I read recently either Life is the rider and you are the horse, or you decide to be the rider and make Life the horse. I think life will be whichever you command it to be, but if you don’t choose, Life will be the rider and you will be the horse.
The amazing part is how true this is. You get what you tolerate. It’s amazing that once you decide how things will be, then that’s how they’ll be. I decided that I would start my work day at 10 or 11 o’clock so that I can enjoy time at home in the morning. This seemed impossible when I decided it. There was no way it could happen. Too many things have to happen in the morning with early morning meetings, etc. I insisted. No meetings before 10 am. I got push back. I insisted more. Then, the world relented and voila! I am the rider and Life is the horse. No one schedules me anything before 10 am ever. Isn’t that weird?
I decided food should just appear in front of me all day. Healthy food. I shouldn’t have to ask for it or think about it. It should just happen. That sounds radical. That sounds impossible. I insisted. Life pushed back. I said I am the rider. Today, I never think about eating or drinking. I’m free to think about important things because food and drink appear in front of me and I keep moving. I am not sure exactly how it happens. All I know is that I am the rider and Life is the horse.
I decided to travel the world. When I was young, when I was poor, when I was older, when I was rich, when I was in school, when I was an ER doc, when I was a father of young children, when I was a busy business owner. By the way, every one of those things were reasons I was told I could not, or should not, travel. “You can’t leave small kids at home and just take off to some dangerous foreign country.” “This is the busiest time for our business.” “We are short staffed in the ER.” “You should invest your money, not waste it.” “You need to study to get into med school not travel around the world.” “You two are bad parents leaving your kids all the time.” “You should pay more attention to your business.” I insisted. Life pushed back. People punched back. I persisted harder, and 63 countries on 7 continents later, I’ve had so many crazy awesome adventures I can’t name them. I am the rider, Life is the horse.
I decided I was going to fly business class instead of coach. I had flown coach my whole life and it was fine. As I got older, I said, “You know, I’m going to fly business class as a rule and only business class if I’m flying international.” “That’s stupid.” “It’s too expensive.” “It’s like double the price for no return.” “It’s a waste of money.” I insisted. My mind, other people, and Life pushed back… I persisted more. I fly all flights on business, with rare exception. I’ve found creative ways to do it, so it’s not as expensive. I am the rider, Life is the horse.
We decided we wanted to have a house in the mountains, a place on the beach, and a ranch—like the ones you see on TV with horses, cows, dogs, etc. I’ve had that dream since I was 18. It was a nice fantasy and an impossible dream. You get the idea. I kept dreaming about it, thinking about it, working my ass off for it. Now, we spend our time between our cabin in the mountains, our place on the beach, and our Texas ranch. I am the fucking rider, Life is the fucking horse.
So, what is Life in this context? What is it that tries to be the rider and that we must tame and make it the horse? Here are the steps. Make the decision. You’re going to create Spectacular in your life. You will not settle for what everyone else has and does. You are more, and life is more than you are making of it.
- Nothing happens until you decide. The decision doesn’t have to be made all at once. It can occur over time and us usually does. But at some point, you have to come to the realization that you are the rider and life is the horse. You must choose to live a spectacular and incredible life instead of one that feels like every day is Tuesday. No other decision will affect your life more, but no one can make it for you. Get your mind right. You must faith you can do it. You must replace your own doubts and fears.
- Jim Rhon said, “If you work hard on your job you’ll make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune.” Most think he was talking about money. The truth is, there are many types of fortune… health, wealth, relationships, and adventures of all kinds. Forget the naysayers and critics. I promise you they will come, and they will tell you all the logic perfectly.
- Once you decide on anything you will invite a host of naysayers and critics. That’s just the way the world is. Criticism is a fundamental part of success. You cannot have one without the other. Ignore them. Respectfully disagree with them, and then just move on doing what you decided. The reality is, regardless of what decision you make, someone is going to disagree with you. You cannot let that affect you. You must make the decision that is best for you and your family and move on. Ignore them. Develop the skills and tools you need to create a spectacular life. You cannot be lazy about becoming a better you. This has to be priority number one.
- You have to become an expert at a few things. You must become an expert at your own health and fitness. You must become an expert at your relationships. You have to become an expert at creating your own wealth. You must become an expert at sharpening the sword of self-improvement. Work your ass off. When you are working, you gotta work. You have to be the hardest working one in the room.
- You must put in the work to create the life you want. Have the dream, create the vision, put in place the strategies to achieve it, and work your ass off every day to accomplish the goal. There will be ups and downs. There will be good times and bad. Don’t let that stop you. Keep going. Keep pursuing your dreams. Plan every month, every week, and then get up every day and pursue your life. Ride that horse. You must drop the need for certainty. You can never be certain anyway, so get rid of the need for having to know all the time. If you must be certain about the outcome, you can never be great. You can have certainty. You can have Spectacular, but you cannot have certainty AND spectacular. It’s up to you.
- Take some risks. You will need to live a life of being willing to put it all on the line. Being the rider means making the horse work for you. To do that, you will have to tame her. That will require you to be scared and do things anyway. If she bucks, get back on her. You can be fearful, but you cannot back down.
- Create a vision for your life. Think about what you want it to look like. Get clear on the vision. Keep refining it. Keep making the vision clearer and clearer until you can see it so clearly it has to come to pass. Our minds don’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. If you create the vision clearly enough, you think about it all the time, you work on it every day, you put out to the universe what you want, the horse will come running up for you to ride.
- Make that vision a reality. Work on it every day, one step at a time. Now that you have the vision, you must work on it every day. That means every Not a day goes by that you’re not doing something that forces your vision to become a reality. Most people with a dream leave it in dream mode. They don’t work on it every day, then they wake up 10 years later and the dream is still there, but they are no closer.
- Get rid of the guilt and realize not everyone can be equal There are times when I feel like I am too blessed. Maybe it isn’t fair that I get to lead such an amazing life and others don’t. I think that’s natural if you’re a compassionate, normal person. It’s ok and it’s normal. Just realize that everyone has their own path, that each person gets to decide for themselves what they want out of life. Some are born into better circumstance than others. Some can overcome incredible odds. Others cannot. There isn’t a way it’s “supposed to be.” There is only the way it is. Counter those feelings of guilt with gratitude for what is and with commitment to help others in their journey.
- Pay it forward. Once you have discovered this secret and once you have put it in place, help others to see and do the same thing.
Living Every Minute,