Mark Danger Powers

drummer • educator • author

Fearless . . . ruthless

I don’t care how busy I might seem to others- I can truly procrastinate with the best of ’em.

Like many people, I have a list of life goals that I say I’m going to accomplish . . . a neverending bucket list of places to see, percussion instruments to study, educational materials to produce, languages to be at least passable in. But although I may be perceived as busy, I have come to learn that ‘busy’ does not always equate to ‘productive.’

Admittedly a self-help, motivational book geek, I have read, re-read and implemented ideas from the likes of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Getting Things Done and Time Shifting. But their concepts (and their usage) have come and gone throughout my life, still leaving me with this list of things that I am not doing. But why? What keeps me (and anyone else, for that matter) from finishing what I start, and in some cases, from even starting the in first place? I have discovered recently that what’s really been missing hasn’t been the left-brained ‘how-to.’ The method of reaching my goals. It’s been something that comes only from the gut. The primal impulse, drive and determination necessary to fully and honestly define my true weaknesses, fearlessly face each as a challenge that must be conquered, ruthlessly hold myself (and only myself) accountable every step of the way, overcome each obstacle, stop under no circumstances and have a “thick face” when nay-sayers just don’t “get it.”

This past December, I was killing some time in a cafe at the Atlanta airport. I looked up from my latte to find a small, Bible-looking, faux-leather book staring me down . . . The 50th Law, by rapper 50 Cent and author Robert Greene. A chronicle of Curtis Jackson’s rise from ‘the hood’ to music superstardom, it made me understand how easy I really have it in life, and what small amount of one’s potential is usually developed.

Now I’m not a huge rap fan, and I’m doubtful that 50 Cent even did much of the writing. Actually, I don’t care if the entire thing is purely fictional. If you want to know more, “read the book,” as they say. I do strongly recommend it. But I will say that reading this little gem during the ensuing flight immediately changed my perspective on several things, kicked me into ultra-high gear, and led me to compose and adopt this year’s personal mantra: Fearless with the World, Ruthless with Myself

I’ve already had a few friends express concern that ‘fearless’ and ‘ruthless’ seem a bit harsh, intense, maybe militant. And they’re completely correct. But, have my previous approaches proven to be more successful? No. How many great things in this world have been accomplished without such strong intent? Few. Who else but myself can I count on to be my strictest coach and most discerning critic? No one.

Fearless with the World, Ruthless with Myself . . . watch out.

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