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Keep On Fighting the Good Fight – Business Lessons From Charles Bukowski


It can be a very dangerous thing to really ask yourself what you want in life. I mean, to really ask that question and to sit with the answer over and over again.

You run the risk of letting people down, of demanding change, of shaking up your carefully constructed world view.

I usually wouldn’t describe myself as a huge fan of poetry. But every so often I happen upon something that so perfectly captures exactly what’s in my mind and I feel like I’m 20 again, discovering literature for the first time.

To wit, Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski:

if you’re going to try, go all the
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, it’s
the only good fight
there is.

If you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s the tricky part. That’s where you risk everything you hold dear. If you’re going to try, it could mean losing lovers, relatives, jobs, maybe even your mind.

It might even hurt. A lot.

But pain is where the rubber meets the road. No real change is ever going to happen if we stay within the confines of our comfort zones. Winston Churchill told us, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. But this particular kind of journey, this trip through hell, is self-imposed. It’s the result of stopping to ask if what we’re holding is burning our fingers.

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.

If you honestly commit to this process, and go all the way, greatness awaits. In life, in business, in entrepreneurship.

To quote Zig Ziglar, “You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great”.

do it.

Make no mistake, I’m not professing my own greatness. I’m in this process myself and know it to cause a great deal of upheaval. If I can stay with the pain of that upheaval, I’ll be alone with the gods. With a lot of effort and a bit of luck, my nights will flame with fire. And I pray that I will ride life straight to perfect laughter.

After all, it’s the only good fight there is.
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