is not what you want. You don’t want to look back and say: I regret that. You want to look forward and say: everything I do is going to make a difference to somebody.
It does not matter what job you have or what you are right now. You have the opportunity to help others. To make a difference for others, whatever your role. Even if you are a janitor or a cashier, consider why it is important, what you are doing. Keeping things clean so that people can live disease- and sickness-free in the classrooms as you are cleaning the halls. That’s a pretty important task and you should be forever grateful that you are in that situation. Ringing items through the till, you are allowing people to solve their hunger as they are buying their food. You are providing a great service. You should be grateful.
It does not matter what your role. What you are doing is important and you have a right to put in the utmost effort to make a difference. Relentless execution in all of your activities will result in significant satisfaction. Relentless execution will result in reward for your efforts. You will not need to ask. It will just be given to you. As you lead by example and you put in the effort until exhaustion, others will take notice. You will definitely be rewarded. You already are as you have the opportunity to be relentless, to put in time, to give to others. You are already given an opportunity and you may as well make the most of it and not waste a second. Relentlessness is your key to what you want in life. Never stop, keep moving forward, exhaust yourself and be ready for the next day.