My generation is soft. I am thirty-four years old and most of my peers are soft. I suppose that thirty-five hours a week of television, a welfare state, and a decade or two of “role models” dressing like tramps and being more known for their drunken exploits will do that to a generation.
To make matters worse, we’re only getting softer. Less responsible. Less motivated. Less determined. Less impactful.
At the risk of starting a political debate (please don’t) the most troubling part of the president’s healthcare law had nothing to do with freedom, constitutionality, or cost. It’s the provision that allows offspring (notice I didn’t say “children”) to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of twenty-six. Twenty-six years old! They’re twenty-six years old and they still get to, per a government mandate, stay on Mommy and Daddy’s health insurance. Give me a break!
But that is no excuse for this generation. And there is still hope.
My generation must learn from Sugay Ray Leonard.
As a child, Sugar Ray Leonard would wake up just like all of the other kids. He would get dressed for school just like all of the other kids. He would walk to the bus stop just like all the other kids. But right there, as the bus pulled up, is where the similarities between Sugar Ray Leonard and all the other kids end.
The other children hurriedly crowded on to the bus and took their seats, but Sugar Ray would not. As the bus drove away, Sugar Ray took off. He ran behind the bus all the way to school. Every single day. Rain or shine. He became a six-time world champion boxer.
The other kids thought I was crazy, because I would run in the rain, snow—it didn’t matter. I did it because I didn’t just want to be better than the next guy, I wanted to be better than all the guys.
Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard was born in 1956, two years after my mother and father. Their generation was the one after the “greatest generation.” I shudder to think what my generation should be labeled.
My generation expects instant gratification, no pain, and someone else to clean up their mess, rather it be mommy or the president. I’ve been there myself. In college (this was before I discovered Dave Ramsey), I ran up a $2000 credit card bill. I felt entitled to all sorts of shiny things and felt no obligation to pay for them. My father found the bill one day and I found out what getting a new one ripped feels like. He paid the bill and made me work for him to pay it off…at $5/hour. I estimate that I paid him back about $400 before we both lost count and moved on. I got off easy. And I got softer.
The long haul
Sugar Ray Leonard shows us that we have to be willing to devote ourselves to the long haul. We must be willing to see absolutely no return on investment for many years. My generation wants it now…and wants someone else to give it to them. But that leads only to getting softer.
We have to stay completely and passionately dedicated to our vision even if we cannot see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. No one thought Sugar Ray Leonard could make it as a boxer. He was too small, too slow, and too poor. He proved them wrong…six times.
Sugar Ray Leonard wasn’t soft. He did not expect instant gratification. How could a child of only eight or nine expect to be a world champion tomorrow? He worked through the pain and did not expect anyone else to do anything for him. He kept working at his dream to the point that others thought he was insane and wasting his time.
Others thought he was insane. But Sugar Ray Leonard knew that insane dedication leads to insane success.
What are you insanely dedicated to no matter what the naysayers say?