Monday Motivation: Be the one that clears the path
Monday Motivation, 12.4.17
Written by: Ben Rogers
Be the one that clears the path
I am constantly fighting with myself to find answers. Answers to questions like:
Why can’t I be the best?
Why not me?
What’s my finish line, my ultimate goal?
Despite the fact that I constantly preach preparation, practice, and process, and despite my insistence on the belief that there really is no finish line, there is no end game, and there is no all-inclusive definition of success, I still struggle with these questions. I do believe that becoming successful is too broad to define, and that striving for excellence is a better mindset to take. When striving for excellence, your own definition of success will find you along your path. When you believe in the process, and you believe that practice is more important than the game…that is where true success is found. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with questions like these.
Last week, though, I found something to cling onto.
I was reading from one of my favorite books last week – Tools of Titans. In it, I came across a chapter called The Canvas Strategy. It’s all based on the following: “Great men have almost always shown themselves as ready to obey as they afterwards proved able to command.”
In this chapter, it told a story about the ancient Roman system of art and science. Wealthy businessmen would subsidize a number or writers, thinkers, artists, and performers but more so than just being paid by these wealthy people, the writers, thinkers, artists, and performers served as an anteambulo. The literal meaning of the word anteambulo is “one who clears the path”.
The chapter goes on to talk about one of these anteambulos and how he hated absolutely every minute of it. Instead of appreciating the opportunities it offered (i.e., “he was in a unique position as an outsider to society that gave him fascinating insight into Roman culture that survives to this day”), it ate him alive.
Do you see where this is going? Can you relate? Have you felt overqualified for some tasks that you are asked to do for your career? Do your emotions and ego get in the way? I can tell you one thing: mine do, and I’m not afraid to admit that.
As Tim Ferriss, the author of this book, says: “It’s not about making someone look good. It’s about providing the support so that others can be good…find canvases for other people to paint on. Be an anteambulo. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.”
Sounds like a process, right? Does it sound like hard work? Absolutely. Does it sound like your ego & emotions can get in the way? I know what it sounds like to me: it sounds like process, preparation, and practice are more important than the game. It sounds like there is no finish line, and it sounds like success will find you along your path. Ferriss goes on to explain that “Once we fight this emotional and egotistical impulse, the Canvas Strategy is easy. The iterations are endless. The Canvas Strategy is there for you at any time…let it become natural and permanent; let others apply it to you while you’re too busy applying it to those above you.”
If you’re like me, and you’re trying to find answers to questions like the ones I asked at the beginning, answer them with this:
Why can’t I be the best? You can, but in sequence. Find canvases for other people to paint on first.
Why not me? It can be you. Let the Canvas Strategy become “natural and permanent; let others apply it to you while you’re too busy applying it to those above you”.
What’s my finish line, my ultimate goal? Continue to ask yourself this question, but while you’re doing it…find what nobody else wants to do and go do it. Give your awesome ideas away, and be the one to come up with the next great idea.
Above all else, take this with you on your journey:
The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.
Ben Rogers, The Team Leader of The Rogers-Long Team, has been in the real estate business since 2012. In 2014, he began The Rogers-Long Team with Kevin Long, which will produce over $25,000,000 in volume production in 2017. In addition to selling homes and leading the team, Ben records a monthly podcast episode for “The Bottom Line”, which can be found by clicking here. The Bottom Line is a Podcast that links lessons learned from sports, business, and life and is targeted at those who are striving for excellence, while ‘Average Sits on the Bench’.