One of life’s biggest lessons that most of us don’t learn until we’re older is that being different is good. Maybe if we knew this in high school we wouldn’t have tried to fit in so much. Maybe we wouldn’t have compared ourselves to others. Maybe we would have just been ourselves and been bulletproof to all criticism.
Evan Tanner was different.
In all of the good ways.
He was beyond the frivolous pursuits of money, fame, and material things. He had a higher purpose for his life and wanted to change the world. Unfortunately, Evan died in the desert after his motorcycle broke down in 2008. And in the documentary, Once I Was Champion, his friends and family recount his life.
After watching the trailer, I was moved to write this article. While I could never do justice to Evan’s character, I wanted to write what the video meant to me.
I will let the article write itself…
While Evan was strong, he had a natural frailty. I had never heard these simple words put together before, but to me, the phrase seemed so brilliant. We can’t be strong all of the time, no matter how hard we try. You will need to lean on the support of your family and friends sometimes to get through some really tough stuff, from time to time.
It’s funny, how in life, you’ll find that the toughest guys have a natural frailty that no ones knows about. Sometimes it is their inner demons, their childhood or sometimes their toughness is a front for someone who is just really scared. In this situation, the solution for successful people is to have an unbeatable mind that tells them to always take one more step after they get knocked down.
Understanding that having a natural frailty is ok, but you cannot let it run your life. You have a lot of important things to do. Don’t forget that.
“My Success Was At the Loss of Someone Else”
“We are all connected and my success is at the loss of someone else.”
Of course, Evan was speaking of fighting, but his message was much greater. There are many people who become successful and smash their way to the top. They don’t care who they use and abuse to get to where they’re going.
They forget. They are blind.
They aren’t connected in their life to their purpose. They are connected to money. To power. To worthless shit.
If you are driven because you’re living your passion, you are in service of others, and you are connected to your family and friends – YOU WILL WIN. You will always win. You will be a champion in your life and inspire many people. They very fact that you are connected to your purpose will show in everything you do. You will inspire others to greatness in their lives.
You MUST make your success through the fulfillment of others, not by stepping on their backs to get to the next rung of the ladder.
“What is the Purpose of All of This?”
Evan wanted to know, “What’s the end purpose of all of this?”
This isn’t something the guidance counselor told you in their office back in high school. It is something you eventually get connected to. When you’re finally able to love yourself and everything about yourself, you become free to be yourself. And then you will be able to discover why you were put here on this earth.
Evan didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t in line with his character and his ideals. He turned down $35k to wear a shirt. Why? Because he WASN’T driven by money. He was driven by making other people’s lives better.
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
“If You Can Count Five Good Friends…”
“If you can count five good friends, then you’re a lucky man.”
Do you know who your true friends are? They’re probably the ones who are there when things aren’t going so well. They are the ones who celebrate your success and aren’t jealous behind your back. They tell you the truth, when no one else will.
Yes, those friends.
Maybe, those are the people you should focus on making sure they know everyday how much their friendship means to you.
Life is tough.
It’s even tougher when you’re alone. If you don’t have close friends, then be a great friend to someone else who really needs one. Life will repay you ten fold.
“To Me, He Was Awesome”
Can you imagine how you would feel if someone said that about you? How you would feel if someone thought that about you?
If you want someone to say that, then you need to inspire them. You need to give to them. You need to show up for them. If you show up every time, when they really need you, then you will be 1000 steps ahead of anyone else. People are so focused on themselves that they don’t have a spare minute to even consider thinking of others.
Everything you do and how you treat people is defining your legacy.
What is your legacy going to be?
What do people say about you when you’re not there? When you’re gone?
No one knew why Evan went out into the desert on his motorcycle that day. He was on a journey. But his ability to live his life on his terms, is a lesson for us all. Focus on what’s important and don’t miss what is going on around you because you’re too busy chasing things money can buy.
Be at peace with who you are and don’t rob others of your gift, because you’re too selfish chasing that money.
The reality is that the most important things in life don’t cost any money.
“Believe that you can, as a single individual, you can change the world. Your words and actions resonate out eternal. I can change the world. I can change the world.” – Evan Tanner
By Smitty on October 4th, 2012
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Awesome post Smitty! Sounds like such a great man!
A really great post. Thankyou for sharing.true to ur word as ever
it moves u thanks jim rage B
Thanks for such a great post and for highlighting an issue that I feel is running rampant in society today – namely, that a large majority of people today have become infected with the ‘me’ disease. Or to put it better, ‘how does doing: [insert a job, a task, etc] benefit me?’. What happened to doing stuff because it’s the right thing to do, rather than because you have an ulterior motive behind doing it that somehow benefits you financially or otherwise. Individuals like Evan Tanner and yourself, Smitty, are few and far between these days. Sad but true. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend.
Awesome post Smitty. This is the kind of stuff I think about everyday, how can I live my life not only for myself, but to benefit others as well. It is hard to see through the greed and selfishness of today’s society, however I do know there are plenty of people out there we dont see that are doing amazing things to change the world.
Inspiring. I’ve always been the person to give to others first before myself. I’ve recently got out of a 5 year relationship where it was so one sided on giving. I promised myself it was time to only focus on “me” but it’s just not my nature to do so. I can’t fight who I am. I guess I need to focus on giving to the right people. Family and true friends. Great article!
Great post Smitty, appreciate it brother!