When I hear this word, I think of those intense war movies–whether fantasy or sci-fi or contemporary, the terrible battle is raging on, and the heroes are under siege from the monsters or villains or barbarians, and one of the heroes turns back to his king and cries:
“WE NEED REINFORCEMENTS!”
This is a really important note, right here: this blog is as much, if not more so, for me as it is for you. This blog is a record of thoughts I have, to preserve them; strategies I implement, to record them; resolutions I make, to cement them in writing.
I don’t want you to be fooled, to think I’m somewhere up the mountain, calling down to you, recommending which paths to follow and steps to take, which ledges to avoid and shaky ground to bypass. No…I’m right there with you. I’m writing this blog because I am learning, concurrently and organically, as you are reading.
And sometimes, I get it wrong. Sometimes, life is tough and I struggle. Sometimes, I lose sight of some–or all–of the ideas I champion here: I lose my center, my will, my principles, my passion. I am not good at this–not even close. Remember, The Next Level doesn’t have a cap–there is no ‘Final Level’. The Next Level is about being better than before, and that’s my goal, every day–not to be good, but to be better.
Sometimes I fail, and on those days, negative thoughts have breached the front wall, despair has taken the lower keep, and there are just too many difficulties. Sometimes, I need reinforcements.
When I need reinforcements, I have several places I go–one of them is my blog. We all need those pools, those storage centers. We reach into them and extract the life, the sustenance we need, to return us to our upmost strength and ability. They are wells of inspiration, fields of hope, mines of knowledge–when we run out of battery, they serve as our charging stations.
I needed reinforcements this week, and it reminded me of the function of this blog, and I wanted to share that reminder with you. I needed reinforcements this week, and it also reminded me how difficult it is to ask for reinforcements. I’d like to share that experience with you, too.
Needing reinforcements sucks.
I mean, that’s the first thing I realized, and I realized it for about two days without doing a dang thing past that. Just thinking to myself, “You need to access somebody, something, for help, and that sucks”. Needing reinforcements sucks because it’s a personal admonition that you aren’t…there, yet. You’re not self-sufficient yet, you’re not unassailable yet–still circumstance and environment and stress can dictate parts of your life; still you are subject to weaknesses you have been working to eradicate for years.
And you’re never going to be free of them.
I mean, that’s the second thing I realized. Live to be one hundred, and still circumstance and environment and stress are going to dictate things in your life–even if it is very rarely, very slightly, they still will. That doesn’t mean the pursuit thereof is unworthy, it simply means, at some point in the future, and at another point after that, too:
You’re going to need reinforcements.
That’s the third thing, and let me tell you, that hurt me a lot. I’m a really prideful guy, and it’s something I work on and wish I was less so, but I’m a really prideful guy. Because I’m a really prideful guy, it’s really difficult to admit to myself that, for the rest of my life, I’m gonna need reinforcements at different points to different degrees. That just hurts, man.
This is a realization I’ve come to before, I think. I’ve had it before, but the second I get past my reinforcement requirement, I try to forget it, and often do–I’m so much more comfortable, living under the delusion that I don’t need help, that I banish the thought from my mind, and live pridefully again. It is a humbling thought, and humanizing thought, and I loathe it.
This time, i wanted to live less pridefully…so I remembered the war movies. I thought about it for a second, and I realized something: they asked for reinforcements. I always envision like, Aragorn or Legolas, somebody really mythic, just yelling it out–prideful guy/elf, having to ask for reinforcements. Why can they do it?
Because they know what’s at stake.
What if I hadn’t asked for reinforcements–what if I hadn’t asked for reinforcements, and spiraled instead, into sloth and arrogance and leisure? What if I hadn’t asked for reinforcements, spiraled, and liked it? What if I hadn’t asked for reinforcements, spiraled, and wanted to stay?
Because I’ve spiraled before, and there’s an allure there–relaxing, doing the bare minimum, eating whatever, sleeping whenever. That low-energy living is intoxicating–sickening, over time–but intoxicating in those first moments, and it is SO DIFFICULT to drag yourself out of that living once you give yourself to it.
I live under a particular code, with a particular discipline, guided by certain principles, and those were under siege. My code, my discipline, my principles needed reinforcements. My decisions, my choices–my very way of life: these were at stake.
And in the light of those conditions, how couldn’t I ask for reinforcements? I’m a prideful guy, but I needed to preserve everything on which I had worked. And it’s so easy–it’s so easy–to consider ‘needing reinforcements’ as an expression that I was failing myself, because I was struggling to be disciplined, to be principled, to follow my code. But rather, that was not the case–and this is HUGE:
Needing reinforcements was not a failure of my discipline, of my principles–it was a preservation of it. I didn’t need reinforcements because I was less than I wanted to be, I needed reinforcements simply because I wanted to save my principles, to secure my discipline. I wasn’t letting go of them, I was grabbing them before they fell off the cliff.
This has been a long post, and if you read the whole thing, you kinda rock. I had to process the reinforcements I needed this week, and I did, in this post. I hope some of it rang true for you, and the next time you find yourself needing reinforcements, you come back, and rediscover whatever it was that you found true here–I know I will, too.