Wanted Still: Men With Bones Of Steel

“Sir, I am a Navy man. Where I come from, there are no oceans. Only dirty farms and ornery mules! And no self-respecting Navy man makes a living driving mules…M-My name is…Boatswain’s Mate Second Class… C-C-Carl Brashear. I am a Navy diver…So I’m asking this: Cut off my leg and assemble a full medical review board four weeks from today. It is then that I will demonstrate that I am fit to return to full diving duty…Sir, I promise, if I am killed at sea, I will make every effort to die like a Navy man.”

A young boy watches as his Dad works the plow on their farm. He wants to quit school so he could work in the farm and thus prevent it from financial ruin. Dad is opposed to his son being “like him” but allows him to help. Son grows up and leaves town to join the Navy. As he’s leaving, Dad bellows to him to be the best, even if it means breaking the rules:

“Don’t! Don’t you ever come back here! Get in there and fight. Don’t take promises. Burst their all rules if you have to. And when it gets hot, and it will, don’t quit on me. Ever! Now, go on. Don’t come back here.”

The above synopsis is from the movie “Men of Honour.” It’s a compelling, gripping account of will and determination; a triumphant story of a man and his determination to defy the odds. It’s about an ambitious African-American navy diver whose iron will fought discrimination and who later became the first ever African-American Master diver in the United States Navy.

When I first watched this blockbuster (for about two-and-a-quarter hours), I came off with a moral: To the indomitable, any goal is attainable. History is made by those who break the rules. And Carl Brashear is a classic archetype of a man with bones of steel.

A man must be relentless. Resilient. Indomitable. His spirit must be strong. The real measure of a man is not where he’s reached in life, but the odds he’s overcome to get there. The number and quality of battles a man fights and wins is indicative of the strength of his character. It defines the kind of victor he is.

Thick-skin Success

I opine that a man is not really successful till his success is “thick-skinned.” Let me explain.

There’s something I call “thick-skin success.”

It’s success against stifling odds.

It’s success covered with scars from fierce battles.

It’s success gotten from hard contests.

It’s success in spite of tickly troubles.

It’s success notwithstanding tempestuous tides.

“Thick-skin success” comes at a price. A price premised on indomitable disposition. It comes to a person who has developed bones of steel that conditions him to keep fighting till he wins.

I’m not writing as a successful person who has gained mastery over life’s painful blows and is now rolling out a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” Not at all. I’m writing as a comrade who’s on the same journey to achieve something significant. It’s been a long journey. Several times I’ve gasped for breadth. Many times I’ve had to stop to rest by the side of the road so I could gather strength to continue. I have been weathered by the elements of nature. The sun has smitten me in the day. The moon has ‘bitten’ me at night. Still I thrust on – with wobbling legs and a lethargic body that push against inertia.

I’m in the struggle. I’m bleeding. Bleeding from wounds that life daily inflicts on me. I’m quivering. Quivering from heavy and painful buffets that life daily throws at me. May I say again that I do not write as a successful person who has gained mastery over life’s painful blows and is now rolling out a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” No; not at all. I write as someone who has set sail, but is rowing hard against angry and turbulent wind.

So I hold a picture in my mind as I write – picture of a scrubby, scrawning seedling struggling to break forth and out of a hard ground. I feel you in my ink if you fit into this picture. You’ve got thick-skin. And you’re going all out to get thick-skin success. Regardless.

It is spelt S-t-i-c-k-a-b-i-l-i-t-y!

When you step out to fulfill your dreams, you will face many things that would pull you back. You’ll encounter pessimists. Scoffers. Scorners. Betrayers. Sell-outs. You’ll have pain. You’ll taste “death.” You’ll wade through darkness. Sometimes gross darkness. Time and again you’ll tear through thick fogs, layer after layer, and mile after mile, on this chilly tempestuous sea called Life, in grandiose anticipation of arriving at the land of your dreams. Courage, fellas. Courage.

Nothing boosts an athlete’s never-say-die spirit like screams of “c’mon” that bellow so loud from the grandstand. But I would have you know that there will be times when you’d hear no voices from the shore to orient you. So you’ll solely need to exclusively rely on the voice from within to trudge on. Finances will be low. And slow. Your first steps may not produce the expected results. Your plans may not fit into the devised timescale. Things will fall apart. The center might not hold. Your projection might skid off the plotted trajectory. Often times you’d despair of life. And it could be so overwhelming that you would want to quit.

But whatever obstacles you face, you must develop ability to scale the walls. You must learn to hang on. To hang in. To go nowhere. When the challenge is hardest, keep going. You must develop capacity to handle “momentary disruptions.” I call this capacity s-t-i-c-k-a-b-i-l-i-t-y.

You may look fragile to people. Or you may think you’re fragile. Or you may know you’re actually fragile. Whatever. Here are some closing thoughts and advice I consider worthwhile for you to know and believe:

• Inside your supposedly wiry, willowy body are bones of steel.

• You were configured to conquer.

• You were engineered to emerge from whatever would attempt to submerge you.

• Your genetic construct abhors failure.

• Never give up. Never give in. Never let fear or doubt set in.

• If you fail, get up, dust off and try again.

• Make yourself a promise that you’ll keep pushing till you get there – whatever it would take.

• Be hardened against defeat.

• The same fire that melts iron hardens clay.

• Let the fires of adversity harden your clay.

• Let s-t-i-c-k-a-b-i-l-i-t-y be the new word in your vocabulary.

Daily, monthly, yearly, I keep seeing an advertorial with this screaming banner headline:

“Wanted Still: Men with Bones of Steel”

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

    3 Responses to Wanted Still: Men With Bones Of Steel

    1. Pingback: Wanted Still: Men With Bones Of Steel | bryceedem

    2. luca says:

      I think so. I think your article will give those people a good reminding. And they will express thanks to you later

    3. michael says:

      Its hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what youre talking about! Thanks

    Leave a Reply

    Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


    Connecting to %s