You’ve Got to Fight For Your Life


Every great story, every hero, every inspiring moment is born out of adversity and perseverance. Conflict and battles are the stuff of myth and legend, and we love these stories because we can relate. Our personal and work lives are filled with mini-versions of this stuff: Pushing through. Overcoming obstacles. Fighting.

I am not necessarily talking about fighting in a vicious, mean way, but in a way that says, “I am responsible for my future. No one else is going to do this for me.”

Think of your life as an epic battle.

There are those who will roll up their sleeves and take it on. Others find themselves caught in the middle with no choice but to stand up for themselves. Then there are those who observe life happening all around them and choose to shrink back in fear, always remaining a spectator.

Every time I faced a transition in life, some sort of struggle invariably ensued. At certain points, I became uneasy, unsettled, like the bottom was going to fall out and my life would roll out in ugly pieces onto the floor. During these times, a part of me always wanted to run to the comfort and familiarity of negative thinking – catastrophizing the future, convincing myself of the worst possible scenarios as they played out in my head.

It’s okay to indulge in the downward spiral for a time. For a spell. Perhaps that part is necessary for survival, the pre-phase of fighting through, a requirement in order to come to grips with the reality of the situation. But then, once you’ve sufficiently festered in the mire, it’s time to get a grip, and get going.

Here is where you must be prepared to fight.

Some may not set well with the idea of a good fight, but anything worthwhile, anything good and true, whether for yourself or for the greater world around you, is going to involve a slugfest of sorts. Growth and progress do not happen by chance or by accident, whether it is your career, your health, your marriage, or your mission. Even when you have a plan – a good plan! – it will take a great deal of determination and unpleasant effort to move it forward.

You will run into resistance.

You will have multiple setbacks.

There will be strong, intimidating forces whose shadows loom large over you.

The voices in your head will make you crazy.

But know this: Every great leader grows through adversity and persistence. Stephen Snyder, author of “Leadership and the Art of Struggle,” says this:

“A leader with a growth mind-set is consciously aware that ability is not innate and unchangeable but instead a malleable quality that can continuously be augmented through practice and persistence…You seek out new learning opportunities by pursuing challenging assignments instead of taking safer and easier routes.”

In other words, you are not stuck unless you choose to be.

If you’re not fighting for something, you’re not growing. Playing it safe is never a path to growth or fulfillment, to finding your true potential.

The question, then, becomes this: what is going on deep within your soul? What kind of convictions have you gathered? What are you made of way down there?

Lift up your head and take a good look at the ominous darkness staring you down. Will you crumble, or fight?

The answer is, to fight.

Fight back, with all you’ve got, draw strength from God, and trust Him for the outcome.

Believe it or not, He’s given you this fight in the first place.

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  • Darn, I was hoping for a quiet Monday morning without having to think too deeply.

  • Great post – wise words, Jim. And all true.

  • lorenpinilis

    “If you’re not fighting for something, you’re not growing.” Wow, that’s pretty powerful.

    I think the key for me has been understanding that the fight is normal. It felt shocking and horrible when I had this illusion that I was the only one having to fight.

  • Best read in a good long time, and a reminder I needed. Thanks.

    Now, get out of the way…

  • Yes, life is a fight. The trick is to know how to fight, when to fight and what to fight.

    • and who to fight for?

    • “What to fight” always gets me, Nancy. When I think of life and work as an epic battle I start looking for good guys and bad guys.

      Then I think of the Zero Effect: “There are no good guys or bad guys. Just a bunch of guys.” That’s not exactly right, but I think it is a useful reminder. Almost everyone is really trying to do the right thing, but we all just get kind of selfish about it sometimes.

      Or maybe I’m naive?

      • i like hearing from you marcus…thanks.

        i was looking at some photos which led me to a wordpress blog, which led me to the wordpress comments. so here i am, a week-in to my no-blog month, leaving a comment on a blog. 🙂

        here is my take on this:

        there are a bunch of guys, and we are not really fighting the guy, but the evil that wants to keep a hold on each and every guy’s soul. and we fight evil with what we are given to fight with…which is mainly a big Love fest with God…of which we forget about every two seconds and need to be reminded.

        there are no guys that are all good.

        okay, back to my no-blogging.

  • At the moment, I find myself in the center of a storm that has hit not only our family, but also our community. I wasn’t planning to fight at all, much less this hard. I had no idea what I was in for. Yet, here I am. “Malleable” is a word I need to keep in mind over the next year or so.

    • You’ll see it through, Megan. I know many find themselves in situations they didn’t ask for, but a fight is called for. You will grow from this, somehow.

  • Of course I just want to lay down — and sleep. The fight is gone until I’m reminded that I am not called to mediocrity. I’m called to excellence and the only way to rise to that is to exactly what you are suggesting — and fight.