There are days that are just harder than others. For various reasons, people associate hard days with bad days. However, hard days may be the most important days of growing; the days that you truly recognize the strength within you.
A beast is known as a dangerous creature; a savage. When I was young, I remember watching Michael Jordan play for the Chicago Bulls. It wasn't just his skill that mesmerized me, it was his will and determination to destroy his opponent. Oddly, I never thought his opponent was the other team- I thought it was himself. A beast is a ferocious animal that can only be challenged or contained by other beast. When Jordan went into "beast mode", I felt that the only person who could stop him was his equal part or better. We face opponents every day of our life. Sometimes they stand before us, but most of the time they lie within us.
I don't know if it is a result of watching my mother somehow make Christmas presents appear under the tree the night before, create a meal out of a sac of potatoes and loaf of bread, or make the last day of rent when she started the day out with $1.50 to her name- but pressure doesn't break my pipes. I didn't need to grow-up with a silverspoon to know it existed. What I needed growing-up was reassurance that adversary was a temporary state; I needed to know that challenges were made to be overcome.
Watching someone think is quite remarkable. One day many years ago, I watched my mom sit on the couch with a Virginia Slims in hand. The t.v. was on and her eyes were fixated on it, but I knew she wasn't watching it. She had a stone look on her face- a set focus. I remember counting how long it took her to blink. Fifty seven seconds later, her eyelids fluttered and then returned to isolated focus. I knew what was on her mind. I had a field trip the next day, and I needed to bring $10 and a case of water; she didn't have either of the above.
She sat on the couch for what seemed like an eternity. All of a sudden, she got up and instructed my sister and I to put our shoes on. We drove up to a place with a sign that read: "Car Title for Loan". She took a piece of paper out of the glove compartment and shoved it in her purse. She told my sister and I to lock the doors while she went inside. When she returned to the car there was nothing different about her face. No sign of pleasure or frustration. She didn't say a word while she was driving. When we pulled into the grocery store lot I knew that I would have what I needed for my field trip. The next day, I wasn't "left out" at school because I was "less fortunate". No one ever knew or even cared how I got my case of water and $10, but it mattered to me. It mattered to me that my mom believed that her hard day, her hardships, would not defeat her or her children. Like always, she found a will and a way.
When you are accustomed to performance, you believe that there's always a will and a way. My grandmother Erma once told me, "There's never a reason to be flat broke, because the world is full of money- you just have to go after it." For years that conversation was just about money to me, but as I got older I realized- whether she meant it to be or not- the quote was really about opportunity and mindset. You can either stand back and complain about a situation, or you can take charge of the situation. When you become the controller of your hardships or your hard days, you can stir them in any direction you want. I don't believe in falling without rising. Sometimes you just have to make something out of nothing; it's all about your approach to your opposition. You can plan to be defeated or you can plan to win- that's a totally different mindset.
"Beast mode" is about having the spirit of a champion; it's the last few seconds on a long run when you decide to run harder. If the most successful and influential people threw-in their cards when the tough got tougher, they wouldn't be in the conversation of greatness. What happens when perfection is never achieved? LIFE. Life is the perfect excuse for imperfection. The vast majority of people will ultimately remember one thing when it's all said and done: what you did; not how you did it. When you learn why you do something, what you have to do to achieve it won't really matter.