Alexander the Great. Even though he only lived on this Earth for a total of 33 years, some 2,300 years ago, we have yet to forget his name and legendary battles.
During his short life, nothing stopped him. Nothing. Huge armies with elephants, impregnable fortresses, vast distances over mountains and rivers and deserts, hunger, thirst, the sea itself, the uttermost extremes of physical hardship and war. His body was littered with scars; everywhere that is, except his back. That’s because the world’s greatest commander never retreated, and he never lost a battle.
Most of his portraits, sculptures, and coins reflect a kind of upward gaze as if he were staring into the very heavens, yearning for something unreachable.
He dedicated his life to the struggle against insurmountable odds. And he became great because he surmounted them all.
Fighting for your dreams
Growing up, I always had to fight to get people to listen to me. A sickly boy, fragile to the point of almost dying a few times even before my sixth birthday, my first dream was to be able to talk to anyone about anything.
There are few things who have preserved their magic over the years. Learning is one of them. I’d read everything I could get my hands on. I still do.
I grew up being afraid to go out and play with other kids. Don’t know why. In time, I’d rather stay inside and read and write and dream about a future where I’ll be able to do great things.
You see, I was born on Christmas Day. The same day as Jesus Christ, who coincidentally also occupied this world for roughly 33 years, only to change it profoundly.
I grew up with the clear conviction that I was meant for greatness. To inspire people, to lead them into battle, maybe not in a literal sense of the way, but in the battle of life.
Yes, life is a battle. And we must keep fighting until our dying breath.
I have never accepted defeat. It is impossible for me to do so. I’ll punch at a damn wall until it turns into a door. I never listen to those who tell me to give up.
My dream of becoming a writer
I’m 27 years old. Romanian. I still live here, in the country with the lowest literacy rate of the European Union. We read less than a book a year. Most of us, that is.
There is no way I should be able to do what I do.
My parents never read one of my novels, because they don’t understand the language I write them in. No one in my family has ever been even mildly artistic. No one ever had a dream, or if they had one, they let life’s defeats talk them out of it.
They told me to give up. When we were struggling financially, and I would go on days without eating, when all I had where a few folks reading my stories on the web.
They told me to be realistic, whatever that meant.
I kept fighting for my dream even when I had no teeth to chew the little food I could afford to buy, and I couldn’t look people in the eye. My voice a shivering whisper, my hope almost drained from my soul.
I kept writing. I kept dreaming. I had to keep the dream alive.
You see, it was not Alexander’s soldiers who conquered the world for him. It was his belief in himself. And seeing this, in his eyes, in his speech, his soldiers followed him into battle.
You know what’s easy? To listen to that lonely voice of despair. To listen to the demons that tell you you’re not good enough, you’ll never make it, you’ll never overcome these obstacles.
It’s easy to give up. To quit. To play it safe. To let life defeat you.
To keep your head down.
We have a saying here in Romania, “Keep your head down, and the sword won’t chop it off.”
Something like that.
Keep your head down long enough, it won’t matter.
Imagine if Alexander the Great had decided that being ruler of Greece was enough. If he never dared march his army some 22,000 miles to conquer more of the known world than ever before him.
Would he still be remembered today?
Imagine if Jesus Christ had decided to betray his own principles and teachings in order to save his life.
Defeat is not the most terrible thing that can happen to a man. Failure is not fatal, but not trying to win is. The most heartbreaking moment in your life is when you decide to give up without a fight.
Why go through life life this?
I’d rather die trying than not try at all.
Maybe it sounds melodramatic, but it is how it is.
What dream have you given up on because you listened to other people tell you that it probably won’t work?
What dream have you abandoned because you were afraid of failure? Of defeat? Of being judged? Of having to confront your own limitations, over and over again, until you finally overcame them?
If you want to succeed, you can’t wait for the world to grant you permission, because you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life. You have to be a warrior. You have to fight with all you got. And when you have nothing left, you fight some more.
Because, let’s face it, your dreams are your children. Their future is as tender and delicate as that of any newborn.
You can’t just try once and expect to succeed. Breathing life into your dream requires a lot of sacrifice. A lot of patience. A lot of hard work.
You can’t half-ass it and expect the world to reward you for it. This is not how it works.
How bad do you want it?
Are you willing to give up the comfort of sleep for it?
Are you willing to face all the haters and the naysayers?
Imagine this 27 year old kid from Romania. He has spend half his time on this life writing words. On a computer, on paper, on a phone. Words and words and words.
Millions of them.
One post after another.
Words that no one ever read. Words that got deleted. Words that got ignored.
This kid spent hours and hours each day writing, for eight years, when everyone told him to give up, before he even earned a dollar for it.
You have to realize that your dream is more than just an escape from the harsh realities of life. It’s more than a nice fantasy. Your dream is your life’s fire, the thing that makes you most alive. If you get goosebumps thinking about your dream, then.. fight for it.
Fight for it, damn it!
Because no one else ever will.
Your dream. Your life.
And you have to keep fighting, no matter what!